7 Tips for Packing for Long-Term Storage

7 Tips for Packing for Long-Term Storage

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Relocating, decluttering, or safeguarding memories—various reasons can drive someone towards looking into long-term storage. Be it a prolonged overseas job assignment, moving to a smaller space, or merely wanting to preserve collectibles, ensuring your possessions remain intact over time is crucial.

Now, imagine you’re storing items in a city like Memphis, where relative humidity levels can soar to a staggering 71%.  With such environmental conditions, the importance of shielding your belongings from potential harm is intensified.

Moreover, this context highlights the importance of skillful packing techniques for storage. Let’s discuss some fundamental tips for packing for long-term storage, ensuring your belongings remain pristine and safeguarded.

1. Choosing the Right Storage Facility

When considering storage solutions, picking the right facility is a fundamental decision. It’s not just about storing items; it’s about ensuring they remain safe, both from environmental conditions and potential theft.

As previously discussed, Memphis experiences high humidity levels. Such environmental conditions make climate-controlled units necessary to keep your things safe from moisture damage. But did you know there’s more to be cautious about?

In Memphis, the odds of falling prey to property crime are 1 in 18, as compared to the national average of 1 in 53.  This statistic shows the need for a storage facility with strong security measures. Ensure your chosen facility has excellent surveillance, locks, and security personnel.

If you’re looking for a facility for self storage Memphis has amazing options available that check all these boxes.

2. Invest in Quality Packing Materials

Packing materials are the first line of defense against wear, tear, and pests. It’s essential to pick strong and reliable boxes; they form the base of your storage system.

Though using old boxes might seem cost-effective, they may not hold up over time, leading to potential damage to your items. Bubble wrap is another must-have, especially for fragile things. It provides that extra layer of protection, cushioning items from hard impacts.

Lastly, don’t skimp on packing tape. A heavy-duty tape ensures that boxes stay sealed, keeping dust and pests out.

3. Label Everything Clearly

By marking each box or container with a straightforward description of its contents, you avoid the hassle of rummaging through multiple boxes when you need something. It’s also wise to use waterproof labels. Why? Over time, environments can change, and moisture may find its way in. A waterproof label ensures that even if a box gets damp, the label stays intact and readable.

Another helpful tip is to note the date when you store items. This helps you understand how long items have been in storage and might be especially useful for perishable goods or other items that degrade over time.

4. Prioritize Proper Cleaning

Cleaning is not just about tidiness; it’s about the longevity and condition of your stored items. Dirty or damp items can be an invitation for mold growth or pests. Mold thrives in environments where there’s a bit of moisture or organic material to feed on.

Therefore, cleaning items, especially clothing, is paramount. Make sure all clothes are washed and thoroughly dried. Moisture is an enemy in storage, so ensuring everything is dry is key.

Similarly, appliances need a thorough cleaning. Leftover food particles or residue can attract insects or rodents.

5. Optimize Storage Space

One common mistake people make in storage is cramming too much into a single box. This not only strains the box but can damage the items inside.

On the other hand, putting too few items inside a box isn’t wise either. It risks the box being squashed by heavier ones placed on top. It’s essential to strike a balance.

A good rule of thumb is to put weighty items at the bottom. This creates a stable base and protects fragile items placed on top. If you’re storing big items like furniture, consider breaking them down. Taking apart beds, tables, or shelves can free up a surprising amount of space.

6. Keep Fragile Items Safe

Everyone has items that hold sentimental or monetary value, and these are often delicate. When storing these fragile things, a bit of extra care goes a long way. A good first step is to wrap them. Bubble wrap and packing paper act as buffers, absorbing shocks and keeping your items intact.

However, while it might seem like a space-saver to nest items, such as putting one glass inside another, it’s not advisable for extended storage. This can put undue pressure on the items and increase the risk of breakage.

It’s better to wrap each fragile piece separately. When placing them in boxes, ensure enough padding at the bottom, between items, and at the top.

7. Avoid Storing Perishables and Hazardous Materials

Perishable goods, such as food, can attract pests and lead to infestations. Even canned foods, which have a longer shelf life, can eventually go bad or burst, creating a mess.

Beyond food, there are hazardous materials to consider. Storing items like paint, chemicals, or propane tanks can pose a risk not only to your belongings but also to the entire storage facility. They can be flammable, corrosive, or emit fumes that can damage other items in your unit.

Before packing for storage, review the list of prohibited items typically provided by storage facilities.


Storing items for the long term requires careful planning. From selecting a secure facility to using quality packing materials, every step matters. Cleanliness prevents mold and pests, while clear labeling aids in accessibility. It’s essential to pack fragile items safely and ensure commonly used items are within easy reach. Also, avoid storing perishables and hazardous goods.

With the right approach, your belongings will remain in prime condition, ready for when you need them.



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