Expert Tips for Storing Fragile Items in Storage Units

Storing artwork correctly

We all have items that are fragile and valuable that we want to keep safe but still be accessible. These items may have monetary value, or their value comes from who gave them to us or the situation in which they were received, but whatever the reason, these fragile and valuable items need to be safely protected. One of the best ways to ensure these items are safe and protected is to keep them in a storage unit. A storage unit offers you the option of keeping your fragile and valuable items safe but still available to use when necessary. Storage units offer an owner a locked unit with personal surveillance during business hours and continuous video surveillance of the unit. You will be sure that your cherished possessions will be safe and protected when they are stored in a reliable storage unit.

Choosing Your Storage Unit

Assessing the Need for Storage

To begin to assess your need for storage you need to determine what items you will be placing in storage. The size of the unit will be determined by the size of your items and how fragile and vulnerable your items are. Depending on the size of the items will help determine what size storage unit you will need. There are also some items that can be packed and stacked safely and effectively, but there are other items that will need to be placed with nothing on top of them. Other items are not as sensitive to their stacking order but will need a climate-controlled unit that can have the desired temperature and humidity, so the items aren’t damaged. One of the last major issues in assessing your need for storage is how long you will need the unit. If you are considering this a permanent home for your items and need ready access to the items in your unit, you will want a unit that is close to your residence. If you are using the unit while you move, you will need to determine if you want your unit closer in proximity to your new or old residence.

Features to Consider

Not all storage units are created equally, but they are designed and built with different features in mind for the differing needs of the owners. There is one feature that you will want no matter the other features that are chosen and that is reliability. You don’t want to have to move your fragile and valuable items from storage facility to storage facility because the management doesn’t provide a reliable unit for your items. The lowest-priced unit shouldn’t be your default choice either, but research storage units and find one that is reputable and makes you feel comfortable. The manager is trying to sell you a unit so ask to see documentation and do your own research to verify the answers they provided.

As you consider other features of a storage unit you will want to choose a unit that can create the proper climate for the assets in your unit. Climate control will allow you to maintain a stable temperature and the correct humidity level so your assets will maintain their pristine condition. The climate will be one of the most decisive features for your items to be stored correctly. You will also want to consider a unit that has no exterior walls as these walls will resonate with the outside temperature even though the unit is climate controlled.

You won’t always be at your storage unit, so you will want to choose a storage facility with robust security features. Ensure that the facility has surveillance cameras recording 24 hours a day; access control to the facility by only the owners of the units; and a security presence during off business hours. Storage facilities have also begun to provide the option of allowing remote access to the surveillance cameras in the area of your unit so you can check them at your convenience.

While doing research on the different storage facilities, discover the insurance they carry on the units and what options you have for insurance on your own unit. You will want to insure your unit at a minimum of the value of the assets inside the unit. Keep a record of the type of insurance and a list of assets in the storage unit in a secure location not inside the storage unit.

Preparing Your Items for Storage


The safety of your fragile and valuable items can be determined before they even go into a box for storage. Begin by thoroughly cleaning and drying all items before the items are packed. This will keep dirt and grime off of the items and not allow it to damage the items. If your fragile and valuable items are larger and can be disassembled, take them apart and prepare each item separately to reduce the risk of damage. Before you pack all of your items away, take a detailed inventory of all items that will be stored in the storage unit including photographs and documentation that go along with the corresponding items.

Appropriate Packing Materials

The packaging materials will be home for your fragile and valuable items so choose sturdy boxes that are made for moving and storage. For your more fragile and valuable items, choose boxes that are close in size to the item so they can be stored separately. Other packing materials that you will want to use are bubble wrap, newspaper, packing peanuts, foam inserting, and expandable foam. These materials will create safe and snug fits for your items inside their boxes. You also don’t want to forget to have packing tape, a tape dispenser, markers, and labels for closing and identifying what is in each box.

Proper Packing Techniques

With the pre-packing complete and appropriate materials at hand, it is time to start packing your fragile and valuable items. Begin by wrapping each item in bubble wrap or foam as a protective layer. Delicate items will need to be separated with cardboard dividers of foam sheets to keep them from rubbing against one another. Then fill in empty spaces in the items and in the box with packing peanuts, wadded-up newspaper, or expandable foam. The goal is to fill as much of the space not taken up by the item in the box as possible to prevent damage.

Organizing and Labelling Packed Items

One of the biggest mistakes that people make when storing fragile and valuable items is to not label the boxes thinking they will remember what is in each box. Label each box “Fragile”; indicate what is in the box; if the direction of the box needs to be stored, label the top and bottom of the box; and label “Nothing on Top” if the box needs to have nothing stacked on top of it. Then create an inventory of each box and number each box according to the inventory so they are easier to track. Finally, remember to stack heavier items under lighter items.

Storing Your Items

Optimise the Storage Space

The price of the storage unit usually begins with the amount of space you have in the unit, so you will want to optimise each inch of the unit. If you have access to shelving or pallets, utilize them in the unit so that boxes can be elevated off the floor. Don’t just randomly put boxes in the unit but stack them systematically with heavier, sturdier boxes on the bottom of the stacks. Boxes with fragile items should be placed toward the top of the stack, or stacked on the floor by themselves, to minimize the pressure put upon them and mitigate potential damage. For items that are temperature sensitive, store them away from the exterior walls of the unit or the vents in the unit.

Regular Inspection and Maintenance

The storage process doesn’t stop when you close the doors and lock them but is an ongoing process. You will want to routinely visit the storage unit to check for any signs of damage to the unit and/or items and if there is a presence of pests. When you visit, also take the time to dust and clean any of the items that are not boxed to maintain their condition. If you do encounter a problem on one of your visits, promptly address the issue with the management of the storage facility so it can be corrected to prevent further damage to your fragile and valuable items.

From assessing your needs for a storage facility to choosing the appropriate storage unit, preparing your items for storage, and finally storing your items isn’t a simple process and takes a financial and time commitment to be done correctly. Consider the time and money spent to correctly store your items as an investment, because if done improperly your fragile and valuable items can be damaged, if not ruined. By properly storing your fragile and valuable items, you will continue to have access to them while also keeping them safe from damage.

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