How to Avoid Cluttering your Storage Unit

February 25, 2020 by: Lisa Roberts

The reasons underlying one’s decision to rent a storage unit are diverse. If you need storage services for a short period of time, the chances to create clutter are decidedly low. However, the situation is significantly different with long-term storage because the longer your belongings are stored, the greater are the chances clutter will become evident. If you want to avoid cluttering your storage unit, you need to define a strategy that will help you keep your items easily accessible, clean, and well-organized at all times. Here is some advice on this point.

Create an inventory

This is the first step you need to take in order to avoid cluttering your storage unit successfully. Dividing your items into separate categories, packing them into boxes for storage, labeling each and every box properly, and writing down the content on the outside of the boxes will help you keep your items organized at all times. While this task can be time-consuming and demanding to complete, especially if you are moving because of a better job and you have to speed up the relocation process considerably, this effort will pay off in the long run. It will help you to easily find and use some of the stored items again when the time comes.

If you cannot afford so much time to complete this task on your own, ask your friends or family for help. You can go through the items and dictate the list for someone to write it down. You will save a lot of time and be much more efficient. This way, you will also be able to reconsider your decision on what you want to store without being obliged to multitask.

Use shelves or palettes to organize your items better

Depending on the type and number of items you would like to store, you will have to take additional measures to provide safety for these belongings. Using spare shelves you might have at home or a few raised palettes is a creative option. Arrange them around the unit first, and then you can start inserting the boxes. This will also prevent pests from nestling at the bottom of your boxes and, eventually, ruining your things.

Placing the items above floor level is particularly important when you rent outdoor storage. If this is the case, make sure not to forget this piece of advice if you want to avoid inconveniences in the future.

Insert the boxes into the unit according to a plan

Make a plan regarding the best strategy to stack boxes in your storage unit. Although none of the items in them are what you currently need or want to use, think carefully about which of these you might need in the near future. These are the boxes that should be easiest to access. Also, make sure you do not put fragile and delicate items at the bottom unless you have sturdy, crush-proof boxes. Otherwise, you risk damaging or even completely destroying some of your possessions.

When creating a plan, leave some free space in the central part of the unit. You will need to go through your items occasionally, check the contents of some of the boxes, and make rearrangements. Not having enough space to maneuver the unit can be a serious problem and potentially a sign you need to upgrade the storage space you use.

Examine the content of the boxes from time to time

The contents of the storage unit will change from time to time. If you use self storage for business, you might want to examine it more often and on a regular basis in clearly defined time intervals. On the other hand, if you have stored your personal possessions, you should go through your possessions whenever you find some free time or you pay a visit to the unit. Chances are, you will easily forget some of the items you have stored and you might be surprised when you start checking the contents of your boxes. Going through your items is aimed at detecting those that you would like to part with for good this time. As your life circumstances change, the need for some items might disappear completely. Getting rid of them will create more space in the unit and help you avoid clutter.

When handling this task, you can be creative in finding the best solution. Firstly, you can donate some of those items that are in good condition and thus make someone else happy. Secondly, you can organize a yard sale or sell some of these items online. You will not only declutter your storage unit but also earn some money as well. Finally, you can simply throw some of the items away. The choice is all yours and it completely depends on your preferences and needs.

What people often find difficult is coming across items that have great sentimental value. You might find it very difficult to part with them, too. Accept the fact that these feelings are completely normal and still try to be methodical. Paying more expensive monthly rates for renting a storage unit of the size you do not objectively need is not a smart decision.

Call professionals to help you organize your storage unit

Sometimes, the best decision you can make is to hire professionals to help you organize your storage unit. Professional assistance is what we need for a wide range of tasks, like purchasing real estate, moving from one city to another or even moving across the country. This help does include some costs, but it is an investment worth making. You do not have to worry about whether you have made the appropriate plan that guarantees the safety of your items. As a genuine amateur, you do not know whether you have protected your belongings well enough. Finally, you may not have enough time to focus and commit with unreserved attention to organizing the storage unit you have rented, which might result in making some wrong choices, rushing the process, and not getting the results you have had in mind.

