More than 53 million people are expected to travel for Thanksgiving this year. Are they coming to your house?
Do you have enough closet space? Is your dining room stacked with stuff? Does your guest room look more like a storage room? It may be time to declutter!
A self-storage facility is a great option during the holidays or whenever you need to stash your stuff. Just pack it up and move it out.
Here are ten tips for using self storage to clear your clutter this Thanksgiving.
1. Clean Your Things Before Packing
Clean everything you plan to store before you pack it. This ensures your items will be clean when you're ready to retrieve them from the storage facility.
Cleaning slows down the packing process. That gives you time to inspect for damage. That way you're not surprised by a chipped platter or stained tablecloth when you want to use them next Thanksgiving.
It also gives you a few minutes to contemplate whether you want to keep the item or donate it to a local charity of choice to support those in need.
Cleaning before storing is especially important for furniture and appliances (like refrigerators). It prevents them from developing unpleasant odors while sitting idle.
Cover large items to protect them from dust. This is especially important if you plan to store things long-term or use a drive-up storage unit.
2. Wrap Fragile Items
It doesn't matter how carefully you stack fragile items in a container; if you don't wrap them in protective material, they're vulnerable. That's because boxed items can shift during transit.
To protect delicate keepsakes, wrap them in a padded material (like bubble wrap). Then fill in gaps between items with crumpled paper or packing peanuts to cushion them from impact.
Some non-plastic alternatives to bubble wrap include paper cushioning wrap, packing paper, newspaper, towels, tee shirts, and even socks. You can protect your favorite Thanksgiving ware by using holiday linens to wrap or cushion them!
3. Don't Overpack Boxes
It may be tempting to try to pack using as few boxes as possible. Don't. Boxes can become too heavy to lift or exceed cardboard box weight limits.
For instance, a standard #200 box has a 1.5 cubic foot capacity and can handle 40 pounds. Exceed that weight limit, and you risk the box bursting under pressure. You don't want your favorite Thanksgiving decorations to come crashing through the bottom of the box!
Using small boxes for heavy items like books and china can help prevent overpacking and make moving things more manageable. Use large boxes for lightweight items like guest pillows, extra bedding, and plastic bowls.
4. Pack Using the Right Containers
After carefully wrapping and packing your belongings, you don't want them damaged because of a crushed box. Sturdy cardboard boxes work well for some things, but they're not always your best choice.
Don't store cloth items like holiday table linens in cardboard. They can build up moisture and develop mold. Cardboard provides poor protection from pests that can damage the cloth.
Regular cardboard boxes offer little protection for fragile items. Specialized cardboard boxes designed for glasses and dinnerware work better for those things.
Plastic totes are stronger than cardboard boxes. They don't collapse when fully loaded and won't crush when other boxes are stacked on them. The lids fit snugly to protect your belongings from dust and moisture. And they hold up to years of use and reuse.
5. Label Everything
Ever had to search inside a bunch of unlabeled boxes to find your holiday decorations? That's a Thanksgiving tradition you don't need to repeat. You can save yourself that frustration by labeling all your containers.
List the type of items in each box. Don't just write "Holidays" if you have five boxes of decorations. List the content or where it's used. For instance: Thanksgiving - table settings, Holiday - guest bedding, Christmas - outside lights, etc.
Don't skimp on the labels. If you plan to stack containers in your storage unit, label the top and sides of each. That way, you'll be able to find the box you want without unstacking everything.
6. Pack for Long-Term Storage
Even if you're just storing a few things to make more room during the holidays, packing for long-term storage will ensure everything is well protected.
And self storage is a great solution for stowing your Thanksgiving treasures during the rest of the year when you're not using them. Packing for long-term storage keeps them safe until you need them next year.
Make a detailed list of everything you plan to keep at the storage facility. Include the condition and value (if known). That way, you'll have an accurate list should something be damaged or stolen.
When possible, disassemble large furniture to prevent damage. Secure cords, hoses, and cables to keep them from tangling.
Use appropriate boxes and packing materials. An old box from the grocery store might seem cheap and convenient, but previous use may have compromised its integrity.
Facilities offering self-storage units should have new packing materials and boxes available for purchase. Grandma's gravy boat deserves no less.
7. Use a Reputable Self Storage Facility
Whether storing things over the holidays or storing holiday things long-term, you need affordable self storage that's clean and secure. When considering a self storage facility, ask how long they've been in business. A reputation for dependability is built over decades, not months.
Tour the storage facility. Make sure it's clean and has a good pest control program. Ask about their security measures. A secure self storage facility is well lit, well-monitored, and controls access to self storage units.
Make sure the storage facility has what you need. Will your things be okay if subjected to changes in temperature and humidity, or do you need climate control?
Finally, ask about access hours and payment options. You want a facility that's dependable, clean, secure, and convenient.
8. Don't Hurt Yourself Moving In or Out
Lifting and carrying heavy items can put a strain on your joints and muscles. You don't want to hurt your back right before Thanksgiving—especially if you're the one who'll be sleeping on the air mattress. But, avoiding injury requires some planning.
There's a right way and a wrong way to lift a heavy object. It's important to avoid bending over. Instead, maintain the natural curve of your spine and lift with your legs.
To ease the process of moving your things, use a dolly. Your self storage facility may have free pushcarts or dollies available.
9. Stacking for Self Storage
There are a few things you can do to maximize the space in your self storage unit. Always fill your boxes completely. Half-filled boxes waste space and can collapse when stacked.
Keep stacks relatively short. Lifting containers over your head can be dangerous. Put the heavier boxes on the bottom to avoid crushing lightweight items.
In larger storage units, give yourself an aisle. That way, you'll have access to your holiday boxes and other belongings when you need them.
Never stack tables, chairs, or shelves on top of boxes. You can stack boxes or lightweight items on top of heavy furniture and under tables if you need more space.
10. Get the Right Size Self Storage Unit
Finding the right size storage unit makes storing your things easier and more affordable. You need self storage that fits your stuff and your budget.
A small storage unit may offer around 200 cubic feet of storage. That's enough room for a few small furniture items, some personal items, and several boxes of holiday decorations. A 10' x 10' unit should accommodate furnishings and appliances from a one-bedroom apartment, with room for several boxes too.
The professional staff at a high-quality self storage facility should be able to help you estimate the space you'll need. That way, you're not spending more time or money than necessary during this busy time of year.
Can I Find Self Storage Near Me?
In addition to these ten tips, there's one other important consideration when planning to use a self storage unit: location. Let's face it, the last thing you need right before Thanksgiving is to waste time driving all over town.
A-1 Self Storage can help! With more than 50 locations, we have the self storage unit you need where you need it. And we have all the packing supplies you need too.
Ready to get started clearing the way for Thanksgiving? Find your local A-1 Self Storage facility and get started today!