Tips & Tricks

How to Maximize Space in Your Storage Unit

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Storage units are an excellent solution for holding onto items you infrequently use, extra inventory, family mementos you aren’t yet ready to part with, or all your possessions between moves. If you’ve decided to use a storage unit, you may be asking yourself, “What size storage unit do I need?” or “How can I make the most of the space to save money?”

Finding the right storage unit is a challenge, but maximizing space in your storage unit is even more difficult. To help you get the most out of your space, use these storage unit ideas.

Tips for Choosing a Storage Unit

Storage space isn’t cheap, so you’ll want to choose the smallest size unit that will still reasonably fit your stuff. As a rule of thumb, a 5-by-10-foot storage space is about the size of a small bedroom, and a 10-by-30-foot unit holds the contents of a standard-sized home, including a one-car garage.

Of course, size isn’t the only thing that matters. There are different types of storage units, and each has their advantages and disadvantages. When choosing your storage space, consider:

  • How far is the unit from where you live? Is it easy to get there?
  • Is the space monitored at least part of the time? What is security like?
  • Do you need a climate-controlled indoor space or will an outdoor unit work fine?
  • How difficult is it to access the storage unit and move things in and out? A third-floor indoor storage unit may make it difficult to move heavy pieces easily, for example.

Once you choose a storage unit size, get ready to make the most of that space:

1. Utilize Wall Space With Pegboards

Most people stack a few boxes along the wall and fill up the floor space of a unit, all while ignoring the wall space. A better way to organize your storage unit is by placing pegboards on the walls, where you can hang items such as bags, tools, and art. You can still push boxes and furniture up against the walls, but the pegboards offer space above those items.

2. Add Shelves to Your Storage Unit

Add shelves on top of pegboards for even more vertical storage space. Small kitchen appliances, shoes and knick-knacks store well near the top of your unit. Don’t put anything likely to melt on the higher shelves in case the air near the ceiling gets hot in the summer. Also, don’t put anything high that you may need to get to frequently.

3. Use Uniform-Sized Storage Boxes

Purchase boxes or totes all in the same size. It’s much easier to stack same-size storage boxes on top of one another than trying to line up sizes and having some topple over because the stack of boxes isn’t balanced.

You’ll make the most of your space and keep everything looking neat and tidy if you can keep your items packed in boxes as similar in size and shape as possible.

4. Hang Items From the Ceiling

Consider using the height of your space. Use S-hooks and bungee cords for unusually shaped items, bikes and outdoor equipment. You’ll want to be sure you can hang items and still have room to get inside the unit and access items underneath.

Another idea is to use the S hooks and bungee cords to hang things around the perimeter of the unit in place of shelves.

5. Map It Out

If you know what belongings you’ll store, map out on paper where everything will go. Graph paper works well for measuring exact dimensions, with one box equalling 1 square foot of space. Map out the dimensions and then plan where each item goes.

Creating a map beforehand allows you to see any issues you might run into and move things around before you take your stuff to the unit. You may even discover you don’t need as large a storage unit as you thought you did or that you need a much larger one.

6. Channel Your Inner Russian Nesting Doll

Make the most of every inch of space in your storage unit by storing items inside one another. Place clothes inside a suitcase, socks inside shoes, and gloves, hats, etc. inside jacket sleeves. Are you storing household items? Put your coffee filters inside the glass pot of your coffee maker. Look for empty spaces where you can stash items.

7. Divide Interior Into Seasons

If you’re using your storage unit for seasonal items, such as clothing and decorations, divide the layout into four equal areas, one for each season. You might use the back half of your unit for fall and winter, with either season on each side, and the front half for spring and summer.

You can also rotate the quadrants so the next season is in the front of the unit and the season that just passed goes to the back. This will save you tons of time hunting around your storage unit for the seasonal items you need next.

8. Disassemble Furniture

A queen-size bed takes up a lot of space in a storage unit, but if you take the bed apart, you can store the pieces up against one of the walls and free up a lot of additional space. While not all furniture comes apart, beds, dressers, tables and other items sometimes do. Look at the furniture going into the unit and which pieces come apart to save storage space.

Make sure that any screws, nails, or finishings you need to reassemble the furniture go in a ziploc bag. Tape the bag to one of the furniture pieces to allow for easy assembly when it comes time to remove the furniture from storage.

Self Storage Tips

Once you have everything organized the way you’d like, take the time to map out the location of items and keep an inventory of what is in the unit. When you need something, you’ll find it easily.
Your storage unit rental experience can get even easier with some help from Dolly. Hire a Helper to get your storage unit loaded in one easy trip — on your schedule. With some muscle to help you stack boxes, organizing your storage will be a breeze.

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