Five Common Storage Mistakes To Avoid

storage mistakes

We all make mistakes in life, especially when in stressful situations like a move. As leaders in the storage industry, we’ve seen and helped sort out a lot of mistakes people make while moving into a storage unit. We wanted to share the first most common storage mistakes we see here at Albuquerque Self Storage so you can avoid them. 

1. Picking the Wrong Size Unit

You can’t fit a 3-bedroom house into a 6×4 storage unit — it just isn’t happening! A lot of times, people misjudge the amount of stuff they need to store and assume they can stack it all inside. Sometimes this works, but most of the time, it doesn’t (or something gets damaged). 

On the flip side, you don’t want to pay for a unit when you’re not even filling up half of the space. Most storage unit companies have a handy guide to help you figure out what can fit into each size of units. Check these out to help you be prepared. 

If not, here are some tips to make sure you pick the right unit. Measure all of your boxes and furniture boxes and do some math. For example, a 6×4 storage unit has approximately 24-feet of flooring to work with. A 1×1 box takes up 1 foot of that. 

2. Not Packing Correctly

We see poorly packed boxes all the time. We promise that your moving experience will go much smoother if you organize your boxes by room or by contents and label them appropriately. You can color code per room, write on the box in thick markers so it’s visible, or stick a piece of paper on each box so the label pops out. 

This way, you’ll be able to find everything easily and have less chance of anything breaking, as fragile items will be labeled as much. 

3. Storing the Wrong Items

There are certain things you can and certain things you cannot store in storage units. A very common storage mistake is thinking that everything is safe in boxes. In reality, animals, pests, and leaks can happen no matter what. 

Do not attempt to store any of the following: 


Food will spoil, rot, and leak, even if stored in thick plastic containers. The smell will attract all sorts of unwanted pests to your units and neighboring units, including cockroaches, mice, rats, and wasps. They may not be able to get inside of your plastic containers, but they will start searching for the source of the smell. This means they’ll gnaw through cardboard boxes, scratch up and potentially nest in your furniture, and leave their droppings everywhere. 

Trust us, it’s better to lose a few bags of groceries than your whole unit to an infestation. 

Antiques, Instruments, Or Books

If your unit isn’t climate controlled, avoid storing anything that will be warped by humidity, cold, and heat. This includes musical instruments of all types (wood, metal, and electric), antique furniture, books, CDs and DVDs, photos, and important file.s 

Living Creatures

This may seem like a weird one, but you cannot keep pets in a storage unit, even for a couple of days. It’s animal cruelty and will be dealt with by authorities. 

And no, humans can’t live in units either. 

Hazardous Materials

Don’t store batteries, chemicals, propane, or anything dangerous! They are all prone to leaks, which can ruin your unit and increase the risk of fire or toxic chemical fumes. 

4. Stacking Things Wrong

Did you know there is a right way to fill a storage unit? Many people consider it to be like a game of Tetris — you put things where they fit. While this is true to an extent, some boxes shouldn’t be at the bottom of the stack. 

For example, boxes with fragile items should always go on the top of study/short stacks or on top of couches. You should not put anything on top of them, even another fragile or lightweight box. 

Or, if you know you’ll need to access the unit, make an aisle way between stacks of clearly labeled boxes so you can get to what you need faster. This may require a larger unit, but the convenience will be worth it.

If you’re throwing things into a unit and plan on taking them out a month later, store the larger things in the front near the door. This way, you can pack the moving truck in the right order — larger items should always be closer to the driver in the back of the truck.

5. Choosing the Wrong Storage Business

Not all storage units are the same. Some are climate controlled, some are strictly indoor in a larger building, and others allow you to drive right up to every unit. 

If you’re moving a lot of big items, you don’t want to rent a storage unit that is five floors up with only an elevator to help you and your couch get to it. All of our units in Albuquerque Self Storage are accessible by moving trucks and there are no hard turns to make.

You’ll want your unit to be a convenient location too. Ten miles away from your new home or office is too far, and far off a major roadway isn’t ideal either. Be sure to check the location on Google Maps before you call!

You’re also going to want to pick a place with 24/7 security to ensure the safety of your items. If you rent with us, you’ll have peace of mind because our security lives onsite!

If you’re interested in a storage unit, give us a call. We’ll do everything we can to accommodate your needs and help you so you don’t make one of these five common storage mistakes. 

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