The absolute best way to organize your storage unit depends on what exactly you are storing, but here are some tips that an help you make the most of your storage and help keep it safe.

Store Larger Items to One Side or At the Back

If you have furniture to store, putting it into the unit first can help you on several levels. First, the big pieces are the ones that will be the hardest to make fit. You an pile boxes on top of furniture or around it, but if you put the boxes in first, you may not have room for the sofa.

Second, chances are the furniture is not something you will be taking in and out of the unit frequently. Putting it off to one side or in the back will give you easier access to the things you use often.

Third, using the corners of the unit as supports, you can lean a mattress or bed frame against a wall, or stand a sofa on end in the corner. This is the strongest part of the unit and helps you maximize your use of space. If possible, take furniture like bed frames and tables apart and stand them up vertically to take the least space. Cover flat surfaces with moving blankets to protect your furniture.

Use Bookshelves or Free Standing Shelves to Store Small Items

Boxes of little items can get heavy. Putting them on shelves instead of stacking boxes on top of one another can help prevent damage to the bottom boxes. It can also make it easier to access the box of things you need. Make sure to label all boxes and point the label side of the box outward so you can see it.

Get a Filing Cabinet or File Box for Important Documents

Rather than just shoving your important documents, from car titles to life insurance policies, into a random box, purchase a banker’s box or small filing cabinet and put all your important documents in one place. This will save you lots of time and headaches later when you need that one specific piece of paper.

Put Valuables Toward the Back of the Unit

Storing your computer or other easily pawned valuables? Think like a crook and try to make your things as difficult for them to find as possible. Avoid storing valuables in a box that says what they are and avoid putting them in “grab and go” spots in your storage unit. While we have not had any problems with break-ins, when they occur other places, thieves grab whatever looks valuable at the front of the unit. Make sure that there is nothing valuable up front for them to grab.

Place Things You Use Closer to the Front

If you only get something out once a year — like your turkey roaster– it should be further away from the door than your cooler that gets used several times a year. Put the things you use closer to the door to help you get in and out of your unit as quickly as possible.