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Ten tips

Tips for storing your belongings properly.

By LAURA T. COFFEY
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 21, 2002


Whether you're moving or staying put, the need may arise for you to place your belongings in storage. These tips will help you store your goods properly and increase their chances of remaining safe and sound.

* * *

1. Choose a type of storage service. Self-storage is ideal if you're likely to need access to your belongings but don't have enough room for them at home. Pickup-and-delivery storage services bring empty containers to your home and take them away full. Warehouse storage is best for goods you are not likely to need, because you won't have direct access to the warehouse where they're kept.

2. Inspect the facilities. Before you give your business to a storage company, make sure your unit is large enough, clean, climate-controlled and secure. Does the facility have alarms, motion detectors, video surveillance, nightly inspections or guards on duty? Are other people's items stored carefully and neatly?

3. Consider insurance for your items. Be aware that you bear total responsibility for your belongings and the storage company bears none. See if your homeowners or renter's policy covers theft off premises, which would include your storage unit. Otherwise, consider buying insurance through the storage facility.

4. Think ahead. Make an inventory of all of the items you plan to put in storage. It will help you know what size unit to rent, and later, it will help you remember what you've stored. When filling the unit, leave a center aisle for easy access, and store the items you're likely to need most at the front of the unit. Label all boxes clearly, and don't overfill them.

5. Take good care of your furniture. Disassemble tables and other furniture to save space, and wrap everything in packing paper or cover with blankets. Try to stack furniture on pallets or blankets rather than the floor of the unit, and avoid leaning furniture against the unit's outside walls.

6. Protect metal items. Rub a few drops of oil on bicycles, tools and other metal belongings to prevent rusting. Remove oil and gasoline from lawn mowers and other items with small engines.

7. Watch those breakables. Wrap plates, bowls and saucers individually before putting them in a china carton, preferably one with a divider kit. Fill empty spaces in the carton with paper.

8. Safeguard books, papers and photographs. Store important documents in file boxes, and pack books flat so their spines don't get damaged. Don't pack too many books in one box. To prevent old photographs from curling, place them between two pieces of cardboard and tape the pieces together.

9. Use appliances for storage in your storage unit. Clean and dry your refrigerator and other large appliances thoroughly to prevent mildew damage. Leave appliance doors slightly open, and use the space inside for extra storage.

10. Care for your clothes. Have clothing, blankets and draperies cleaned, then pack them on hangers in a wardrobe box to avoid wrinkling.

-- Sources: Moving.com and U-Haul

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