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Storage Tips

Standard Self Storage Units
General Packing and Storing Tips for Self-Storage

Ensure your items remain safe and free from damage with these tips for indoor and outdoor storage at our secure Muscatine location.
  • Use good quality storage boxes.
  • Tape the bottom of the boxes with heavy duty packing tape. This will prevent the bottom of the box to open during the move and damaging your belongings.
  • Heavy items should be packed into small boxes so that they are easy to lift.
  • Fill boxes to capacity, partially full or bulging boxes may tip or collapse.
  • Label boxes for easy reference when you need to locate your goods. Place your label on all sides of the box.
  • Place a pallet on the concrete floors. Do not place boxes directly on concrete. When packing boxes, try to limit the weight to 30 lbs. or less per box.
  • Even on cement floors use pallets or skids to prevent moisture absorption.
  • Do not use newspaper to pack with. The ink may smudge off on your items.
  • Leave a small space between the goods stored and the storage unit’s walls.
  • If storing wool items, use cedar ships or mothballs to prevent moth damage.
  • Never store anything in sealed plastic bags. The humidity will cause damage to your goods.
  • Make up an inventory of your stored items and keep it in a safe place at home.
  • Plan your storage space- put those items that you need to get to most often near the front, close to the door. Store frequently used items at the front of the unit to avoid having to search for them.
  • If possible, leave a Walkway to the Rear of the Unit – this provides better accessibility to all your items.
  • Disassemble furniture and other items such as bed frames to maximize space.
  • Stand mattresses and sofas on end.
  • Place heavy or bulky items in the unit first to provide a good stacking base.
  • Use your bureau drawers as packing space. Many small fragile items can be stored safely in your dresser drawers surrounded by blankets and pillows.
  • Do not stack heavy or folded objects where they could shift or collapse when you move or need access.
  • Always place a protective cover over your soft furnishings (mattress sets, sofa, recliners, etc.).
  • Do not place heavy items on sofas or mattresses.
  • Take advantage of the tops of dressers and the like to stack boxes and other items.
  • Put the heavy boxes on the bottom and the light ones on top.
  • To maximize space, stack similar sized boxes together.
  • Use wardrobe boxes to hang clothing; remember to fill the bottom of the wardrobe box with shoes, pillows, or other light items.
  • Garden equipment should be cleaned before storing.
  • Cover your goods with dust sheets to protect against dust.

Items not allowed at Blue Flame Storage

  • Hazardous items
  • Dangerous items
  • Illegal items
  • Stolen items
  • Perishable items
  • Environmentally harmful items
  • Explosive items
  • Firearms or weapons
  • Bio-hazardous items
  • Drugs
  • Animals
  • Active storage (such as manufacturing, fabricating or maintenance)

Commonly Stored Items


  • A refrigerator or freezer should be thoroughly dry and stored with its door slightly ajar.
  • Make sure that stoves and cooking equipment are cleaned before they are stored.
  • A washer should be drained of water, clean, and dry. Cover disconnected hose ends with plastic bags, tied securely. Store your washer with the lid open.
  • Some goods can be stored inside large appliances. Boxes can be stacked on top of stoves, refrigerators, and freezers.

Bedding, Clothing, Curtains, Drapes and Linens:

  • Bedding, clothing, curtains, drapes, linens, and other fabric goods should be washed and dried prior to packing. Food crumbs or stains should be removed before storage and avoid storing anything that may attract pests.
  • Clothing, curtains and drapes should be stored on hangers. If hanging cartons are not available, such items should be carefully folded and stored in dresser drawers or cedar chests along with bedding and linens.
  • If storing wool items, use cedar ships or mothballs to prevent moth damage.
  • Use your dresser drawers when possible to store blankets, pillows, sheets, and drapes. Once in storage, it’s best if you can hang them on hangers.


  • To retard rust, wipe with a rag containing a few drops of machine oil.


  • Repack your electronics in their original cartons.
  • Check your owner’s manual for specific instructions on moving items.
  • Do not use polystyrene peanuts in packing any computer devices. They can cause damage.


