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If you’re in the market for or have recently acquired, a new portable storage unit, you’re likely already chomping at the bit to get it filled.

We get it.

With thousands of space-restricted customers all over the Midwest, at SiteBox Storage, it’s something we see almost every day.

However, with just a little patience—and some careful planning—we’ve found that you can make better use of your space, be better organized, and protect your belongings simultaneously.

Here’s how.

Choose your portable storage unit wisely

If you haven’t already purchased or leased your storage unit, we encourage you to take your time and do your homework, because not all portable storage units are the same.

Begin by taking a close look at the construction of the building you’re considering. Does it have an all-steel exterior? If not, your belongings could become victims of weather- or pest-related damage. Think of your portable storage container as protection for the valuable items you're storing. 

Next, check to see if the unit has an HVAC system. Without one, your belongings will be susceptible to further damage caused by temperature and humidity changes. (This may require the use of a mobile office - a container that has already been modified as a temporary office, and has an HVAC system.) 

Lastly, if possible, go bigger than you think you’ll need. We’ve never heard anyone complain of too much space, and chances are you’ll end up filling it up anyway.

Prepare Your Container Storage ahead of time

Once you’ve picked out your storage unit, several things you can do before it arrives will make life easier both in the short- and long-term.

  1. Look into any add-ons offered by your manufacturer
    At SiteBox Storage, we offer our customers a wide range of accessories from shelving and bike and pipe racks to wall dividers to help them maximize space and stay organized. If the company you are working with does the same, we recommend choosing what’s right for you and getting it installed before your unit is ever dropped off.

  2. Clean or wipe down everything you plan on storing
    It may take a little extra time, but you’ll thank yourself later. If everything is cleaned before it is packed away, it will be ready to go when you need it, and it will also help you maintain a cleaner environment within your storage facility.

  3. Consider storing your items in clear plastic bins
    Sure, those old cardboard boxes are free and readily available, but clear plastic bins are sturdier, provide better protection, and allow you to actually see what’s inside without having to pull a box out and rifle through it—saving you both time and frustration.
  4. Try to use consistent container sizes
    Whether you’re utilizing plastic bins or are keeping it old-school with cardboard, try to use a couple of consistent container sizes to make organizing and stacking as easy as possible (think Tetris). We also recommend that you avoid using any really large boxes as they will either get too heavy or will end up being crushed by the weight of whatever is placed on top of them.
  5. Disassemble large items and furniture
    By breaking large items down into smaller components, you’ll be able to utilize your space better, and the items will be easier to load and unload.
  6. Label, label, label
    Even if you end up using those clear plastic bins we mentioned above, you’ll still want to label each and every box or bin. To do so, write or type the general category the items fall under and a brief listing of individual items it contains. Then, place it on one of the box’s outside-facing sides.

A Plan for Packing Your Portable Storage Unit

Now that you have everything you need to store ready and your unit is on-site, it’s time to load it up—strategically.

  1. Start in the back and go vertical
    Place your largest, heaviest items toward the back of your container and begin stacking smaller objects on top. If you have any furniture that you could not disassemble, be sure to store it upright and use any negative space (shelves, areas between legs, etc.) to hold other, smaller items.

  2. Place frequently needed items toward the front
    The more you think you’ll need something, the closer it should be stored to the front of your container. Doing so and ensuring that these items are all placed in well-labeled containers will save you from rummaging through the entire unit repeatedly looking for the same item.
  3. Leave an aisle
    While it’s tempting to load up your storage unit wall to wall, think of your future self—the one that will undoubtedly have to retrieve something at some point. By leaving an aisle (or multiple aisles), you’ll be able to easily access items from all corners of the unit without breaking a sweat—just one more reason to go with a larger unit than you think you’ll need.
  4. Include a foldable step ladder
    Unless you’re Spiderman, you’ll probably need a little help reaching all of those items you placed on the top shelf, so do yourself a favor and place a small, foldable step ladder toward the front of your unit.
  5. Make a map
    OK, you might think this is overkill, but bear with us. Once you have everything in its rightful place, we recommend creating a map of the unit that points out exactly where specific items are stored and placing it either on the inside of the door or somewhere nearby. Not only will this come in handy for anyone unfamiliar with the unit and its contents, but the longer time passes, you’ll probably find it helpful.

Think About How You'll Organize Your Storage Container

A portable storage unit can be the answer to all of your storage-related prayers, but it takes careful planning and preparation. So, as much as you may want to fill it up the second it lands on your site, take some time and think it through. You’ll thank yourself down the line.

Contact us today to learn more about portable storage solutions available through SiteBox Storage.