Most Common Self-Storage Mistakes People Make

Self-storage units offer many different types of utility. They can hold your goods while you are moving, help when you have decided to declutter, and have more space in your current home, or you can even use them to help run your business. The problem arises, however, when people fall prey to some of the most common self-storage mistakes. These mistakes can stop you from achieving optimal use of the space. The best way to prevent these (and any other) errors is to be informed about them.

Not Keeping a Record of Items

Take the time to compile a list of everything you will be moving into your self-storage unit. No matter how good your memory is, it is easy to forget what you placed into the storage unit. This can be very problematic when trying to find certain things later. Keeping a precise record of everything you had transferred to the storage unit is the smart way to know where to look when you inevitably need to find something. Making sure you know what you have been keeping in your self-storage unit can help immensely with insurance.

Forgetting to Plan Well

Before moving your things into the self-storage unit, the best idea is to have a detailed plan of the whole process.

The first part of your plan should be the order in which you will be taking your things there if you have too many things to do in one trip. Our recommendation is to follow this order as the base of your plan and then personalize it with slight variations that suit your needs:

  1. Old and large personal belongings ( ex. furniture, paintings) that you will not be needing anytime soon
  2. Smaller things that you know you will not be taking out soon
  3. Larger items that you might need soon
  4. Smaller items that you know you will be periodically taking in and out

This order is helpful so you can place things you don’t need in the far back and work towards the front. When packing things in boxes, you may also want to label them according to which trip they will be taking. Another thing it would be great for you to think of a list of categories and mark items and boxes.

Most Common Self-Storage Mistakes People Make
The best prevention for these common self-storage mistakes is to have a detailed plan.


An important part of a good plan is having a predetermined organization of the space. This can mean making a list or even a little blueprint of how you will be using the space.

Picking The Wrong Self-Storage Unit Size

One of the most common self-storage mistakes people make is deciding to take too much on when choosing a storage unit. It would be best if you didn’t assume that bigger is better. You should only have a large storage unit if you need the space. Having a large storage unit solely for the sake of having one is a waste of money.

The best option is to select one that is well suited for accommodating all of your belongings while leaving a small amount of extra space for any changes that need to be made later. It’s better to pay less rent for two years and then make a one-time payment to transfer to a larger one when you decide it’s necessary than to pay more for the same amount of time for no reason.

Using Self-Storage for Clutter is a Mistake You Should Especially Avoid

A big part of choosing the right size unit is knowing exactly what needs to be stored in it. That is where many people often fall prey to this self-storage mistake. You shouldn’t waste space in your unit with clutter. And the problem isn’t just wasting space. As we’ve said, the problem is also that you can have the wrong idea of how big of a unit you actually need. You have to have a plan in place for what you’ll store and what to throw away.

A cluttered self-storage unit
One of the more serious mistakes to avoid is wasting money by storing things you don’t need in your unit.


A good idea for dealing with this problem is to collect everything you want to be moving into one pile. Then, pick everything up one by one and see if you actually need to store it. In the end, you should have three separate piles:

  1. Things that you’ll be storing in the unit;
  2. Things you’ll keep but don’t need to be sent to the unit (ex. you have a place for them in your house);
  3. Things you don’t need and will throw away.

Not Visiting the Self-Storage Unit Often Enough

There are many variables that have to be taken into account when deciding how often you should visit your unit. A good rule of thumb would be to visit it at least once a month. However, if you are storing things that are temperature sensitive, that number increases. Storing expensive or valuable items also does that. But if the only thing you’re storing is some extra materials from a recent renovation, visiting once every 2-3 months is quite enough.

Packaging Wrongly Can Cause Multiple Common Self-Storage Mistakes

We have already mentioned the importance of having a well-organized unit and making a plan of how it should be organized. However, people also tend to make some common self-storage mistakes within the organization and packing process.

To avoid potentially losing time and money, let’s go through some of the best tips to follow.

Related things should go in the same box.

Your motivation for putting things together in one box should not be that two objects just fit together. An example of what not to do would be putting office goods in the same box as culinary products.

Organize boxes together so it’s possible for you to move around.

Your goal when organizing the boxes in the self-storage unit should be to be able to reach everything easily. When the storage area is crammed with boxes and objects, there is nowhere to move around and find what you need.

Not labeling the boxes.

We have already talked about labeling boxes, so you know in which order to take them to the unit. However, you can also label them by category. This way, you’ll more easily identify which box contains which items. This also saves time since you won’t have to open every one of them until you find what you need.

Using Discount or Unfit Packing Materials

Packing your items correctly is a critical part of proper storing practices. Wrapping goods in printed newspapers risk the ink from the newspaper bleeding onto items, causing stains. Choose good quality packing supplies, like sturdy bubble wrap or packing foam to protect fragile objects.

Foam packaging material
Packaging foam is always a better option than paper.


Experts from advise asking the management of your storage facility for recommendations on where to get package supplies, as well as which ones you should buy. Some self-storage facility managers have connections and business relationships with certain supply providers. This means that they might be able to get you a discount or give you a coupon.

Storing Food in Self-Storage Units is a Common Self-Storage Mistake

Another self-storage mistake that you have to keep in mind is storing food in a unit. Generally speaking, you should avoid storing any kind of food in a self-storage unit. However, there can be some exceptions. Aside from the other upsides of climate-controlled units, an amazing thing about renting one is that it lets you can store canned food in them. If you don’t live in an area that experiences extreme climate (heat, cold, humidity), you can also get away with canned foods in regular units.

If properly packaged, certain dry grains can also be stored in climate-controlled units. However, all perishables are always off the table.


Now that you are aware of some common self-storage mistakes most people make, you can be sure that you are getting the full use of your self-storage unit. Remember to take time out of your schedule before signing for a unit. Try to make a good plan. You could perhaps even draw a small blueprint or diagram. Making sure you get the most out of your storage unit can make the difference between being a terrific investment and wasting money.

Author: admin