Choosing boxes and packing materials

Published - 2017 July 01

Once the decision to move things into storage is made, the next step is to decide how to pack them correctly. The first step is finding boxes. Many of us have made the mistake of going to local liquor stores or grocery stores, only to find that they break down boxes almost as soon as they receive them. If they do save boxes, they typically are a variety of different sizes, somewhat damaged, or contaminated with bugs or food residue.

Buying boxes may seem at first to be a luxury expense, but the purchase is certainly worth the investment if it safely preserves your belongings. Here are several reasons for purchasing boxes:

Reasons for Purchasing Boxes

  • The total number of needed boxes can be purchased in one trip, rather than hunting from store to store and relying on what’s available
  • The sizes of boxes are standard and predictable (Small, Medium, Large, Extra-Large), rather than working with whatever sizes are available
  • Boxes are often grooved so that the flaps can be bent to accommodate different sizes
  • Although most boxes are standard in dimension and intended for general use, there are unique boxes specifically designed for a purpose, such as telescoping boxes for large mirrors or pictures, and wardrobe boxes with built-in hanging rods
  • Using boxes of the same size and shape makes stacking easy
  • Durability and cleanliness are guaranteed
  • Sturdy, quality boxes provide extra protection for fragile items and won’t collapse as easily under other boxes
  • Moving companies typically require quality, well-sealed boxes and may repack them at an extra charge if they are flimsy or dirty
  • Whereas discarded boxes are intended for temporary use, purchased boxes can be used and reused over the long term; one way to reuse them is to cut the tops off boxes and stack on them on their sides to create shelving in the storage unit
  • When boxes are no longer needed, they can be broken down in neat stacks and donated or given away

The expense of purchasing boxes can be mitigated with smart choices when it comes to packing materials and methods. Here are some steps to save money and avoid headaches:

Tips for Choosing & Using Packing Materials

  • When choosing box sizes, keep in mind not just what they can store, but how easy they will be to transport; choose smaller boxes for books and heavy items, and larger boxes for linens and clothing
  • Avoid using newsprint to wrap items – the ink can transfer and stain; consider using clean, plain wrapping/butcher paper, quality paper towels or thin foam sheets for inexpensive items, and felt or bubble wrap for valued breakables
  • Estimate how much tape you’ll need to secure both the bottoms and tops of boxes (they may be turned upside down or topple during the move) and then buy double that amount of tape (it goes fast)
  • Dish pack and glass pack kits are boxes that come with cardboard dividers and foam pockets for easy packing; plastic, fabric-lined dish storage containers can be purchased at house wares retailers
  • Fill boxes full, but not too full – boxes with loose contents can wobble and shift, and boxes that are too full can crush contents when being moved; use packing peanuts, clothing or towels to fill in spaces
  • Rolls of shrink wrap can be purchased to wrap cabinets, appliances, dressers and desks to keep drawers and doors shut; remove shrink wrap after relocation
  • Mattress covers and sofa covers can be purchased for the move; sealed plastic covers should not be left on for long-term storage as moisture can promote the growth of mold and mildew – a canvas tarp or sheet is recommended for a storage period lasting more than a week

Storage facilities and packing supply stores offer a variety of packing supplies, boxes, locks, covers and other handy items. Your self-storage facility manager can be a great resource for creative ways to use these materials to solve packing and moving problems.

You can take a look at our online store by clicking here, or come and visit us directly on-site.


What should or should not be stored in a self storage unit?

Published - 2017 June 28

Self-storage is an excellent option for storing overflow of many different types of materials from your home or business. You can think of your storage unit as a second garage or business supply room.

Many Customer's forget there are prohibited items

When planning what to store in your unit, whether for business or personal purposes, consider that all storage facilities have restrictions on what they will allow you to store on their premises. This is for the protection of not just you and your belongings, but the facility staff and other customers and their goods. You will be required to sign a lease indicating that you understand and agree to adhere to the rules and restrictions for what items are allowable. As a general rule, any item or material that is considered “inherently dangerous” will not be allowed.

