Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Right Rental Storage Unit

There are lots of reasons to need a storage unit. You might be moving, transitioning, downsizing, or simply not have enough space.

How do you begin to find a good storage facility? Whether you’re looking for storage for renters or are a homeowner on the move, we’ve got the ultimate guide to help you choose the perfect storage unit. Our pointers will have you safely storing your belongings in no time!

How to Calculate the Right Size Storage Unit

Start by calculating your storage needs. Knowing what you’re storing will streamline your search.

Inventory the items you plan to store. To get a visual idea of the space you’ll need, box up and place things headed for storage in one spot. Does it fill a corner? A whole room? Many storage companies provide online calculators to help you estimate which size storage unit to rent.

Unit dimensions and features vary between storage facilities. But storage unit sizes generally come down to:

Small: 5’x5’-5’x10’ – Small to large walk-in closet
Medium: 5’x15’-10’x15’ – 1 to 2-bedroom apartment
Large: 10’x20’-10’x30’ – 3 to 5-bedroom home

Determine the purpose of your storage unit: If you’re storing items short-term while moving, you can pack a unit full; if you’re storing things you don’t have room for and want occasional access to, you’ll need more space to move around.

If you can’t decide or are “between sizes,” it’s smart to select the larger-sized storage unit. And go bigger when storing large or bulky items like appliances and furniture. (Check out our “Bonus Tip” below on How to Stack or Fill Your Storage Rental!)

Learn how we can help!

do storage units have outlets

How Much Does a Storage Unit Cost

Storage unit prices are based on both size and the features they offer. Demand can also impact rates. Some storage companies offer sign-up or seasonal discounts. Compare quotes for the best deal.

Read the fine print carefully before committing to any storage rental agreement. There are many stories about storage unit contents being withheld and auctioned because of late or missing payments   .

Protecting Your Things in Storage

Carefully look at security when renting a storage unit. It’s essential that a storage facility adequately protects your belongings and that you feel safe anytime you stop by, day or night. Make sure any self-storage you consider has reliable 24/7 security measures, including cameras, controlled access, and monitoring.

moving boxes

Temperature-Controlled Storage Units

Keeping your belongings safe also means protecting them from extreme temperatures or high humidity that could lead to mold, mildew, rust, or corrosion. A climate-controlled storage unit may cost a bit more. But it can be worth the extra expense and even pay for itself in the damage it prevents, especially if you are packing things away for an extended time.

Research facilities that offer climate-controlled units – a must when storing items like art and musical instruments, heirlooms, and antiques. Keep in mind that vital documents, linens, and clothing are also prone to mold and mildew, and high heat can damage or melt plastic, vinyl, and wax.

Ease of Access to Things in Storage

Most self-storage units provide easy access so you can quickly retrieve must-haves or seasonal items anytime. Entry is typically via a security code, and you can come and go as you need to.

Once you’ve decided on a storage facility, be strategic when choosing your unit. “Anytime access” is less enticing if your storage unit is in a remote corner far from the elevator. Save time and hassle by selecting a unit with drive-up access and direct load-in.

Proximity to Move-in Location

If frequent access is important to you, storage facility location will be too. Again, you may pay a bit more. But a nearby location where you can quickly drop in and pick up what you need when convenient will save you time, gas, and effort. Opt for a storage unit farther away when storing items long-term that don’t have to be readily accessible.

Other Things to Consider When Choosing a Storage Unit

-Storage units do not include power outlets to avoid the risk of fire. It discourages renters from plugging in heaters or other electrical devices and helps keep all units safe.

-Wondering “where can I store my car?” Many self-storage facilities provide garage-type storage for cars, boats, and recreational vehicles. Be sure to perform maintenance prep on any auto or other vehicle before putting it into long or short-term storage.

-Professional movers storage could be a great alternative to self-storage if you’re moving. Your belongings will be professionally packed and wrapped, then securely stored in a storage vault. You’ll receive an inventory list, and your items will remain safe until you are ready for the pros to move and unpack them in your next location. Cost is typically comparable to self-storage, and it’s less hassle and effort for you.

moving boxes for rental storage

BONUS TIP: How to Stack or Fill Your Storage Rental

Before putting anything in your storage unit:

-Sweep the storage unit

-Secure and clearly label the top and sides of each box

-Break down furniture

-Create a list of everything that is going into the unit

-Create a “map” of what will go where in the unit

-Identify and separate out what you’ll need access to

-Make sure you have enough space! 

Once everything is ready, load your storage unit with the heaviest items at the bottom. Stack boxes putting the lightest items on the top. Pack the unit putting things you’ll want access to at the front. Leave a center aisle to the back of the unit. And allow for “breathing room,” even in a ventilated, climate-controlled unit.  

Learn how we can help!

do storage units have outlets inside

Leave Your Storage Needs to Priority Moving

If you’re moving and need storage, Priority Moving could be the answer. Our licensed, professional movers are experienced in packing, moving, and storing households of all sizes. We have generously sized storage units to fit your short-term or long-term storage needs. We’ll pack you up, get you moved, and safely store excess items until you’re ready for them. Contact Priority for a free moving and storage quote. We make storage easy and stress-free!