If you're on a tight budget, you probably want to rent as small a storage unit as possible as the fees tend to be lower for smaller units. But squeezing a lot into a small, 5'x 8' or 8'x 8' storage unit can be quite a challenge. Here are some tips to make it work.
Fill your dresser drawers.
There's no point in emptying out your dressers and putting their contents into separate boxes. The empty drawers just become wasted space! Keep your clothing in your dresser drawers, and if there's any extra space in the drawers, fill it with linens, blankets, stuffed animals, and other small items you need to store. You can even seal everything up in vacuum bags to compact it even more and fit more into the dresser.
Use bags for some items.
It's fine to pack most of your items into boxes and totes. After all, these are easy to stack up tall, which is a space-saving technique in and of itself. But try to put some of your items into bags rather than boxes. Soft items, like linens and pillows, are easy to put into bags as they won't rip holes in the bags. Save the bags until the very end when you are packing up your storage unit. You can squeeze them into little nooks and crannies where a whole box won't fit, and you can even put them on top of boxes. As long as they contain soft materials, you don't have to worry if they tumble off the tops of boxes and fall on you.
Stack the right way.
Put your heaviest boxes into the storage unit first, and then start stacking the lighter boxes on top of them. This way, you won't get to the top of a stack and realize you have to start a new one because all you have left are heavy boxes.
You can help make efficient stacking easier by color-coding your boxes as you pack. Write on the heaviest ones with green marker, the medium-weight ones with blue marker, and the lightest ones with red marker.
While these tips will help you pack more into a small storage unit, they do have their limits. You won't pack a 4-bedroom house into a 5' x 5' unit or an entire apartment into three boxes. If you're not sure what size unit is realistic for your needs, speak with a storage facility owner in your area, or visit a storage facility's website to look at more info.