How to determine the size of your next self storage

Date Added: September 07, 2007 02:44:10 PM
Category: Self Storage

As a newcomer to the self storage industry, you may find that there is more than meets the eye when it comes to renting a storage unit. After selecting a location that is convenient for you, you will need to determine the most appropriate self storage unit size. Where can you go for help to find out how to determine what size storage unit you need?

Self storage managers have a lot of expertise when it comes to finding the right unit size for your assortment of items. They know what works and what doesn’t and they can often offer self storage tips that may help you fit into a smaller and more economical self storage unit. There are a few things you can do to prepare your belongings, which will make using self storage easier.

You probably already have an idea of which items you will need to put in storage. It is best to make sure you’ve thought of everything by doing a little extra cleaning and sorting through forgotten boxes. Donate unused or unwanted items to charity or have a garage sale.

After you have gotten rid of unused, old, or broken items you can begin looking at what you have. Choose what things will move with you and what will go into storage.  Then pack the items going into storage in small boxes. Be sure to label them clearly.

How you pack your items will determine what size storage unit you need. Several small boxes may stack differently than several larger boxes. Therefore, when you are boxing your goods consider how manageable the box will be. Also, think of how heavy it will become and if it can be stacked or if other items can be placed on top of it. The more boxes you can stack, the smaller your self storage unit will need to be because you can take advantage of the height of the storage unit.

There are a few self storage tips that can save the lifespan of your items. For example, storing books flat, as opposed to upright, will protect the book’s spine. Also, use pallets or skids so that books are not directly on top of concrete floors. This will protect them from any condensation in the concrete. Books can quickly fill a box and become heavier than you can carry. Try using small boxes so that the weight is manageable. Also, do not store fragile items in the same box as books.

When storing dishes and glassware, you should begin with a small layer of packing material such as shredded newspaper or packing peanuts in the bottom of your box. Wrap each item individually in tissue paper, newspaper or bubble wrap. Nesting wrapped plate and bowls together will save a little space in your box. Be sure to fill in any empty places in the box with packing material. Label the box as fragile and make sure not to stack other boxes on top of it.

Tools and metal objects should be cleaned and wiped in detail.   You can also rub a few drops of machine oil on them in order to prevent rust due to oxidation. When storing tools, it is sometimes better to stack or bundle like items rather than boxing them. Tools are usually heavy and may not fit into boxes well.

Storage electronic equipment is easiest if you still have the original boxes and packing foam. If you don’t have them, pack the items in a box slightly larger than the item and use foam or bubble wrap. You should also pack any papers such as warranties or owner’s manuals in the box with the item. Keep each item in separate boxes to avoid damage.

Furniture may seem like the easiest item to store because it doesn’t need boxed. While it is okay to store some furniture for a few months without any protection, some materials and pieces should be covered. It is important to place a pallet, skid, mat or plastic sheet on the floor. Not only will this keep the furniture clean, it will keep moisture away from the surface. Some self storage providers sell mattress covers that you can use to keep mattresses clean and protected.

Furniture can be big and bulky and so it is best to disassemble as much furniture as practically possible. Bed frames and posts should be taken apart and stacked. Table legs can be removed when possible. If table legs do not easily come off, you should place padding on the floor and lay the table on the floor with the legs pointing up. Now you can stack boxes and other items within the table.

Using dresser drawers for linens and other delicate items is a way to keep them safe and conserve space in your storage unit. Sofas can also be stored on end when the sofa style will allow it. It’s usually a good idea to put the larger items in the back of the storage unit and then fill in the empty spaces with boxes, totes or bags.

A week or so before placing a freezer into storage, you should unplug it and let the ice thaw from it. It’s also best to store it with the door slightly open. If you plan to store a washing machine, make sure the water has drained from the machine, which will lengthen the lifespan of your machine. Also, make sure the dryer is free of lint. Large appliances take up a lot of space, but remember that items and boxes can be stored inside the appliances as well. The shelving of a refrigerator is a great place to stack boxes of fragile items in your storage unit. Boxes can also be stacked on top of washing machines and dryers, stoves, freezers and other appliances.

When placing your items in storage, put the larger items in the back of the unit so that you can maneuver and access what you need easier.

Another great self storage tip is to make a list of the entire inventory you’re placing in the storage unit and along with which box each item is located in. Keep the list near the front of your storage unit so that you can find items quickly.

Businesses may use storage to keep files and client data for tax purpose and more. In this
case, assembling cabinets or shelving will allow uniform filing and a sturdy base on which you may stack boxes. Keep in mind that shelving can take up some space so you should consider choosing a larger storage unit. Choosing a larger storage space when finding the right storage unit will also allow room for growth as you acquire more boxes. Shelving or cabinetry should also be freestanding and not installed into the walls or floor of your self storage unit. Also, mark boxes clearly so that you can quickly find what you’re looking for. Placing older files and closed accounts in the back of your office storage unit and keeping the most recent files near the front will also provide more efficient filing.

Now that you have some tips on how to prepare and place your items into self storage, you can make an educated decision on what size of self storage unit you need.

When choosing the best self storage unit sizes there are some factors to consider. If you plan on placing your items in storage and not accessing them until you’re ready to move out, then you can pack things more tightly. However, if you intend to visit your storage unit often and need access to boxes, it may be best to leave an aisle and not stack boxes too high.

