Let’s be honest: Cleaning out our storage units is normally not our favorite task. Sure, we may find something valuable or useful that we have forgotten about, but most of the time it can just seem like an overwhelming heap of clutter. Fortunately, there are various tips and tricks for how to clean out your storage unit so it will look as organized as it did when you first filled it.
1. Ask for Help
Cleaning out a storage unit is a difficult chore, so it may be very helpful to ask other people for help. Another person (or more) can help you clean out your storage unit in less time, as someone else can complete tasks such as unpacking, labeling, packing, rearranging, and organizing. Asking for help can also reduce your stress and possibly even make the task more fun.
2. Take Counts and Assess Inventory
After asking for help, it can be very useful to bring out the old notepad and writing utensil and simply write down what you are able to see. Depending on what sort of items are in your storage unit, you may want to count boxes, or you may just want to make a running list of what you can see and what you know is in there.
3. Prepare Some Space
If your storage unit is outside, you might have plenty of room to work with, but if your storage unit is jam-packed and has minimal space to move things to, you may need to get creative. You should at least have a small area of the unit to stand in and move items to while you look through them. If you’ve labeled your boxes, you already know what’s in them, but if you haven’t, you may have to sift through each one.
Categorizing is a basic component of the organization, but it is critical when cleaning something out. When you clean out your storage unit, you’ll want to sort everything into different categories of your choice. This can include items you’d like to keep in the unit, items you’d like to take to your house, items you would like to sell, items you can donate, and/or items you want (or need) to throw away. While this seems easy, it can oftentimes be difficult deciding on what to do with certain things, especially those with which you have a sentimental attachment. Take a few seconds for each item if needed and truly determine whether you need them all or not.
5. Have a Schedule
Cleaning out a storage unit can take anywhere from a couple of hours to a few days or a week. Depending on your specific storage unit, you may want to start with the small things first, or vice versa, and start with the larger things. Removing larger items from your storage unit first may provide you with more space later on, but regardless of how you do it, set a schedule. Focus on a certain corner or area one morning and move on to another one in the afternoon. Be sure to pencil in lunch and dinner breaks because staying fed and hydrated can help you power through your cleaning.
6. Arrange Pickups
Whether you’re donating or selling items, it can be useful to arrange for them to be picked up at your storage unit. Many organizations that accept donations will come and pick them up, and individual buyers from sites like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace might prefer meeting you in the public space to get their item(s) anyway. The less transporting you have to do, the better, so arranging pickups can save you time, fuel, and energy.
If a lot of the things in your storage unit are garbage, you can also arrange for a junk removal service to come to get them and haul them away. Many storage facilities have an on-site dumpster, but they either may not be big enough or your items may not be eligible/able to be thrown in them.
7. Plan Ahead and Don’t Panic
Lastly, you want to stay calm and collected while you are cleaning out your storage unit. Space it out if you need to and aren’t on a tight deadline, and be sure to take breaks and go do other things. Having a methodical plan laid out before you begin the task can be extremely useful and make you feel much more organized despite the amount of stuff you might have to sort through. Be sure to think about your vehicle and which ways of loading it would be the most efficient and get your stuff from A to B in the least amount of trips, and be sure to keep a positive mindset throughout the process. Ultimately, while cleaning out storage units isn’t a fun task for most, there are many things you can do to make it easier and more rewarding once you’re done.