Rent the Right Storage Unit For You: A Step-by-Step Guide

Rent the Right Storage Unit For You_ A Step-by-Step Guide

The self-storage industry has exploded in recent years, with over 50,000 storage facilities across the U.S. and over 2.6 billion square feet of rentable storage space. With so many options, finding the right storage unit to meet your needs can feel overwhelming. The key is determining what you need to store, the length of time you’ll need storage, and your budget. With some preparation and research, you can easily find storage units that are the perfect fit.

This guide will walk you through the key factors in choosing a self-storage unit, from determining the right size to finding a reputable facility. We’ll also explore how to rent storage units online for added convenience. With the right information, you can confidently select a storage unit that keeps your belongings safe and accessible. Let’s get started!

Determine Your Storage Needs

When choosing a storage unit, it’s important to first determine what items you’ll be storing. This will help you select the right size unit for your needs. Consider the following:

  • Smaller items like boxes of books, kitchenware, decorations, and old files can fit well in a 5×5 or 5×10 unit. These compact spaces are ideal if you just need to store some basics.
  • Medium-sized furniture like chairs, small tables, mattresses, and appliances often fit best in a 10×10 unit. This gives you room to store bulky items without too much wasted space.
  • Larger furniture like couches, beds, dressers, and TV stands usually need at least a 10×15 unit. The extra room allows you to easily maneuver larger pieces.
  • If you need to store a vehicle, boat, RV, or other oversized items, you’ll need at least a 10×20 unit. Some facilities also have larger drive-up spaces available.
  • Storage for a business or for personal storage. If you’re looking to store documents, products, machinery, or liquids, it will significantly determine the type of storage space you need. Climate-controlled units or large 20×20 spaces are typical for small businesses.

Take an inventory of what you need to store and the approximate dimensions to determine the right unit size. Allow some extra buffer room too for easy access. The type and size of items makes a big difference, so evaluate carefully.

Rent the Right Storage Unit For You_ A Step-by-Step Guide

Choosing a Storage Facility

When it comes to choosing a storage facility, you have both online and in-person options to find and compare places that fit your needs.

Online is often the most convenient way to search for storage units in your area. You can use aggregator websites like that allow you to enter your zip code and see all the self-storage facilities nearby. These sites let you filter by things like unit sizes, monthly prices, and amenities offered. You can get a good idea of what’s available without having to drive around town.

Many storage companies also have their own websites where you can take virtual tours, view unit sizes and prices, and even rent a unit completely online. Going directly through a storage facility’s website gives you the most up-to-date information on that specific location.

If you prefer an in-person visit, you can find storage facilities in your area by searching online maps and driving around to check them out. Visiting a facility allows you to see the units and property first-hand and get answers to any questions from the staff. However, this does take more time and effort than searching online.

Whether you choose to find storage units online or in-person, it’s a good idea to compare several facilities in your area on factors like price, security, unit sizes, and cleanliness. Carefully evaluating multiple options will help you select the storage solution that best fits your needs.

Facility Types

There are a few main types of storage facilities to choose from:

Climate Controlled

Climate controlled units keep your belongings protected from extreme temperatures and humidity. This type of storage is ideal for protecting furniture, electronics, artwork, musical instruments, and other items that could be damaged by heat, cold, or moisture. Climate control provides stable temperatures between 55-80 degrees.

Drive-Up Access

Drive-up access units allow you to park right in front of your unit to easily load and unload items. This convenient access is great if you’ll be frequently accessing your belongings. Drive-up access units are usually more expensive than interior units that require walking your items a farther distance.

Security Levels

Storage facilities offer varying security such as keypad gate access, individual door alarms, security cameras, and on-site managers. High security units provide more protection for your valuables with features like fully enclosed, single-entry facilities, security guards, or video surveillance. Make sure to choose a facility with sufficient security for your needs.

Rent the Right Storage Unit For You_ A Step-by-Step Guide

Comparing Storage Unit Sizes

When choosing a self-storage unit, one of the most important factors is the size. Storage facilities offer a range of unit sizes to accommodate different needs. Here’s an overview of common sizes and what fits in each:

5×5 (25 square feet)

  • Typically around $50-$99 per month depending on the location.
  • The smallest storage units, usually about the size of a walk-in closet.
  • Good for storing boxes, small furniture items, or equipment like bicycles and ski gear.
  • Typically holds the contents of a 1-bedroom apartment or small office.

5×10 (50 square feet)

  • Typically around $100-$142 per month depending on the location.
  • Accommodates more boxes, a twin bed or chairs, and small appliances or tools.
  • Fits the contents of a studio or the kitchen supplies from a 2-bedroom apartment.

10×10 (100 square feet)

  • Typically around $175-$225 per month depending on the location.
  • A popular mid-size unit.
  • Holds boxes plus furniture like a sofa, washer/dryer, and queen or full-sized bed.
  • Stores the contents of a 1-bedroom house or office.

10×15 (150 square feet)

  • Typically around $220-$273 per month depending on the location.
  • Fits furniture like bedroom sets, dining tables, appliances and outdoor items like bikes and grills.
  • Holds the contents of a 2-3 bedroom home.

