How to Move Out of or Into a Storage Unit

Moving from or to a self-storage unit?

Managing a move that involves a storage facility is pretty common. Whether you need to get your items out before you move or need some short-term storage while relocating, this easy checklist will help you through the process.

Couple moving boxes out of a storage unit for their move


How to move out of a storage facility

According to the Self Storage Association’s 2020 report, 10.6% of American households have items in storage. If you’re one of those families and you’re planning a long-distance move, you’ll have to figure out how to get your things out of storage and into the moving equipment. Here's what to do:

1. Consult with management about timing and parking. Use the questions in this post about parking moving equipment at a storage facility to make sure you've covered everything, like timing and overnight parking. If you can't leave the equipment overnight or don't think there's room to park it, contact the moving company as soon as possible to discuss alternatives.

You may also have to give notice of vacating the unit (check your rental agreement and follow any applicable terms).

2. Make a plan with the moving crew. If friends or a moving crew are coming to help, you don't want to keep them waiting. We recommend staggering the equipment delivery and move day, so you aren't paying a crew or keeping friends waiting for the equipment to arrive. If that's not an option, consider adding a guaranteed delivery time.

3. Load into the moving equipment and secure everything. The way you load becomes especially important with a long-distance move. You’ll want to tie things down to prevent them from shifting during the drive. Use these loading tips to get everything in the moving trailer securely.

4. Close up the unit. Follow any steps outlined in the rental agreement, like cleaning or returning a key.

Moving stuff into storage

If you’re searching for a place to live or waiting for a home sale to finalize, renovations to be finished or for a move-in date at an apartment or dorm, you might need to store your items before you can move in. Below, you'll see how U-Pack combines these services, so you don't have to transfer everything multiple times. But, if U-Pack doesn't have storage available, there are facilities where you can rent space to keep your household goods in the meantime.

Here's the plan for getting everything loaded inside a storage unit:

1. Pack with storage in mind. You'll want to pack to protect belongings from extreme temperatures, humidity and pests. Use these tips to prepare items for storage.

2. Talk with management about move-in procedures and parking. Talk with management to go over the time and space needed for the moving equipment. Find out if they have limited days or certain times for move-ins, and make sure you can leave the equipment parked overnight. If not, talk with the moving company to explore alternatives.

3. Schedule loading help. If overnight parking is allowed, we recommend having the equipment delivered one day, then moving into the storage unit the following day. If you need to tackle everything faster, we recommend adding guaranteed service to have an exact date or drop-off time.

4. Prep the unit before items arrive. Make sure the unit is clean, then prep it by laying a tarp or plastic sheeting on the floor (to prevent concrete dust from transferring), putting down some pallets or blocks to elevate furniture and increase airflow, and placing down some pest traps near doors.

5. Unload into the unit. If possible, avoid peak times, like weekends and holidays, so you can move in without worrying about blocking other units. While unloading, organize anything you want access to near the front. Label boxes and place them where the labels are visible, facing outward. Prevent permanent creases by not putting anything heavy on soft items like chairs or sofas. Finally, top everything with another tarp or more plastic sheeting to protect it from dust settling when you're all done.

How to move and store with U-Pack

U-Pack is a great solution for large and small moves that need storage. Instead of transferring items into a storage unit, you load them into the moving equipment. Then we keep your belongings right where you loaded them for a few days or as long as you need (based on availability). It’s a great way to make long-distance moves easier.


Want to learn more? Compare U-Pack to other portable storage companies to find out how our service works and what sets us apart.


Have questions about moving at a storage facility?

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