How to pack items for storage

Whether you’re moving to a new city, transitioning between homes, or just want to declutter your house, you will probably find yourself facing a storage unit. Knowing how to pack items for storage is really important, and so many people get this wrong. 

You want to make sure that everything you pack is safe, well-organised, and makes the most of your storage space. Follow these tips on how to pack items for self storage to help you keep your valuable items properly protected until you need them again.

packing for storage

1. Choose your storage items carefully

When you pack away items for storage, it means you still plan on using those things again in the future. The first step on how to pack items for storage is to carefully choose your items, and make sure that you do intend to keep and use everything you pack away.

The more items you put into storage, the more space you will need. This means you will spend more money. So carefully consider each item, and if it’s not clearly valuable or useful to you in some way, then you might want to sell it instead.

2. Create an inventory list

You need to have a clear list of everything that you packed away in storage. Whether you’re storing items for the short or long term, you will soon forget about every single thing that you packed away. An inventory list gives you an important reference for everything that you place in storage. In the event of an emergency or natural disaster, having an inventory list will be really helpful for an insurance claim.

3. Use proper storage containers

One of the most important steps in how to pack items for storage is using the right storage containers. If you’re using cardboard boxes, then buy new boxes for storage. Don’t risk using old worn-out boxes that will fall apart. The best containers to use are stronger plastic containers with lids. These are more expensive, but they offer far better protection. They also stack on top of each other easier.

Try to get boxes that are all the same size to make stacking and storing easy. Always avoid storing items in plastic bags, because this can trap moisture and cause mould growth. Label all containers properly, and make sure that all labels are clearly visible. 

4. Keep your storage unit accessible

As you pack your storage unit, try to leave an aisle down the middle. This will make it much easier to access anything, and it will help you to perfectly pack away all of your items. You can always fill up the aisle at the last minute if necessary.

If you think you might need to use some items in the near future and take them out of storage, then make sure these are easily accessible. Try to pack items like this last so that you can pull them out without having to unpack your entire unit.

storage units

5. Prepare everything for storage

You want to make sure that when you do return to your storage unit, all of your items are still in perfect condition. To do this, you must clean everything properly. Wipe down all surfaces of your items with an all-purpose cleaner. Vacuum any furniture, and treat leather items with a leather conditioner. 

Make sure that every single surface is completely dry before packing it away. If you have very large items, like furniture pieces, then you might want to disassemble them if possible. This could make it easier to store everything away while saving space.

6. You can’t store everything

When learning how to pack items for storage, make sure that you don’t include any kind of hazardous items. This includes food items, flammable items, explosive items, or even scented goods. Anything that is wet or perishable can create a big problem if left in storage for too long.

7. Start at the bottom and pack up

When packing your storage unit, you need to maximize your space by stacking everything up as tall as you can. Start by packing your largest, heaviest items, then stack lighter things on top of them. This is where having flat plastic boxes comes in very useful. 

8. Store clothes carefully

The most commonly found item in storage containers is clothing. When figuring out how to pack items for storage, the best way to pack clothing is to hang it in hanging boxes. This keeps the clothing free of mold, dust, and wrinkles. Another good tactic is to use vacuum-sealed bags. This will offer great protection to your clothing while reducing the size of your clothing bundles.

packing clothes

9. Pack mattresses carefully

Many people pack their mattresses incorrectly and end up ruining them. First, make sure that your mattress is 100% clean and dry. Leaving it out in the sun for a few hours before storing it is a good idea. Then wrap up your mattress properly with a special mattress protection cover or plastic sheeting. Finally, don’t store your mattress on its sides or ends, this could ruin its structure if stored for too long.


Knowing how to pack items for storage will help you to make the most of your storage space and keep everything you own properly protected. Follow the simple tips listed above, and you can store everything away with complete peace of mind, knowing that you can return to a safe, clean storage unit.