Spring is the perfect time to shake off the winter season, throw open your windows, and declutter. Often we think of spring cleaning our homes, but the following article will focus on spring cleaning your storage unit.
Storage units are a repository for anything that doesn’t have a use in your current life. Out of sight and frequently out of mind, storage units can become dreaded places brimming with valuable keepsakes haphazardly mixed with old junk. Read on to learn about how to bring your storage unit from chaos to order with a few easy steps.
Build a team of helping hands
Facing your storage unit solo with only cleaning supplies and gumption can feel a bit (or a lot) daunting. A few good friends or family members can help take a long and boring task and turn it into a lively and fun day.
When you’re planning your spring cleaning team, keep in mind the size of your storage unit. Even the biggest standard storage units likely can only fit four people at the most. If you have a smaller unit, you might only need one or two people.
A good way to pitch this chore is to offer a trade. Most of us have a space that could do with some cleaning and organizing, so promise to help out in return. It’s a win-win.
Create an inventory
Unless you’re already meticulous about listing what you have in storage (and where it is inside your storage unit), a large part of your task will be taking an inventory of everything that’s inside. That way, you can decide what can be donated, sold, or thrown away. When you take those off your inventory, you’ll know exactly what’s left.
If you’re up for it, take it a step further and choose an organizational plan for your storage unit. This might mean creating a floorplan, noting which boxes are in which areas, or numbering or color-coding boxes and listing what’s in them on a spreadsheet.
Create a game plan and stick to it
You’ll save yourself time and stress if you approach spring cleaning your storage unit with a game plan. This can be as simple as taking inventory of everything first and then designating someone to manage the donation and sell piles.
Spring cleaning is one of those things that makes a space look more chaotic at first because everything will need to come out before it can be sorted. Don’t panic - this is a completely normal part of the decluttering process. Once you’ve taken stock of what’s in your storage unit, it’s time to sort things into piles to keep, sell, donate, and trash.
When parts of your storage unit are empty, take the opportunity to clean out the space and the things that have accumulated dust over the years. If you’re not a fan of chemical cleaners, there are many natural alternatives for spring cleaning.
Marie Kondo it!
Marie Kondo is the queen of organizing and decluttering. Her method is simple and has helped people move past the indecision that can strike when trying to decide what to keep and what to toss. She recommends asking yourself if the item in question brings you happiness or “sparks joy.” If not, out it goes.
She also suggests going through your things in categories, such as clothing, books, paper, miscellaneous, and sentimental items. This helps avoid the dreaded tornado of items everywhere and the overwhelming feeling that comes with trying to do too many things at once.
Marie’s method also helps to remind us that we don’t need to keep things just because we’ve had them for a long time. If they’re not serving a purpose or bringing you happiness, let them go.
Make a removal plan
Depending on the size of your storage unit and the type of items in there, plan ahead to have the right vehicle for removal. For example, if you have a large storage unit with furniture you’re not keeping, your best bet may be to bring a friend with a truck or trailer, rent a small moving truck for the day, or hire a junk removal company to pick things up for you.
Many thrift stores, like Goodwill, are willing to pick up furniture items for donation. Call your local stores and see if this is an option for you. It might save you the cost of renting a truck.
It’s also a good plan to bring along some boxes and garbage bags with you to make sorting easier.
Label everything you are keeping
Once you’ve gotten through the sorting and decluttering steps, it’s time to repack and label the boxes that are staying in your freshly spring-cleaned storage unit.
Organizing your storage unit is a big task, but don’t give in to the temptation to throw everything back in there at the end of the day. Persevere just a bit longer and make sure everything is properly labeled. Your future self will thank you. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Color-coded stickers — This is an easy way to have a general idea of what types of things are in which boxes. Decide what categories make the most sense for you — they could be things like sports, family keepsakes, seasonal decorations, or decor. Make a legend to leave in your storage unit and put a sticker on each box according to its category. Large, bright stickers are inexpensive and available from online marketplaces.
- NFC stickers — If you’re more tech-friendly, using NFC stickers is a great way to track what’s in each box. Available online for as little as ten cents per sticker, you attach them to a box, scan the sticker with your phone, and set it up to take you to a list of what’s inside the box. These lists are dynamic, so if you move things around, you can easily edit each list.
- A floor plan layout — For more visual people, drawing out a floor plan and noting what items are in each area can be a helpful way to keep track of where things are inside your storage unit. A handy way to keep track of this is to either tape it to a wall inside your storage unit or make it on your phone so it doesn’t get lost.
- Numbered boxes — Simple and fast to create, a quick list of numbered boxes and what’s inside them is an easy system. Make sure the numbers on your boxes are clearly visible on at least two sides to avoid having to hunt around for the box you need.
There’s no doubt that cleaning out your storage unit is a labor of love, but the end result is well worth the hard work. With these spring cleaning tips, you’ll soon enjoy the satisfying feeling of knowing that your storage unit is organized and decluttered.