How to Choose a Storage Unit

A storage unit is a great asset if you are looking to reduce clutter in your home or get ready for a move. There are many options available that can store everything, from clothes and other small items to cars and appliances. It can be difficult to choose between the many options available. This guide will help you choose the best storage unit for your belongings.

Types of storage

There are two main types of storage units. They are self-storage or full-service. Each type has its own pros and cons.

  • Self-storage: This is the most popular storage unit option, and you’ll find both indoor and outdoor facilities. While you are responsible for moving and storing your belongings in your storage unit, you have full access to them whenever you need. Self-storage units are often available with month-to-month billing. This makes them a great short-term option.
  • Full-service: If you’re looking for a hands-off experience, this could be a good option for you. These companies will pick up your items from your home and place them in their storage facility. They may even give you boxes. The company will schedule pick-up and drop off times. They’ll also provide a storage list to help you keep track of what you have stored. This convenience comes at a cost. The storage location will not allow you to access the items. However, you can request to collect the items by giving notice to the company. You may have to store items for a minimum period of time, which could be several months.


Many companies offer storage units in different sizes. These can range from 5×5, which is perfect for a few boxes, a desk, or a small chair, up to 10×30, which can hold the contents of a three- or four-bedroom home. Other sizes and the amount they can hold are:

  • 5×10: two medium to large pieces of furniture and boxes
  • 5×15: bedroom furniture and boxes
  • 10×10: small apartment
  • 10×15: two-bedroom home
  • 10×20: two- to three-bedroom home

If you are having trouble judging the space in which your items will fit, use painter’s tape to mark the area in an open area such as your garage, basement or driveway. To test how your items fit, you can add empty boxes and a few items. If you are between two sizes, you can add a few items and empty boxes to see if they fit. This will protect your belongings as well as keep you safe when moving and stacking them. You might also consider looking through your belongings before packing them up to move to a storage facility. You might be able get a smaller unit which will save you money each month.


If you require regular access to your storage unit you should choose a facility near your home. This convenience may come at an additional cost depending on where you live. Storage units in urban areas might cost more. You may be able save money if you don’t require quick access to your belongings.

Other considerations

Remember to think about these factors that can impact safety and ease of storage.

Climate control

Some storage facilities offer heat and air conditioning for your unit. These units can also protect your items against mildew or mold. A climate-controlled unit is best for items that have significant emotional or financial value. A climate-controlled unit is also a good option if you intend to regularly visit the storage unit in hot or cold weather.


Visit the storage facility before paying to store your items. This will allow you to familiarize yourself with security features. Some security options for storage facilities include electronic access, perimeter fencing, video surveillance and ample lighting. You can ask the management team at a storage facility about their security features.

Access hours

If you need regular access to your items, confirm that the facility allows you to access your unit on the weekends or has 24-hour access.


You will likely need insurance to store your items inside a storage unit. Many storage companies offer insurance protection in-house that can be added to your monthly bills. Check with your insurance company to verify that your belongings in a storage unit is covered by homeowners or renters insurance. You may be able update your policy to protect the items stored in your storage unit.

If you’re renting a storage unit as part of a move, check out these helpful moving tips that can save you time and money.

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