When you rent a self-storage unit, you will want to make the most of the space. The best way to do that is by carefully packing everything you store. This saves money in two ways. First, you can select the smallest, least expensive unit possible at a lower monthly rate than a larger unit. Second, carefully packed items are less likely to break. There’s no sense storing your t.v. or dishes if, when you unpack them, they are broken! Let’s discuss some of the ways you can save money in the packing process.
Probably the first thing that comes to mind when we hear the term “moving” is moving boxes. If you plan well, you can get all of your boxes free. Websites like Freecycle, Craigslist and NextDoor have “free” sections and moving boxes are among the most frequently listed freebies. Another place to find free boxes is the “big box” stores. You will have the best luck if you call ahead and find out the day of the week a specific store recycles cardboard boxes. You’ll save the store’s staff some time if you pick up the boxes that they would otherwise have to cut, fold and carry to the recycling area. If you can, pick up a variety of sizes of boxes, as items like books can get heavy quickly.
You may be tempted to skip the tape and simply fold box flaps together. Don’t do it, though. Tape up the bottom and tape the top of each box, too. This not only keeps your items in place but also strengthens the boxes for stacking.
If you are in a bind for time, you can buy a few boxes. But don’t go to a truck rental company! Instead, check out Home Depot, which sells heavy-duty boxes for a good price. For “soft” items like clothing, you can fill duffle bags or other luggage that you are planning to store.
When wrapping fragile items, bubble wrap comes in handy—again, hardware stores or major retailers like Walmart usually have the best prices. But you don’t need as much bubble wrap as you might think you need. Use it for the first layer of wrapping and secure it with tape. For the second layer, use something you already have on hand: old t-shirts, dishtowels, paper towels, even pillowcases provide great protection. Put fragile items together in sturdy boxes, and label them. These boxes should always be at the top of everything else in the storage unit.
Finally, there are items that don’t require wrapping or boxes. A weight bench is a great example: tuck odd-sized items (i.e., free weights) under it and stack things on top of it. If you are storing a lot of clothes, try hanging the clothes on a retractable rod across one side of the storage unit. Are you putting your bicycle in storage? Put that in last, because it can easily be wheeled out of the way when you need to access what’s inside the unit. And who knows, once everything is stored, you might want to take a bike ride to celebrate a job well done.
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