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Top Tips For Safely Storing Items In Self-Storage

Top Tips For Safely Storing Items In Self-Storage

Your storage contents insurance from gives you the reassurance that, should the worst happen, your items are protected financially, but you can also keep your precious things safe by packing them correctly before putting them into storage. If packed away correctly, when it comes time to unpack your items, they are ready to use straight away.

We‘ve put together our top tips to help you look after your items together with the protection provided by our market leading insurance for storage unit contents.

We recommend that your first step is to gather all the packing supplies you will need, it makes life much easier if you’re able to pack your items systematically without constantly stopping to look for more boxes or bubble wrap. If you start an inventory of what you’re packing away at the start of the process, this will not only help you when it comes to unpacking, but it will give you an accurate value for your self storage insurance quote.

Getting started…

Maximize your storage unit’s space by starting at the bottom and stack upwards, putting the heaviest boxes on the bottom layer and the lightest boxes on top and organise your unit with a walkway down the centre to ensure all your items are easily accessible.

Did you know you can install shelving in your storage unit? You can purchase self-hanging shelves or get large plastic or metal shelves that stand on the ground. This can help organise large or oddly shaped items that won’t fit neatly into boxes.

When you pack furniture for a storage unit, take it apart as much as possible. For items like dresser drawers that can’t be broken down, pack smaller boxes and fragile items in the drawers and underneath.


To make the best use of the space available in your storage unit, you should aim to take apart larger items of furniture, such as bed frames and tables. To avoid problems when you come to unpack your storage unit, you should always keep any bolts or screws together. We recommend putting them in a labelled bag which should be attached securely to the furniture to ensure they are not separated whilst being moved around.

You should clean all your furniture and appliances, as any dirt may turn to mold, even when storing your items in a storage unit that mitigates the moisture in the air.

We advise avoiding plastic packing materials where possible, (bubble wrap for a lamp or picture frames is fine) but dry air should be able to circulate around furniture so it doesn’t suffocate, leading to mildew. Drape quilts, old sheets or furniture blankets (which are available to buy at most storage facilities) loosely over furniture. Avoid sticking tape directly onto furniture as this can cause accidental damage to paint and fabrics.

When packing appliances, drain any remaining liquid from the appliance, remove glass shelves or fragile pieces and pack them separately. Wrap up leads and ensure plugs are not left trailing as they can be damaged when moving heavy furniture. To help avoid odours, place some baking soda inside the appliance and keep doors slightly open once the appliance has been moved into your storage unit.

When packing electronic items, always try and store them in their original packaging. If the original packaging is unavailable you should wrap electronics in packing paper or cloths to ensure that they’re well protected, in case the box they are in is damaged during transit.

Mattresses should always be laid flat on the ground to prevent them deforming over time, they’re heavy and may become damaged supporting their own weight.              

Mechanical Equipment

Dirt and debris left on equipment can damage parts, cause blockages and degrade components. Cleaning your equipment can prevent damage and dramatically extend the life of expensive tools and equipment. Lubricate any moving parts at points of contact before storing your equipment.

Items that contain fuel, such as gardening equipment or other gas-powered machinery, should be either emptied completely or full to the brim to avoid condensation building up.

Even if equipment is switched off, it can be dangerous. Make sure any dangerous components are protected and placed in your storage unit in such a way that they won’t be inadvertently knocked and damaged or cause personal injury.

If your tools and equipment have tyres, slightly over inflate them to keep them from flattening when left unused for extended periods.

Tighten screws, nuts and bolts to keep parts in place and paint over chipped areas to protect the body work from rusting.

Engines should be fired up at least once a year for maintenance or checks. (When starting a petrol engine, please do it outside in a well ventilated environment).

Check fuel levels, (especially if you’re storing over the winter months) and fill the tank to prevent condensation from contaminating fuel lines as temperatures change. When storing winter equipment until the spring, drain the fuel with a siphon to prevent deposits and rust from forming in the tank.

Space equipment properly. Making sure there is ample space between machinery as this will prevent damage to equipment and make it easier to access tools when needed.


Looking after your precious bike, by keeping it in a storage unit, will dramatically extend its life.