  • Wrap large lamp bases in padding, wrap smaller lamps then place them in boxes.
  • Pack delicate lamp shades separately. Do not use newsprint to wrap lamp shades or any other goods that may be damaged by ink stains. Use clean packing paper to wrap each lamp shade individually.
  • Often you can “nest” several lamp shades together.
  • Use a special box for all of these shades, rather than packing them with other items.
  • Do not store heavy items on cartons containing lamps or lamp shades.

Books & Documents

  • When packing books, pack them in small cartons that weigh no more than 30 lbs.
  • Pack books flat to protect their spines. Alternate bindings and cushion them with wadded packing paper.
  • Use packing to fill all empty pockets in the boxes.
  • Do not pack fragile items in the same box with books and do not overload.


  • Place a pallet, corrugated cardboard mat, or plastic sheet on the floor and stand sofas and mattresses on end.
  • If your sofa is a hide-a-bed, make sure to secure the bed by tying it closed. Sofas can be stored on end to save space. We recommend plastic sofa covers be used.
  • Dissemble beds and tables and wrap table legs in paper. Place the nuts, bolts and screws in a small zip lock bag and tape to the underside of the furniture.
  • Wax wood furniture before storing it.
  • Most lightweight chairs can be stacked "seat to seat" or placed upside down on tables which cannot be disassembled. Stack chairs seat to seat with cloth or white non-printed paper to separate them. There’s usually space between the legs for small, lightweight items.
  • Use dresser tops for stacking cartons and dresser drawers for linens or small, delicate items. Take advantage of drawers for packing many light household items such as photos and clocks. If the items are fragile, be sure to use towels or other padding to protect them from breakage.
  • Finally, place a light cotton (e.g. a bed sheet) dust cover on your furniture.

Dishes & Glassware

  • We recommend using dishpak boxes.
  • Place a layer of packing inside the bottom and the top of the boxes containing glassware.
  • Pack paper into all open spaces to ensure a tight fit. Make sure all sides of box are cushioned and tightly packed.
  • Protect your fragile goods in bubble wrap, such as dishes and glasses.
  • All glass items should be individually wrapped: nest cups and bowls and stand plates, sauces, and platters on edge.
  • Wrapped glasses should be placed near the top of cartons. Again, fill all pockets with packing.
  • Label all boxes containing glassware, and do not place heavy items on boxes containing glassware.
  • Save room by using towels and blankets to wrap fragile items.

Mirrors, Windows & Screens

  • These items should be stored on edges, not flat.
  • Mirrors should be wrapped in mirror boxes, marked fragile and stacked on their end.

Holiday Decorations

  • Save the original cartons that contained delicate ornaments.
  • Pad the ornaments with packing paper or newsprint.
  • Wrap strings of lights around a piece of cardboard before placing in a carton lined with packing paper.

Sports Equipment

  • Take apart assembled equipment. Place parts in separate bags and label. Attach the bag to equipment with tape.


  • Cover mattress with special mattress bags to keep them dust free. Use special mattress bags or even old mattress covers to keep them clean during moving and storage.
  • Store mattresses and box springs on long edges.
  • Elevate them off of the floor. Use special mattress bags or even old mattress covers to keep them clean during moving and storage.

Pictures & Paintings

  • Pictures and paintings should be wrapped in mirror boxes, marked fragile and stood on edge. Use bubble wrap for protection.

Records and Photographs

  • Records should be stored on edges to prevent warping.
  • To prevent photographs curling, keep them flat, place them between two pieces of cardboard and tape them together or in between something flat.


  • Metal tools should be cleaned and wiped with a rag containing a few drops of machine oil to retard rust.
  • Long handled tools such as rakes, shovels and hoes should be clean, lightly oiled and tied in bundled.
  • Tape tools together in groups of same size. Wrap the ends in protective foam or bubble.
  • Drain hoses and tie together in a coil.
  • Remove any gas or oil from lawn mowers, snow blowers, chain saws, etc. Store with fuel cap open.