Beginner's guide to self storage

If you have not put your belongings in to self storage before, here are tips to help you through the basics: - crates

1. Work out how much space you need

You'll find a detailed space calculator here that gives a very precise estimate of how many cubic feet of space you will need for your possessions. Storage units are rented in square feet - generally the smallest spaces start at 100 - 150 cubic feet. This is a room roughly 10 feet square and seven to 10 feet high.

2. Work out what you are putting in self storage

Make sure you keep personal papers and valuables out of storage. Most storage facilities also have restrictions on keeping inflammable materials, poisons and explosives for obvious reasons.

3. Box clever with packaging

Self storage centre staff will help you with advice about the type of packaging materials you need to keep your possessions safe. Most storage centres have a shop selling boxes, bubble wrap, tape and marker pens.

4. Watch your weight

Pack heavy possessions, like books, in smaller boxes so they are not too heavy too lift. Double tape the bottom of the box to give extra support.

5. Keep fragile possessions safe

When stacking your room, put the heaviest items on the floor and the lighter ones on top. Use plenty of bubble wrap or tissue paper to protect fragile items. Newspaper is not a good packing material because the black ink transfers and can damage some items.

6. Label your boxes

Label your boxes with a list of the contents on the top and two sides, so when the boxes are stacked you can read what's inside from the ends. This will save you time when looking for particular boxes and help you work out which box goes back in which room whenb you rtake them out of storage.

7. How to pack your storage space

Put in the largest items first with the ones you think you might need at some time nearest the door. Leave a walkway so you can get to the items at the back of the room. Pack the smallest items around the largest, with the heaviest on the the floor. If you have furniture with drawers or cupboards, pack your smallest and most fragile items inside.

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