How to Clear Out A Storage Unit
Storage units can be an incredibly useful tool when looking for a place to temporarily hold your belongings while you are in between houses or just need some extra space. However, it is important to keep track of your storage unit in a timely manner. Otherwise, storage units can become a burden in your life, especially when it comes time to clean them out. Many Americans even abandon their storage unit because they no longer want to pay, and no longer feel strongly about the contents inside of them. In order to clear out a storage unit you can use a removal service, get the storage company to transport your storage to you, or go by yourself and do it step-by-step.
How do you know it’s time to clear out a storage unit?
Storage units can be an unnecessarily costly expense. The average cost of a storage unit in the US is $190 a month, which can add up. A good rule of thumb regarding storage units is that if you no longer remember what is in your storage unit, it is probably time to get rid of the unit. While some people choose to go and retrieve their belongings, some people just dump everything in the trash. This is the premise of TV shows like Storage Wars, and why many storage units end up in storage auctions.
How do I transport the stuff in my storage unit?
In most cases, you can have the storage company transport the belongings to you, however, this can be an additional expense. If you are on a budget, we recommend doing it by yourself. You can rent a van or take a few trips with your car.
Here are some tips for decluttering or cleaning out your storage unit:
The process of cleaning out a storage unit can seem daunting, especially if it’s been a few years since you visited. But, we have compiled a guide to help you clean out your storage unit and stay organized throughout the process.
IT MAY TAKE MULTIPLE TRIPS. MAKE TIME IN YOUR SCHEDULE.
Clearing out your storage unit may not be a single day process. Depending on the size of your unit, you may need to come back several times to finish the job. Make sure to make time in your schedule. You may also want to clear out your belongings in shifts, so as to not exhaust yourself.
YOU MAY NEED TO ENLIST THE HELP OF A FRIEND
See if you can get friends or family to help you. This job can be physically demanding, which means that the more hands on deck the better. Also, it can be nice to have friends nearby when you want to easily give your stuff away.
BRING GLOVES AND CLEANING SUPPLIES
Storage units should be climate-controlled and well maintained, but dust can accumulate and things can get dirty. Depending on how long it’s been, you may want to also wear a dust mask to protect yourself.
BRING GARBAGE BAGS
There will probably be some stuff that you wish you didn’t keep. Bring trash bags to throw away items that are no longer good for donation, and you no longer need to keep.
BRING MARKERS TO LABEL YOUR STUFF
Because cleaning out your storage can be a multi-day process, you are going to want to keep track of everything inside. If you are going to come back another day, make sure to label every box that you’ve opened so that you don’t have to waste time going through everything a second time.
It will be useful to take inventory of your storage unit, and identify all the categories of your belongings. These categories include: (clothing, furniture, bric-a-brac, documents, photos, electronics, music instruments). Taking inventory of your individual belongings can be useful, but too time consuming, which is why we think it’s best to stick to category.
& GO BY SECTION
Storage units are small and compact, which means that it can be tricky to figure out exactly what’s inside them. You are going to need to take out boxes and rearrange them. Go through your storage unit by section, using the categories we’ve discussed. Going through each section can help you stay organized and decide on the final destination of each item. For example, when you go through your clothing you can make a list of what you intend to keep, sell, throw away and donate.
MAKE EXTRA SPACE
In many storage units, there is a small hallway directly outside the unit. See if you can use that hallway to go through your belongings. Storage units can be cramped, which can make it 10x harder to discover what you have. This extra space can be useful to assort your belongings. If the hallway is unusable, try to stack some boxes aside so make an empty corner in your unit.
ALWAYS REMEMBER TO REPACK YOUR STUFF
Because it can take a few days to clear everything out, be sure to repack everything every time you leave your unit. You don’t want to make a mess of everything and make more work for yourself later.
NOW, WHAT TO DO AFTER YOU CLEAR OUT A STORAGE UNIT?
Often, when we put things aside in storage we don’t necessarily think about whether or not we will need these items in a few years when it’s time to clear it out.
- Make a donation pile!
Make a bag of donations that you can donate to a thrift store. Make sure that the thrift store accepts what you want to donate, as some thrift stores can be selective. Some bigger thrift stores like Goodwill can offer a donation pick up to make things easier for you.
- Sell your stuff.
Depending on the category of the item, there are different avenues for where to sell. When it comes to clothing, you can try to sell to stores like Buffalo Exchange or Crossroads Trading Co. When it comes to furniture or electronics, try on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist.
- Hold a garage sale!
A garage sale can be the simplest way to get rid of a lot of stuff at once and make a bit of cash too.
- Give away to your friends/neighbors!
Start messaging all your friends and family to see if anyone wants any of your belongings. You can also use Facebook groups like Buy Nothing Project.
- Hire a junk removal company!
If there are items that you do not know what to do with, you can hire a professional junk removal company to properly dispose of them. Typically, this is useful for old electronics, kitchen appliances or car parts.
LOOKING FOR A STORAGE UNIT?
Storage units are a great solution for those looking for some extra space. If you are looking to put some stuff aside in storage, be sure to inquire with USA Preferred Movers about their storage options. But, be sure to think wisely about what you end up putting in storage, as to not create additional headaches when it’s time to clean out the unit down the road.