One of the most challenging tasks that you have to perform during a move is the preparation and packing of your valuables for moving. While certain moving companies will handle this task for you, most people prefer doing the packing and labeling on their own. However, without the right guidelines, the chances of error are always high. If you are looking to preserve that old yet precious dresser, the kids’ creative artwork, or the irreplaceable antiques in your house during the move then you need to know exactly how to handle these valuables!
In this blog post, we take a look at some of the best tips that you can follow for preparing your valuables for moving and storage. What you need is an efficient method for preparing all of your not currently needed but useful or cherished belongings so that they can be removed and stored away in a safe location (without damaging them or losing them).
Let us now get started with the tips and tricks that you can make use of when preparing your belongings for the moving process.
HOW TO PREPARE ITEMS FOR STORAGE:
When you are preparing your items for storage then you should follow these steps:
- Organize, pack, and label the valuables in a practical and systematic matter such that they can be easily found, accessed, and unpacked whenever you need any of them.
- Make sure that you use packaging materials that offer the best protection against dirt, moisture, dust, and shocks to prevent damage in long term storage.
For achieving the steps that we have mentioned above, you should follow these highly effective and simply packaging tips:
- Ensure that all of the items that you are packing for storage are well cleaned and dry.
- If there are large items that can be disassembled then it is advised that you disassemble large items into smaller part for improved protection.
- Make use of high-quality packaging materials that have sufficient padding and pack each storage box full (to prevent the items from bouncing around when moved), and seal each box securely.
Keep in mind that each individual item has to be packed according to its own specifics (for instance, bubble wrap should be used for fragile items such as glass ornaments) when you are preparing it for storage. The rules that we have mentioned above are general and apply to all types of items.
HOW TO PREPARE FURNITURE FOR STORAGE:
The following steps will help you prepare the furniture in your home for safe and secure storage:
- Empty the furniture (wherever applicable) and ensure that there is nothing stored within them when you are preparing them for storage.
- Vacuum the furniture with a brush for removing excess dirt and clean the surface of the furniture with a dilute solution of soap and water. Allow the furniture to dry completely (preferably in the sunlight).
- Apply a leather condition (wherever applicable such as in the case of sofas) and furniture protection spray to the wood. For protecting the wood finishing, apply a coat of wax for reducing the risk of developing mold. If there are metal elements on the furniture, wipe down on them with oil for preventing them from rusting and tarnishing.
- Disassemble your furniture into smaller elements as much as possible. Protect these small elements with rags and bubble raps. Keep all of the hardware parts (such as hinges and bolts) in a sealable plastic bag and store them along with the furniture items. It is very important to ensure that all of the detached pieces of the furniture are stored together in a single place (to prevent mixing or losing parts of the furniture).
- Cover furniture with specialized furniture covers (that have high-quality fabric) or otherwise with blankets and sheets. Secure these covers with plastic wrap, cinch straps, or rubber bands.
When you are looking to prepare your furniture for storage, it is advised that you do not make use of plastic wrap directly on the wood or leather of the furniture. This is because the plastic covers will trap heat and moisture which can cause the leather or wood to mold or warp. Additionally, if you are looking for long-term storage then the prolonged contact of furniture with plastic can ruin the paint or result in stains.
Furthermore, it is also recommended that you make use of white cotton sheets for covering the furniture since darker colored sheets will lose their color and stain the furniture if the humidity level gets too high.
HOW TO PREPARE APPLIANCES FOR STORAGE:
As with furniture, you need to know how you can prepare your appliances (such as those found in the living room, kitchen, and bedroom) for storage. Here are the steps that you need to follow for securing these appliances:
- Empty the appliances that you want to keep into storage.
- Clean each appliance thoroughly – in the case of refrigerators and deep freezers, ensure that they have been defrosted first. To prevent odors, it is recommended that you add either baking soda or bleach to the cleaning solution. This will remove bacteria and disinfect the appliances for convenient storage.
- Make sure that water (if applicable) is drained completely from the internal mechanisms or attached hoses of the appliances (especially in the case of washing machines and dishwaters). If this is not done then the water can freeze under storage during the winters which will damage the appliance or cause mildew during summers.
- Tie down the appliance and secure the attached hoses and cables (wherever applicable). Disassemble the appliance into smaller components wherever possible. Store the removed components and attachments inside the appliance before packing.
