Master Your Storage Unit: Expert Tips for Saving Rent and Space Optimization

Are you tired of watching your storage unit rent skyrocket year after year? You’re certainly not alone.

I’ve seen one of my units cost 26% more now than it did a year ago.

I found out that many people deal with the challenge of organizing their storage units in a way that minimizes rental costs — while making the most of the available space.

Today let’s explore a variety of clever tips and strategies for trimming rent expenses while optimizing to the max.

Price frustration can happen to each of us

I still remember the day when I found myself staring at the mountain of stuff in my storage unit, feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. And… feeling tired.

The rent had been going up every few months, and it was becoming harder to justify the ongoing expense. I knew I needed a change.

As I began my quest for storage unit compression, I stumbled upon an auction selling some shelving units. I thought they would be perfect for organizing my storage space, but there was one issue: these were stationary.

After putting the shelves together, I realized that walking around them and getting to my belongings was still going to be a challenge. I needed something with a little more versatility.

One day in the garage while looking for a screwdriver, I noticed a bunch of casters collecting dust. I had forgotten about those. It was like a lightbulb went off in my head.

I thought, “Why not attach these casters to my shelving units and make them mobile?” It’s funny how I often repeat it… the house will provide, and there was the wheels that I needed to move those shelves around.

With the casters attached, I was able to line up the shelves back-to-back, creating a gap where I could easily roll them around to access my items.

My newfound mobility

This newfound mobility allowed me to use the space more efficiently.

And it also provided me with a solution to combat the increasing rent. With the mobile storage setup, I can easily move my belongings to a different unit when rent is too high.

I was no longer at the mercy of those frequent rent hikes. And if I can’t get a better rate at the same location, by myself I can rent a truck with a lift and transport my belongings to another storage facility.

In the end, my rent dropped to almost half of what I was previously paying, and the satisfaction of having a well-organized, efficient storage unit was priceless.

If you find yourself in a similar predicament, remember that there’s always a solution waiting to be discovered – sometimes, it’s just a matter of thinking outside the (storage) box. Remember… the house will provide.

The Heavy Bottom Rule: Stack Wisely

Picture this: You’re standing in front of your storage unit, looking in and seeing an assortment of boxes and totes, each filled with a variety of items – some light, some heavy.

How do you stack cardboard boxes efficiently while ensuring your safety? Enter the Heavy Bottom Rule – a tried and tested approach to stacking that’s both wise and practical.

The fundamental principle of the Heavy Bottom Rule is straightforward – always place the heaviest boxes and totes at the bottom of your stack.

By doing so, you create a stable foundation that prevents your stack from toppling over unexpectedly, protecting your belongings and yourself from getting hurt.

But the Heavy Bottom Rule doesn’t stop there. To further enhance the safety and stability of your storage unit, it’s essential to keep the height of your box stack in check.

Aim to stack boxes no higher than shoulder height. This not only reduces the risk of accidents while accessing your items — it also ensures you can comfortably and easily retrieve what you need without straining or overexerting yourself.

Label Everything: Making Life Easier

Imagine standing in your storage unit, surrounded by a wall of boxes and totes — each one a mystery waiting to be revealed.

You may find yourself spending precious time rummaging through countless containers just to find that one item you need. It’s a frustrating experience.

But there’s a simple solution to this all-too-common predicament – the power of labeling.

Begin by labeling all your boxes and totes clearly on the side, with the labels facing the aisle. This way, even when your boxes are nestled among other items, you can easily read what’s inside without moving or unstacking them.

By taking the time to label everything, you’ll know exactly where each of your belongings is located, transforming your storage unit into a well-organized, easily navigable space.

No longer will you waste precious minutes (or even hours) on fruitless searches; instead, you’ll be able to quickly locate and retrieve what you need, making life significantly easier.

Place a number on each box also. Then make a list sheet with each number and the box contents and on that list, map out where each box is placed inside your storage unit.

It’s little things like this that make all the difference and save a lot of time and frustration later.

