How to Cram Every Inch of A Storage Unit

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couch potatoes

Where will you put that bench when the little spuds move out?

Open the door, back up the truck, and now what? You have a storage unit, but how do you fill it? It’s a different task than putting furniture in a living room or storing things in your basement. With a storage locker, all you have is four walls, one floor and one ceiling to guide you. The two most important things to do when you start loading your locker are to think ahead, and to think vertically.

Think Ahead

Consider how often you might want to get each item from the storage unit. Maybe those old bed frames won’t be needed again, but you’ll surely be back for the Halloween decorations, right? This is important so that you can determine where to store each item. Here are a few examples of thinking ahead.

If you are storing a dresser that’s not going anywhere for awhile, use the drawers to store other items that won’t be going anywhere for awhile.

If you have boxes of decorations or papers that you know you will need access to, store them near the door, and label them clearly. Use colorful duct tape and sharpies to make them stand out.

Leave a path down the center to make it easier to access things in the back. This is good for short term and long term storage. You don’t need to leave more than about 18 inches.

If you’re planning to store lots of small or loose items, it is probably worth investing in sturdy plastic tubs. These are stackable and offer some protection against moisture (though don’t use these tubs as an excuse not to buy storage insurance). Plus, they help you keep items organized and make it easy to load and unload things as needed. They also can help make shelving systems significantly more efficient.

Think in 3D

That 10 X 10 storage unit might be 100 square feet, but it’s probably 800 cubic feet. A 20 X 20 unit is 400 square feet, but 3200 cubic feet. So why should you limit yourself to the floor? Stack it! A few ideas:

  • Put a couch down, then flip over another couch right on top of it.

  • Remember that dresser from before? Flip another dresser or a desk on top of it.

  • Use the space beneath tables for boxes.

  • Stack chairs on top of one another.

  • Lean a mattress and box spring against the wall.

  • Keep televisions in the foot space beneath desks, if they fit.

  • Put loose items in plastic bins. This is a much more efficient use of space, compared to having them all loose.

The Wrap

Do these tips seem simple to you? I would think so! But sometimes the simplest tips are the best. Keep these in mind and you will find that your storage locker, no matter where you live or how big the locker, will have plenty of space available.



Ken is the Director of Content and Promotions for the Online Self Storage Directory blog. He loves the St. Louis Cardinals, obscure historical trivia, and the incredible beards on Civil War generals.