Suddenly, you realize you need a storage unit to get the Christmas decorations out of the way while you redo the basement. So, you go over to the nearest storage facility and you rent out the only unit they have available. They say it can fit an entire home if packed correctly. You rent the space even though it is bigger than you need, but the price to rent is cheap. You go home and pack up the Christmas decorations and while your at it, you throw in a couple of garden hoses that may or may not have a leak in them and an old tire, a bag of winter coats and a box of blankets. You go back to the new storage unit and just throw everything inside, slam down the door, put on a lock and go back home. The next week, you take three bikes, a couple of boxes of kitchen junk and grandma’s old table that you haven’t quite figured out where to put it yet. The week after that, you take over the old lounge chair and the outdoor furniture. You keep this task up for a couple of months and you can not remember what you stuck in the storage unit at the very beginning nor can you find whatever it was. A big problem in having a storage unit of any size is stuff getting lost in the mess and being forgotten about. If you had created an inventory list and a map of the unit way back in the beginning…things would be so much easier now. So…we recommend that you start a storage unit inventory list today.
If space is an issue at home, or you just want to keep things neat and orderly, renting a storage unit is a great way to maintain a clutter free, organized home. Before you put anything in to that unit, write it down. If you already have a unit and can’t find anything in it, spend a Saturday hauling everything out and putting it all back in with an inventory list on hand. Organizing a storage unit is as easy as categorizing and labeling everything and then documenting that information into a storage inventory. It may take a little longer to fill your storage space in the beginning, but ultimately being organized will increase your efficiency. That way, you won’t spend hours rooting around your unit to find things you need. The three main reasons for an organized storage unit with an inventory list are first, when you need to find an item, you’ll be able to go straight to the correct box to retrieve it. Without an inventory list, you will have to go through box after box until you find what you need. Second, it can save you money. Often times, people need to find a specific item right away. If they have trouble finding it at home, they may simply buy a replacement, even if it is an expensive item. Third, it can give you peace of mind. You may wonder if you even stored a certain item. You can simply check your inventory to see that you did.
Start by making a list with categories. These categories describe what you are storing and can be Household, Kitchen, Yard, Son’s bedroom, Christmas, Halloween and so on. Then, create category inventory sheets. Put the title of the category at the top of each sheet and start matching that with the related box. For example, you might have a box labeled Son’s Bedroom 1. You would write Son’s Bedroom at the top of the related sheet, and then list everything in the box.
For each item, write the name, quantity, and value. The last bit is so that you can figure out how much insurance you’ll need to cover all your items. Also, if a box gets stolen, you can show the insurance company exactly what was in the box along with its value. Organize all of those items that fit into the particular category together and either pack them together in boxes or have the boxes gathered in one spot. Then, moved them into a part of the storage unit together. Some people will tape the floor of the unit with each of their categories so that when things come in and out, they will always go back to the same area. Others will create a floor map and keep it on a wall at the front of the unit. You will need to get into the habit of returning items to the general area of their category. If you use storage bins you should label them with the contents enclosed. You can also put numbers on boxes that match up to numbers on a list. Everything that is in the box will be written down and corresponds to the number on the list. Then, a map should be made of where each numbered box is located in the unit. Think of your unit as a company’s warehouse. In a warehouse there is usually a labeling system in place, but there is also an inventory list, usually a digital one. This is organization on a large scale, but the same methodology can be applied to any organization project such as a family storage unit.
A simple inventory should at the very least include a list of all the items and their general location. For a more complex inventory could be the previously mentioned numbering system. First, number the totes or boxes with a permanent marker. Next, on your inventory sheet, write the number on the box in one column and the contents in the description area. In the last column note the location of the item. You can also create a reference list with details about the contents of the boxes and containers.
For the purpose of insurance, take pictures of the inside of boxes just in case you don’t write everything down and take pictures of everything outside of the boxes.Taking pictures can help with mapping, especially if you are a very visual person. If you ever need to make a claim, not only will you know where everything is, but you will have proof of what you owned.
Google sheets is a very easy way to create, update, and manage your inventory. Create a Google Sheet like a spreadsheet in Google Drive. It is a very simple tool that will give you access to your inventory across all of your devices. It lets you add and subtract items as they move back and forth from home to storage and it keeps everything very simple and easy to update. A digital storage inventory is beneficial for many reasons. It’s easy to search your list and it is easy to keep multiple copies of your inventory list as a file on your computer, a removable storage device, or even in the Cloud.
So…before you rent a storage unit, whether is is for just a few weeks or for a very long time, you should plan ahead and start with a storage inventory. Then, when you start loading up that unit, you can make the move in easy by having everything laid out in the right place. When you need things in the future, you can just run in and run out because it was so easy to find. Developing an inventory list of your storage items gives you a better idea of what you have in your unit.