In preparation for renting a storage unit, make out a preliminary inventory of the items you wish to store. Bring this with you to review with the storage facility manager to make sure you’ll be in full compliance with the list of allowable items. Full disclosure of what you will be storing is required. Or, if you’re not sure if an item is allowed, call the self-storage facility ahead of time to find out. This will prevent any related inconvenience upon arriving at the storage site.

Merthyr Self Storage frequently gets questions about what is acceptable to store. Here is a list of items and materials about which we are commonly asked:

Combustible, Flammable, Hazardous or Toxic Materials

Considered “inherently dangerous,” these include gasoline, compressed gas, propane tanks, kerosene, lamp and motor oil, acid, grease, corrosives, fertilizer, paint, cleaners, chemicals, narcotics, or hazardous, toxic or biological waste. Asbestos or products containing asbestos are not allowed. You also cannot store fireworks, explosives, weapons or ammunition.

Tires & Vehicles

Storing vehicles is generally acceptable, as long as they are registered, insured and in operational condition. Most facilities will not let you store more than four tires in your self-storage unit because of the cost to dispose of them.

Medical/Pharmaceutical Supplies & Equipment

If you are a sales representative, you may find a self-storage unit a convenient place to manage medical supplies and pharmaceutical samples. It is a useful way to keep your products organized and easily accessible without cluttering up your office or filling your car's boot. While most supplies are acceptable, radioactive equipment – or anything that contains radioactive materials – cannot legally be stored.

Construction Equipment

If you work in construction, it can be convenient to stop by the storage unit on the way to the site and pick up the equipment you need. However, please check with the self-storage facility before planning to store any construction equipment. Some equipment – for example, equipment used to locate underground water – is prohibited.

Perishable Food and Animal Products

Canned foods can be stored in storage units, but perishable food products such as cereals, produce or meats are not allowed. These may spoil or attract pests.

Miscellaneous Prohibited Items

Any animals or plants – alive or dead – cannot be stored. Nor can any stolen items. People are not allowed to plug in or use refrigerators, freezers, generators, space heaters or live in storage units.

If you have any question about the items you wish to store, consult the manager of the self-storage facility before you pack and arrive at the site.

Merthyr Self Storage is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can call us direct on 01685 377444 or request a callback.


Tips for safe lifting in the work place

Published - 2017 June 24


A healthy back is as important for workplace productivity as it is for an individual’s quality of life. Unfortunately, the sedentary lifestyle encouraged by the social environment has taken its toll on our backs. Unhealthy eating habits and lack of physical exercise make us more prone to having back injuries than previous generations, so knowing how to life things properly has never been more important.

The weight that you are lifting can be an object as light as a ream of paper or as heavy as a piece of furniture, but the resulting pain can be equally severe. Most often, the cause is strained muscles and ligaments. The pain goes away after a few days, but not before affecting your output. On an organisational scale, a hurt back means missed deadlines, lost workdays, and compromised organisational effectiveness. The National Health Service estimate that approximately 7.6 million working days were lost due to work-related back pain and other musculoskeletal disorders in 2010-11.

Tips for Lifting in the Workplace

Fortunately, there are a number of simple things that you can do around the workplace to reduce back injuries caused by lifting, on- or off-work. The following top lifting tips have demonstrated a marked improvement in workplace health by sharply cutting down on the number of inured backs.

Talk about the Back (not behind the back)

People can avoid pain and stay healthy just by being conscious and informed about the correct lifting techniques. Talk about them in your health and safety meetings, but also remind people regularly whenever you see them lifting thingsoffice. Share lifting tips on your company intranet or blog.

Rethink Workplace Design

Do people have to bend down frequently to lift stuff? Can you make the workplace “lift-free” by placing things around at waist level? As someone who has worked in the National Health Service, I know the value of minimizing the number of unnecessary workplace lifts that people routinely need to carry out.