Aisle Accessibility: Avoid Unnecessary Unloading

In larger units, leave an aisle that runs the length of the unit. I like to do this in the center of the unit — like having a pathway.

This allows you to easily access items at the back of the unit without unloading everything.

Trust me, you’ll thank yourself later when you need that one item you thought you wouldn’t need and its tucked all the way in the back.

Use Height to Your Advantage: Vertical Storage is the Answer

When it comes to optimizing storage space, it’s easy to focus solely on the horizontal plane, neglecting the vast potential that lies up above.

By embracing the concept of vertical storage, you can unlock a whole new dimension of organization and efficiency in your storage unit.

The key to mastering vertical storage is to make the most of the height available in your unit.

Stand tall items upright, such as ladders, skis, or large pieces of furniture, to maximize the space from floor to ceiling.

But be cautious when it comes to mattresses. Placing them on their end might seem like a clever way to save space, but doing so can lead to sagging and damage over time.

Instead, opt to place your mattress flat on top of your other belongings. To keep it protected from the elements, invest in a Life Storage mattress bag, which will shield your mattress from moisture, dirt, and dust.

And remember, resist the temptation to stack heavy items on top of your mattress; doing so can damage the springs and compromise the integrity of your once-comfortable sleeping surface.

Protect Delicate Items: Blankets and Towels for the Win

We all have those delicate, fragile treasures that need a little extra tender care when it comes to storage – whether it’s a piece of heirloom furniture, a prized work of art, or a beloved musical instrument.

The key to preserving their beauty and integrity lies in the simple — yet effective — use of blankets and towels.

Blankets and towels are more than just cozy household essentials; they can also act as protective barriers for your most vulnerable belongings.

By covering scratch-prone items with heavy blankets or thick towels, you provide a cushioning layer that can absorb any accidental bumps or knocks that might occur during storage or transportation.

Not only do these soft materials shield your precious possessions from scratches and scuffs, but they also help to maintain their overall condition, ensuring that they remain in tip-top shape for years to come.

It’s a small investment in time and effort that can have a significant impact on the longevity and appearance of your most treasured items.


Maximizing Space in Your Storage Unit: Vertical Stacking and Shelving Tips

Maximizing space in your storage unit is essential for efficient organization and cost-effectiveness.

By utilizing vertical stacking and shelving techniques, you can create additional room to store more items without increasing the size of your unit.

In this guide, we’ll share some valuable tips for making the most of your storage unit’s vertical space.

Plan Your Storage Unit Layout

Before you start packing and organizing your storage unit, take some time to plan out your layout.

This will help you determine the best way to utilize the available space and make it easier to access your belongings when needed.

Consider the following when planning your layout:

  • Group similar items together, such as boxes of books or kitchen appliances.
  • Place frequently accessed items near the front of the unit for easy retrieval.
  • Ensure that there is adequate space to walk and maneuver within the unit, particularly if you plan to access your belongings regularly.

Pack Your Items Efficiently

Proper packing techniques are key to maximizing space in your storage unit.

Keep these tips in mind as you prepare your belongings for storage:

  • Use sturdy, uniform-sized boxes to make stacking easier and more secure.
  • Fill boxes to capacity, but avoid overloading them to prevent damage to your belongings.
  • Label each box with its contents and indicate which side should be facing up when stacked.

Utilize Vertical Stacking Techniques

Vertical stacking is an excellent way to maximize space in your storage unit.

Here are some tips for effective vertical stacking:

  • Place heavier, sturdier boxes at the bottom of each stack to create a solid foundation.
  • Stack boxes with similar dimensions together to create stable towers.
  • Arrange boxes so that the labels are visible and accessible, making it easier to locate specific items when needed.
  • Avoid stacking boxes too high, as this can create instability and increase the risk of boxes toppling over.

Incorporate Shelving Units

Shelving units can greatly enhance your storage unit’s organization and maximize vertical space.

