How to Choose a Self-Storage Unit for Your Stuff

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Boxes for a move (Photo: @BLANC.BLACK via Twenty20)
Whether you need extra space at home or you’re looking to move and need to temporarily store your belongings, it’s important to know how to choose a self storage unit for your stuff.
Most people think you just rent a unit and pack it all in, but storage containers come in so many sizes nowadays, you want to make sure you have the right one to fit everything. Follow these simple steps to help determine the size of the self storage unit you will need.

1. Take an inventory

Start by making a list of all the stuff you want to store. Make sure to account for every part and piece of each item. An example of this would be storing a bed. You need to include not only the mattress and box spring, but also the headboard, footboard, side rails and potentiallyl support boards. Having a clear and accurate inventory of your stuff will allow you to better plan.

2. Measure your stuff

If you’re storing larger belongings like furniture, it helps to measure the items and use the measurements as a tool to assist you in determining how big of a unit you need. You should also consider if any of your stuff can be stacked or if they need their own area. Another way to utilize measurements is to gather and pack everything you want to store, compile it all in one area, and then measure to determine the size of the self storage unit needed. This will also allow you time to get the right type of boxes to best store your stuff.

3. Consider your access needs

Think about the reason you’re renting a storage unit. Is it a temporary fix or will you be adding more stuff to it as a permanent means of extra storage space? For example, sometimes people need space for seasonal items such as holiday decorations. They only need access to them for a specific time of the year. If you will be removing and replacing contents, you need to factor in space to move items around. You also want to allow room for ventilation if you’re going to store your things for an extended period of time.
However, if storing your stuff is only temporary, perhaps while waiting to move into a new place, then you may not need extra room to maneuver.

4. Pick the right type of unit

There are a couple of types of self storage units to choose from. The two most common are standard and climate-controlled. A standard unit is simply a space with a roll-up door with ability to secure it with a padlock when closed. It’s usually accessed from outside, with you being able to drive up to load and unload your stuff.
The other kind is a climate-controlled unit. Climate-controlled units are usually accessed from inside a building that houses several storage spaces. They are designed to store items that are sensitive to the elements like extreme heat or cold and humidity. This would include photographs, art, electronics, furniture, photographs, and paperwork.

5. Choose the appropriate size

Self storage units come in a variety of sizes. The small units are designed to store items such as clothes, toys, lamps, smaller household items, paper files, and boxes. As you move up in size, you will have more room to store small furniture like sofas, chairs, and mattress sets. Medium-size storage units allow you to store larger furniture and can be big enough to contain the items of a one-bedroom apartment.
As you move into the large units, you can store the contents of a two-bedroom apartment and possibly as much as the items needed for a four- or five-bedroom house. If you have a business, you can use a large unit for inventory.
Determining your storage needs can be tricky, but it can be done accurating by following just a few steps. Public Storage, one of the largest self storage companies in the U.S., has a handy guide with great tips on how to choose a storage unit for your stuff.