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Start by listing all the items you’re going to store and their approximates sizes. Also, gather up plenty of sturdy, corrugated cartons, packing paper, bubble wrap, sealing tape and marker pens, along with any furniture covers or shelving you intend to use in your storage unit.
Pack as much as you can in the same size boxes. Fill boxes tightly, but take care to neither overpack nor underpack. (Bulging cartons tip when stacked, while half full boxes tend to collapse). Use wadded up newsprint, bubblewrap, rags, towels, or blankets to fill in empty spaces. For maximum protection seal cartons with tape.
Pack heavy items such as books and tools in small boxes. For easier handling limit the weight of all cartons, regardless of size, to 30 lbs. or less.
Clearly label boxes so you know their contents, and keep a list (as well as pictures and descriptions) at your home or office for reference. Mark clearly all boxes containing fragile items.
Clean and dry appliances before storing. Secure all movable parts with paper, or wedge and wrap a paper pad around each item for protection. During transport tape all doors shut, but remember to wedge them open for storage.
Tape or tie bed rails together. Mark the pieces for easier assembly later. Place covers or plastic bags on mattresses to keep them clean during storage.
Store items you’ll need most often at the front of the unit. When you pack your storage unit, create a center aisle for access to all items.
If you’re storing tables and other furniture, remove legs and store tabletops and sofas on end, to save space.
Pack books flat to protect their spines. Line cartons with plastic and fill empty spaces with packing paper.
Use bureau drawers to store small, fragile items. Secure items in drawer by filling empty spaces with towels or packing paper.
Protect chair legs by wrapping them in packing paper. Leave slipcovers on upholstered chairs and cover them with plastic chair covers.
Hang clothes and draperies in wardrobe boxes.
Use lots of paper to pack dishes and glassware. Place a layer of packing paper inside the bottom and top of cartons. Wrap each dish and glass separately and cushion them with crumpled paper. Plates are best stacked on edge. Pad mirrors and paintings with paper. Place them in special mirror packs or large boxes; mark boxes.
Pack lamps and lampshades in individual boxes. Use plenty of clean paper or clothing for padding.
Do not place boxes directly on concrete floors, but use pallets or skids to prevent moisture absorption.