We get it. Sometimes you need to get a storage unit. However, whether it is for items that don't fit in your apartment or items that you frankly don't want to fit in your apartment, there is no excuse for the unit to be unorganized. With a little planning and forethought, you can maximize your storage space so you aren't wasting money and it doesn't become a black hole.
Staging Items: When you are ready to start packing items for the unit, gather everything in one space and start grouping like items together. For instance, put all seasonal decor items or off-season clothing in its own pile so you can see how much you will need to pack for each grouping.
Making an Inventory: Once you have everything laid out, start making an inventory list of all items being packed away in the unit so you can reference it before making a trip to retrieve something. Or if you are more of a visual person, take photos of each item or group of items being put away and save them in one document for easy reference.
Selecting Storage Bins: After the inventory is complete, start packing each group of items - i.e. seasonal decor or off-season clothing - into storage bins or whatever container makes the most sense. If you are going with plastic, make it easy on yourself by using clear plastic bins so you can see the contents on each box even when they are put away. Another pro tip for really maximizing space is to only use two size boxes in the space or one, if you can make it work, as this makes stacking them easier.
A few notes for storage, if you are using the unit for clothing (seasonal or otherwise), make sure that all of your clothing is clean before you pack it. The same goes for linens or anything fabric. And, breakables such as vases, mirrors or frames should be wrapped in bubble wrap so that they don't get scratched or broken.
Labeling the Bins: The next step is to label each box clearly - Box #1 of ___ : Seasonal Decor - and add that label ID to the inventory sheet. This will make retrieving the boxes easier when the time comes. You will also know how many boxes you need to look for in case there are multiple. As for the labels themselves, you will need two of them for each box or container. One will go on the short side and the other on the long side. Also, be sure to make boxes "Fragile" if they contain breakables so that anyone handling them will be aware.
Planning the Space: At this point in the process, you will know how much stuff you have to store and it is a good time to start selecting an actual storage unit size based on that information. Break out those calculators and figure out your cubic feet. A little space planning now to find the best sized unit will save you money as you aren't wasting it on a unit that is too big for your things.
Do you have any other organizing tips for storage units to share?