storage unit filled with items

How to Clean Out a Storage Unit: Step-by-Step Guide

Storage units have their share of benefits, including providing extra space to temporarily “hide away” the things we don’t need and free up space in our homes. However, its intended purpose of being a temporary space becomes longer than anticipated leading to insect infestation and germ build-up, and of course excess clutter.

You need to maintain, clean and organize your storage regularly to make sure your stored items stay in excellent condition. Cleaning and decluttering a storage unit you won at an auction or have not visited in ages is not an exciting task. This blog provides tips on how to clean out a storage unit and how to get rid of sentimental value.

Steps to Clean Out a Storage Unit

Step 1: Make a List of Everything Inside

Before you get started, the first step is to take a comprehensive inventory of what the unit holds. Write down a list of everything, and if you haven’t labeled boxes already, now is a good time to do so.

Taking stock of all the stored items will help you when it comes time to determine the valuable items to keep, things to be donated to charity and things to throw away.

woman taking inventory of boxes

Step 2: Create a Plan of Attack

Cleaning out a storage unit needs a solid game plan to help ease the process. Once you have a list of the items in the unit, classify items to sell, donate, the ones to keep, and those to be trashed or recycled.

Afterward, have a timeline for the job and decide whether you need help. You should also create a list of supplies needed for the project and their cost. If you have large items to declutter from the unit, hire a truck to haul them to their new destination.

Step 3: Schedule Donation Pickups

If you made a list of items to donate, arrange for the recipients to pick them up as soon as possible to lighten your load. Non-profits like The Salvation Army and Habitat for Humanity offer free donation pickup for larger items like furniture and appliances, but make sure to schedule the pick-ups several days before the clean-up day.

Also be sure to search for charities that accept donations in your area for smaller items you don’t want to keep. Just remember that most places do not accept donated mattresses unless they are in very good condition.

Step 4: Enlist Help

Cleaning out a storage unit alone can be overwhelming. If possible, recruit helpful hands, including friends, family, or a professional junk removal company. recommends College Hunks Hauling Junk & Moving, but you can compare several other national junk removal services here, or search for a local company in your area.

Step 5: Set Aside Items to Sell

If you have belongings like collectibles, gently-used furniture, electronics or other valuables you don’t want to donate, set those aside to sell. You can easily sell things online at places like:

  • CraigsList
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Etsy
  • Bonanza
  • OfferUP
  • Remoov

For clothes and accessories websites like ThredUp and PoshMark are great options.

Step 6: Dispose of Trash

Dispose of the items destined for the landfill. Most storage facilities offer an onsite dumpster for trash, but if you have more trash than the dumpster can hold, haul them to a recycling center or landfill. Just make sure to double check guidelines for what items are simply prohibited from dumpsters and landfills.

Step 7: Actual cleaning

Before the clean-up day arrives, ensure you have all equipment and supplies for the task. The following are a few tips to make the job as smooth as possible:

  • Set a timeline: Clean-up projects often require several hours, and it is essential to set aside enough time to do so. Pick a date, time, and duration for the project. Ensure you stick to the deadlines.
  • Divide the job into parts: Divide the job into small parts to help you stay motivated. When doing the actual cleaning, do so systematically and methodically. For example, you can start from one side to the other or from upper compartments to lower compartments. Take a slower measured approach to get through more items and places quickly and achieve the best results.

Step 8: Turn Over the Unit

If you are ending the rental contract, turn over the unit once it is clean and empty. Take a picture of the unit with your phone so you have proof of its new condition when you surrender it to the storage facility. Remove your lock and notify the management you have vacated the unit.

Get Help From Cleaning Services

Cleaning out a storage unit can be overwhelming, especially if it contains large and bulky items. If the mess is more than you can handle, consider getting help from a storage unit cleanout service. Companies like LoadUp and The Junk Luggers can help get rid of trash and clean the unit without you needing to lift a finger.

Categories Storage