Cleaning your motorcycle before it goes into storage will help you avoid dirt and salt festering while it sits idle. Once your bike is clean and dry you may wish to apply a wax or anti-corrosive polish. This will help reduce the likelihood of moisture getting under your bike’s cover

Using a stand or raising the bike off the ground helps avoid tyres taking the motorbike’s full weight and going flat over time. If a stand is unavailable you can place layers of old carpet between the tyre and the floor, which will ease the pressure on the tyres and help avoid damage.

Rotating your wheels every few weeks while the bike is in storage will help to prevent flat spots forming on the tyre.

Maintain battery life by taking the battery out and reattaching it when you take your bike out for a spin. Using a maintenance charger will keep everything charged over a long period of idleness without causing any damage to your battery.

PWCs and Water Sports Equipment

Before placing your PWC into storage for the winter you should wash it thoroughly with a solution of water and vehicle safe soap. Salt left on your PWC can damage paint and corrode metal surfaces.

Drain the engine of excess water by turning the handle back and forth while the PWC is tilted up on the trailer. Avoid running the engine for more than 30 seconds when out of the water to prevent it overheating. (Never run your engine in an enclosed space).

After washing and leaving it to dry, you can further protect your craft by buffing and waxing it with a high shine wax.

Ensure the petrol tank is filled up and add a fuel stabiliser to prevent the petrol from degrading. Run the engine for 30 seconds to let the fuel stabiliser disperse throughout the engine.

To help extend your battery’s longevity, it should be removed and connected to a trickle charger.

When leaving your PWC for extended periods, you should leave all storage doors and hatches open for air to circulate through.


If you’re storing rare and valuable books, you should only store your books in an environment where the temperature is kept below 70 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity levels remain between 30 and 50%. This will help reduce the likelihood of mold damage.

Vacuum and dust your books before putting them into your storage unit. Dirt can cause staining and significant cosmetic damage.

Some types of bindings and glues attract insects, which can cause irreparable damage to precious books, older books are the most susceptible to this. Further protect your books by storing them in a protective case, use a material that breathes and avoid plastic as it can cause condensation, which leads to mold.

Place books flat or upright, storing hardbacks with the spines facing up will cause them to crack at the hinge and bindings.

Acid can damage paper by making it yellow. Make sure the boxes you use to store your books are acid-free. (Many newspapers contain acid, so this is not a good option to use as padding).

If you intend to store especially valuable books, then you must detail them specifically in your self storage insurance quote submission.


Artwork should be wrapped in a material that allows air to circulate whilst shielding the art from bugs, dust, and other harmful items. Foam, tissue paper, sheets and breathable blankets offer the best protection. Avoid using bubble wrap and plastic wrap, both trap condensation and limit air circulation. When you’re storing canvas backed paintings, support the backing with sturdy cardboard or thin wood panels.

When you’re ready to transport art to or from your storage unit, do so with care. Many artists and collectors prefer to rent drive-up or interior ground floor units to shorten the distance they have to transport the art from the car to the unit. The best self storage facilities have dollies or carts available for their renters. (insurastore insurance policies cover items in transit).

Separate each piece of art with another layer of material to keep the art safe if they’re knocked or moved around. Cloth, foam and felt are all great options for separation. If you decide to roll up artwork, roll with the paint side facing inward to limit the chances of warping or cracking.

Retail stock

Ensure you choose the right sized storage unit. As obvious at it may seem, you need to make sure you can fit all your stock into the size of storage unit you select. We recommend starting off with extra space available to give you flexibility in the ever changing retail landscape. Take the time to properly plan how much retail stock storage you may need in the build up to sales, as this is the most efficient way to minimise unnecessary costs.

Label and organise stock efficiently. Labelling and mapping your storage unit are key to maintaining an organised, well-run and efficient storage space.

Discard old retail stock items. Removing old stock frees up more storage space to put to better use with necessary stock items and it’ll be much easier for you to keep on top of your stock room/storage unit.

The key to successfully managing retail stock in a storage unit is accessibility. You should ensure that a walkway within your storage unit allows you to access any item quickly if needed. The best storage facilities will allow you to access your unit 24/7.

All stock should be protected using suitable materials and clearly labelled before loading up your unit. This will not only help to keep things organised, but it will help you accurately value the stock you’re storing, helping provide accurate information to your self-storage insurance company.