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6 Self Storage Mistakes to Avoid

When it’s time to put all of your belongings in storage and run off on your next adventure, it can be tempting to toss it all in, close the door, and not look back. But take the time and the added effort to avoid these mistakes when you rent a storage unit, and ensure that your adventures don’t end in damaged belongings or a stressful experience. Take our advice — and you can thank us later.


  1. Not insuring your items
    Storage facilities generally have you sign paperwork that specifies that they are not responsible for lost, damaged, or stolen items along the way. So if a worst case scenario arises and something happens to your belongings… you are solely responsible for replacing them.  Homeowners’ or renters’ insurance offers some coverage for items kept in storage since it applies to your belongings no matter where they are, but there are limits to the extent of what will be paid for. Those items might only be covered up to 10% of the coverage in your policy, which could leave you with a significant gap. Talk to your insurance company about adding a larger umbrella policy, or if you’re hiring a full-service moving company, inquire about what sort of insurance options they can provide for storage insurance.
  1. Using newspaper to wrap your belongings
    You have the best of intentions to cushion your belongings, but the ink on newspaper can smudge and bleed all over your stuff — especially if you don’t use a climate-controlled storage facility. Then you find yourself unpacking dirty items, perhaps some of them irreparably damaged or tarnished. It’s better to use bubble wrap or ink-free paper — even buying an inexpensive roll of butcher’s paper will save you from the ink smudges.
  1. Storing food
    Storing anything edible, even if just dry goods, can attract pests. Be realistic about what you’re putting in storage: will you really want that bag of rice after it sat there for six months or more? Probably not. Find someone else who will appreciate it, and save yourself from the potential invasion of bugs or, even worse, mice.
  1. Not leaving enough time
    The best way to ensure that coming back to your storage unit will be a nightmare is to leave it a disaster. And if you leave everything until the very last minute, you’re more likely to find yourself tossing boxes in a rush — potentially damaging or crushing your belongings, or even hurting yourself. Do yourself a favor and plan your moving day well in advance. Leave yourself plenty of time to get your storage unit well organized, and hire professional movers to help with the heavy lifting. They’re trained in how to do it safely and properly.
  1. Not labeling your boxes
    Navigating a self-storage unit filled with unlabeled boxes is like trying to find a needle in a very heavy haystack. Even if you intend to return and fully unpack your storage unit, you and your moving company will appreciate if you know where each box should go as you unpack. Or conversely, if you find you only need a few items removed from storage, it’s best to avoid rifling through every box to find what you need. Be sure to label each box clearly, and if you want to get really organized, keep a detailed inventory of each box elsewhere that corresponds with your more generalized labeling system. Have a look at this blog post for more tips on organizing your storage unit effectively.
  1. Focusing only on the price
    It can be tempting to go for the cheapest storage unit you can find, but is that really the best option for what you need? If you’re storing fragile items like art or antiques, a climate-controlled unit is a must — even if it costs more. A more secure facility is also worth paying a little bit more for your own peace of mind. If you’re hiring a full-service moving company, they can likely help you determine your best options and find a great price.


Be sure to find the right storage unit for your needs — and good luck on your next adventure!