At USA Preferred Movers, we know a thing or two about navigating and optimizing storage solutions. Storage units can come in handy whether you are in between homes, or are simply looking for some extra space to store your stuff. We’ve created a list with some of the top tips for self-storage, so that you can better prepare before you pack away your life into a box (or in this case, an aluminum locker).


Whenever you are putting anything away in storage, you should ask yourself a few questions before you start packing up your belongings. Storage units can be a costly expense, at an average of $190 per month, you should think about how you intend to use your storage unit to maximize value.

If your storage facility doesn’t provide locks, be sure to get a heavy duty disc lock!
  1. What sized storage unit do you need?

There are a wide range of storage unit options available, and the price varies accordingly. Be sure to realistically assess what size you need, so as to not spend additional money on space you are not using. 

  1. How long do I intend to keep my stuff in storage? Long term or short term?

Before you agree to any storage contract, think about when you intend to return to these items. Are you planning to keep this storage unit for a few months? A few years? It is possible that you may end up putting stuff aside for a lot longer than you intended, which can affect what you choose to put in the unit. This can affect how you organize your belongings within the unit. 

  1. Is this item going to perish? Can I put this item in storage?

There are certain items that you should not put in storage because they can spoil or decay. For example, makeup, plants and food are a few kinds of perishable items that should not be put in storage. Other items that cannot be stored include firearms, gasoline and other flammable materials. 

  1. Is this item actually valuable to me?

It can be easy to get carried away and want to fill your storage unit to its max capacity. However, if you are not selective, you may end up putting away things that you don’t actually need and regret it when it’s time to clear out the storage unit a few years down the line.


  1. Measure everything! 

Every storage unit has specific dimensions and if you want everything to fit correctly, you must measure your furniture and boxes first. 

  1. Use clear plastic containers instead of cardboard boxes!

Plastic storage containers are far more durable and can keep your belongings in better condition. Cardboard boxes can be flimsy and cave in, especially if they are over stuffed. Plastic can also better protect your belongings against heat, moisture and dust. And, when you use clear containers, you can see what’s inside the boxes without having to open them. 

  1. Organize and pack your items by category.

While it may be tempting to just put everything in one box, you are going to regret that later. Pack like items together. For example, keep your dishes, children’s clothes and men’s shoes together. Otherwise, you may have a hard time locating items in the future, when it’s time to clear out the unit.

  1. Pack heavier items at the bottom. 

Storage units are generally small and compact, which means that you will need to stack boxes on top of each other. Put heavy boxes towards the bottom to avoid any unnecessary damage. 

  1. Use silica packets to avoid the build up of moisture. 

This can be particularly helpful with items like books, leather and art that can get ruined due to humidity. 

  1. Try not to use too many styles of storage containers. 

Because storage units are small, you are going to end up having to play a bit of Tetris to get everything to fit. Using storage containers that are around the same size can help you pack more into the unit. Try to stick with the same 2-3 sizes of boxes.

  1. Label your boxes! 

Even when using clear containers it can be helpful to place a visible label on the box, so you don’t need to rearrange everything to find something.

  1. Put items that you need easy access to close to the entrance. 

Because storage units are often packed tightly, you should arrange your belongings with the items you’ll need frequent access to in the front. 

  1. Pack fragile items well! 

Because storage units are compact things can get a bit cramped and (and, even smushed), make sure that all of your fragile items are safely packed. Use bubble wrap or packing peanuts to ensure that all your fragile items are secure. You can also use old towels and dish rags if you have those on hand. 

  1. Get creative! 

You can often maximize space by arranging furniture sideways. For example, if your couch is wider than long, it may be helpful to arrange it vertically. Think about clever ways to place your items together so that they can all fit comfortably. 

  1. Make an aisle/hallway within the unit. 

Whenever you stack your items in storage, make sure to leave some extra space so that you can have a narrow corridor inside the unit to easily access your belongings. 

  1. Disassemble furniture! 

This can seem like a pain, but if you need extra space, be sure to disassemble bulkier pieces of furniture. 

  1. Seal everything tightly!

Even if you are using plastic containers, tape everything shut to ensure that nothing (vermin, dust) gets into the boxes. 

Ready to rent a storage unit?

If you are in need of a storage unit, do not hesitate to reach out to USA Preferred Movers to get a free quote. We offer all kinds of storage options to help you get the extra space you need!