Storage Units for All

A friend of mine had to have her  mother move in with she and her husband. Everyone was happy and things were going well. But, a bit later, my friend’s adult son found himself in a life-changing situation and he too moved in with his young son (Evelyn’s grandson) in tow.

My friend told me recently that she was so happy and excited to have the whole family under one roof! They had tried to get everyone’s furniture worked into the house in a comfortable arrangement. But, since they were dealing with four generations, there had to be a lot of discussion on who needed what furniture and where should it go. The grandson liked a play area in the family room and he promised to keep it nice and tidy. The adult son needed a quiet area for working on resumes and taking phone calls for business applications. Grandma wanted an “alone” space where she could watch her special TV shows and knit. My friend’s great talent is cooking and baking, so everyone agreed that the kitchen is my friend’s special place. Of course, her husband had created a “Man Cave” in the garage and he was pleased as punch that it would remain his after they removed all of the extra things that had recently been stored out there.

After everyone had created a space of their own, things that were left over were put in the garage and divided as to whom it belonged to. Then they began the phone calls to Storage Facilities.

They found that renting by the square foot got cheaper as the unit got bigger. Because this was the coming together of THREE separate families, they decided that if they rented a 10’ X 30’, they could divide it up in three 10’ x 10’ sections and evenly divide the rent. They also discovered that the average rent for a 10’ x 10’ unit in our town runs $100 per month.  The average cost of a 10’ x 30’ is $175 per month. Of course, her family decided on the biggest unit and each “family” would contribute $58 a month!  Big savings if they each rented a separate unit!

I asked my friend how were they going to work it out to have access. Well I guess, our home improvement stores are going to be the big winners because everyone collectively decided that they were going to divide each section with back-to-back shelves. Evelyn and her husband decided that they were going to take the section in the far back because most of the stuff they were giving up in the house were all things they rarely used and really wouldn’t need to get to often. My friend’s mother is taking the middle section since much of her belongings are memorabilia and keepsakes. She had gotten rid of a huge part of her belongings when she sold her home and moved in with my friend.  So, the front of the unit would be totally dedicated to my friend’s son and grandson. It all seemed extremely logical and very organized to me! But it took work, compromise and some rearranging. It also took some googling and internet research. Here are a few suggestions that were found to be highly organized and logical about a three family set up in one storage unit situation.

How to Setup a storage unit for maximum access.

(A) Keep a simple diagram inside your unit that shows where everything is located. Put together a diagram BEFORE you move in so that you can put everything in its designated place. Keep this diagram taped to the wall inside the unit so that you can easily find everything quickly.  If things get moved around for some reason or get taken out, make sure you update the diagram.


(B) Create an aisle  In the case of my friend’s family, the aisle will go down one side of the unit. The center is probably the most desired position since you would be able to reach in to either side all the way back to the wall.  A large or wider unit would allow two aisles, one in the center and one along a wall.  If you are unable to create an aisle down the middle, be sure to keep things you may need often in the front of the unit so they are easily accessible. Things such as important documents, Christmas decorations, children’s winter clothing, tools and so on.


(C) Label boxes with as much detail as possible so that you can identify everything that is inside the box. Try to keep “Like” items together. Mark boxes that may be inside dressers or cabinets. Pack everything just like you are moving long distance. Use bubble wrap and heavy papers. Even though the storage unit is being used like basement storage or a garage, you never know what the future will bring and the packing can be considered half done! Don’t pack your boxes too heavily. You want to make sure you can easily pick them up and move them about without hurting yourself or needing assistance. Sometimes using many smaller boxes is easier than using a few large ones, especially if you cannot lift them alone.


(D) Pallets placed on the floor of the storage unit before moving in can help things on all sorts of levels. Keeping your items off the floor is important. You never know when something may leak or there is a flood or some other event that can dampen your items. By putting everything on pallets, you create a form of airflow under your things and can help with keeping the musty smell of old boxes and stale air away from permeating things that are dear to you. And another precaution is to place moisture absorbers, mothballs and rat bait in key areas!


(E) Put items that you will NOT be using way in the back of your unit or way up high.  Seasonal items like clothing or Holiday decorations should be the next level and then the things you intend to get to quite often should be stored near the front and about waist high.

(F) Put all furniture against the walls. Things like tables and chests can become shelves and couches can have “soft” items like comforters or pillows stacked on them in plastic bags.

These are just some of the most important suggestions and ideas when you are using a Frequent Access Storage Unit. The right way to pack and organize your things in a self storage facility will help prevent damage and ensure that your things will last for years to come.

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