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How to Efficiently Clean Out Your Storage Unit

Updated: May 30

Cleaning out a storage unit can often prove difficult, especially if you haven't done so in a while. All the piled-up items can clutter up your storage space, and you likely don't even remember a big part of the items there. So, to help efficiently clean out your storage unit, we will give you the basics of how to prepare and how to tackle it.

Efficiently clean out your storage unit

To be efficient while cleaning out your storage unit, you need to understand what the whole process will be like. The last thing you want is to make big decisions on the fly and deal with things as they come up. While you can make the right decisions and properly deal with difficult circumstances, doing so will be inefficient. The safer, more efficient, and overall better way to deal with a cluttered storage unit is to make a plan and stick to it.

Step 1: Getting the packing supplies

The first thing to do is to get the necessary packing supplies. Unless you have a list of everything in your storage, you will have to estimate how many to get. Certain stores will allow you to return unused boxes. But, even if your local ones don't, do yourself a favour get more than what you estimated. The last thing you want is to run out of boxes and then waste time by going shopping again.

You can hardly have too many boxes when decluttering a storage unit.

Apart from boxes, you will also need duck tape, markers, and padding. Ideally, you will get marketers with a sharp contrast to your containers. That way, they'll be easily visible and identifiable. Once you pack your items, you need to outline whether the contents are fragile. And, as you'll likely keep some and get rid of others, it will be pretty helpful to mark down which box contains what.

If you are simply transferring your items to another storage location, you can consider using plastic containers. They are sturdy, sizable, and (most importantly) can be rented. By opting for plastic containers, you can not only cut down your packing cost, but you'll also be more eco-friendly.

Step 2: Pulling the items out

With your packing supplies ready, you need to pull the items out. For this, we advise that you find a friend to help you out. Unless you have some cumbersome object, one friend should suffice. Just make sure that you call someone dependable and capable.

When you start pulling the items out, make sure to clean them first. There are ways to deal with stubborn, oily stains, but you need to come prepared. Once you've cleaned the items, spread them out in front of the storage unit so that each item is visible. If you wish to pack them straight away, make sure to make an inventory list while doing so. The main goal here is to clear out your storage unit and to have a precise idea of what items you have.

Step 3: Sorting

In essence, there are three groups in which you need to sort your items. Things you'll keep, things you'll get rid of, and items you are unsure of. Experience has shown that people struggle most with the third group. After all, it is easy to get rid of objects if you are cleaning after a previous tenant. But, your items will often hold sentimental value. Or they may seem too useful to get rid of. A good rule of thumb is that if you haven't used an item for over a year or you completely forgot about its existence, you should get rid of it. The last thing you want is to keep storing clutter that you'll never use.

If you want to clean out your storage unit efficiently, you need to be decisive.

For getting rid of items, you have three options - throw them away, sell or donate. While the first one is the easiest option, you should look into selling and donating before opting for it. Heading to your local pawnshop with your unnecessary items can bring you a couple of quits. And donating your items can yield some tax relief. Both will require a bit more effort them simply chucking your things in the nearest bin. But it is worth it.

Step 4: Transport

If you are only transporting your items locally, you can consider driving yourself. A sizable car will likely fit all the boxes (or plastic containers) you have. But, if you have some large items to haul, or you need to go to a faraway place, you'll need to hire professionals to help you out.

DIY transport is a good idea, but only if it is simple and nearby. Long-distance moving requires knowledge and skill in order to be safe. Therefore, the best course of action is to hire professionals to help you out. This goes double if you are dealing with an international move. For an easy relocation overseas, you need to hire top-notch movers and have them take care of your items from the start (packing and all).


Hiring professionals is a must for any serious relocation project.

Final thoughts

If you do all we've outlined, you will succeed in efficiently cleaning out your storage unit. But, it is paramount that you are attentive and careful throughout the process. If you need to clean old items, we advise you to go for strong chemicals. Something as simple as vinegar can be all you need to make your old items shine without causing any surface damage.

Furthermore, keep in mind that the items stored for a long time might not be as sturdy as you've hoped. Unfortunately, this can cause some mishaps while handling them, and you might even injure yourself. This is why we advise that you wear protective gear (work gloves and boots) while dealing with your items. Yes, it might seem a bit much. But, when it comes to handling heavy objects, it is always better to be safe than sorry. If you need to deal with injuries, you can’t efficiently clean out your storage unit.

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