Common Storage Mistakes to Avoid in Self Storage

Apr 30, 2024

Common Storage Mistakes to Avoid in Self Storage

Using a self storage facility seems straightforward, but several common storage mistakes can complicate your experience and potentially harm your belongings. This guide highlights typical pitfalls and provides practical advice to ensure you use self storage efficiently and safely.

A TSSC self storage unit

Whether you’re downsizing, decluttering, or simply in need of extra space to store your belongings, a self-storage unit in Northern Ireland can offer a convenient solution. However, without the right approach, you may find yourself facing avoidable problems that can complicate your storage experience. From choosing the wrong unit size to overlooking security needs, here’s a detailed guide on how to sidestep common storage pitfalls.

1. Not Choosing the Right Size Unit

Selecting the correct storage unit size is crucial and can be a bit of a Goldilocks scenario—not too big, not too small, but just right. Here’s how to ensure you get it perfect:

• List and Assess: Begin by cataloguing everything you need to store. Include dimensions where possible, which will help in estimating the required space.

• Space Planning Tools: Use online calculators or apps provided by storage facilities to better understand the space you’ll need. These tools often allow you to input your items and see how they might fit into different unit sizes.

• Future Needs: Consider whether you might need to store more items in the future. Opting for a slightly larger unit now could save you from needing to rent additional space later.

• Access Needs: Think about how you’ll use the unit. If you need regular access to your items, leave space for an aisle or choose a unit layout that allows for easy reach to frequently used items.

Sales man discussing the process of hiring a unit

2. Poor Packing and Organisation

Efficient packing and organisation are the backbones of a good storage strategy. Avoid common errors with these enhanced tips:
• Quality Packing Materials: Use boxes of similar sizes that can easily stack together and withstand the weight. Avoid used boxes that might be weak or compromised.

• Systematic Labelling: Use a numbering or colour-coding system in addition to descriptive labels. This can help you locate items more efficiently.

• Detailed Inventory: Consider using a spreadsheet or a dedicated app to keep track of your stored items. This can be especially helpful if you store items in bulk or have a variety of boxes.

• Shelving Units: Invest in freestanding shelving units to make the most of vertical space and keep boxes off the floor. This not only helps prevent moisture damage but also makes accessing individual items easier without having to move stacks of boxes.

Someone folding a jacket properly to fit it into a box.

3. Neglecting Organisational Strategies

A well-organised storage unit saves time and prevents damage by making items easy to locate and retrieve.

Create an Inventory List: Having a detailed list of stored items and their locations within the unit is invaluable.

Plan Your Layout: Store frequently used items at the front and create clear pathways for easy access.

Utilise Vertical Space: Use stacking and shelving to make full use of the unit’s height, keeping heavier items at the bottom.

4. Neglecting Unit Maintenance and Security

The security and maintenance of your storage unit are pivotal for safeguarding your belongings. Here’s how to ensure both are up to standard:

• Preventative Checks: Make regular visits to inspect your storage unit for any signs of damage or infestation. Early detection can prevent significant losses.

• Enhanced Security Measures: Opt for a storage facility with 24/7 monitored security, coded access gates, and individual alarms for each unit.

• Environmental Monitoring: Some facilities offer environmental monitoring services that alert you to changes within your unit, such as increased humidity levels.

5. Miscalculating the Duration of Storage

Understanding your rental agreement can help you avoid unnecessary fees and ensure that the storage term fits your needs.

• Understand the Lease Agreement: Know the terms concerning minimum rental periods and the protocol for vacating your unit.

• Regularly Reassess Your Storage Needs: Periodically evaluate whether you still need all items stored, or if you can downsize.


By avoiding these common storage mistakes, you can ensure your items are safe and your storage experience is positive. Proper planning, organisation, and maintenance go a long way in maximizing the benefits of your self storage unit.


What should I not store in a self storage unit?

Avoid storing perishables, hazardous materials, illegal items, and living things. These can cause damage, attract pests, or lead to legal issues.

How often should I check on my stored items?

It’s wise to check your storage unit at least once every three months. If storing sensitive items, consider monthly checks.

What are the best practices for labelling boxes in storage?

Use a clear and consistent labelling system on all sides of the box. Include a general description of contents and the room it belongs to for easier access.

What is the best way to protect furniture in a storage unit?

To protect furniture while in storage, first clean each piece to remove dust and debris. Use furniture covers or old sheets to wrap items and protect them from scratches and dust. Disassemble larger pieces if possible to save space and prevent strain on joints. Place a barrier such as pallets on the floor to keep furniture off direct contact with the ground, reducing the risk of moisture damage.

Are there specific items that require special attention when storing long-term?

Yes, certain items need special care when stored long-term. For example:

Leather Goods: Treat with a leather conditioner before storing to prevent drying out.
Appliances: Clean thoroughly, ensuring all food residue is removed to avoid pests and mould. Keep doors slightly open to prevent odours.
Clothing and Fabrics: Wash or dry-clean before storage to remove oils and residues. Use vacuum-sealed bags to save space and protect against moisture.
Books and Documents: Store in plastic containers to protect from moisture. Avoid stacking too heavily to prevent warping.
Artwork: Wrap in acid-free paper and store vertically, avoiding direct contact with the floor or heavy items that could cause damage.

How can I maximise space in my storage unit?

Use uniform box sizes for easy stacking, disassemble large furniture, and use shelves to organize and access items efficiently.