A man and woman are standing amongst shelving. The man holds a box and they are consulting a list.

How to successfully manage your long term storage

You may think of storage units as solutions to cover a specific time period. For example a house move, downsize, or secondment. However many people utilise storage as a part of their day to day life. They find it convenient and it helps to enrich daily life, too! Because long term storage, when managed correctly, can give you the freedom and space that you need to live proactively. 

Most of us find planning a bit dull and it’s tempting to chuck everything that you’re not using into bin liners and get it out of sight. But stop right there – just a few moments of dull planning can help you to positively manage your long term storage. Here’s how to get it right.

Pack Properly

Firstly, make sure that everything that you’re storing is packed properly. See where we mentioned bin liners above? Don’t do that! 

Declutter first

Just because you’re planning long term storage, this doesn’t mean that you should just chuck everything in there regardless of whether you need it. This is really hard for hoarders who can picture a future scenario where they might need every item they’ve ever owned. Packing for long term storage is actually an ideal time to be ruthless with your decluttering. 

Avoid plastic

Unless you’re vacuum packing, avoid storing in plastic. Any moisture present in porous items like clothes or books will get trapped and turn into that musty smell that you’ll remember from keeping things in your loft. 

Clean first

Make sure that everything is cleaned and dried. This goes for clothes, yes, but also pieces of furniture. Don’t store that side table without cleaning off that coffee ring, otherwise it’ll be there to stay! 

Box by theme

Depending on what you’re packing away, this could be room by room, or interest by interest. Keep like things together so that if you need to access a few things then they’re likely to be in the same spot. 

Keep an inventory

You’re sure that you’ll remember the items that you’ve put into storage. After all, you’re the one who put them there, right? We promise that no matter how great your memory, there will come a time when you can’t quite put your finger on where you put that box of champagne flutes…


So, an inventory list it is. From the big to the small, list everything that is going into your storage unit. One huge benefit to long term storage is that it can be added to, so your inventory should work as an active document. If you’re taking things in and out, mark this on your inventory so that you don’t lose track of where it is! 


Not only should you write down what is sitting snug in your storage unit, but you should also note whereabouts it is. If you’re storing in boxes, clearly number them and keep that location noted on your inventory list. This means that if you need to access your unit to retrieve an item, you’re not there for hours emptying every last box!

Organise your layout

Once in your storage unit, be systematic in where everything is placed. The size of your unit will obviously vary depending on your requirements. However, small units should have just as much thought put into layout as larger units, as this will help to optimise the space that you have.


Yes, long term storage is great for storing furniture that you don’t currently have room for. But dedicated unit furniture in the form of racking will help you to best organise your items. It’s not necessary to buy this, you can hire it while necessary. Racking is crucial for using height for storage and enabling you to keep distinct zones in your long term storage unit. 

Small Business 

For start ups and small businesses who use long term storage to hold their stock, layout is key. These users need regular access and need to be able to access the correct stock without any faff. For larger units, it’s worth drawing up a floor plan to support your inventory list, and positioning popular products near to the entrance.


It seems pretty obvious to label boxes, packs, and containers. Do think about the longevity of your labelling, though. Sticky labels may peel and fall, while pen scribbles may fade. Think about your wording – are your labels clear, or could they be ambiguous? Make sure that labels accurately tie in with your inventory document.


This is not just how often you are accessing your long term storage unit. How many others are regularly accessing it, too? Are there different family members or employees coming and going? Make sure that there are rules of use laid out so that all of your efforts at maintaining order are maintained. 

Looking ahead

You may have a rough idea of how long you want to use your long term storage. But none of us can predict the future, so we all need a bit of flexibility. Look for a solution that offers a rolling agreement, like those at Blue Box Storage. You can then stay in control of your long term storage.

Check in

Even if you don’t need regular access to the items in your long term storage, it is worth checking in every now and then. This enables you to spot any potential maintenance concerns before they become an issue. 

Some of us plan long term storage, and some have long term storage thrust upon them. It may be that a couple of months could roll into years. This is why we think it’s always best to be organised from the outset when we store any personal or business items. To discuss your specific needs, just get in touch!

Centres in Watford , Maida Vale (Permanently Closed) , Hemel Hempstead , Farnborough Call us FREE on 0800 9171221