By Terry Dowling, Certified Self Storage Manager
Storage units are fantastic! They are very helpful when you are going through a life event of some kind, such as moving, marriage, divorce, retirement and so on; or simply to store unused items or items that are seasonal and not used frequently. That concrete floor of the storage unit is OK in most cases. However, there are benefits to using wooden pallets inside your storage unit to keep items off the concrete.
First of all, you want to take into consideration if your storage unit is temperature controlled or not. That makes a big difference in whether those wooden pallets are necessary. Exterior drive up units can become extremely hot in the warmer weather and extremely cold in the winter. That is fine for most common items. But depending on what you’re going to store will tell you how it should be stored.
If you are storing wooden items like furniture and family heirlooms, those wooden pallets are a great idea to keep these sensitive items off the concrete floor. And if you have clothing, linens and books, those boxes will fare better if sitting on top of a wooden pallet rather than directly on the concrete. Items that can benefit from pallets are your mattresses, sofas and any fabric items. Concrete can pull moisture in from the ground – not a significant amount – but it is something to consider. If your items will be damaged if they get and stay moist, pallets can be the answer.
Something to keep in mind when gathering wooden pallets, is where you get them from. If you get free ones from a grocery store, there is a chance they may have been contaminated with food particles, moisture from frozen boxes and so on. We recommend placing something over the pallets to create a simple barrier. Something like a large piece of cardboard, a plastic dust cover or even a piece of plywood would be great. We also suggest that you wipe them down before you use them, to clean any debris or dirt from the surface.
Pallets are great for easy transportation if you are using a moving company before and/or after storing your items. Most moving companies have pallet trucks (whether hand or motor driven) to move them around easily. They can load and unload them directly to and from your storage unit.
Be sure to check the pallets over to make sure there are no sharp items sticking out of the boards such as nails or splinters. You also want to look for broken pieces on the boards. If there are sharp items, remove them and sand the surface so your items don’t get damaged. If one of the boards is broken, don’t use that pallet and throw it away.
Pallets are also great just for storing your boxes on top. They allow for air flow under and around the box at all times. Simply mark what is in the box on at least two sides and the top, then stack with the largest and heaviest boxes and go smaller and lighter as you go up. Make sure that when you place the boxes onto the pallets, your labeled area is visible to give you easy access to what’s inside.
Besides using pallets for storage, they also have other benefits. So, when you are done storing and you are left with pallets and aren’t sure what to do with them, get creative! You can turn a pallet into a plant rack by hanging on a wall or standing against a wall and using the boards to sit small pots, or hang pots from the boards. You can make it into a piece of art by painting it or covering with decoupage or fabric. With some additional beautification, you can turn that worn out pallet into an outside deck – ok, that one can take a lot of work. Or, paint it the same color of your bedroom, and can turn it into a under the bed pullout drawer by adding wheels.
Pallets can be used 100s of different ways. With a good imagination, you can make them work for you. All you have to do these days is Google something or go to Pinterest and you can find a cool project for just about any item out there. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure!
If you have other great ideas on how to use pallets either during storage or afterwards, share them in the comments below. We would love to hear them!
And, if you are ready to start using self storage, with or without wooden pallets, you can rent a storage unit online 24/7.