Preparing for the move
To help things go smoothly, the best method is always to plan ahead. Keep a few of these tips in mind:
- Pack everything in moving boxes, not plastic bags. This will give your items to best protection, and makes them easier to stack.
- Use moving boxes of a similar shape and size, which help the stacking process in the storage unit later. Use clothes boxes for clothes, and remember to tape up the bottom of each box.
- Fill moving boxes completely, to prevent tipping or collapses. Keep heavier items in smaller boxes, to make them easier to carry.
- Wrap your storage items in packing paper, and keep a layer on the top and bottom of moving boxes. Use non-acid tissue for any silverware, and stay away from using newspaper – it usually stains.
- Wrap mattresses in plastic covering, and secure with duct tape.
- Drain fridges, freezers, washing machines and dishwashers completely of water.
- Vacuum and clean all food crumbs from all the furniture your planning to store.
- Remove legs from furniture and lamps from lampshades, and pack them in moving boxes when possible, to keep saving space.
- Keep a plan of everything you’re packing, and each room it’s come from, so you can keep track later.
- Clearly label everything, and include the room the items have come from on the label as well. Mark “fragile” on anything breakable.
- Try to store hi-fi equipment in their original boxes. If not, pack out all gaps with bubble wrap.
- Consult computer manuals if you intend to keep a computer in the unit for longer than 6 months.
- Remove batteries from devices and remotes, and tape electrical cords to the sides of appliances.
- If you’re getting removalists to help, make sure you communicate with them. Don’t leave anything you don’t want packed lying around, or it might get swept up with everything else.
Stacking into the moving truck
There are a couple of ways to pack the moving truck to make the transition into storage much more smooth:
- Put the mattresses in first, and stand them against the walls. This will keep them out of the way, and will give cushioning for your other items.
- Pack the heaviest items at the front of the truck
- Place longer furniture along the longer walls of the truck.
- Pack by sections, loading the whole of one section before securing it and starting on the next
- Pack furniture with doors and drawers facing the walls of the truck, so they don’t swing open during transport.
- Make sure any doors that aren’t facing the walls are taped shut as well.
- Keep heavy moving boxes on the floor, and stack lighter boxes on top.
- Fill the truck as best you can, and try to spread out the weight. Pack smaller things in any little gaps, to prevent movement during transport.
- Roll up carpets and tape them closed.
- Use blankets, sheets and towels as “packing pads” to protect your furniture.
- Rugs should be packed last. They’ll provide extra cushioning, and can then be taken out first to be put on the floor.
- If you find you have more room when everything is packed up, leave space at the back and stack things low and evenly, to minimise movement.
Packing the storage container
Considering you often you’ll want to access your things while they’re in storage should always be kept in mind. This will help you organise the unit more efficiently:
- It’s a good idea to keep a pallet on the floor of the unit, before you start moving everything in.
- Put larger furniture in the unit first, towards the back.
- Keep things you’ll want to access more often in the front.
- Try to stack moving boxes in the unit like you would a Tetris game.
- Stack boxes carefully, considering anything breakable.
- Face labels outwards, so you can easily see what’s in each box.
- Put heavier items on the bottom, to make it easier to get them down again when you need them.
- Use the inside of wardrobes and drawers to give more room in the unit for stacking.
- Try not to store much in fridges or freezers, as the insides of these can be easily damaged.
- Keep a perimeter gap around the storage unit itself to help prevent odours.
- Fill hollow spaces, but also leave a walkway if there’s room, to help enable access in the unit.
- Keep mattresses up off the floor, and stacked on their sides – don’t put heavier items on top, or you might damage the springs.
- Keep the doors of fridges and freezers open to prevent bad odours.
- Store mirrors and paintings upright, not flat.
- If they’re available, get a professional assistant to help you – they’ll have some good advice and good experience.
Moving back home after storage
There are a few ways to help you unpack your items from storage and back into your home with minimal fuss:
- Have a clear plan will help you get the packing done, and not leave boxes in rooms indefinitely.
- Try to set a deadline, so you don’t leave unpacked boxes in the house for another 6 months and never get round to it
- If you have labelled your items sensibly, your moving boxes can be easily put back in their correct rooms, ready to be unpacked.
- Refer back to your initial plan – this will help you remember what was kept with what, and what you had in mind when you packed everything up.
- Make unpacking efficiently and quickly a priority – being relaxed about when everything is unpacked will mean you’ll leave them lying around for longer than necessary
- Unpacking the kitchen items first is a good idea – you’ll need plates and cutlery to eat your food before too long.
- Unpacking room by room is the best way to get things done in an organised way – the bedrooms should have priority next.
- Unpack pillows and bed linen, and assemble the beds, so that you’ll have somewhere to sleep.
- The bathroom items can come after the bedroom – especially any towels or toiletries that you’ve kept in storage.
- The other rooms of the house have less priority, but don’t forget to be disciplined about unpacking them, so the house can return to normal as soon as possible.
- Set out lighting and paintings after all the rooms have been unpacked – so everything is already in its place. Setting up the decorations will put the finishing touches on the unpacking, and help you feel a bit more settled.