Compare & Save on Self Storage Units

Save money on your self storage costs

Compare My Move Fact-Checking Standards

The Compare My Move team follows strict guidelines to ensure that every piece of content is accurate, trust-worthy and adheres to the highest standard of quality. Each article is expertly reviewed by members of our author panel before being published to promote accurate and quality content.

All Compare My Move articles adhere to the following standards:

  • Expertly reviewed - Our articles are reviewed by an industry expert with in-depth knowledge and experience of the article topic.
  • Data supported - All statistics, research and data must link or reference to the original source.
  • Accuracy - All research and data are taken from high-quality, trustworthy and authoritative sources.
  • Quality checked - Our content writers ensure every Compare My Move article is written to the highest of standard.

How to Pack for Self Storage

Adele MacGregor

Written by Reviewed by Dave Sayce

5th Jan 2022 (Last updated on 23rd May 2022) 6 minute read

When hiring a self-storage unit, knowing how to pack your items effectively for storage is essential to keeping them safe and protected. Adequately packing a storage unit requires planning and foresight, in addition to the necessary packing materials to ensure your items are protected during their stay within the unit.

Compare My Move work with removal, storage and property professionals to bring you everything you need to know about packing up a house for storage. From the packing materials you need to the best-practice storage methods, we take a look at how you can fully prepare your belongings for self-storage where they will be safe, secure and free from damage.

This article will cover the following:
  1. Preparing for Self Storage
  2. Packing Supplies
  3. Packing and Protecting Furniture
  4. Fragile and Specialist Items
  5. What You Can’t Store
  6. Using a Removal Company

Preparing for Self Storage

Self-Storage has become a serious business across the country, with the UK making up 41% of the European self-storage market, according to the Self Storage Association. Although packing and filling a storage unit isn’t necessarily a difficult task, it does require planning.

Below are a few tips to get you prepared for getting the best out of a self-storage unit, whilst ensuring your belongings are safe and protected.

Unit Size

The first step in preparing your packing for self-storage is knowing how much room you will have. For example, if you require a storage unit when moving to a 1-bedroom flat, you will likely need much less space compared to someone looking to move to a larger property or those looking for business storage. It is essential that you know how much you will be able to store and how compact your items will need to be, to ensure you not only make the most of the room you have but to ensure everything can safely fit in. To find out more, read our guide on storage sizes.

Decluttering

We recommend decluttering prior to moving house and this can also be applied when preparing for self-storage. Organising and donating or selling belongings rather than putting them into storage not only helps when it comes to emptying and unpacking the unit, but it can also save you money. By storing only what you really want (or need) to own, you ensure you are not paying for space used up by items that will be disposed of once you retrieve your belongings.

Timeframe

How long you have the unit can also impact how you pack. If you are opting for short-term storage for a few days or weeks, you will want to pack well and make sure your items are safe. However, if you are packing for long-term storage, you will want to consider changes in temperature and also how your items will fare whilst in storage.

This includes making sure items are in air-tight containers to protect them from the elements and storing items in a way that will not damage them if kept that way long-term.

Create an Inventory

Creating an inventory will allow you to keep track of the items you have stored, minimising the risk of losing items when transporting them to and from the unit. It will also help you to remain organised when you fill the unit and when you return to retrieve your items.

Categorising and Labeling

An inventory will work best with corresponding labels on boxes and items packed in the unit. Labelling items is another way to minimise losing items and also helps you get to what you need quickly. Staying organised when both packing for moving house and using a self-storage unit is essential for a stress-free moving experience, and keeping items labelled and in check is a sure way to do this.

Compare Self Storage Unit Costs

Save money on your storage costs

Packing Supplies

Good quality packing supplies are a great way to ensure your items are protected whilst in storage. Many items can be stored in cardboard boxes, however, you will want to invest in airtight containers for any vintage or antique items. Your storage provider may offer packing materials, but they will be an additional storage cost. These will also be useful for belongings such as books and clothes, that can be damaged by cold and damp.

Regardless of how well built and maintained the storage units are, changes in temperatures in these containers can potentially cause damage to any items not properly packed. Below are some of the essential items you may need when packing your belongings for self-storage:

  • Plastic containers
  • Cardboard boxes (various sizes)
  • Bubblewrap
  • Packing paper
  • Tissue paper
  • Packing tape
  • “Fragile” tape
  • Dust covers and blankets
  • Clothing bags and suit covers
  • Labels and marker pens

Packing and Protecting Furniture

When storing large furniture items in a self-storage unit, there are a few tips to keep in mind to ensure your belongings are protected.

When filling your storage unit, put down a protective layer on the ground before placing your furniture in, to ensure it is protected. This could be pallets, tarp or cardboard, ensuring the item is raised and protected from the cold and potentially dirty floor.

It is also highly recommended to cover your furniture in dust sheets, or alternatively, with old bedsheets and covers. Avoid using plastic coverings as these can trap moisture and potentially cause damp and mould issues.

Compare Self Storage Unit Costs

Save money on your storage costs

Fragile and Specialist Items

Certain specialist items will need either professional help or particular supplies. Art, antiques and musical instruments are just some of the items that fall under this category.

When moving a piano, for example, a grand piano will require a professional to remove, transport and store the item. An upright piano may also benefit from a professional removal team, but it can be packed, moved and stored yourself providing care is taken. This also applies to other musical instruments such as harps and fragile and valuable items such as harps, large pieces of valuable artwork and antique furniture.

Ensuring you have either professional help or specialist packing materials for each item is essential to protecting your items both in transit and storage. These are items that will especially benefit from a specialised unit, such as climate-controlled storage, ensuring they are kept at an optimum temperature to avoid damage.

What You Can’t Store

When packing for self-storage, it’s important to take note of what you can and cannot store in the unit. There will be some items that self-storage companies will not allow you to store, just as there are non-allowable removal items.

This may vary from company to company but on the whole, there are a few items that will not be accepted across the board. These include (but are not limited to):

  • Food and perishable goods
  • Flammable or combustible material
  • Hazardous and toxic materials
  • Radioactive materials
  • Stolen items
  • Illegal goods
  • Firearms or ammunition
  • Animals

Storage companies also have strict policies regarding people residing in storage units.

Compare Self Storage Unit Costs

Save money on your storage costs

Using a Removal Company

According to the Self Storage Association UK Annual Industry Report for 2021, more than a third of domestic customers in the UK used self-storage for “reasons associated” with moving house. But you don’t just need to be moving house to use self-storage - or to use a moving company.

If you are transporting a large number of items, or even a small amount of large items, to a self-storage container, you may want to consider hiring a professional removal company. At Compare My Move, we only work with the best in the business and every company that joins us as a partner must have both Goods in Transit and Public Liability Insurances. This ensures your belongings are protected and covered whilst in transit.

Adele MacGregor

Having written for PerformanceIN, WalesOnline, Grazia Magazine and The Olive Press, Adele now writes advice articles for home movers, first-time buyers and house sellers alike.

Dave Sayce

Reviewed by Dave Sayce

Owner & Managing Director, Compare My Move

Dave Sayce is the owner and managing director of Compare My Move and has over 10 years of experience in the house removals industry.