Organising your storage space: a guide for moving house

When you're moving house or going away for an extended period, you may need somewhere to store your belongings for a time. A storage shed or locker is an affordable way to get some extra space. To get the best out of your storage space, organise it effectively. The clearer your plan and labelling, the easier your storage unit will be to use. 

Vary box size

Large boxes seem like a great solution for storing your belongings; after all, you can fit more things in a larger box. But while they do have their uses, there are good reasons to avoid these boxes as well. Boxes full of heavy items like books are hard to move easily; instead, use a larger number of smaller boxes. If you do have large boxes, fill them with a mixture of heavy and light items, such as a layer of books followed by a layer of bedding. Filling the box completely will help prevent it being crushed when you place another box on top. 

Label clearly 

Each box should be clearly labelled on more than one side. Write both the destination room (for when you move into your new home) and the contents (in case you need to retrieve them in the interim) on at least one long side and one short side of each box. Plastic pockets for labels might seem like a good idea, but they can trap moisture, so give them a miss. Keep a spare set of pens in your storage unit to update your box labels when removing an item. 

Use hidden space

Storing large items of furniture? Don't overlook the hollow spaces within sofas, washing machines and other bulky items. Even if you can only fit a few boxes of clothes or kitchen items into a refrigerator or armchair, the space won't be going to waste. 

Leave room to move

Don't just pile all your boxes into a storage space, especially if you're going to be using it for more than a week or two. At some point, you'll need to retrieve something from storage, and a densely-packed mass of boxes could make that impossible. Instead, organise your stored items into "islands" separated by aisles. This could be as simple as a single aisle between two rows of boxes; it all depends on how large the storage unit is. If it's really large, sketch out a rough plan of what goes where and keep it by the entrance.