How to Find the Right Storage Units for Your Belongings

People in the United States have a lot of stuff. We’re good at acquiring more items but not always great at parting ways with our belongings.

It’s not all bad. By hanging on to Grandma’s Christmas decorations you’re enjoying family history while saving yourself a little money. Of course, what you’re not saving is space.

You might know from personal experience that having a lot of stuff in your living space is not only inconvenient -- it can be bad for mental health. Still, the solution doesn’t have to be getting rid of most of your material possessions.

Self storage units are an ideal way to create more space in your home while enjoying things that you aren’t ready to part with but don’t use on a regular basis. Of course, the process isn’t as simple as grabbing some stuff and putting it in storage.

To make the most of a rented self-storage unit, you need to find the right one. If it’s too small, too large, too far from home, or not suited to the items you need to store, the costs might outweigh the benefits.

This article offers some steps, as well as a checklist to follow, as you find the right storage units for your belongings.

Steps for Finding the Right Self-Storage Unit

Before you find the actual storage unit, you’ll need to know exactly what you need to store. This takes a little work beforehand.

1. Declutter Your Living Space

Self storage units are for storing things you need and truly want. It’s not such a great idea to fill it with stuff that you’re probably going to donate, give to friends or throw away. That will only contribute to long-term clutter, and might even encourage you to use the storage unit as a “catch-all” for things you don’t want to deal with.

Go through your rooms and gather the items to donate, recycle, consolidate and throw away. This will make it far easier to determine what size storage unit you need, not to mention pack what you need to put in it.

2. Measure the Items to Store

You don’t have to hazard a guess on how much you’ll be bringing to the storage facility. There are a few ways to measure the volume of your various boxes, bins and pieces of furniture:

  • If it’s already packed up, measure the square footage of the box pile or count the boxes themselves. This doesn’t need to be an exact measurement, but having a good sense of the numbers gives you something to tell the storage facility staff when discussing size recommendations. 
  • If you’re moving, renovating or clearing out specific rooms, figure out how many bedrooms’ worth you’ll be storing. If you can give the staff member a room number or house size, they should have an idea what you need.
  • Do you know the size of the moving truck you’ll use to haul the items? That factor can help determine the size of the storage unit you need.

3. Visit Storage Facilities

Don’t just go with the closest and/or cheapest storage facility option. Check out websites and the online presence of facilities you’re considering, and then visit a few you think are the best for your needs.

On site, you’ll get a close look at the units themselves and can judge the cleanliness, safety and service of the facility. Sometimes what looks great online is less impressive in person. Seeing the units can also help you figure out what kind/size you need.

4. Chose the Self Storage Unit Size

If you’ve figured out and measured what you plan to store, and spoken to your chosen facility about availability and cost, you can select the unit size you need. Keep a few things in mind as you chose:

  • If you’ll need access to certain items while they’re stored, ensure the unit is large enough for some rearranging.
  • If you’re storing more than one room’s worth, you’ll probably need at least a 10-foot by 10-foot unit.
  • Make sure there’s space to leave some gaps between piles for ventilation.

For more, see our Self-Storage Unit Size Guide.

Checklist for Choosing a Self Storage Unit

People need storage for all kinds of reasons. You might be storing for a month or two; you might plan to use storage on an ongoing basis. Still, there are a few things anyone seeking self-storage should consider in the search process:

  • How often will you need access? Is it worth paying a little more for a facility closer to home?
  • Are your items delicate, such as old photographs, electronics or wooden furniture? You might need a climate controlled unit. See: 3 Reasons You Might Need a Climate-Controlled Storage Unit
  • What are the biggest and bulkiest items you’re storing? These will be a big part of what size unit you rent.
  • Do the facilities you’re considering have adequate security? Look for cameras, good lighting, gated entry, passcode requirements, attentive staff, etc. See: How to Safely Use a Self-Storage Unit
  • Will the hours of operation align with your needs? If you need to access your storage unit late at night, will that be possible?
  • Does the payment suit your budget? Maybe there are deals if you rent at certain times of the year or need a certain kind of unit.
  • Does the staff seem helpful and available? If they’re hard to get a hold of and not knowledgeable, that can be a red flag.

Doing a little work as you select a self-storage unit can save you time, money and energy in the future. For more information on how we can store for you, contact the Storage Post location in your area!