Whether downsizing, moving interstate, or just needing to bide time until your new home is ready, sometimes some – or all – of your belongings need to go into storage. So, whether you’re planning on sending some boxes to a storage unit, or simply have some generous friends willing to share their space for a few weeks, here’s our guide on how to pack for moving if you’re putting things into storage.
We’ll cover a few tips and tricks to make sure you’re well prepared for the whole process, and then look at some more specific advice for some of the most common household objects you’ll need to pack up and store.
Before you even get started with packing, it’s a good idea to clear out as much as you can. Not only will you have less to move, but if you’re using a storage unit to store your belongings, you could save money by using a smaller one.
Divide objects into categories such as keep, donate/sell, and throw away. You can then divide that keep pile further, into things you’re going to need right away after the move, and things you can put into storage.
It’s important that you understand where and how your belongings will be stored – after all, a storage unit is very different to an attic or a shed. Consider some of the following:
- How much space will you have?
- How long will your items be stored there?
- What will the temperature and humidity be like? How will this affect your belongings?
- Is the area prone to flooding or bushfires?
- What packing materials will you need? Do you have items that need to be packed and stored a specific way?
- How easy will it be to access your belongings if you need them quickly?
Asking these sorts of questions will ensure that you’re well prepared for the task ahead, so take some time to go over the items you’re putting into storage and the storage options available to you.
If you need something long term, or with 24-hour access, or with temperature control, renting a storage unit might be best for you. But if you’re just looking to put away some old toys, or store things for a few days during a move, a friend’s spare room will likely be fine.
If you’re planning on storing things long term, we’ve got some great expert tips on how to pack for long-term storage right here.
Divide by room
It’s time to start packing! We recommend keeping everything divided by room as much as possible throughout the process – including the boxes that will be going into storage. This will make finding specific objects a lot easier, as you’ll know exactly where to look for the items you need.
Clearly mark what each box contains, and which room it’s from. When they go into storage, try and organise by room too. Future you will thank past you for the effort!
Clean, clean, clean!
Before sending your items into storage, give them a good clean! Wash and dry any clothes, vacuum your sofa, and wipe down your woodwork. This will help prevent mould, mildew, and any lingering smells.
Here’s a few tips and tricks to help you pack and store clothes:
- Avoid vacuum packs for long term storage – vacuum packing wrinkles your clothes and removes the air fabric needs to breathe.
- Hang items when necessary – basics like jeans and casual tees are fine to be folded or rolled, but take extra care of dresses, certain fabrics, and sentimental items by hanging them instead. You can invest in moving boxes specifically designed to hang clothes in, or place them in protective garment bags and hang them on a rail.
- Roll your clothes – to save space, consider rolling your clothes, rather than folding them. This won’t work for all clothes, but for things like t-shirts and baby clothes, it’s a great way to save space and minimise creasing.
- Skip the moth balls – use natural options like cedar chips or bags of lavender instead.
- Use plastic containers – plastic bins will do a much better job of keeping your clothes protected than cardboard boxes, particularly if you’re storing them long term. Cardboard boxes disintegrate over time, and won’t protect your clothes against water damage or humidity changes.
Everyone has fragile items they need to keep extra safe, from glassware and plates, to sentimental ornaments. Let’s look at some ways you can safely pack these for moving and storage.
Start by gathering all the packing materials you’ll need – think tissue paper, bubble wrap, boxes with dividers for your glasses, and labels or tape marked “fragile”.
Wrap items individually, and don’t overfill your boxes. It can be tempting to just go for a large box and fill it to save time and money, but smaller boxes mean you won’t have any many fragile items rubbing up against each other, and it’s less likely that the box will collapse under its own weight when being moved.
Photographs and documents
For document storage, invest in acid-free file boxes. Ensure items lie flat, and, if necessary, place protective sheets between them – this is an especially good idea for photographs.
If your documents are framed, be sure to wrap them in some kind of protective material, such as bubble wrap.
Most houses have their own little library, so here’s a few tips on how to pack books for moving:
- Wrap up anything sentimental, valuable, or damaged to keep it extra safe.
- Placing protective layers between books may help prevent the covers from sticking together, especially if they’re going to be stored for a prolonged period of time.
- Avoid storing books with the pages facing down, especially if they’re paperbacks or if you’re planning on putting a few layers of books into a box. The weight can cause the papers to splay out, and even damage the spine. Stack them with the covers facing up, or spine down with the pages facing up.
- Climate control is an important part of keeping books well maintained, so you may consider hiring a storage unit if you’ll be storing your books long-term.
Start by taking any items apart that you can, making sure to label the pieces if you think you’ll need help putting them back together again. A good tip is to tape any screws you remove directly to the furniture pieces, so you don’t lose them during the move.
When storing furniture, be sure to protect it as much as possible. Cover concrete floors with a sheet, and use drop cloths, sheets, or blankets to cover your furniture while it’s being stored. You may also be able to find covers for specific furniture – such as sofas and chairs – online. Steer clear of plastic covers and tarps, as they prevent ventilation, which can result in mould.
Don’t forget to check in!
And, finally, if storing long term, be sure to check in on your belongings from time to time. Give everything a quick dust, rotate stored mattresses, air out your clothes, and keep an eye out for any other issues.