The kind of items you are storing will also help determine what type and size storage unit you need. If you’re storing items that you would feel comfortable leaving in the climate of a garage or shed, then standard self storage will work for you. If you have items that might be sensitive to humidity or temperature, then a climate controlled unit will work best. Climate controlled units are storage units that are kept at a constant temperature throughout all seasons and keep out humidity. Climate controlled units are ideal for items such as electronics, papers, paintings, leather items, some metals, photos or similar items. A climate controlled storage unit is also a wise idea if you intend to store for more than four months.

Self storage facilities offer sizes ranging from locker sized units to commercial storage spaces. The vast difference can seem overwhelming to an inexperienced renter. Sometimes the best place to begin is with what you know you do not need. For example, if you are only storing a few things that will not fit in your closet then you know you do not need a garage sized space. Similarly, if you are storing the entire contents of your two bedroom home, you know that a walk-in closet sized space is definitely not enough.

Storage unit sizes vary from company to company however these are some universal sizes that are standard within the industry.

A 5x5 unit is similar to a half-bath or closet. This space offers 25 square feet or 200 cubic feet. It can typically hold a chest of drawers, several boxes and other small items. It may also hold several chairs and small boxes. This size unit is suitable for office and personal records and/ or work tools. A 5x5 storage unit will also hold 30 standard file boxes on shelves with an access aisle, or 36 standard file boxes without shelving or an aisle.

A 5x10 storage unit (50 square feet or 400 cubic feet) will hold some furniture such as a couch, chair, chest or dresser, mattress plus boxes or small items. It is comparable to a large walk-in closet. This size storage unit is appropriate for outdoor furniture, one or more bicycles and/ or a motorcycle, garden tools and small items. When used to store paperwork, the 5x10 will hold 48 standard file boxes on shelves with access aisles, or 84 standard file boxes without shelving or aisles.

A 5x15 storage, with 75 square feet or 600 cubic feet, can hold the furnishings of a one bedroom apartment, without appliances, plus some small items. It is about the size of a large walk-in closet or pantry. It is narrow and long, so it is appropriate for a mattress and box spring, fold up tables and other furniture plus boxes and other items. This size unit can hold 66 standard file boxes on shelves with access aisles, or 132 standard file boxes without shelving or aisles.

A 10x10 storage unit is the size of an average bedroom. This space will hold the furnishings of a one bedroom apartment, including appliances, and several small items such as bags or boxes. It is about half the size of a standard one car garage. A 10x10 unit can hold 108 standard file boxes on shelves with access aisles, or 168 standard file boxes without shelving or aisles. A 10x10 space offers 100 square feet or 800 cubic feet.

The next step up from a 10x10 unit is a 10x15 unit and is equal to 150 square feet or 1200 cubic feet. A 10x15 storage unit is the size of a large bedroom or small garage. It is capable of holding the furnishings of a two bedroom apartment or house plus some boxes.  A 10x15 unit can hold 156 standard file boxes on shelves with access aisles, or 294 standard file boxes without shelving or aisles.

A 10x20 storage unit is the size of a one car garage or average living room. The 10x20 unit has 200 square feet or 1600 cubic feet. This space will hold the furnishings of a two bedroom house with appliances, plus miscellaneous items. This size storage unit is appropriate for storing vehicles and a few other items. The 10x20 unit is equipped to house 204 standard file boxes on shelves with access aisles, or 378 standard file boxes without shelving or aisles.

The 10x25 storage unit is equal to 250 square feet or 2000 cubic feet. The size is comparable to a large one car garage. It is appropriate for storing a two bedroom home with appliances plus boxes, bags and other items. The 10x25 is also suitable for storing a car, truck or small boat. This unit is capable of storing 252 standard file boxes on shelves with access aisles, or 504 standard file boxes without shelving or aisles.

A 10x30 storage unit is about the size of a deluxe or one-and-a-half car garage. The space measures out to be 300 square feet or 2400 cubic feet. It can hold the furnishings of a three bedroom house, including boxes. You could say it can hold the contents of a 40 foot truck. You may also store a car, boat, truck or van along with some furniture or other large items. A 10x30 unit can hold 300 standard file boxes on shelves with access aisles, or 588 standard file boxes without shelving or aisles.

The average height of self storage units is 8 to 10 feet. Some storage facilities offer taller ceilings as high as 12 feet. This is often available in refurbished warehouses and factory buildings.

Some storage facilities offer special sized units such as lockers. These units are typically 4x4 spaces and four foot tall. They may hold a few boxes, bags or small items.

Commercial rental space ranges from 10x40 and larger. These spaces are suitable for businesses wanting to keep off site inventory or as distribution center for a small business. Keep in mind that each facility offers different access hours so extended hours may need to be discussed with the property manager.

Many storage companies also offer P.O. boxes. A P.O. Box at your self storage facility is a great way to combine daily tasks. Accessing your mail at the storage facility is often quicker and more convenient than driving to your local Post Office, where parking is often times a hassle.

If you still find yourself unable to come to decide what size of storage unit works best then ask a professional for help. Self storage managers are eager to help you decide what unit size will work best for you. In most cases, you can give the manager a quick rundown of what you plan on storing and they can narrow your search down to two unit sizes.

They will also be able to tell you some of the other features self storage units have. For example, will you be able to drive up to the door of your storage unit? Is the unit location on the first floor or second floor? And is there an elevator or freight lift or will you walk up stairs.

Self storage managers are always happy to tell you about the security and amenities at their facility. Any reputable storage facility will offer you a gated storage unit with video surveillance and more. Storage facilities are also a great place to buy boxes and moving supplies for all your storage needs.



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