Consider the following when selecting and arranging shelving:

  • Choose sturdy, adjustable shelving that can accommodate a variety of box sizes and weights.
  • Position shelves along the walls of your storage unit to maximize floor space.
  • Use shelf dividers or bins to keep smaller items organized and secure.
  • Anchor tall or heavy shelving units to the wall for added stability and safety.

Consider Alternative Storage Solutions

In addition to traditional boxes and shelving, there are several alternative storage solutions that can help you maximize vertical space in your storage unit.

These include:

  • Wall-mounted hooks and pegboards for hanging tools, sports equipment, and other items.</
  • Overhead storage racks that can be installed on the ceiling of your storage unit, providing additional space for lightweight or bulky items.
  • Storage cubes or modular shelving systems that can be customized to fit your specific storage needs and space requirements.
  • Utilizing furniture, such as bookshelves, dressers, and cabinets, to store smaller items and create additional vertical storage opportunities.

Maintain Organization and Accessibility

While maximizing space in your storage unit is essential, it’s also important to maintain organization and accessibility.

Keep the following tips in mind:

Practice Safe Lifting Techniques

When working with vertical stacking and shelving, it’s crucial to practice safe lifting techniques to prevent injury.

Keep these safety tips in mind:

  • Lift with your legs, not your back, to reduce strain on your lower back muscles.
  • Use proper lifting equipment, such as a dolly or hand truck, to move heavy or bulky items.
  • Ask for help when lifting or moving items that are too large or heavy for one person to handle safely.

Maximizing space in your storage unit through vertical stacking and shelving techniques can greatly improve the efficiency and organization of your stored belongings.

By planning your layout, packing items efficiently, utilizing alternative storage solutions, and maintaining organization and accessibility, you can make the most of your storage unit’s available space.

Always practice safe lifting techniques and consider the safety and stability of your storage setup to ensure a positive and secure storage experience.



How to Organize Your Storage Unit (With Pictures)

In this article, you’ll discover timesaving storage tips and tricks to help organize your storage unit and get as much space out of it as possible.

These organizing tips can help at home too — you may not need as big of a storage unit once you regain some space at home. 

We’ll also show you how to make the most of your storage unit by using some clever ideas to save you time.

We hope these tips and tricks will be helpful for anyone who is looking to maximize their storage space — or who just wants to learn more about organizing a storage unit.


Organizing Storage Space is Similar to Organizing a Garage

Organizing a garage can be tedious because there always seems to be lots of stuff. But if it isn’t done correctly, it could cause problems, whether it’s not able to accommodate all of your vehicles quickly enough due to clutter or something gets damaged from the improper organization.

Check your cleaning items and chemical containers too as a way to make sure you’re not setting up a hazard in your own garage.

That’s why having an organized garage is essential. To improve your ability to manage your garage, you must practice doing it repeatedly until it becomes second nature.

This means you should set aside time daily to go through your garage and put away everything that belongs there.

It doesn’t have to be much time at all. If you do this repeatedly, your brain will start associating that action with a specific result. This skill can then be used in additional ways.

For example… Organizing your storage unit is similar, except you don’t want to be there every day organizing it. That’s where planning ahead can help.


Self Storage Tips and Tricks

Now that you have purchased a new storage unit, the next thing to consider is how you will organize your belongings.

Let’s consider which steps we need to take, then get started on them below. Think about it… you’ve just rented a self-service unit at a center where you can store your belongings, collectibles, and memorabilia.

You need to pack it up.

Before you start filling up your storage space with random stuff, look at how you want to organize your storage unit first.

You’ll be glad you took the time to organize your unit so things will be easily accessible when needed.

You don’t want your storage unit to become a mess of boxes full of things you need but never use.

And trying to step in between boxes and furniture to get what you’re looking for can be dangerous if you trip and fall.

You don’t want to spend time digging through old stuff when the weather is terrible or the timing isn’t convenient. If you plan ahead to organize your storage unit, you won’t have to deal with any unnecessary hassles later on.

So avoid the hassle — here are some tips for filling your storage unit.

