How to Pack Your Belongings in Boxes for Self-Storage

When it comes time to move into self-storage, one of the first items on your to-do list is packing your belongings into boxes for storage. Certainly not the most glamourous task: packing boxes is a very important step in the storage process. If you go about this the wrong way, you could be retrieving your items from storage in worse shape than when they went into storage.

With that in mind, we at PUPS Containers have compiled the following tips for how to best pack boxes so that their contents remain safe, and so that you can locate items in your boxes with ease.

Boxes over plastic

While you may be tempted to take the easy route of tossing your belongings in garbage bags, you should know that this is not a good strategy for a number of reasons. Bags do not stack on top of each other easily. Bags rip, exposing their contents to dirt, dust, and potential damage. Plastic does not breathe, which can damage sensitive belongings

Similarly, plastic containers bring the risk of damaging sensitive items. While they will stack easier than garbage bags, they typically have lids with lips and/or their shape has angled sides, meaning that, while they stack, they also leave gaps between stacks, which doesn’t occupy the storage space in full.

Boxes, on the other hand, stack perfectly tight together, remain sealed, and will allow the contents to breathe.

Boxes of the same kin

Always attempt to use boxes from the same source. Purchasing boxes from a multitude of places, or collecting random boxes from wherever possible, will leave you with uneven stacks that will both waste space and probably not be as sturdy as boxes from the same source.

Boxes purchased at one source will all be of the same base size, meaning the height changes (for bigger boxes), but the length and width remain the same. This is done on purpose so that when you stack boxes on top of each other, they fit together tightly and securely.

Boxes of the right size

Be sure to pack boxes with the appropriate items according to their size. Do not pack books in large boxes, as the box will both be incredibly heavy and may also risk in collapsing under the heavy weight.

Use larger boxes for lighter items, such as clothes, linens, toys, lamp shades, etc., and use smaller boxes for the heavier items, like books, tools, photo albums, etc.

Boxes filled the right side up

Boxes should always be filled the right side up. Any writing on the outside of the box needs to be readable without flipping the box around, which can damage anything inside the box. If the contents are glassware or other fragile items, always write “Fragile” on the outside of each side of the box and its top.

Boxes filled from one space

Do not travel around the house filling a box with items from all over. This makes thing incredibly difficult to find when you need them, and will be a pain to unpack after storage. Instead, always try to fill each box with items from one particular space. If you do this, then you’ll know what’s inside without having to write a novel on the exterior of the box – a simple “Contents of master bedroom nightside tables” will be enough to know what to find in the box when you need to.

Boxes must be filled

Always fill boxes entirely. Try not to take items from other rooms to fill the box (as per above), but a box that isn’t completely full will become vulnerable to being crushed if anything is put on top of it.

Even if you don’t have any items to put into the box, fill any remaining space with crushed paper, especially the 4 corners, to ensure there is little movement inside the box or the possibility of being crushed.

Boxes with fragile items

If you are packing glassware, china, or the like, be sure to wrap these items with paper before putting them in the box. Stay away from using any newsprint, as ink from the paper will likely stain your belongings.

Again, add extra paper in between items and on the top of the box, especially the corners, to ensure the box is as sturdy as possible and that its contents will not shift during transport.

Boxes for hanging clothes

There are boxes made specifically for hanging clothes that allow your clothes to continue to hang during transport and their stay in storage. These wardrobe boxes are about 4 feet high, and come with a bar to hang your clothes from that crosses the top of the box. Any clothes that may be harmed if they are folded for too long should be put in one of these boxes.

Usually, there will be space left in the bottom of the wardrobe carton after you’ve filled it with your clothes. If you feel the need to utilize this space, then very light items, perhaps shoes, extra clothes hangers, kids’ balls from the garage, or other such items can go in the bottom. Be warry of how much weight you are putting in there though, and, obviously, for the sake of your clothes, do not put anything dirty in there.

Boxes should be sealed

Always seal boxes securely, taping across their opening tightly, but also sealing the cracks near corners: this will ensure dust does not get inside the box easily. Take a flat object and run it over the tape to guarantee it is securely stuck to the cardboard box.

Boxes must be labelled

With a full box, you need to label this properly so that you know what’s inside. This will help dramatically when you need something specific from storage, and when it comes time to move out of storage.

As we mentioned above, stick to contents from one space, label according to that space (with the least amount of writing possible), and cover all sides and top of the box with these labels. Wherever the box ends up in storage, regardless of its position, you’ll be able to read what’s in it.

With boxes packed and labelled properly, you’ll have finished what some think is the worst task of any moving job – and your items will be well-protected, and easily accessible if needed. If you have any questions about how best to pack or the materials you might require, speak with your PUPS Containers agent today.