Packing up a storage unit can take quite a long time. You want to make sure everything is prepared properly so that when you pull it out again in a few months or years, it's still useable and attractive. In your efforts to pack your items the right way, you may actually take some actions that do more harm than good. Here are four common mistakes to avoid when packing your items and putting them into storage.

Making your stacks too tall.

It can be tempting to rent as small a unit as possible and stack everything super high to avoid paying more for a larger unit. But this is a mistake that will make it harder to find what you need later on. You're also putting yourself in danger if your super-tall stacks of boxes tumble. Be realistic in choosing your storage unit size, and don't stack boxes in piles taller that tower over your head. This will save you a lot of unstacking effort when you need to get something out of storage later on.

Spraying your items with air freshener.

To keep things smelling nice, some people like to spray air freshener or even fabric freshener into their boxes when packing. But after being enclosed in boxes for a while, these sprays can cause discoloration and may even cause bad odors. To keep smells at bay, look for freshening sachets with baking soda as a main active ingredient, and just put one or two in each box.

Leaving things wet.

Cleaning everything before you pack it away is certainly a good idea. However, it's important to plan ahead if you want to do this. Clean everything a day or two before you need to pack it into boxes so that it has a good chance to dry out completely, first. If items are even a little bit damp when you enclose them in boxes, they'll grow smelly mold before you have a chance to take them out of storage.

Putting things on the ground.

Take the time to acquire a few pallets before you put anything in your storage unit. Then, put everything, from boxes to appliances, on top of the pallets. By putting everything on the ground, you're increasing your risk of water damage if there's any flooding due to rain or a spill in a nearby unit. You can usually find free or cheap pallets at local warehouses and discount stores.