Organize storage unit tips and tricks 7 Self Storage Tips & Tricks to Store More in Your Space

Get Organized by Making a Plan

Make sure you know exactly what you’re storing and where it goes. This will give you added peace of mind in what could be a stressful time for many people.

Read everything here first so you have the general guidelines while packing your storage unit.

If you have multiple storage units, keep track of each one separately. When you move into a new home, you may end up moving your belongings from one storage unit to another.

This is especially true if you rent a storage unit for short-term needs. It’s best to keep track of where your belongings are located so you can find them quickly.

When you’re ready to fill your storage unit, make sure you label everything clearly. Use permanent markers or tape labels to mark items as they come in.

This way, you’ll know what’s inside each box without opening it. You can also write down the contents of each box to ensure you remember what was stored there.

Make an itemized list of your groups of belongings.
Make an itemized list of your groups of belongings.

1. Have an Itemized List of Your Boxes

After you’ve labeled all of your boxes, create an itemized list of each box. Although it may sound ominous, it’ll help in the long run.

Please write down the box number and all the box contents, and do this for each box and item that you are storing.

This way you’ll have a reference sheet for what items are where. It might even save you an unnecessary trip to your storage unit if what you;’re seeking is not there.

You could even put this list into your computer.

Map Each Item When Placing
Map each item when placing them into your storage unit

2. Map Each Item When Placing

Once you’ve moved your items and boxes over to your unit, start by filling the unit with the heavier and more sturdy boxes.

Pack the unit based on similar groups, such as living room items, dining room, bedroom, kitchen, etc.

As you put each of these items into place in your storage unit, get your itemized list with the box numbers.

Use a new sheet of paper and make a simple overhead sketch of your storage unit. Then map the box locations out on this sketch as the boxes are put into place.

Clear plastic bins can help organize small and large items while also allowing you to see what's in each bin.
Clear plastic bins can help organize small and large items while also allowing you to see what’s in each bin.


Use clear bins to organize your boxed items. This will make it easier to see what you’re looking at when it’s time to unpack or to move things around in your new place. This little tip to organize storage unit will let you see everything at a glance instead of digging through hundreds of boxes to find that one you need.


Stack carefully with heavier boxes on the bottom.
Stack carefully with heavier boxes on the bottom.

3. Stack Carefully but Deliberately

To get the most out of your storage space, you need to use height to your advantage. Many storage units here are 10 ft. high (tall).

Heavy items low, fragile items high. As a reminder when you’re stacking items, be sure to put the heavy and sturdy boxes or items on the bottom.

Then stack the lighter (or smaller) boxes on top to prevent boxes from getting crushed or unexpectedly falling. Creatively look at ways to stack furniture — such as placing chairs one upside down on the other as a way to save space.

It’s kind of like that favorite Jenga game, where each piece fits in a certain spot.

If you have a lot of small items that take up a lot of space, consider using a dolly to transport them around. This way you can easily maneuver them around your storage unit.

Place important items to the front for quick access.
Place important items to the front for quick access.

4. Important Items to the Front

Anything you’ll use frequently should be stored near the front of your storage space. So when you need those things, they’re always readily available and you don’t have to go digging for them.

These could be things like Christmas decorations, holiday decorations, seasonal items, sports items, school uniforms, antiques, and important documents.

Make a note on your itemized list of which items are higher priority so you can place those to the front.

The main thing is you don’t want to go shopping for new replacement items to replace those things that were too difficult to reach in your storage.

I’ve done that and learned my lesson.

Take the bigger items and try to break them down as much as possible
Take the larger items and break them down as much as possible.

5. Make Big Things Smaller

If you have the chance, take the bigger items and try to break them down as much as possible (without damaging them).

For example, furniture is substantial and takes up space, so break it down as much as possible to minimize the storage space used.

Disassemble bed frames, headboards, entertainment centers and hutches into their basic parts. Store tables vertically by removing the table legs.

Use old sheets, quilts and/or blankets to cover the furniture so that dust and moisture don’t collect.

