How to Prevent Damage in a Portable Storage Unit?

Storage TipsJuly 31, 2023

Moving is often listed as one of life’s most stressful experiences, especially because one of the crucial factors to consider when planning your move is ensuring the safety of your belongings. Portable storage units offer an excellent solution, providing a safe, convenient, and cost-effective way to relocate. However, the success of using these storage options largely depends on how well you pack and organize your items, and whether you find a reliable company, such as Zippy Shell Columbus Moving and Storage. In this guide, we will provide you with tried-and-tested strategies on how to prevent damage in a portable storage unit. Following these expert tips and tricks can significantly reduce the likelihood of damage and loss, ensuring a smooth, hassle-free move.

Understanding portable storage units

Portable storage units, colloquially known as “PODS,” are movable containers delivered right to your doorstep. This provides the flexibility for you to load them at your leisure. Once packed, they can be conveniently transported to your new location or stored securely in a designated facility until you’re ready to unpack. So, when you want to find the most convenient storage units Columbus Ohio, those can be a perfect solution.

Zippy Shell Columbus portable containe
Portable storage units are the most convenient ones

These portable storage units offer a host of benefits that inherently contribute to damage prevention:

  • Flexibility: The convenience of packing at your own pace eliminates the haste often associated with traditional moving, reducing the likelihood of hasty packing errors that can lead to damage. This pacing freedom is ideal for meticulous packers who want to take the necessary time to secure their belongings properly.
  • Accessibility: Most portable storage companies allow you to access your unit while in storage. This accessibility can be crucial if you need to add or remove items, inspect your belongings for potential damage, or rearrange items for better stability. If you use long term storage, this is especially important.
  • Security: Your belongings are more secure in a portable storage unit than in a moving truck. The units are designed to withstand transit-related rigors, which often cause damage.
  • Control: Unlike traditional moving services, where your belongings get mixed with others, a portable storage unit is exclusive to your items. This individual control significantly reduces the risk of loss or misplacement and allows you to organize your items in a way that best prevents damage.

The rising popularity of these units is rooted in their unique ability to integrate protection, convenience, and cost-effectiveness into the often stressful moving process.

What are the ways to prevent damage in a portable storage unit?

As we have already mentioned, portable storage units are one of the most convenient ways to have your items protected while conducting a stress-free move. This means that implementing strategies to protect your belongings is also simple. Whether you need to store your household items or you need commercial storage, read more to see how you can prevent damage to your items.

A couple packing boxes and thinking about how to prevent damage in a portable storage unit
Take inventory so that you know how to protect your items

Inventory your items

Before embarking on the loading process of your portable storage unit, it’s vital to create a comprehensive inventory of all your items. This step cannot be overlooked if your goal is to prevent damage in a portable storage unit. Creating an inventory is more than just making a list. It involves categorizing your belongings, noting their condition, and identifying their value. This process allows you to plan how each item will be packed, the materials you’ll need to protect it, and where it should be placed in the unit for optimal protection, especially when you use a self storage unit.

Taking photos or videos of your items, especially high-value ones, offers visual documentation that can serve as undeniable proof in case of damage or loss. Ensure these images or footage capture any existing damage so that it’s clear if any additional damage occurs during the moving process. This meticulous approach serves a dual purpose: planning and protection. You can visualize the packing process, identifying potential risks and strategies to mitigate them. In addition, your thorough inventory will be invaluable if you need to file an insurance claim for any damaged items. This step adds an extra layer of security and gives you peace of mind as you move your belongings.

Select the right size storage unit

Selecting the correct size of the portable storage unit is a fundamental decision that plays a significant role in preventing damage to your belongings. It’s much like choosing the right home for your items – too cramped, and they could get damaged; too spacious, and they could shift around, leading to potential damage.

A vacuum cleaner
Clean your belongings to prevent damage in a portable storage unit caused by dirt and mildew

If the unit is too small, you’ll likely try to cram your items in to make them fit. This could result in pressure damage, scratching, breaking, or even cause the unit’s structure to buckle due to overload. Overstuffing a unit could also restrict air circulation, potentially leading to mold, mildew, and unpleasant odors. Conversely, if the unit is too large, your items will have too much room to move or topple over during transit. Every bump in the road could cause your belongings to collide with each other or the walls of the unit, potentially leading to damage.

Fortunately, most portable storage companies offer various unit sizes. They can provide guidance based on the quantity and type of items you’re planning to store. Be honest and accurate about your inventory to ensure you select the most appropriate unit size. The right size unit will provide enough space for your belongings without them being overly packed or having too much free space. You’ll have room to organize your items strategically, layering them for protection and creating paths for easy access. Thus, selecting the correct unit size is a crucial step to prevent damage in a portable storage unit, ensuring your items are stored safely and efficiently.

Choosing quality packing materials is important

A surefire way to minimize damage during the moving process is investing in high-quality packing materials. Even if you use only a temporary warehouse, it’s important to invest in them. These materials not only provide a protective layer around your belongings but also act as a cushion against impacts and shocks that could occur during transit.

