1. Take an inventory rundown of your storage unit items
The first thing you should do is scan the unit and take an immediate inventory of what is inside. Jot down all the items so you can gain a good idea of which items you should keep and which to get rid of.
2. Sort items into categories: keep, sell/donate, store, or toss
The Four-Box Declutter Method is an effective approach to sort through and declutter spaces. The concept behind this technique is sorting all your items into four empty boxes: keep, toss, donate/sell, and store.
- The keep box includes items you can remove from your storage unit and bring home.
- The store box contains things that will stay in storage.
- The sell or donate box is for items you plan to sell or donate.
- The last box is a toss box, which will include anything that is broken beyond repair.
3. Seek Resources
Once you have sorted and categorized all the items, count the number of boxes you will roughly need. Then, determine if you need extra help with the move. Defining the amount of resources you need helps you plan ahead to ensure that you have everything you need for a successful decluttering session!
4. Estimate the time for the decluttering
To lessen the chances of being overwhelmed, it is essential to prepare yourself for what is to come. Pick a time to do the actual clean out and come equipped with moving supplies, garbage bags, labels, and sorting totes.
Things to consider when decluttering:
- How much time do you need? Overestimate here. You may need more than one day to declutter your storage unit thoroughly. Plan accordingly so you have all the time you need and more to dedicate to the job.
- How many people do I realistically need? It may be helpful to have more than one person on hand. Ask for help in advance and be sure to have all the support and extra muscle you need.
- Do I have an emotional attachment to any of the items? Remember that cleaning out sentimental items can be an overwhelming process. This response is natural, so do not beat yourself up if you become emotional if you are dealing with an inherited storage unit, or a unit used to store items from a loved one.
5. Set up the order for moving the items
To help you move your items efficiently, consider using the following steps:
- First, remove all the trash from the unit. If you have way too much waste for the dumpster on-site, proceed to step seven.
- For donation items, contact a local thrift store to schedule a free pickup. A dumpster should be your last option for things that can still be used or repurposed. If there are only a few donation items, load those into your car and drop them off at a donation site.
- Next, load your vehicle. Pack all the items that are going back home with you, including things you’re keeping or putting into storage.
- Lastly, move all the ‘sell’ items to a location for further processing. You could keep them in the storage unit if you have time left in your rental or move them somewhere offsite. You can sell each item individually through popular online websites such as Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace.
7. Hire a junk removal company if necessary
Numerous companies can help you get rid of storage unit contents without you needing to lift a finger. Hiring someone is especially useful if you do not have anyone else to help you or if you cannot declutter your storage unit yourself.