One thing that you need to keep in mind when you are preparing the appliances for storage is to leave the doors of the appliances (such as that of the microwave or refrigerator) slightly open when you are packing them. This ensures proper ventilation of the appliance which helps in preventing condensation of moisture and bad odors.
HOW TO PREPARE ELECTRONIC DEVICES FOR STORAGE:
Generally, electronic devices come under home appliances and all the steps that we mentioned in the previous section should be followed. However, you need to take extra precaution with these devices to prevent them from getting damaged. Before storage, ensure that all electronics equipment is complete free of dust and properly cleaned. In the case of sensitive devices, it is advised that you keep them stored in their original boxes or boxes that have similar quality and size. Make use of packing paper, foam sheets, anti-static packing peanuts, or bubble wrap to fill out empty spaces within the box for ideal protection. Seal the boxes for the appliances tightly and ensure that no dust or moisture can come into contact with the devices.
HOW TO PREPARE CLOTHES FOR STORAGE:
If you are looking to keep away your clothes for a prolonged period of time without compromising on their quality then you need to follow the right procedure for storing them. We strongly advise you not to simply fold the clothes and stuff them into packing boxes, this can cause mold and will likely diminish the quality of your clothes. Instead, you should hang the garments on a rail to keep them properly ventilated and wrinkle-free. For the more delicate (and expensive clothes), it is advised that you choose a suitable protective cover for them, as well. This will keep them clean and fresh even after long periods of storage.
When you are storing the hanged clothes, use a wardrobe box instead of the traditional packing boxes since these will provide the best protection against dampness and dust for your clothes. It is also recommended that you make use of insect repellent products (mothballs or naphthalene) for protecting clothes from being attacked by these bugs.
HOW TO PREPARE MATTRESS FOR STORAGE:
Here are the steps that you need to follow for securely storing your mattress during a move:
- Inspect the mattress and look carefully for signs of infestations – if there are any, remove them by cleaning the mattress thoroughly. Once the mattress has been cleaned, make sure that it is completely dry – you might want to consider placing it under direct sunlight for a couple of hours (just to be sure it is dry).
- Next, you will need a mattress storage bag (contact your mover or retailer if you cannot find one). Place the mattress in this specialized bag and ensure that it fits perfectly (be careful when you choose the size of the bag) – this is important to ensure that the mattress does not bend during storage (which could lead to permanent deformation). A durable mattress bag should be able to protect your mattress from pests, dust, moisture, and dirt.
- Once you have placed the mattress inside the bag, seal it with the help of high-quality packing tape for ensuring the mattress stays put.
For storing duvets, linens, comforters, and other bedding items, you should consider making use of vacuum bags – if possible, store them inside or with the mattress bag to ensure that they can easily be found when you need them.
HOW TO PREPARE BOOKS FOR STORAGE:
All of us have that huge collection of books that we love or want to keep with us – these could be anything from college books to novels but what is important here is that all of them are stored in the same manner. For preparing these books for long-term storage, follow these steps:
- Ensure that the books that you want to store are completely dry – just to be sure, you can spread them in a room or on the terrace so that they receive plenty of sunlight for a few days (as you did with the mattress). During this period, it is also advised that you run a dehumidifier through the room, too. Note that if you find mold on one of your books then take them to a conservator before packing them – the conservator will ensure that the book is cleaned and restored properly.
- If you have books with leather covers then you should wrap them with paper so that the leather covers do not stick to one another.
- Make use of small and sturdy boxes for arranging your books – this is important because books can be quite heavy so larger boxes can not only be difficult to stack and lift but might break under the heavy weight, as well. While it is generally recommended that you pack books in a flat position (to prevent damage to the spine of the book), you can place the smaller books in an upright position.
HOW TO PREPARE FRAGILE ITEMS FOR STORAGE:
When you are dealing with fragile items, it is advised that you follow these tips:
- Wrap each individual item with bubble wrap or packing paper for improved protection.
- Line the bottom of each packing box with an adequate amount of padding
- Make use of bubble wrap, crumpled paper, soft fabrics (such as towels), or other such materials for providing the extra bit of cushion between the items.
- Label the boxes properly with the “Handle With Care” and “Fragile” to ensure that anyone that moves them knows what is in them.
- Always place saucers, bowls, and saucers on their sides.
- Place glasses and cups with their rims down to minimize damage from shocks.
- Once the dishes have been properly wrapped with the appropriate packing material, nest the smaller ones into the larger ones.
- Make use of specialized dish packs for storing the expensive and/or delicate glassware and dishes.
