Prepare for Storage

  • Make up an inventory of your items to be stored and revise it to keep it accurate. Keep the inventory it in a safe place at home or in a safe deposit box.
  • Plan your storage space with a rough sketch of what will go where.
  • Two different guidelines to consider:

    Convenience First – Place items you will likely need access to toward the front of the unit. Items not likely, or less often, needed can be placed toward the rear.

    Security First – Place smaller, more valuable items to the rear of the unit and large items toward the front.

What not to put in storage

There are prohibited goods that every storage facility will NOT allow. Common sense and state laws determine what may be stored. See your contract. Items frequently prohibited include:

  • Furs, jewelry, irreplaceable items or other expensive items
  • Perishable items of any kind and any living thing
  • Firearms, explosives or flammables of any kind
    such as: gas, diesel, oil, paint, etc.
  • Illegal substances, drugs, drug paraphernalia or stolen items
  • Hazardous items, or hazardous waste materials, of any kind
  • Items that produce offensive odors or otherwise become a nuisance to other tenants

Packing Suggestions

  • Place all smaller items in boxes. Completely fill each box with heavier items on the bottom and lighter items on the top.
  • Try to use boxes of a few uniform sizes. They are much easier to stack that way.
  • Label ALL boxes so that you will know what is in each box without opening it. Put the box number and it’s contents (“Kids Toys”) on all four sides. Seal boxes with masking tape or glued paper tape.

Tips for Preparing and Packing Specific Items


Clean and dry all appliances prior to storage. Do not leave anything inside an appliance to be stored. Store all appliances upright with doors ajar to allow ventilation. Make sure that stoves and cooking equipment are cleaned before they are stored.

Bicycles and Hand Tools

Metal items will rust over time if not protected. To retard rust, wipe all metal surfaces with a rag containing a few drops of machine oil.

Blankets, Draperies and Clothing

Have blankets, draperies and clothing cleaned (Food crumbs or stains should be removed to avoid storing anything that may attract pests). Pack them on hangers in wardrobe boxes or carefully folded and stored flat in dresser drawers, cedar chests, boxes along with bedding and linens. Larger appliances also make excellent “packing cases” for these items.


Pack books flat, not standing on end to protect the spines. Books are very heavy, so pack them in small boxes and don’t put them in boxes with fragile items. Use packing to fill out empty pockets in the boxes. Don’t create “back breaking” box boxes!

Breakable Items

Wrap breakable items inside bubble wrap and store with linens. Label each box as “BREAKABLE”.

Dishes and Glassware

Dishes and glasses should be wrapped in packing paper and, ideally, stored in dish-pack boxes. Glass items should be individually wrapped. cups and bowls should be nested. Plates, saucers, and platters can stand on edge in the box. Place wrapped glasses near the top of boxes. Label each box as “FRAGILE”.

Garden Equipment

Shovels, hoes, rakes and hoses can be stored together in empty trash cans. Stack extra cans inside one another.

Knicknacks, China, Silverware

Wrap in tablecloths, towels or blankets to prevent breakage and store in furniture with drawers.

Lawn Mowers, Power Equipment

Drain gasoline and oil from all small engines. This precaution will protect both your stored property and the property of others from the dangers of fire and explosion.

Leather Items

Treat leather items (couches, clothes, etc.) with a leather conditioner prior to storing them. Keep furniture items off the floor by placing them on pallets.


Protect mattresses from dust and moisture. Place them in plastic covers. If you stand mattresses on end, they can be kept upright by binding them to the box-spring.

Mirrors and Pictures

Store mirrors and pictures inside mirror crates or flattened boxes. This affords them protection from scratches and dust. They should be marked “FRAGILE” and stored on end.


To keep photographs from curling over time store them pressed flat, between cardboard or foam-board, and taped together. Do not store irreplaceable photos, keep them with you.

Pillows and Plush Toys

Use these items to fill-in other boxes or store smaller items in large plastic garbage bags.

Tables and Solid Furniture

Place blankets over furniture to protect from scratches and dust. Tables with removable legs can be “broken down” to save space. So can most assemble-yourself furniture including wall units, bookcases, and desks.

Upholstered Furniture

Sofas and love-seats can be stored on end to save floor space. A protective waterproof cover should be placed under the end on the floor. A dust cover should be over the top. Cushions should be wrapped in plastic and placed on top.

Preparing and Moving In Your Storage

  • Placing your storage items on pallets or boards will guard against condensation damage. Any concrete floor may become cold and damp.
  • Always place heavy items on the bottom. Place lightweight, fragile and breakable items on top and do not place heavy items on them.
  • Pack your storage unit as tightly as possible. This helps to protect stored items from moisture and dust. Tight packing also takes up less space.
  • Leave a small airspace between your stored items and the wall of the storage unit for ventilation.
  • It is a good idea to cover everything with plastic sheeting. Plastic sheeting protects your stored goods from both dust and water damage.