To avoid any trouble and stress, tell your requirements and expectations to the experts, and trust them with the task. They are competent enough to provide you with some advice on how to avoid cluttering your storage unit in the future. While renting storage is a great benefit because it helps you declutter your home or office space, it should be neat and clean instead of involving a vast number of boxes randomly placed around the unit. Remember not to declutter one space only to create clutter in another one.

Reconsider your choice of the storage unit

As has already been stated above, the inventory of your items in a storage unit will occasionally change. You will bring some new belongings to the unit and remove some of them as well. If you at any moment notice that you have serious difficulty organizing your items properly or maneuvering the unit easily, you should think about upgrading your storage space. On the other hand, too much free space in the unit is a sure sign you might want to relocate your items to a unit of a smaller size.

The best decision, in this case, is again to consult an expert. Relocating from one storage unit to another is not something you will want to do too often. A professional in this field will give you some advice on how to choose the right size storage unit if you want to avoid inconveniences and creating more clutter.

Clean your storage unit on a regular basis

Frequent visits to your storage unit for the purpose of keeping it squeaky clean are compulsory when you want to avoid clutter. Depending on the type and amount of your belongings, this endeavor can be a lengthy one or fairly simple to complete. When you store a motor vehicle, trailer, camper or boat, you will not have to think about this too often. However, when there are a lot of boxes with various possessions, frequent cleaning is a must.

While engaged in this activity, you can use your time to examine the contents of the boxes once again. Surely you might come across some items that you have completely forgotten about. Separate them in a designated place to decide what you want to do with them later on. Every time you clean you have a chance to eliminate those possessions that have become unnecessary or outdated. Consequently, you will avoid cluttering your storage unit easily.

Professional cleaners can help too

If you have no time to conduct a thorough cleaning of the storage unit often, professional help is again at your disposal. Professional cleaners can handle the task for you in no time. They will take all the boxes out of your unit, clean it and then bring the boxes back. This way, you can eliminate layers of dirt and dust that might appear when not visiting the unit on a regular basis.

Once your items are out of the storage unit while the cleaning is in progress, you can reorganize them and possibly exchange some cardboard boxes for plastic, sturdy ones for those items you think need better protection. This way, your items will be safe and impeccably secured for a longer period of time.


When you want to avoid cluttering your storage unit, you need a good plan and careful organization. The decisions you make should be reconsidered occasionally because the contents of your boxes and the necessity to keep certain items will change over time. The strategy that works in most cases involves the following steps:

  • Creating an inventory – This is the basis for all the further steps in the process. If you combine it with a clearly defined labeling system, you get a winning combination.
  • Providing shelves or palettes for better organization – Raising the boxes above the floor is highly beneficial because it protects your items from pests or unforeseen accidents that might happen. Also, they make the whole space much easier to organize. If you, however, find any difficulties in conducting this task, consult or hire professionals for the job.
  • Make a plan before inserting the boxes – Stacking boxes randomly inside a storage unit is a bad strategy. You may prevent easy access to some items, create clutter, and, most importantly, damage or even destroy some of the items. Make a plan before you get involved in this task.
  • Analyze the contents of the boxes occasionally - In time, you might forget the exact list of items you have placed in the storage unit. Some of these become old-fashioned or completely unnecessary at one point, so you will want to get rid of them and avoid cluttering your storage.
  • Reconsider your choice of the storage unit – You can expect your needs to change when it comes to the appropriate size of the storage space you need. Avoid paying for a larger space if it is not necessary or relocate your items to a new unit if you need more space.
  • Clean your storage unit on a regular basis – Keep your storage unit clean. It might be helpful to make a plan of visits to the unit for this purpose. Your friends or family can help you with this or you can also hire professional cleaners to complete the task for you.