Top Workplace Lifting Tips (that also work at home)

  • Think and imagine the lift in your mind. This aligns your muscles and makes your body ready for lifting whatever it is that you are going to pick up. Lifting mindlessly catches the back by surprise, and you may in turn be surprised by the resulting pain.
  • Hug the weight close to your waist. Bend your legs to reduce the vertical distance between the weight and your waist. Do not stretch your arms forward very much, as this puts strain on your shoulders, neck and back.
  • Keep an upright Posture. Do not slouch forward while lifting, or you might have to stay in that pose for a few days because of a pulled back muscle. Keep your back upright and use your legs to help in lifting. Stabilise your posture before you begin lifting.
  • Keep your head up and look up instead of looking at what you are lifting. This reduces the amount of load on your back.
  • Do not twist your back while lifting, for obvious reasons. Do not change your posture during the lift.
  • Keep a smooth motion throughout the lift. Jerks and snatches can cause accidents apart from back injuries.
  • Be careful while placing the object down. Don’t bend down too much, and don’t try to make precise adjustments to place the object accurately. You can put it down and make the finer adjustments later.
  • Lastly, know your limits and do not try to lift an object if you are unsure about whether you can lift it.

For managers of businesses in the warehouse and retail sectors, where considerable manual handling is involved, it is well worth investing in practical demonstrations of the above lifting tips. Staff will appreciate your concern for the health of their backs and businesses will lose fewer days through avoidable and unnecessary back injuries.

Self Storage tips for small businesses

Published - 2017 June 21

Business Self Storage on the Rise

The Self Storage Association UK produced a survey last month detailing some interesting results. Apparently the country’s self storage units are roughly 68% full with the average occupancy lasting some 41 weeks. One of the most interesting stats is that commercial usage has risen dramatically, with around 42% of occupied units currently taken up by businesses, reflecting a 36% rise on the figures for 2010. If you’re running a small business, how could self storage benefit you?

Rank And File

All businesses are required to keep invoices and documentation in case of future HMRC audits for at least seven years. If you’re running a small retail business or are involved with the importation and exportation of goods, then the chances are that these critical materials could well be clogging up your office. You can free up a considerable area of working space with self storage for all your paperwork. Here you don’t have to rely on traditional filing cabinets either and can use airtight boxes in which to seal your forms and receipts, protecting them for when you’ll need them most.

Extensions and Renovations

According to the 19th Annual Home-Ownership Poll from RBC around 66% of people want to improve the looks of their property, with 45% believing that they could increase its value by making some important upgrades. This is good news for you if you’re a small building company; however, as many people prefer to have work conducted on their property in the warmer months, an increase in business could leave you needing somewhere to store your heavy equipment and machinery in the winter. Self storage is a sensible option here, as you can pay for space as you need it and it will help keep your valuable tools safe and dry.

Music For My Ears

One of the areas of growth in recent years has been festival culture. A report published on popular culture website The Festival Awards shows that there was a record number of these events taking place in 2012. Off the back of this boom many pubs and clubs are putting on small music events, often hiring equipment from local sound-systems, which can be quite large and bulky. If you’re running this kind of business then self storage could be extremely helpful, especially if you can find a unit that’s located in an urban centre near many of your clients.

Travel Back In Time

Running an antique dealership might mean that you frequently require a temporary home for some of your bigger purchases. Although items may have a considerable amount of value, you’ll often need to find the right buyer to realise your profit. Self storage is ideal for your business as it allows you to take on extra space as and when you need it, and if you choose the right facility that comes with a high level of security, then you can make sure that your expensive items don’t fall into the wrong hands. This is a great alternative to using an old farm barn.

Top-Rated Seller

In 2011, 159 eBay sellers racked up more than £1million in sales with 10% of these generating more than £3million. This represents a 25% increase on the 2010 figures as more and more people turn to eBay as a cheap and viable alternative to the high street. When you run an eBay business the chances are your stock levels could be subject to extreme fluctuations as you purchase large quantities of items that are at a good price and then slowly put them out to auction on the site in order to preserve a good selling price. Self storage allows you to cope with the demand elasticity of your chosen sector, and you can even buy special equipment to fit into your unit, such as easy-fit shelving that can be put up and taken down in minutes as you need it.

