Labeling boxes should help you to find your items quicker and easier. (wavebreakmedia/

By Mike Jones, VP of Operations,

Some of us have different intentions in mind when renting a storage unit. Some people rent a unit with the idea that they are going to access it frequently; even everyday in some cases. Others know that when they put their items into storage they aren’t going to touch their things until they are ready to clear out their storage unit and leave again. Whether you fall into one category or other, or maybe somewhere in between, should have an impact on how you load your unit.

Standard Loading Practices: habits for storage for any amount of potential access

Labeling boxes should help you to find your items quicker and easier. (wavebreakmedia/

-Allow for air circulation: You’ll want to keep the items you store at least a few inches from the wall and lifted off of the ground by using wooden pallets if possible. Proper air circulation should help prevent things like mold and mildew from developing.

-Place small, valuable items away from the door: Even in the safest of facilities in the best of neighborhoods, items can somehow seem to walk off. Keep items that could be quickly and easily taken away from the door. Jewelry boxes, safes, small electronics, and other similar items should be kept in the middle of your unit out of plain sight.

-Be efficient: Place smaller, lighter objects on top of or inside of larger, more sturdy ones. The more space you conserve, the more things you can pack into your unit.

Frequent Access Practices

-Organize it from the beginning:  When you load your unit for the first time, have a plan. If you know you’re going to need certain things frequently, make it easy to get to those items. Odds are, your organizational habits will be at their highest when you initially load your unit, so put thought into where in your unit you want to put frequently used items.

-Label your boxes: Labeling should help you put your hands on items  you need faster since you won’t have to look through random boxes.

-Allow walking room: Leaving aisles along the sides and up the middle of your unit will help make things easier to access and help with air circulation.

-Don’t trap big objects: If everything in your unit is fair game to be used, make sure you can easily get everything in and out. You don’t want to accidentally trap a larger item in the back that will be difficult to move later.

Infrequent Access Practices

-First in=Last Out: If you don’t need your things, remember that the first thing you put into your unit will most likely be the last thing you pull out since infrequently accessed units tend to be packed tighter. Don’t let that ONE thing you need be all the way in the back.

-Pack Tighter: Pack your things tighter without compromising air circulation. You don’t need to worry about easy access and can do more intense stacking if you don’t need to get to your things.

-Pack Safely: Safety is always a priority. Safety in stacking is important when you aren’t going to be near your unit because you don’t want things to fall over, spill open, or any other damaging events to occur if you aren’t going to be around to fix it anytime soon. Be sure to have all stacks safely created using only sturdy, high quality boxes. Keep anything that could spill or leak on the bottom and away from valuables.

Loading and unloading your storage unit is a task that requires a lot of thought and effort. Just tossing your items in haphazardly isn’t recommended. Take the time to think about how you will use your storage unit and what loading options will work best for you. Avoid frustration and possible damage by putting in a little thought on the front end of the project.