- Store framed pictures, mirrors, and paintings in mirror boxes that have internal padding for preventing breakage.
- Make use of masking tape to create an “X” on the surface of glass items – this adds strength to the core of the glass and prevents shattering. For additional safety, you can also consider placing pieces of cardboard on both sides of the glass, as well.
- Make use of wooden crates for storing figurines, statuettes, or other fragile collectibles. If the wooden creates are too expensive then you can make use of small and rigid cardboard boxes instead.
HOW TO PREPARING A STORAGE UNIT:
When you are done with packing all of your valuables, it is time to pack the storage unit for ensuring the maximum protection of all of your belongings. Here are some tips that you should follow when you are preparing a storage unit:
- Using plastic sheets or canvas tarp, properly cover the floor of the storage unit for keeping moisture away from all of your belongings. If you want to keep certain items above the ground then you should consider making use of wooden shelves or pallets. This allows proper ventilation around the furniture and boxes which prevents mold growth among other problems.
- When moving your items to the storage unit, leave a little airspace between the item and the walls of the storage unit for proper ventilation.
- Always leave a passage in between the stored pile of boxes for ensuring that all of your belongings can be accessed easily.
- Place the largest/tallest boxes or furniture items closest to the walls of the storage unit.
- To save space within the storage unit, store large furniture items vertically rather than horizontally.
- A mattress makes for a good cushioning support – if you are looking to store a mattress, place it flat on the floor of the storage unit rather than on its ends or on its sides. On top of the mattress, you can keep lightweight boxes and items such as those that are fragile – just ensure that all the weight is evenly spread on the mattress.
- When stacking chairs, remember to put some type of padding (cloth or paper) in between them and stack them seat to seat.
- You should store lightweight items on the top of cupboards, drawers, dressers, and other rigid furniture pieces. However, never stack any number of boxes on top of a couch since this may lead to sagging or damage to the upholstery.
- Make use of uniform-sized, high-quality boxes for placing smaller items. This makes it easier to stack them within the storage unit.
- Stack the boxes that are of equal or similar size one over the other in descending order of weight with the heaviest being on the bottom and the lightest being on the top.
- Ensure that all the labels are facing the passage/walkway within the storage unit so that you can easily identify what you are looking for.
- Do not keep a plasma TV or LCD flat or tilted – always keep them upright to prevent any damage to internal elements.
- Recheck and ensure that boxes that are labelled “Fragile” are not stacked under other boxes.
- Store all mirror and artworks upright and a safe ‘falling’ distance from heavy items and boxes.
- Always order the items according to their ‘frequency of need’ within the storage box. The items that you will need soon need to be on the front and on the top of the stack of boxes.
TIPS FOR PREPARING ITEMS FOR STORAGE:
Now that we have covered all the basics that you need to know about preparing your belongings for storage, it is now time for us to take a look at the best practices and tips for storage. We have put together a list of valuable tips that will help you in preparing, packing, and organizing your belongings and household goods for storage in the best manner possible.
- Before you begin packing, get everything ready so that there are no unwanted delays during the preparation process. Get sufficient amounts of all the packing material that you will need for storage specifically moving blankets, packing paper, bubble wrap, all kinds of boxes that you need (cardboard and wooden) in various sizes, covers for mattresses and clothes, tools for dismantling furniture and appliances. This should be the first and foremost task that you perform when you are looking to prepare items for storage.
- One other thing that you need to do before and during the packing process, is to make a detailed inventory of all the items that will be going into storage. This will not only help you stay more organized but will minimize the chances of lost and damaged items. Through the help of this inventory list, you will be able to find whatever item you need more easily or quickly. Furthermore, if you are working with a moving company and have insurance then the inventory list can serve as a key piece of proof for claiming insurance in case of damage or misplacement in the storage facility.
- Make use of small boxes for heavier items since these can hold up the weight and are easier to transfer (since these boxes have minimum weight of their own). For lighter things, you can make use of larger boxes. In the storage unit, be sure to place tall of the stronger and heavier first and in the bottom of a stack with the lighter items being on the top.
- Wrap dishes and other fragile kitchenware with bubble-wrap and make use of a special dish-pack box for such items. When placing plates inside the box, be sure to place them on their edge securely with one another to minimize damage.
- Make use of shelves, drawers, and similar furniture pieces to arrange things in an organized manner. For instance, you can place pillows, soft toys, and clothes at the bottom of your wardrobe to save space.
