Often, when people put items in storage, they only leave the items there for a month or two while they are moving or getting settled in a new place. But storage units are also great for long-term storage—you just have to make sure your properly prepare your items before you stick them inside. If your plan is to store certain items for a year or more, here are some tips to follow to ensure they stay in good shape.

Clean Everything

A little dirt or a few crumbs may be a minor issue now, but in a years' time, that dirt will be a permanent stain and the crumbs may have attracted rodents. Thus, everything you pack away for long-term storage needs to be very, very clean. Wipe out any appliances, vacuum any plush furniture, and launder any clothing thoroughly. Plan to do your cleaning a few days before you load the storage unit, as this gives everything a chance to dry out completely. You don't want moisture in the storage unit as it will lead to mold and mildew over time.

Label Your Boxes Meticulously

A year from now, your plans may have changed. You may have thought you would retrieve everything from the storage unit at once, but come to find that you only need or want a few things. Having to rummage through box after box to find them will be time-consuming. So, it's important to be thorough in your labeling scheme. Don't just label boxes "kitchen" or "bathroom." Instead, list the major items inside each box—like "towels" or "small kitchen appliances."

Throw Away Things You Don't Want

When your item retrieval date is so far in the future, it's tempting to just keep everything and figure you'll sort through it later. But you won't be any more excited about throwing away all of those old coasters a year from now than you are today. Get rid of items you don't need so that future—you does not have to deal with them. With your parred-down collection, you may be able to get away with renting a smaller storage unit, which will save you a significant amount of money when you're renting for a whole year.

Putting items into storage for a long time can seem like quite an endeavor, but if you choose a well-maintained and secure storage facility and follow the tips above, you'll be alright.