Perhaps you’re downsizing your home. Or you have space between moving out of one, and into the other. Or, maybe you’ve decided to take a sabbatical and are storing your things to give yourself a bit of freedom. Whether it’s long- or short-term, there are a variety of reasons you may find yourself packing for storage.

Taking an organized approach to packing and storing your things will help you in the long run. We’ve put together some tips on how to pack your items to keep them protected, and how to keep track of them to help with the move.

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Take Inventory

No matter how long you plan to move your things into storage, it can be easy to forget just what you have packed away. Taking an inventory list can help you keep track, and make the process of unpacking less stressful. Keeping a digital list – on your phone, computer, or email – helps ensure it doesn’t go missing. Having a list can not only make more sense of what you have, but it will also help you if your belongings become damaged or lost due to a natural disaster.

Do Some Prep Work

Before start just throwing things into boxes, start with preparing your items for storage. This includes making sure everything is clean and dry, and disassembling larger items where possible. Wipe, disinfect, and vacuum items including appliances and furniture. Make sure any items that have been washed or exposed to moisture are completely dried before they’re stored. Storing items with even a small amount of moisture can lead to mildew build-up. If you have leather or upholstered items, consider conditioning or treating them for further protection.

Pack Linens Properly

Linens such as clothes and bedsheets are vulnerable in storage. Without proper storage, these items can end up smelling like mildew, damaged by mold, or becoming host to moths or other insects that may start to feast on them.

Consider picking up some garment or wardrobe boxes – those cardboard boxes with a rod you can use for hangers. These handy boxes keep your clothes dust- and wrinkle-free, and offer good air ventilation to protect from mold and mildew.

Another option is to invest in vacuum-sealing bags. These large plastic zip-locking bags offer an opportunity not only to keep your clothes safe from outside invaders but to shave you some space. Pack your clothes in, close the zip-lock, then use a vacuum to suck out all of the air.

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Some Tips

Once you’re ready to start packing up and packing your items into your storage unit, here are a few tips we recommend to help to make the process easier (both now, and on the other side).

To help you save some space, try using furniture as storage space. If you have items that aren’t fragile and could easily be fit into drawers, it’s a great space-saver. Wrap them in newspaper and file them away. It’s helpful to put small labels on the drawers to remind you what’s inside.

To keep your items organized after they’ve been packed into boxes, try compartmentalizing your storage unit. By keeping each room grouped together, you’ll more easily find something you need, should you need it. Draw a small map to help you remember your strategy.

Make sure you label your boxes, and not just on the side. Labeling the top will also help you identify, even if the boxes get turned around.

If you take things apart (such as furniture, or unplugging electronics configurations) take photos beforehand so you remember what goes where. This will help you remember what you had plugged in where when it’s time to reassemble.

If you want some extra protection from insects, try packing cinnamon or lemongrass in with your linens, as these are great natural repellants.

Whether you’re storing your things while you’re in transition, or you need a place to keep some things due to downsizing your space, these tips should help you keep everything safe, and in order. When you’re ready to move into (or out of) a storage unit, Flatrate can help you with reliable, affordable movers for the job. If you’re in NYC or New Jersey, leave your moving and storage needs to Flatrate, with full-service storage units to suit your needs.

Categories: How-To, Move Planning, Storage