- As an alternate to thickly padded boxes (which can be expensive), you can wrap fragile and small items in towels and place them in a drawer. You will have to make use of packing boxes and crates with larger fragile items, though.
- Drawers are also an adequate place for storing pictures, souvenirs, and clothes. Remember that you need to utilize the available space in the most efficient way possible to ensure that you have save up on space in the storage unit. The larger the storage unit you require, the more expensive it will be so it is best advised to keep a check on the space that you use up.
- If you are looking to further reduce your costs then you can save on packing materials (particularly bubble wrap) by making use of your own soft fabric items such as blankets and towels.
- Make use of shrink wrap, moving pads, and blankets for adequately protecting and covering furniture items.
- If it is possible, then separate the legs of your dining table (or any other table) that you are looking to store in the unit. Wrap each leg in a towel or packing material properly and store them with the table top.
- If you are looking to store couches, then it is advised that you place them on their ends for saving space.
- Lamp shades should be packed properly with packing paper and then placed inside each other for saving up space.
- When looking to store photo frames, always make use of their original box (or a similar-sized box) for maximum protection.
- To prevent the boxes from collapsing (in the case that a heavy item falls on it or a similar incident occurs), fill each box to its maximum before sealing it off.
- For ease of access, it is advised that you label each box according to its contents – a helpful addition would be to label the room that is belongs to, on top, as well. When unpacking, you can often get confused about the placement of the items and so, labelling the boxes adequately can save you a lot of time and effort.
- If you are looking to preserve photographs (without frames) for storages, as well, then you should place them flat between cardboard pieces to prevent them from curling up. However, if you plan on storing them for a long time then it is recommended that you consult a conservative regarding their protection or refrain from leaving them in storage since they can be damaged easily, even when properly cleaned and packed.
- Whenever possible, tie the dismantled parts of appliances and furniture together with the help of a string to ensure that nothing gets misplaced.
- No matter what it is, clean everything that will be going into storage adequately. Depending on the type of item, either wash, hose, dry clean, or simply wipe down with anti-bacterial solution. Just ensure that there is no dust and no bacteria on any of the items that you pack.
- Bubble wrap is your friend – make use of it generously everywhere that you can and everywhere that you feel confused. If you want extra protection for a particular item or want to be super sure of the safety of fragile items then make use of a good quantity of bubble wrap before placing them in the box.
- Make use of plastic stable boxes whenever you can, especially if the items will be stored for long. While they might be more expensive than cardboard boxes, they are the safest option that you have available since they prevent moisture – the primary cause of damage in storage.
- As you pack, cross-check everything with the inventory that you made in the beginning to ensure that everything that you were planning on storing is there. If there is storage that is missing to the inventory, add it so that you know exactly how many items and boxes will you need to pick up when unpacking for your new home.
- If you have expensive electrical items that you will be putting into storage then ensure that you place them on shelves or pallets on ‘higher ground’ – in other words, do not place these items on the ground. In the unfortunate scenario that your storage unit gets flooded, your electrical items will be safe from any damage that could be caused by water.
- Make sure and double check to see if there are absolutely no food items anywhere in the storage unit – rotten food items can cause an unpleasant odor that will likely fill the entire storage unit.
- Make use of a leather conditioner for preserving and preparing all leather items for storage. Ensure that they are dried for approximately 2-3 days after application before they are packed.
- Properly clean and clear the drain lines of all of your gas-powered units that include the snow blower, grill, and lawnmower.
- Wherever possible, pack the items that are from the same category (such as kitchenware, books, kids’ stuff, lounge items) together (ideally in the same stack).
- Make sure that you allocate a proper budget for the packing materials – it is not a running cost that you can just ‘add’ to your moving cost but instead, it can sum up to cost you hundreds of dollars in the form of cardboard boxes, specialized boxes, plastic containers, wrapping and cushioning materials, and packing blankets.
- Never leave any item outside in the storage unit without covering it properly or putting it in its designated box – this can lead to the item becoming dusty, damaged, or damp.
- Always ensure that you choose high-quality containers for packing the items and be careful when you pack these containers. You should never pack too much weight in a single box since it might collapse under its own weight.
- Whenever you make use of a box for storing items, ensure that you make use of sufficient cushioning in the form of foam sheets, bubble wraps, or packing peanuts between each item in the box for preventing damage by friction.