This is also a perfect time to clean your furniture with your favorite cleaner or polish. Clean upholstered and leather furniture with a portable hand vacuum before placing covers over them.

Making a small walkway near the center of your storage unit can help reach most of your stored belongings.
Making a small walkway near the center of your storage unit can help reach most of your stored belongings.

6. Create a Small Walkway

As soon as you start thinking about storing furniture, glassware, and even paintings – it becomes obvious how challenging it would be to get at those objects from inside your storage unit.

Making a small walkway near the center of your storage unit can help reach those things and also save you from scraping a shin.

You’ll have plenty of space for your stuff, and you’ll be able to get to any boxes stored in the back of your self storage unit.

Keep your items safe
Keep your items safe

7. Keep Your Items Safe

Once you’ve filled your storage unit, you’ll want to protect your belongings.

The most common method used today is to place your items in plastic bins. These are available at many retail stores and online retailers. They’re inexpensive, easy to transport and stackable.

Although they do cost more than cardboard boxes and that’s something to consider when purchasing 50 of one or the other.

As mentioned, another option is to use cardboard boxes. Some people prefer these because they’re more durable than plastic storage bins. However, they’re bulky and can be difficult to transport.

On our latest move, we used lots of cardboard boxes and so far it’s worked out fine. We got the boxes from Home Depot and UHaul.

Another popular choice is to use sturdy shelving especially if your storage rental is part of a long term solution. Nice inexpensive shelves can be found at big box retailers like Home Depot and Sam’s Club.

Shelves are great for keeping smaller items safe and out of reach — and can allow you to store items up higher.

Whatever type of container you choose, make sure it’s strong enough to hold whatever you put inside it. Don’t use flimsy containers as you may return later to an unexpected surprise.

The last thing you want is for a flimsy box or container to collapse onto a person and possibly injuring them.


How to Organize Storage Unit

After you’ve packed your storage unit, you should store it properly.

Make sure you store your storage unit in an area that’s well ventilated. Keep windows open and doors closed to allow air circulation.

Don’t forget to turn off the heat or air conditioning during winter months. This will help prevent mold growth.

Also, make sure you clean your storage unit regularly. Dust buildup can cause mildew and other problems.

And finally, don’t leave your storage unit unattended or unlocked. Thieves love to break into unsecured storage units. So always lock your storage unit whenever you aren’t using it and select a storage facility with good security.


Create a 1 1/2 to 2 foot wide walkway in the middle of your unit. Have that walkway extend back almost to the back wall. In the future when you come back — if you need to look for something specific, it will be so much easier to access.

Clever Time Saving Tips

Keep your storage lock key in an easy to find place.
Keep your storage lock key in an easy to find place.

1. Each storage unit has a lock. Keep your lock key in a place where you can always remember to find it. And label it. Two keys are even better – you can put one with your car clicker so you always know where it is. I can tell you that it’s super frustrating to show up at the storage center — then go through the gate driving to the unit — only to discover you have the wrong keys.

Having a small broom handy can help with a quick clean of your storage unit.
Having a small broom handy can help with a quick clean of your storage unit.

2. Your storage unit should be clean when you first arrive. Having a small broom with you to do that “extra cleaning” can help protect your items.

Having a cell phone picture of your gate code may be useful at some time in the future.
Having a cell phone picture of your gate code may be useful at some time in the future.

3. The storage center gives you a card with the gate passcode. Take a picture of that passcode with your cell phone. That way, you have quick access to the Entrance and Exit code in case you need it. For example, if your storage solution phone app doesn’t want to open the gate this time.

4. Always enter the gate exit code when leaving – instead of conveniently following the exiting car in front of you. That helps your storage center with their security.


If you’re still not sure what to pack inside your storage unit , you can always call a local self-storage company and ask if they have an expert that can help you decide what to pack inside — or if they’ll be able to help you in any other way.

The best storage rates are often kept secret. Even though many storage spaces are sold out right now, the right call can locate a good space nearby.

Call now to get an estimate and reserve your space — all within 5 minutes.