A refrigerator or freezer should be thoroughly dry and stored upright with its door slightly ajar. Some items can be stored inside large appliances. Cartons can be stacked on top of stoves, refrigerators, and freezers. Make sure that stove and cooking equipment are cleaned before they are stored.
Clothing, curtains, and drapes should be stored on hangers. If hanging facilities are not available, such items should be carefully folded and stored in dresser drawers or cedar chests along with bedding and linens. Some facilities sell wardrobe style, cardboard cartons, which help protect your clothes. Food crumbs or stains should be removed before storage. Avoid storing anything that will attract rodents.
Pack books flat to protect their spines. Do not place boxes directly on the floor. Use pallets or skids to prevent moisture. Use packing to fill out empty pockets in the cartons. Do not pack fragile items in the same carton with books. Do not overload.
Place a layer of packing inside the bottom and top of the cartons containing glassware. Label all cartons. All glass items should be individually wrapped. Nest cups and bowls and stand plates, saucers and platters on edge. Wrapped glasses should be placed toward the top of the carton. Many self-storage businesses sell special boxes for packing dishes & glassware.
Place a pallet, cardboard mat, or plastic sheet on the floor and stand sofas and mattresses on end. Disassemble beds and tables and wrap the legs in paper. If a table will not disassemble, place padding on the floor and place the table on its top with the legs pointing up. Use dresser tops for stacking cartons and dresser drawers for linens or small, delicate items. Keep upholstery off the floor. Most lightweight chairs should be stacked "seat to seat" or placed upside down on tables that cannot be disassembled. Place a light dust cover over your furniture.
Wrap large lamp bases in padding. Wrap smaller lamps and place them in cartons. Pack delicate lampshades separately. Do not use newsprint to wrap lamps shades or any other goods that may be damaged by ink stains. Do not store heavy items atop cartons containing lamps or lampshades.
Metal tools should be cleaned and wiped with a rag containing a few drops of machine oil to retard rust. Long-handled tools such as rakes, shovels, and hoes should be clean, lightly oiled, and tied in bundles.
Inspect your storage unit and make a list of packing accessories you will need. Commonly used packing aids include such items as newsprint or wrapping paper, bubble-wrap, tape, rope, drop cloths, polyurethane sheeting, mattress and furniture covers, pallets, skids, dehumidifiers, and cartons. The manager may have some or all of these items for sale on the premises.
Place a pallet on the floor. Do not lean items against walls. Leaving air space around the unit's perimeter will aid ventilation. Leave a walkway to the rear of the unit. Use all the space available, including its height. Disassemble items such as bed frames.
Fill containers to capacity. Partially full or bulging cartons may tip or collapse. Heavy items such as books or tools should be packed in small boxes. If a carton is too heavy, it will be hard to lift and should be divided between two or more cartons.