People need self storage units for many reasons. You may need to store things while you transition to a new home or city, you may need a place to stash bulky seasonal items, or you may need the space to archive office documents. Regardless of the reason, it is important to rent the right-sized unit for your possessions. Too small and you won’t be able to fit everything; too big and you’ll be paying for extra space you don’t need.
Here are some important questions to consider when choosing the right-sized storage unit:
It’s helpful to understand storage unit sizes by using rooms and household areas as analogies. Think of a 10 x 5-foot storage unit as equal to the size of a walk-in closet. A storage unit that measures about 10 x 10 feet is equal to the size of a small bedroom – typically a child’s room. If the storage unit is 10 x 20 feet, that would be equal to a single-car garage, and a unit that measures 20 x 20 feet is comparable to a two-car garage.
Are You Looking for a Temporary or Long-term Storage Solution?
The length of time you intend to store your possessions may have bearing on the size of your storage unit. If you’re in the process of relocating or remodeling your home, you may want to put a large portion of your belongings into storage to keep them from creating an obstacle course in your house. Ask yourself if you plan to eventually get rid of the stuff you’re putting in storage. If so, you’ll want a large enough unit that you can move around in it to go through things easily.
What Items Do You Plan to Store?
Do you have a shoe collection that rivals that of the infamous Imelda Marcos? Are you one of those people who has enough clothes to stock a high-end designer boutique? Have you amassed a collection of books, CDs, DVDs or other entertainment to rival a bookstore?
If you’re planning to store clothing, you can fit a lot into a small space quite efficiently. The same goes for books. If you plan to store furniture, you’ll need a larger space. On the other hand, if you have shelves to store, you can economize space in your storage unit by using the shelving unit itself to stow boxes or other items.
These are all important things to consider because you don’t want to pack these things into a storage unit so tightly that they don’t get air. You’ll want to make sure you have a large enough unit to provide adequate air circulation, especially for long-term storage, because mold or mildew can develop in poorly ventilated spaces. For shorter-term storage, packing things closer together in a smaller unit is fine.
How Much Stuff Are You Storing?
Before you even show up at a storage facility, you should have a idea of the amount of stuff you need to store. It’s one thing to say ‘a small roomful of items’ and quite another to see that ‘small roomful of items’ spilling out of your inappropriately-sized 5 x 5 unit.
First, make a list of everything you plan to take to the storage facility: one Queen-sized mattress, three shelves’ worth of books, two lamps, and a partridge in a pear tree, etc.
Secondly, pack them up in your home or office so you have a visual of the Mount Everest pile that you were so sure was just ‘one or two boxes’.
And finally, take this information with you when you’re checking out storage facilities. Describing your list to the manager will help him/her determine the best size for your needs.
How Do You Plan to Organize Your Unit?
Have you given any thought as to how you plan to organize your storage unit? Are you going to arrange boxes according to room? Do you have any type of shelving system you could use to put your boxes on? If you have garage or basement shelving units, using those in your storage unit may help you make the most of the limited space. The more efficient you are about organizing the unit, the less space you’ll need. That can save you money in the long term.
Will You Be Putting Things Into or Taking Things Out of Storage Often?
If you will be visiting your storage facility often, either to add things, retrieve things, organize things, or get rid of things, this information will help you figure out whether you need enough room to be able to move around, locate everything easily, or use the unit as an extension of your home or office.
A Final Thought to Consider
Many self-storage facilities offer specials during non-peak times of the year, so be sure to ask about these. Don’t expect to find low rates or specials during busy moving times or around holidays because demand for space will be far greater. If you intend to store stuff long-term, the storage facility may give you a lower rate for paying for several months at a time, or even paying for a year in advance.
To ensure you pick the right-sized storage unit, make a list of everything you need to store, categorize the list into rooms, identify things that need special consideration, like security or climate control, and evaluate how long you will need a storage unit. Once you’ve taken stock, it’ll be a breeze to choose an appropriate storage unit!
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