Spring Cleaning Your Storage Unit

Due to the Coronavirus outbreak and the resulting shutdown of most public places, you’ve probably got more time on your hands than you had before. If you’re looking for something to do, you might want to consider heading over to your storage unit and doing a good spring cleaning.

First Things First

Start the process by figuring out what you have. If your storage unit is chock-full of boxes, it’s time to pull those out one-by-one and see what’s inside. Hopefully you labeled each box to determine what was inside each to begin with. But either way, you’ll still want to open them up.

Determine if the contents are still things you need. For instance, if you’ve got a box full of your child’s clothes, are these items still necessary to hold onto, especially if your child is now a grown teen? Probably not.

As you can probably guess, the next step is start making a few piles. One pile will be stuff you want to donate to Goodwill or Salvation Army. Another pile can be stuff you want to give away to friends or family. And yet another pile can be stuff you’ve decided just to throw away.

Combine Boxes

Once you’ve gone through your boxes, there will undoubtedly be some boxes with relatively little in them. See what you can do to combine boxes to give you more space in your storage unit. You may have to relabel your boxes at this point. Or, if you hadn’t done this yet, now is a good time to label your boxes.

Do I Really Need This?


As you go through your items, you need to be honest with yourself about whether you really need the item or if you’re just holding onto it for sentimental reasons or for some future use that may never come to fruition. These are tough decisions, especially if the item brings back a fond memory from your past. It may also be a problem if the item is large such as a couch or dresser. If you decide to get rid of it, you have to get it out of there. Knowing that you might want to purge large items, it may make sense to bring a pick-up truck or bigger vehicle to haul these things away.

Organizing Your Storage Unit


Now that you’ve purged what can be purged and combined boxes, you should have more room in your unit. The next step should be to organize everything. If your stuff is still in old cardboard boxes, you may want to transfer them to new boxes that are stronger. Or you might want to consider buying see-through plastic totes. Not only are these more durable, but it can help you readily identify the contents at a glance. If you didn’t have any before, bring in some steel shelving units to put your boxes or totes on. Getting your boxes off the concrete floor of your storage unit will protect them from any moisture that could seep in. Plus, you’ll be able to use the verticality of your unit to stack things higher than you normally would.

Anther organizational step would be to create better flow in your unit. Over time, storage units become almost like an archaeological dig. The oldest stuff is at the back of your unit and the newest is at the front. Think through how often you need to access your items. If there are seasonal things like decorations or clothes, these might go closer to the front since you’ll be getting at them a little more frequently. Other items like family memorabilia you might want to put further back. Try to create a U-shaped path that allows you to get at stuff from every wall in your unit as well as the center. Also try to think about the future. Plan for space to store additional items that you’ll undoubtedly collect and need storage for.

By doing a little spring cleaning of your storage unit, you may uncover treasures that had forgotten about. You may also save yourself some money by not having to move into a larger unit when your current size may suit you just fine.

About the Author: Derek Hines

About the Author: Derek Hines

Digital Marketing Specialist

Derek is originally from the great state of Wisconsin (go Badgers), but is slowly becoming a Pacific Northwesterner. As part of the Digital Marketing team, he writes extensively on storage, moving and life for West Coast Self-Storage, based in Everett, Washington.