What’s Worth Putting in Storage — And How to Prepare Goods for Storage

What’s Worth Putting in Storage — And How to Prepare Goods for Storage

The following contribution is from another author.

Driven by reasons ranging from limited space in their homes to the challenges of moving or downsizing, almost a fifth of Americans rent self storage units. The most commonly stored items include furniture, clothing, home appliances, sporting equipment and hobby gear. Using self storage contributes to maintaining a neat and uncluttered living environment while allowing you to hold on to your belongings.

However, before you commit to a self storage unit, it’s crucial to ensure that you’re getting your money’s worth out of it. The monthly rate for a 10’x10’ storage unit, one of the most common sizes, hovers around $122 at a national level, but prices can vary significantly based on location. For instance, renting a 10’x10’ storage unit in Nashville, TN, aligns closely with the national average, while the same type of unit in Boston, MA, commands a higher price at around $177 per month. In other words, your storage unit is a recurring monthly expense, underscoring the importance of storing items that pass the usefulness test: they’re in good condition, genuinely needed and will see future use.

Here are some categories of items that are generally worth putting into storage, along with advice on how to store them properly:


Good quality furniture pieces that hold aesthetic and financial value but aren’t currently in use can be placed in self storage to free up space at home. This is particularly beneficial during a move or when downsizing, allowing you to maintain cherished pieces without overcrowding your living space. Also, outdoor furniture, which we all use and enjoy during the summer, can become damaged if exposed to harsh weather conditions, so it’s a good idea to keep it in storage over the cold season.

Storage tips:

Disassemble your furniture carefully, if possible, keeping track of screws and hardware. Place screws and small parts in labeled bags taped to the corresponding furniture piece. Cover furniture with breathable fabrics to protect against dust while allowing air circulation. Don’t put the furniture directly on the floor of the storage unit. Instead, use pallets or sturdy pieces of tarp. Make sure you are not placing heavy boxes on top of upholstered furniture or on expensive, varnished wooden furniture, as it can damage it, creating dents, tears and stains.


Seasonal clothing often takes up valuable closet space when not in use. By stowing away winter coats or summer dresses during the off-season, you create room for more current and accessible items in your everyday wardrobe. Fancy outfits that you only wear for special occasions can also be kept in storage if closet space is scarce at home.

Storage tips:

All the clothes should be washed or dry-cleaned before storage — otherwise any stains or dirt will set in for good. Consider investing in breathable storage containers or garment bags that provide protection against dust and pests while allowing air circulation. For delicate fabrics, add silica gel packets to absorb moisture and prevent mildew. Natural fabrics, like wool, will benefit from adding moth repellent.

Holiday decorations

Holiday decorations hold sentimental value for most of us but are generally used for only a few weeks each year. Storing them properly ensures they stay intact and ready for festive displays without cluttering your living space year-round. Having them well organized in a storage unit also makes decorating for holidays a more enjoyable and stress-free experience.

Storage tips:

Use sturdy, clear containers for easy visibility of the contents. Label each box according to the types of decorations it holds, making it simpler to locate specific items next season. Avoid overpacking boxes to prevent damage to delicate ornaments.

Sporting and hobby equipment

Sporting equipment can take up a significant amount of space, especially items used seasonally, such as skis or snowboards. Storing them properly ensures that they remain in good condition, protected from damage, rust or warping, and ready for use when the season rolls around. It also prevents clutter in garages or living spaces.

Storage tips:

Clean and lubricate moving parts of equipment such as ATVs or bicycles before storing. Use special racks for ATVs, motorbikes or bicycles. Change oil and filters, top up fuel, and disconnect batteries where applicable. For skis, snowboards, golf clubs and such, use protective covers or bags to prevent scratches. Make sure that camping gear such as tents and sleeping bags is clean and dry before putting it in a unit. Store smaller items like balls and rackets in labeled bins for easy access.

Books, collectibles, family memorabilia and sentimental items

Books, collectibles and memorabilia contribute to our personal identity and are sometimes important for our family histories. Holding on to them is a natural impulse. However, most people don’t have enough space at home to keep such delicate possessions in proper condition. Putting them in a storage unit allows you to maintain a curated collection without sacrificing precious shelf space. Additionally, protecting valuable books and collectibles from environmental factors helps preserve their condition for your children and grandchildren. Some of these items even have monetary value, which can be quite significant, so they’re totally worth keeping.

Storage tips:

Consider using climate-controlled storage for valuable books and collectibles to prevent damage from temperature and humidity fluctuations. Wrap printed materials with acid-free paper to protect against yellowing. Pack books vertically in boxes, like on a bookshelf, to avoid stress on the spines. Put collectibles in sturdy, lidded boxes, and don’t overcrowd the boxes. Keeping the original packaging, when it comes to collectibles, is highly recommended. Avoid placing these items directly on the floor to prevent moisture absorption.

Prioritize accessibility and organization when packing items into storage. Labeling, creating an inventory list, and periodically checking on stored items can streamline the retrieval process and help maintain the optimal condition of your belongings while in self storage. And, more importantly, remember that a storage unit is a service that you pay for. Use it for important belongings that you actually need and not for items that you simply don’t want around the home.


Eric is the creator of At Home in the Future and has been a passionate fan of the future since he was seven. He's a web developer by trade, and serves as the Director of Communication and Technology for a large church in Nashville, TN (where he and his family are building a high tech home in the woods).