Prepare a detailed inventory of the items you are placing in storage and photograph the more valuable items.

•Using boxes of the same size will make stacking easy and will result in your using less space. Label the boxes on all sides. Mark "fragile" on any boxes containing breakable items. Group by fragility or weight - heavier, sturdier items should be stored on the bottom of stacked items

•Try to fill boxes to the top, even if it is just padding. Boxes that are only half-filled tend to collapse if anything is placed on top of them. Seal boxes with masking tape.

•Pack books flat to avoid damage to their spines.
•Use unprinted packing paper (newspaper can stain your items), bubble wrap or foam sheets to wrap and cushion your household goods.

•For items which are prone to rust, wipe them down with some machine oil (WD-40 works well). Place hoes and shovels in a plastic garbage container.

•Apply a heavy coat of furniture polish before storing wood items.

•To protect your items from dust, cover them with moving pads, sheets or blankets, not plastic.

•Store frequently used items near the front of the unit to avoid having to search for them.

•Disassemble items such as tables and bed frames to save space. Put all hardware in bags and label them.

•When you disassemble electronics, such as computers and stereos, place small colored stickers on the cords and the same color sticker where the cord goes.

•Most storage facilities have ample security. However, it is wise to take a few precautions of your own against theft. Place the most valuable items in the back of your unit. Hide or box up all electronics in boxes without markings. Most thieves are looking for electronics because they are easier to pawn. Purchase the highest quality lock for your unit. In fact, consider not putting your valuables in storage in the first place.

•If you have leased a non-climate controlled unit, the humidity in the unit can cause mildew of your clothes so pack them in plastic tubs or invest in wardrobe boxes with built-in hanging rods. Vacuum sealed bags also work well for clothes, draperies and bedding.

•Separate lamp bases and lamp shades and wrap them for protection. •When storing a vacuum cleaner, clean out the canister or throw away the bag as mold, bacteria or vermin can accumulate.

•If you are storing a refrigerator or washer make sure it is dry inside and leave the door open.

•Leave a space between your goods and the walls of the unit to allow air to circulate. Concrete floors can sweat in the summer so place boxes on wooden pallets as cardboard tends to absorb moisture.

•Under no circumstances should you store anything flammable or combustible. If you are storing lawn equipment drain the gas tank before storing.

•Storage facilities insure their buildings, not the items you store. You should insure your goods. If your belongings are worth storing, they are worth insuring. Check with your homeowners or renters insurance to see if your items are covered while in storage.

•Do not store perishables (food, pet food or other items which could attract rodents or pests.)

•Consider having awkward or heavy pieces such as exercise equipment packed professionally.

•Be sure to check your unit at least once a month.

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