Moving boxes are the backbone of any move. It’s essential to use sturdy, specialized boxes designed for moving. These boxes come in various sizes, and some are tailored for specific items such as dishes, glassware, and artwork. They often include additional protective elements like extra padding or compartmentalization, further securing your items. Then, for wrapping fragile items, you need packing paper and bubble wrap. Packing paper can be used to wrap items or fill empty spaces in boxes, preventing movement. Bubble wrap provides a protective layer with air-filled bubbles that absorb shocks, making it perfect for fragile items like glassware or electronics.

A woman holding bubble wrap
Choose the right packing materials

Furniture pads and moving blankets can protect furniture from scratches and dings. They can be draped over furniture pieces and secured with stretch wrap or tape, providing a protective layer against dust, dirt, and impact damage. Lastly, packing tape is the final piece of the puzzle, ensuring all your protective measures stay in place. It should be strong enough to secure your boxes, withstanding the rigors of movement and changes in temperature and humidity.

While it might seem cost-effective to skimp on packing materials or reuse old, worn-out boxes, it’s crucial to remember that the money you invest in quality packing materials is often less than the cost of replacing or repairing damaged items.

Pack in the right way

When you begin to pack, consider using boxes of similar sizes whenever possible. This uniformity simplifies the stacking process, making it more manageable and inherently more stable. It creates a neat, secure arrangement that minimizes the risk of boxes toppling over. However, be mindful of the box contents; placing heavier boxes on top of lighter ones can lead to crushing damage.

For larger furniture items, disassembly can be your best friend. Breaking down furniture into smaller parts not only makes it easier to pack and protect but also helps maximize the available space in your unit. Items like bed frames, tables, and bookshelves often take up unnecessary space when left assembled. Another essential strategy for organizing your residential storage involves weight distribution. An evenly distributed weight load is crucial in preventing the unit from tipping or leaning during transport. This balance ensures that the unit remains stable, mitigating the risks of your items shifting, falling, or getting damaged.

One practical technique to utilize when packing your unit is the ‘Wall of Boxes’ method. Start by creating a stable wall of boxes at the back of your unit and work your way forward. This method not only provides stability but also maximizes the utilization of space, allowing for a more organized packing process. Finally, as you load your unit, don’t forget to secure your items with straps regularly. Strapping is like the final seal on your packing process; it keeps everything firmly in place during transit, minimizing the risk of movement that could lead to damage. Of course, you can always use packing services Columbus Ohio. That way, you’ll know the damage will be prevented because your items are packed the way they should be.

Moving boxes on a table
Make sure to use boxes of similar size, if possible

Prepare appliances for your move

Preparing your appliances for moving is a task that requires thorough attention in order to prevent damage in a portable storage unit. It’s not only about disconnecting them from their power source and packing them up. Instead, it involves a meticulous process aimed at preserving their functionality and preventing damage to them and other items in the portable storage unit.

Cleanliness is paramount when preparing appliances for a move. Ensure all appliances, from the refrigerator to the microwave, are clean and dry before packing. Dirt, grime, or leftover food particles can attract pests, while any moisture can lead to mold and mildew growth. When it comes to refrigerators and freezers, the task becomes more challenging. It’s essential to defrost your fridge and freezer at least 24 hours before moving day. Defrosting ensures any accumulated ice melts, and you have ample time to dry the interior thoroughly. Failing to defrost could lead to water leakage during transit, which can damage the appliance itself and other items in the unit.

Securing appliances is another key aspect of preparation. Doors of appliances can swing open during transit, leading to potential damage. For instance, the door of a washing machine or refrigerator can not only suffer damage itself but also harm nearby items. To prevent this, secure all doors and movable parts with sturdy moving straps or bungee cords. This ensures that they remain firmly shut, reducing the risk of accidental opening while on the move.

Lastly, remember to disconnect appliances from their power sources. Remove any detachable parts, and secure cords to prevent them from tangling or getting damaged. For gas appliances, consider hiring a professional to disconnect and cap off the gas line safely.

A couple protecting  a couch before storage
Make sure you have insurance for your items

Insure your belongings

No matter how carefully you try to prevent damage in a portable storage unit, accidents can still happen. That’s why insuring your belongings is a smart move. It provides an added layer of protection, giving you peace of mind as you transition between spaces. Most storage companies offer insurance coverage plans specifically designed for the value and nature of items typically stored. These plans often cover a variety of scenarios, including damage from transport incidents, theft, and environmental factors like fires or floods.

However, don’t forget to check your existing insurance policies. You might be pleasantly surprised to find that your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy extends coverage to items in storage or transit. Be sure to confirm the specifics of this coverage, including any limits or exclusions, with your insurance agent.

Protecting your items is simple

Protecting your belongings during a move is vital, and with portable storage units, that task is entirely within your control. From careful packing and strategic stacking to securing insurance coverage, each step is crucial to prevent damage in a portable storage unit. By investing time and attention in these processes, you can ensure a stress-free move. You’ll arrive at your new home with all your belongings in excellent condition.

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