Future Flexibility

If you’re turning away from big business and the corporate life-style then self storage can offer you the chance to grow your enterprise without having to shell out on a property purchase or having to commit to a long term rental agreement. It’s no wonder that so many small ventures are now looking towards the 1,200 facilities around the UK as a great alternative to the traditional forms of commercial storage.

These tips were complied by storage.co.uk and brought to you by www.esedirect.co.uk.

Security options for Storage

Published - 2017 June 17

If you have more possessions than places to put them, keeping your things secure in a rented storage unit is often a convenient solution. However, it’s important to make sure that your belongings will be not just secure but easily accessible. Security measures vary according to geographic location, facility policy and cost, so here are some things to keep in mind when looking for the right kind of storage for you.


Merthyr Self Storage prides itself on its security procedures.

Facility Hours

For security purposes, the majority of self-storage properties have set hours during which renters can enter the property and access their storage unit. The property’s security system will prevent you from entering the property other than during these hours.   If your schedule is different than the hours the storage facility is open, storage may become more of a headache than a help. Be sure to know up front what times and days you will be allowed to access your belongings. Merthyr Self Storage's hours are Monday to Friday 8:00am to 8:00pm, with the weekend being 8:30am to 6:00pm. Although there are 24 hour patrolling security officers and a site administrator that will be able to grant you access 24 hours a day, 7 days per week.

In some cases, you can rent a storage unit with 24-hour access for an increased fee - but not with Merthyr Self Storage; with us all of our costs are laid out before we start the contract.

Locks & Security Systems

Although no security system is totally foolproof, there are security features that the facility should have to make sure both you and your stored items are as safe as possible:

  • When possible, choose a property that is completely fenced in. It should also be well lit. This is especially important if you will be accessing your storage unit when it’s dark, or at times when no managers are on duty.
  • We have a manned, 24/7 guarded gate that allows access, so you can rest safely in the knowledge that the people through it are the ones that are authorised to use or access your unit. When you sign-up a contract with us we will ask you for the vehicle registrations that will commonly be accessing the site. But don't fret if someone else brings you or you have a new vehicle, you'll have your own unique password that is on file too. 
  • Finally, there should be at least one video surveillance camera at the main gate. Some storage facilities have video cameras – sometimes as many as 15 or more – at other spots around the site, too. Merthyr Self Storage's cameras total almost 20 at various locations throughout the site - they can't all be listed because of the issue of security, but rest assured that they are there, and they are monitored 24/7.

Manager on Duty

If you’re storing your belongings at a facility in a major city or town, ask the storage manager if the property is a “lock-down facility.” This means that a manager will be present whenever you have access to your storage, adding another level of security for you and your belongings. During opening hours a Manager will always be available at Merthyr Self Storage.

Deliveries

If you’re a business owner, and will need to have deliveries accepted at the self-storage unit, there are several additional questions you should ask before renting a storage unit:

  1. Can the storage facility accept deliveries on your behalf? YES.
  2. Are deliveries limited to specific times and days? NO.
  3. If deliveries are accepted, can they be delivered right to your storage unit? YES.
  4. If they can be delivered right to your storage unit, what is the maximum size of the delivery trucks that can enter the property and drive up to your unit? Depending on where your unit is. There is no limit to the trucks that can enter the property though.
  5. Does the property manager need to be present or can the delivery be made without the manager there? There will always be an authorised, trusted staff member to take your delivery in the absence of a Manager.

The peace of mind that comes from secured storage is an important benefit for both individuals and business owners, but security policies can become a hassle if you don’t know what you’re signing up for. Take the extra step to investigate the security options available at the storage facility of your choosing, and maximize the convenience of your storage solution.