Households and businesses across the country are using self-storage units to reduce clutter, get organized, prepare for moving day, and store old furniture, equipment, inventory, and other items for future use.
If this is the first time you may be using a self-storage unit, then you may find it useful to have some guidance in regards to finding the right unit for your needs. Though there are many different sizes of storage units, renting one for the first time need not be as stressful as it may at first seem.
Step one - Choosing the right self-storage facility
A big part of the stress reduction process is to get the answers to a few basic qualitative questions before making a decision:
- How often do you expect to need access to your unit, in order to retrieve something you may need/ This will, of course, partially depend on how long you expect to have your belongings in storage.
- Your answer to the above question may influence your choice of location for the storage facility. Most storage customers choose a facility relatively close to where they may be living while their belongings are in storage.
- Do you want to get your belongings back in the same condition as they were when you put them in storage. For most people, this is, to say the least, an important question. To answer this question, take the time to visit and inspect the facility that you think works as far as location is concerned. When you visit, notice how clean and well maintained the facility is, how secure it appears to be, whether the facility is temperature controlled, and how courteous and helpful the staff are. These signs will often tell you whether the facility is well run, how important quality of service is to the owners, and, accordingly, how good the chances are that you will retrieve your belongings in the same condition as when you put them into the storage unit.
- Of course, you can also choose a location that’s recommended by a friend or colleague who has had a great storage experience.
Step 2: Estimate the storage space you need
Once you have chosen a facility, selecting a unit size can be a rather straightforward process. All you need to do is identify what you want to put in storage, and prepare a few questions to discuss with the self-storage professionals before signing the contract.
Self-storage units range from 20-square-foot units to 350-square-foot units with a standard height of 9 feet, giving you plenty of options to fit your needs and budget. Each size of unit can be used as follows:
4x5 and 5x5 Self-Storage Units
These units are similar in size to a small closet and are best for the temporary storage of small items in an organized way. It is an economical option for storing items such as seasonal clothing, sports gear and equipment, holiday decorations, and small furniture pieces such as side tables and filing cabinets. You can also store a small folded mattress to help declutter your home, as well as garden and lawn-care items. Businesses can also store 30 to 35 or so file boxes.
5x8 and 5x10 Self-Storage Units
These units are similar in size to a large walk-in closet. Considering that it’s twice as big as the former, you can store bigger pieces of furniture, such as chairs, a sofa, a dresser, or a chest of drawers. It should also fit any size of bed or mattress, as well as other contents of a medium-sized bedroom, including a number of medium-sized boxes. Businesses can also use this unit to store some business supplies, equipment, and records.
10x10 and 10x12 Self-Storage Units
These units are as big as an average-size bedroom or half of a one-car garage. These spaces are enough to fit the contents of two full bedrooms or a large living room, as well as multiple medium-sized boxes. The unit can fit everything in a one-bedroom apartment, including furniture, appliances, and storage boxes.
10x14 and 10x15 Self-Storage Units
Measuring 140 to 150 square feet, these are incredibly versatile storage units that can comfortably hold all your belongings in a large 1-2 bedroom apartment, including two couches, a coffee table, appliances, dresser drawers, a desk and a chair, and two sets of mattresses and box springs. It can also be used for business storage to keep office equipment and other items equivalent to 3 office cubicles or private office spaces.
10x20 and 10x25 Self-Storage Units
These are large spaces about as big as a one-car garage. You can relocate all the items stored in your big garage to this size of the unit, or enough belongings to fill a 3-4 bedroom house, including mattress sets, multiple pieces of furniture, recreational vehicles, antiques, and so on. This unit can also be used for commercial purposes like clearing out some space to update the furniture or to host a special project/event.
10x30 and 10x35 Self-Storage Units
These are amongst the largest sizes of storage units available. They can be used for homeowners looking to move their belongings from a 3-5 bedroom house, or businesses with excess inventory looking for a temporary or even long-term storage solution.
This storage unit can be useful for a family that’s downsizing to store extra furniture or appliances while you furnish your new, smaller home. It can also be used to store your household items while renovating a large home temporarily.
Step 3: Moving into Your Self-Storage Unit
Once you find a unit that fits your needs, don’t hesitate to reserve it. You can also discuss the terms of your unit occupancy agreement as you provide them with your personal documents, such as your current contact information, a valid photo ID, and proof of insurance. Then all that’s left to do is to pack and organize your items in your storage unit to make the best use of available space.