If you are between homes, or have less space available than you need, you may need a storage unit. The two things to keep in mind when looking for a storage unit are cost and location. As is the case with anything, you're looking for more bang for your buck. You also want the unit as close to your home as possible for practical reasons.
Storage units typically work best with items that you will retrieve but that you lack space for in your current home. Find units that are convenient and accessible, and for which you can provide your own lock and key for added security. Units come in a variety of shapes and sizes to fit an individual's needs.
If you have heavier items for storage, many self-storage units will provide a pickup, although you may be obligated to keep the items at the unit for a specific period of time. As with any agreement that you sign, read it carefully, ask questions and understand the terms.
There are a number of simple ways to locate a storage unit. You can use the business listings of your phone book, ask friends or acquaintances for recommendations, or plug your ZIP code into the search engine of some on-line storage sites for a list of those in your area.
Furniture: Cover all furniture and disassemble if possible; wrap table legs with packing paper as scratch protection; use blankets or a pallet of some type between the furniture and the floor of the unit; place assembled tables top down on the floor with legs pointing toward the ceiling; stack chairs seat to seat with cloth or paper separating them; avoid stacking or leaning furniture against outside walls.
Breakables: Wrap plates, saucers and bowls individually before placing them in a china carton; use a china carton divider kit for additional protection; fill paper into bottom, top and empty spaces in the carton.
Books and valuable papers: Use file boxes; they are generally considered the best containers for important documents; pack books flat and fill empty spaces to minimize movement; do not overfill cartons with books because they are heavy.
Large appliances and equipment: Leave appliance doors slightly ajar; moisture and mildew will damage valuables so make sure refrigerators and freezers are clean and dry; use the storage space inside appliances for small items.
Clothes: Avoid excessive wrinkling of garments by using wardrobe boxes.
Sources for these stories include: Coldwellbanker.com, Moving.com, Federal Citizen Information Center Home Page, Realtor.com, Homestore.com, homebuilder.com, forsalebyowner.com, San Diego Association of Realtors, Monstermoving.com, Interest.com, Century21.com and Amsouth.com.