How to Maximize Off-Site Storage
It Pays to Give Away
The last thing you want to do is pay to store items you aren't using and will, in all likelihood, never use again. Clean out and give away your unused items to a local charitable organization. The task may be time consuming but you come out ahead in three ways. First, you'll stop wasting money on storage. Second, your donation will directly benefit a worthy charitable organization. Third, if you donate to a reputable organization - such as one listed and rated on CharityNavigator - you could be eligible for tax write-offs, too!
Make a Map and Plan Ahead
Do you store things seasonally? For example, do you switch out Spring/Summer clothes and Fall/Winter wardrobe items? How about seasonal decorations or sports equipment? Sketch out your space on paper and figure out which items need to be easily accessible (i.e. your heavy winter coats) versus items you realistically won't need for a while (i.e. that antique trunk with all the stickers that is so cool but won't fit anywhere). Place the less-needed items in the back and the more frequently required items in front. If you pack your space densely a map will be helpful a year from now when you're looking for something.
Install shelving racks and/or stackable plastic bins to maximize your space. If you don't have plastic bins already it's best to buy several of the same kind so they fit together nicely. One example are these stackable bins sold in a set of six from Target. Pack heavier items in the lower bins. Label using masking tape and a pen, and you're done!
With a little planning you can reduce your storage needs and associated costs, find items easily, and take control of your "stuff"!