Get your storage unit working harder

20 March 2024

Ever watched Storage Wars?

If so, you’d be forgiven for imagining storage units as caverns packed with junk and hidden gems shoved in and forgotten, never to see the light of day again. Until, of course, some lucky bidder comes along to onsell the contents for thousands more than they paid.

In reality, storage units are dynamic tools that help people adapt their lifestyle according to the seasons. Read on for some tips that will have you making the most of your storage unit as we move through the year!

A growing need for seasonal storage

As New Zealand cities move past the quarter-acre suburban sprawl and into a new era of more high-density housing, more and more households need a little extra help in the storage department. 

Many modern high-density housing developments are beautifully planned to offer shared outdoor space and facilities that make up for the lack of section—and there’s much less mowing and maintenance to be done, too! However, the issue of seasonal storage remains for those in townhomes and apartments. We love to get out and about and enjoy our beautiful country, but a lot of the required equipment is bulky and used fairly infrequently. In other words, exactly the type of thing you’d put in the garage and forget about for a few months.

High-density housing has minimal storage.

When your garage space is needed for parking, it’s necessary to look elsewhere! Items such as tents, snow gear, lifejackets, and seasonal clothing require a storage space that’s dry and protected from the elements, secure (those things are expensive!), and easy to access when it comes time to get out and use it again.

Storage facilities like National Mini Storage are the perfect solution for seasonal storage. Our units aren’t dump-and-forget, musty old lockups; they are dynamic solutions to a growing problem faced by urban Kiwis! 

Top tips for a seasonal storage strategy

One: declutter

Although it may seem contradictory, the first step in moving things out of your house and into storage should be to declutter as much as possible. This will ensure that you are paying for only the space you need and aren’t burying useful items under a mountain of things that are never used.

  • Move from room to room. Tackling the task one area at a time will make it less overwhelming. If an entire room is daunting, begin with a single drawer or cupboard.
  • Sort into categories. In this case, those will likely be “keep in the house”, “move to storage”, and “donate/throw away”. Consider how often you use that item. If it’s something that is used only several times a year and/or only during a specific season, it’s a good candidate for storage. If you never use it or could easily do without it, it can go.
  • Set goals. For example, you may aim to reduce your kitchen utensils into what will fit into a single drawer, or your clothes into one half of the wardrobe.
  • Enlist help. You know who to call—that one ruthless, organised person who will make the hard decisions for you!

If you’re struggling, perhaps take a leaf out of Marie Kondo’s book and decide which items “spark joy” and which ones don’t. Be honest with yourself: will you use this enough for it to be worth space in your home or storage unit? Are you only keeping it because it was a gift from someone you love? 

Remember also that the decluttering work is never done. Set a yearly or twice-yearly appointment to go through your home again and maintain the decluttered state. The job will become easier as you keep on top of it regularly.

Not sure what to do with the stuff you’re getting rid of? You could try your luck on TradeMe, or drop it off to an op shop if it’s clean and still useful. If it’s broken or too old to be valuable to anyone else, it’s probably time to toss it. If you have electronic waste to dispose of, please do so responsibly. Tech Collect offers free pickups. If you have laptops still in a good condition with chargers, Recycle A Device may be able to use them in the wonderful digital equity work they do.

Two: rotate as needed

If you’re not throwing in excess belongings to never see the light of day again, what good is a storage unit?

For many Kiwis, particularly those in higher-density housing, the answer is simple: for storing seasonal items when not in use! Having an extra space outside of your home allows you to rotate lifestyle equipment throughout the seasons, keeping it out of the way when it’s not needed. That means a tidier home and more space for the items that are on high rotation in your day-to-day.

These are some items which could be stored during their “off-peak” seasons. Only you know what you use and when, so apply that insider knowledge as you make decisions!

Late spring to early autumn: camping equipment, surfboards and boogie boards, diving/snorkelling gear, shade sails, summer clothes, extra outdoor furniture, jet skis and dinghies, pool or beach toys, paddling pools, Christmas trees and decorations.

Late autumn to early spring: Skiing or snowboarding equipment, warm clothes (i.e jackets and boots), gutter cleaning equipment, heaters, crock pots, extra blankets, specialist winter sports equipment, rain covers.

Consider which belongings you use for only a defined portion of the year. While most households operate more or less along a divide of warmer months and colder months, some may have equipment used in a specific season, during a specific school term, or only once per year. If you’re very organised, you might like to make a storage calendar that allows you to maximise the space available, minimise the number of trips you make to the unit, and ensure you always have what you need.

Three: Label and organise

Picture this: you arrive on a sunny spring morning to finally liberate your aquatic equipment from the storage unit and pack away your skis and wool duvets. The door opens to absolute chaos, and you proceed to spend at least an hour trying to dig out what you came for while dodging falling flippers.

With a little extra effort, this can be avoided.

As you’re packing things up to take to your storage unit, consider some kind of packaging and labelling system. 

  • Clear plastic lidded bins are a popular option, allowing you to see what’s inside and stack them safely. You can write on these with sharpies or attach sticky labels to further clarify the content.
  • Got old drawers, shelves, or cabinets that no longer fit your home or decor? You could relocate these to your storage unit and use them to keep things in order. 
  • For clothing, you can both protect it and reduce the space it takes up by vacuum-sealing it in plastic bags. If you don’t have a vacuum sealing machine, a DIY version is possible: fill a rubbish bag and use your vacuum cleaner to remove as much air as possible, then tie tightly. Results may vary.
  • Cardboard boxes are an affordable and simple way to pack away smaller items. However, always ensure you write on them what they contain.

In summary

Seasonal storage is a winning idea for Kiwi households that have limited space in their homes and on their properties. Rotating out bulky and season-specific lifestyle items into storage allows you to keep your spaces tidier and more organised, with all the things you currently need still at hand.

An efficient and effective seasonal storage system begins with decluttering. From there, you can identify what needs to be stored and when, create a schedule for rotation, and come up with a way to package and label your items that will make life much easier when the time comes to put things away and take others out.

Ready to start reaping the benefits of your very own storage space? National Mini Storage has an array of differently-sized units and storage solutions to suit all New Zealanders. Give us a call on 0800 786 764 or get an instant quote to find out about availability near you!

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