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How to Properly Store Your Items So You’re Not Trapped Between a Mattress and a Hard Place

Admittedly, I was never was good at Tetris. And in finding myself firmly stuck behind a mattress and 11 boxes of books behind me, next to me, and well, falling on me, I guess my short-comings in long-term storage were finally coming to a head.


When I moved to San Diego I wasn’t planning on using a storage unit for very long, hence I didn’t label my belongings too well. However, my current house doesn’t quite have the space for 11 boxes of books, three boxes of photos, and one extra mattress.  Thus, the temporary storage unit became a long-term solution.


Unfortunately, my storage unit is a bit like a black hole: full of mass and no direction. On this particular occasion I was searching for an old children’s book. The author was in town for a rare signing and I was determined to locate this old book somewhere in this stored mess.


However, when every book box is the same color, roughly the same size, and are all labeled “Books”, finding the proper paperback was no easy task.  After much ripping and shredding later I was in danger of never leaving this prison of pointy cardboard corners without my prized book.


To prevent this kind of chaos in your life, I have a few suggestions:


Label Everything


No, you won’t remember what’s in the 8th anonymous box in the unit six months later. Take the extra time to label everything with a bit of a description.  Instead of writing things like “Kitchen” try writing “Kitchen mugs and cups”. This way there’s never a guess of what’s inside those newspaper wrappings.


Heavy to Light


Yes, moving the mattress and dresser to the back of the unit will take the most time and energy, but it should be done first. This makes it easier to navigate through your unit when you need to find something.


Important Things to the Front


This one seems obvious but it didn’t prevent me from putting things in locations based on available space instead of importance of use. As you stock up your storage unit, really think about what you’re going to need the most access to going into the future. Keep those items, like coats and blankets, near the front while lesser important items, like photos and paper records, should go in the back.


You never want to think of your storage unit as a mess of cardboard towers. Keep it organized and it keep it clean. You’ll thank yourself down the road.