1. Using garbage bags
It may seem cheap and convenient to just stuff things into garbage bags, but your haste now will only cause problems later. Plastic bags are difficult to stack in a moving van or storage space, so organization will be more difficult. They also tear easily allowing dust and pests easy access to your belongings.
For short-term storage use boxes. For longer term storage (more than a few months) use plastic bins with sealable lids for the best protection.
2. Packing haphazardly
You are almost always in a hurry when packing things for storage, but take the time to keep things organized. Pack boxes with things that all belong in the same room, or even the same area of a room. Also, don’t just throw things into the box at random, make sure things fit securely so that they won’t shift in transit causing damage.
3. Not sealing boxes
Even if you are only making a short move, sealing boxes will better protect your belongings by preventing things from falling or bouncing out which will make loading and unloading easier since you won’t be worried about everything spilling. You can also stack the boxes more easily during transit and at the new place until you can get everything unpacked.
4. Not labelling boxes
Packing everything neatly in sealed boxes won’t do you much good if you fail to label what each box holds. Use large labels to make it easy to identify the contents of each box. This will be especially helpful if you need to dig out only a box or two from your storage unit later on.
5. Wrapping items in newspaper
We have talked about this mistake on several occasions. Newspaper can work fine during quick moves, but for storage it is almost always a bad idea. In summer the heat can cause the ink to transfer from the newspaper to your belongings. Additionally, the longer your items are exposed to the newspaper the more likely it is that some ink transfer will happen regardless of the temperature. Instead, use tissue paper or print-free packing paper.
6. Storing food
Sometimes people think that if a food item is still sealed, for instance an unopened bag of dried foods, then it is safe to place in a storage unit. However, even unopened food items can attract pests that can gnaw through the packaging. Even canned items can be perilous since the changing temperatures cause the cans to warp. This ruins the food inside, can damage other belongings, and attracts pests.
7. Not cleaning items
Another big storage mistake is failing to clean items before they go into storage. Kitchen utensils and appliances should be thoroughly washed to remove any food particles. Also, furniture should be vacuumed and, if possible, steam cleaned for the same reason. You don’t want to come back to your storage unit only to find that pests have made a home in your favorite love seat.
8. Picking a facility based on a 1 month special
Many facilities offer first month specials that can be misleading. You may pay $1 in rent for the first month, but you will still have to pay administrative and processing fees when you sign your lease. Moreover, you may plan to only use a storage facility for a month, but more often than not you will end up using the unit for at least 3 months.
Before you sign the lease, make sure you are aware of all the one-time fees, and you are comfortable with what your monthly rate will be after the special rate ends.
9. Selecting the wrong unit size
This is probably the most common storage mistake. People often miscalculate the space they will need. Avoid this mistake by measuring everything that will be going into storage. If you need long-term storage, be sure to include some room for paths so you will be able to get to everything. Once you have measured, actually go and view the unit sizes before signing the lease so that you will have a better idea of what the space will be like.
10. Getting the wrong unit type
Depending on the time of year, how long you will be storing, and what you will be storing, you may need a dust or climate controlled unit. Take a long look at what you will be storing (such as electronics, fine furniture, musical instruments, or art) in order to determine if they need extra protection.
11. Not organizing your unit
It is tempting to just pile all the boxes and furniture into your storage unit as quickly as possible. However, take the time to organize the boxes and create paths so that you can easily access everything. This will save you time if you need to find anything before your final move out day.
12. Not insuring expensive items
Even the best storage facilities cannot guarantee 100% security or prevent damage from natural disasters. If you are storing valuable art, tools, musical instruments, fine furniture etc. you should seriously consider getting renter’s insurance. It will only cost you few dollars a month, but you will definitely appreciate it in the event that something does happen.