Tips for Storing Items for Long Term in California

Harrison Yates | January 25, 2021 @ 12:00 AM

Do you need to rent a self storage unit for a short, or long, period of time? Long-term storage can mean anywhere from three months to many years. 


To keep your closet from getting crammed, you may put your summer clothes in storage for six months, then swap them out with your winter clothes. Your child may be going off to college, and you might want to put a bunch of their things in storage for nine months, and let them pick what to bring back home for the summer. Or, you may need a place to store business inventory or supplies which may need to remain in storage for up to a few years.


To ensure you get a storage unit that’s not too big or too small, to keep your stuff in good condition, and to make sure you know where everything is in your unit when you need it, here are some helpful guidelines.


Declutter First


It can be depressing to return to a storage unit after a while to realize that half the stuff you put in there you just don’t need or even want. Yet it’s so easy to let this happen. When you’ve just rented a unit and want to clear out your home, you may just box up everything you don’t regularly need.


It’s better to take some extra time and really make sure that important things go in your unit. So, declutter first, then box up what you plan to store, and then rent a unit that’s just the right size.


You may want to try Marie Kondo’s KonMari method, but that’s pretty strict. Many books and articles have been written about decluttering, of course. Here are the basics.


Go through one type of thing at a time, such as your clothes, your kitchenware, and your child’s toys. You can get rid of things that are no longer in regular use. When it comes to items that have sentimental value, especially if they’re irreplaceable, keep them. Baby books and such fall into this category.


Sell, donate, recycle, and throw out the things you don’t need, in that order. In other words, if it’s in good condition, try to sell it. If you can’t sell it, donate it. And remember, you can list the value of donations as line item deductions on your taxes. If you can’t sell or donate it and it can be recycled, then recycle it. Finally, if none of the other possibilities apply, then it’s just junk and you can throw it out.


This will leave you with the things you can keep at home and those you can store. If it’s something you don’t need at home, then pack it away for storage.




At Central Coast Self Storage we sell boxes, appropriate locks, and other storage supplies on site. For heavier items like books and paperwork, use small, sturdy boxes. Many lighter items can fit in these boxes, too, which makes stacking easier, but medium-sized boxes are also good for clothing, bedclothes, and other cloth items. For plates and cups, consider specialized boxes.


Some things, like books, will safely pack tight, and clothes and such don’t need padding to stay in shape. However, most other things, from dishes to toys to keepsakes, will need some padding. Wrap mugs, plates, and similar items in bubble wrap, then fill in the spaces with one of the most flexible and useful types of packing materials, packing paper.


Oh yes, make sure everything is clean and dry before you pack it. Dirty items can attract pests, and moisture can cause mold or mildew to grow.


Label & Inventory


Yes, this will add some time to your packing routine, but when you need that one specific item packed away in storage and can’t remember exactly where you put it, this will be a lifesaver.


It’s easy to label every box. Just write, in sharpie, on the side of the box what’s in it and a box number. For example, you may have “Books #1” and “Mom’s Clothes #3.”


To create an inventory, keep a pen and notepad with you while you pack, and write down every item as you pack it, as well as which box it went into. Later, type this information into a spreadsheet program like Excel or Google Sheets. With that done, whenever you want to retrieve a specific item, you’ll know exactly what box it’s in.


Protect Your Furniture


In storage, cover your furniture items with regular blankets or moving blankets to keep them clean. Also, though this may take more room, don’t store couches on their sides, and don’t put heavy boxes on top of the cushions. The former can damage the couch frame, and the latter can harm the cushions.


Pick a Unit Size


We have units sizes from 5x5 to 10x15, and our handy size guide can help you pick the right size for you. That means we have small and medium units. A 5x5 is about the size of a large closet, which can store several pieces of furniture and many boxes. A 10x15 is a medium unit that can contain the contents of a two-bedroom apartment.


Once you’ve picked your size, you can book it on our website or in person and begin moving your stuff in.


The Weather


Fortunately, in Arroyo Grande, the temperature rarely gets up to 90 degrees or down to 40 degrees. In this temperate area, climate control isn’t strictly necessary. As long as you pack your stuff clean and dry, it should remain in good condition in your unit.


Storage Insurance


When you rent your unit, you’ll be able to purchase storage insurance with us. Legally, you have to have self-storage insurance, but that’s to protect the value of your belongings. If you don’t feel like our insurance covers enough, you can purchase separate or additional insurance.


Check your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy to see if self storage is covered. It probably isn’t, in which case, you may want to ask about getting a rider to add self storage coverage. 


Otherwise, you can find a separate storage insurance company. If you have storage insurance through another provider, you may be able to show us the proof and not be obligated to purchase it from us.




When it comes to paying your bill, you have several options. You can pay in person, on the phone, or via our website. We think the best option is to turn on autopay, which will take out your payment when it’s due. 


That way, if you forget, you’re covered. You won’t have to worry about late fees or forgetting for several months and getting a letter saying you need to pay or your unit will go up for auction. In short, it will make your life easier.

If you have any questions about renting a unit, we’re here to help. Give us a call at (805) 481-1484 or send us a message via our contact page. We look forward to serving your storage needs.