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Decluttering a Storage Unit

Isabella Blake | September 8, 2020 @ 12:00 AM

Decluttering is a task best done before you get a self storage unit, but we know that’s not always possible. Sometimes you just need to clear out your home or office and get some space, quickly. Also, when you boxed your stuff for storage, you may have felt like you needed all of it.


Given some time away from those things, chances are you’ll realize that a bunch of it is less important to you than you thought. That’s when you can take a few days to a week to go through your unit, perhaps after work, and sort it all out. The amount of time it will take depends on the size of your unit and how many people are working on the project.


This is a big project, but you’ll feel great and maybe have a little extra money after you’ve decluttered your self storage unit. Here’s how to go about it.

Prepare for Decluttering


Purchase a bunch of plastic bins and sturdy garbage bags. We suggest getting enough bins for all the boxed items in your unit, but if the stored boxes are in good shape, or if you’re already using bins, you can get fewer.


Get some snacks and drinks, but don’t eat or drink in your unit! Do so outside it so you don’t get food particles in the unit itself, which can attract pests. This is so you can take a break now and then to refresh yourself. If you’re going to do this with a housemate, plan on the times you’ll head over to your storage unit to declutter.

Go Through the Boxes


Once you get to your unit at Jack Rabbit Storage, we suggest going through the boxes first. Remember why you’re there: to get rid of things you don’t need.


Grab two plastic bins and a garbage bag, then go through one box at a time.  As you do, you’re going to decide what you want, what you need, and what you don’t.


In one bin, put the things you want to keep in storage. With the other, put things you can sell, donate, or recycle. In the garbage bag, put absolute junk. Then, move on to the next box.

Furniture and Appliances


You may not get to furniture and appliances until you’ve finished with the boxes, and that’s okay. Did you put away a dresser thinking you’d pass it down to one of your kids, only for them to be happy with the dresser they now have at home? Do you have a child’s bicycle that no one can use anymore? These are examples of bigger items you can get rid of.


They’re also the sorts of things that, if they’re in good condition, you can donate to a thrift store, like Goodwill, The Salvation Army, or the Habitat for Humanity Restore. When you get to these, you will want to bring a van, pick-up truck, or rental truck to haul them away.

Sentimental Items


Odds are you’ll have some items that, though they have no practical value, are important to you. This includes things like baby books, collections, and perhaps some art you or your child created. By all means, keep these! Just because you don’t need it doesn’t mean it’s not important.

Finishing Up Each Day


When you’re done for the day, put the bins that will remain in storage back in the unit, and bring the ones full of decluttered items back home. There should be a bin onsite where you can dump the garbage bags.

Selling, Donating, and Recycling


You can put this step aside until you finish decluttering the unit, or you can work on it as you go through the process. Decide what works for you.


During this step, you’ll decide what to sell, donate, and recycle. You’ve likely already gotten rid of real trash, but there may be some items leftover that you can only throw out.


  1. Sell it if it’s in good condition and seems like something people would want or need. You can use online platforms like Craigslist, eBay, or OfferUp. You might walk away from this project with some extra cash in your pocket, and if you do, this is why.
  2. Donate it if it’s in good condition and you want to make a donation, it didn’t sell, or it seems useful but like it would be tough to sell. Great places to donate include Goodwill, The Salvation Army, and the Habitat for Humanity Restore. Get a receipt for stuff you’ve donated and you can deduct them from your taxes.
  3. Recycle it if it’s not useful but made of a useful material like paper, glass, plastic, or metal. Other items that can be recycled include clothing and electronics. Check locally for where you can drop off recycling of various types. You can get cash for some recyclable items.
  4. If it can’t be sold, donated, or recycled, your last option is to toss it in the trash. Don’t feel guilty if you’ve tried the others first!

Downsize Your Unit


Once you’ve gone through all this, you’ll notice a lot of extra room in your unit! It’s time to downsize. Check our size guide to figure out what sort of unit you now need, then contact us for details on how to switch from your current unit to another. This will save you money every month, and you’ll know that what you have in storage is stuff you absolutely want to keep.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

Isabella Blake
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