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.


By Aaron

Articles by Aaron. Having travelled across the country, I've rented several units over the years along with finding a place for the boat and a place for the RV. I've got several favorite storage centers. Since I have a Bachelor of Science Degree, several of my friends ask me where to get the best storage rates. Fortunately, I know exactly how to help them. That's why this information on this website is here to help as many people as possible.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *