Most of us have clutter in our homes - a recent Big Yellow Self Storage survey showed that over 61% of people admit to hoarding useless items around the house, with 26% of us having a whole room in our home filled with junk, and this can be a real issue when trying to sell a property. Looking at how we can best utilize storage – both in our homes and offsite – can help create a much more welcoming space, rather than an idiosyncratic and overcrowded one, to help with a quicker sale.
The first step is to assess your items. What is needed for day-to-day living, what can be thrown or given away or sold, and what can be stored? It's a good idea to have someone with you who can be objective when making these judgements - especially if you find it hard to get rid of things. Once you've decided what will be left to store, evaluate your storage capacity.
Remember, potential buyers will want to check storage too, so it might not be the best decision to stuff every cupboard with items. Attics or basements are usually a better place to store things, as they'll be viewed less extensively (and buyers don't mind as much if they're full of boxes or furniture). However, consider access (is it viable to keep heavy items in attic storage?), and potential dampness that could ruin delicate items like books, even in a short amount of time.
Offsite storage can be great for decluttering a house during a sale. Self storage units are especially flexible – take the space you need, only for the time you need it. Do your research and find the closest facility to your home, and stack any items you might need to access closest to the door. Even in the temperature controlled environment of a self storage unit, there are several ways we can look to protect items to keep them in the best condition.
Stack smaller books over larger books and make sure that they’re arranged horizontally (never vertically) because it can damage the spine.
Wrap your mattresses in the special bags available at self storage facilities and DIY stores. These not only prevent them from losing shape but protect them from absorbing moisture as well.
Before placing any kind of wooden furniture into storage, wax well with wood varnish. This prevents moisture from affecting the wood.
Wrap electronic equipment as if you were wrapping glass or crystal (with extra layers of foam and then placed into a larger box). Never wrap computers or electronic devices in plastic for long term self storage as it traps moisture in and fosters mildew growth.
If you are planning on storing metal objects like lawnmowers or filing cabinets, it is a good idea to treat them with rust protector first, or at least wipe them down with an oily rag.
All glass items should be individually wrapped and stacked, whereas cups and bowls should be nested on top of each others. Stand plates, saucers, and platters on their edges.
Generally, it’s better to store vertically on a flat sided arm. Leather handles the pressure very well, as does micro-fibre. Silky high end fabrics are better to kept on their feet as they don’t have the structural integrity to withstand the additional pressure.
Drew Davies writes for Big Yellow Self Storage and is based in London. For more information on how to use storage to sell a home check out their blog or the downloadable packing guide on their homepage