- Wherever applicable, label a box with all of its contents instead of using a generic label such as ‘books’. This is because you might have multiple boxes with the same label which will make it more difficult to find specific items.
- Never store valuables (such as jewelry, documents, irreplaceable items, or money), flammable substances (oil, diesel, or gas), firearms, drugs, explosives, food items, or any kind of hazardous materials in a storage unit.
- Be sure to always make use of new boxes and bins for storing your items, especially if you are making use of cardboard boxes. Used boxes contain mold, bugs, moisture, and have been subject to wear and tear that increase the risk of tearing or collapsing. Make sure that you replace all recycled or old boxes with new ones before you put them into storage.
- Never make use of plastic bags for storing large items or wrapping purposes. This is because moisture can collect within plastic which can cause the items inside them to rot. This is a problem that is common in storage units in Australia since most people live near the ocean.
- Remember to check the items that you are placing into storage for moisture, dampness, or mold. Whether it is furniture, paper, kitchen utensils, books, tools, or anything that you do not want to rot or rust. Dry everything completely before putting them into storage – if it is not possible to dry them then either keep them in specialized bacteria-free containers or throw them away. It is a best practice to keep clothes, furniture, and mattresses under direct sunlight for 1-2 days before putting them into storage.
- Anything that is infested with insects is no good for storage because it will not only spread bacteria within the item itself but to other items in storage, as well. Check everything thoroughly for insects before you store them away, especially furniture and clothing. If you think that there might be a chance of insects, then it is best that you spray insecticide on the item before storage. If an item is infested with insects or very prone to infestation then it is best to either throw it away or not keep it in storage, at least.
- Storage space can be expensive and it is wise to save up on as much space as you can so that you can cut down on your moving costs. Before the storage process, go through all of your belongings and see if there are things that you can get rid of such as old clothes. Once you know what you do not need, you can give them to charity, sell them in a garage sale, or simply throw them away.
- If you are looking for a place to safekeep your valuables (such as collectible coins or jewelry) then the storage box is not the right place due to security and safety reasons. The best option would be to give them to a close relative or friend for safekeeping but the alternate would be to rent a safety deposit box that you can use for storing these valuables.
- If you are going to be keeping documents in the storage unit then it would be best practice to make copies of all your important documents such as tax records and bank statements and keep them stored in a different location than the originals. You can also consider keeping the important documents in a safety deposit box or with a close friend or relative, as with your valuables. If nothing seems feasible then we recommend that you scan all of your documents and put these records on a secure cloud storage – you can easily access at anytime from anywhere then without the risk of losing them.
- Never store anything that is flammable within the storage unit particularly fuels such as kerosene and petrol. If there is an appliance that makes use of any kind of fuel (gas, diesel, or petrol, ensure that you have drained all the fuel from them first before storing them.
- It is strongly recommended that you avoid storing liquids of any kind in storage since any sort of leakage will cause damage to the other items in your storage. If you have to store liquids, then be sure to make use of plastic bottles with airtight seals. Properly insulate these bottles before putting them into storage boxes to ensure maximum protection from leakages.
- When you want to have the facility of moving your stored goods to your new location directly without having to move them to a truck then it is a good option to make use of a POD container. A POD is a portable container that a moving truck will drop off at your doorstep. Just like a storage unit, you can pack it yourself to ensure that everything inside is secure and safe according to your needs. Once the container is ready, you can hire a truck for moving it to a storage location of your choice and then eventually move it to your new destination (there will be no need for moving your belongings from within the POD container at anytime). This is the safest and easiest way of transporting goods that are meant to be stored in long-term storage.
There is often a need for storing your goods away for a while, especially during a move. This is because you want all of your belongings to be in a secure and safe place while you sort out everything for relocation. Once you have shifted to a new home, you can easily and conveniently move all of your items from the storage to your new location. While this seems quite simple, the reality is that there are countless problems and accidents that can occur when items are in storage. From rusting and molding to breakage and misplacement, you can lose a number of your valuables if they are not adequately prepared for moving and storage. The process of preparing and packing your valuables for moving and storage is best handled by professionals such as InterstateRemovalists.Sydney but if you are looking to carry out the process themselves then you need to know the right procedure and a handful of tips and tricks to do so – all of which we have highlight in this comprehensive blog post. In short, just be sure to adequately clean all items (removing dust and bacteria), dry them thoroughly, disassemble what you can, and make use of sufficient padding and protection (with the right packing materials) before you keep your items into storage.