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Local Moving Company
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Trusted Full-Service
Local Moving Company
in Chicago

7 Common Storage Mistakes to Avoid for Your Move

Jul 16, 2022

Did you know that 40 million Americans pack up their lives and move each year? In some instances, it may be necessary to store some items until you’re established in a new home. But before you start boxing up your belongings, make sure you know the right way to do it — and the pitfalls to sidestep.

Keep reading to learn about 7 common storage mistakes to avoid for your move!

1. Storing the Wrong Types of Items

Not all items are meant for long-term storage. For example, hazardous or temperature-sensitive items can become explosion risks. Don’t store propane and other chemicals, and ask a potential storage unit for a list of forbidden items.

Also, avoid perishable items, such as food. Perishable food will rot and lead to mold and other unpleasant smells. Worse yet, it can damage items around it.

Don’t stash plants in a storage unit, either. Your houseplants will wither up and die if left unattended. You’re better off keeping them with you!

2. Packing Items without Care

If you’re storing personal items, it’s worth taking the time to pack items well. This means choosing sturdy boxes and reinforcing the seams with packing tape.

Use bubble wrap and packing paper to cushion all fragile items. You may even want to bag some items, like bedding supplies or clothing, in case of moisture.

For furniture, aim to wrap and cover each table or chair to prevent dust accumulation. When loading items into the unit, allow enough space to avoid scuffing surfaces.

3. Failing to Make Labels for Boxes

When storing personal items, approach the process with a sense of order. Make lists of what you are packing and categorize items so they are packed together. And as you pack each box, use a list to keep track of boxes and their contents.

But don’t stop at list-making. Grab a permanent marker and physically label your box! Completing this step will make your packing process more organized and save you from a lot of confusion later.

You can label boxes with the contents of the boxes. Or to minimize the scribbling, you can number each box to match numbers on a master list, which includes the contents.

4. Choosing the Wrong Storage Unit Size

While you might want to save money with a smaller storage unit, you’re better off selecting the one that comfortably accommodates your belongings. You don’t want to crowd items and risk damaging them in a unit that’s too small!

Measure your boxes and tally up the number. Do the same for furniture pieces that you plan on storing. You could even stage items in your existing home to see how much square footage they chew up.

Then look at floorplans for units and speak with the storage unit manager. You may be able to get a discount depending on how long you’ll be storing items. 

On top of size, you should weigh how important it is to have a climate-controlled unit. This type of storage unit, though often more expensive, provides cleaner air circulation. If you’re storing antiques or electronics for a while, it can be beneficial to make room in your budget for this upgrade.

5. Not Checking Storage Unit Security

When it comes to storage for residential moves, security is critical. After all, if you’ve gone to the trouble of packing up your items, you want to feel confident that they are secure. Start by narrowing your focus on storage unit options in a safe area of town.

Ask a prospective storage unit’s manager whether they have cameras on site — and how many. It’s also fair to ask how often the cameras are checked, and whether someone is patrolling the property. The storage unit should be accessible through gates and have swipe-card or key access only for individuals renting units. 

6. Stacking Items Inconveniently

You may need to access items in your storage unit even before you’re ready to move everything out. And ultimately, you’ll reach a day when you’re ready to move everything to your new home. In either scenario, it’s helpful if you place boxes in such a way that you can find what you need.

Create a map of items in your storage unit to expedite the process. If space allows, create walking lanes. Make sure labels face out toward those lanes, too, so you can determine contents quickly. 

Additionally, be careful with how you arrange boxes. Don’t stack a heavy box of books on top of a box that contains pillows, for instance. And don’t place bulky boxes on top of smaller boxes since that could cause everything to topple over.

7. Not Having the Right Insurance

You may be able to get coverage for your belongings through a homeowner’s insurance policy. It’s wise the check this, however, before relying on it. That’s because this policy might only cover the weight of the objects as opposed to the value.

Since storage units are a risk for break-ins, invest in a policy that covers the value of your items. When you’re storing high-quality items, it’s worth talking with your insurance company about a policy upgrade. In addition, create an inventory list of all items in the unit in case you do need to make a claim. 

Avoid Common Storage Mistakes

When you’re aware of common storage mistakes, you can steer clear of them and avoid a lot of stress. Investigate storage units that have adequate space and security measures. And take care with packing items so you can access them easily when moving day arrives.

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