10×20 (200 square feet)

  • Typically around $250-$325 per month depending on the location
  • Accommodates furniture, boxes and large items like pianos, hot tubs, or commercial equipment.
  • Fits the contents of a 3-4 bedroom home.
  • Best for small businesses.

The dimensions and square footage help give a sense of what each unit size can realistically hold. Consider the number of bedrooms or rooms you need to empty and measure larger items to choose the right size.

Extra Storage Unit Features

Many storage facilities offer extra amenities beyond just the storage unit itself. These additional features can make storing your belongings more convenient.

Moving Supplies

Most storage facilities sell basic moving supplies like boxes, tape, bubble wrap, and packing paper right on site. This allows you to easily pick up materials for packing and moving day. Some locations even offer free boxes when you rent a unit. Purchasing boxes and packing materials from your storage facility can save you a trip to the store.

Truck Rental

Some storage companies partner with truck rental services so you can rent a truck right at the storage facility. Having a truck rental on-site makes moving day simpler since you only have to go to one place. Storage facilities that offer truck rentals take out the hassle of coordinating pick-up and drop-off of a rental vehicle. This service provides a major convenience on moving day.

24/7 Access

Many storage facilities allow 24/7 access to your unit. Around-the-clock availability enables you to access your belongings on your schedule. Keypad access and security cameras at facilities with 24/7 access also provide security for your stored items. The ability to get into your unit any time of day, weekends, or after work hours is a significant advantage for many renters. Choosing a company with 24/7 access can offer flexibility and convenience.

Rent the Right Storage Unit For You_ A Step-by-Step Guide

Renting and Paying Online

Renting a storage unit online is convenient and easy. Most storage facilities have user-friendly websites and mobile apps that allow you to browse, reserve, and pay for units entirely online.

Major self-storage chains like Public Storage, Extra Space Storage, and CubeSmart enable you to rent a unit online by entering your location and browsing available units at nearby facilities. Their websites provide details on each unit’s size, features, monthly rental rate, and current availability. Many also have online pricing calculators and size recommendation tools to help match you with the ideal unit.

Now more than ever, it’s easier to find self-storage and parking space on online platforms such as PeerStorage. PeerStorage works with self-storage facilities, parking lots, and commercial property owners to connect with self-storage renters like you. PeerStorage makes it easy to find and rent online for facilities

Once you’ve selected a unit, you can reserve it online by providing your contact information and payment details. The storage company will send a rental agreement that you can electronically sign. Paying rent monthly is simple through automatic credit card charges or bank account withdrawals. Some sites also allow you to set up one-time payments.

If the storage facility has a mobile app, you can manage your account fully from your smartphone. Features like these make the entire rental process quick and convenient without ever having to visit the office. Apps also provide reminders when rent is due, notifications of late fees, and tools to update credit card information.

Whether using the website or mobile app, renting a storage unit online is the easiest way to get started and manage your account.

Rent storage space on PeerStorage

What You Can Store

When renting a storage unit, it’s important to know what types of belongings are allowed to be stored. Storage facilities have rules and regulations regarding prohibited items for safety and legal reasons. Here’s an overview of what you typically can and cannot store in a storage unit:

Allowed Items

  • Furniture – Couches, chairs, tables, mattresses, etc.
  • Household goods – Dishes, decor, linens, kitchenware, etc.
  • Clothing and accessories
  • Books, photos, music, media, and other personal items
  • Sports equipment – Bikes, ski gear, golf clubs, etc.
  • Tools, hardware, workshop items
  • Seasonal items – Holiday decorations, winter clothes during summer, etc.
  • Business inventory, equipment, files (for commercial units)

Prohibited Items

  • Weapons, firearms, ammunition, explosives
  • Flammable, combustible, or hazardous materials – Gasoline, propane, paint, etc.
  • Food, perishables, plants, animals
  • Illegal substances or goods
  • Anything that emits fumes or odors

Most storage facilities prohibit storing anything that could be dangerous, flammable, perishable, or illegal. Be sure to check your storage provider’s list of allowed and prohibited items before moving in your belongings. Let them know if you need to store anything questionable or unusual.

Organizing Your Storage Unit

When organizing your storage unit, it’s important to arrange items efficiently to maximize space and make retrieval easy. Here are some tips:

  • Categorize and group like items together – Boxes of books, off-season clothes, holiday decorations, etc. This makes it easier to find what you need later.
  • Heavier items should go on bottom shelves or the floor. Lighter items can go up higher. This prevents overload and damage.
  • Place frequently accessed items near the door for convenience. Items you rarely need can go in the back.
  • Leave walkways clear in the middle and between shelves. Make sure you can access everything.
  • Stack boxes and items vertically to reach the full height of the unit. Use shelves to create layers.
  • Wrap or cover fragile items well and clearly label boxes.
  • Use storage organizers like shelves, bins, and hooks to neatly arrange items.
  • Leave some empty space in case you need to add more later on. Don’t overstuff.
  • Keep an inventory list of what is stored and where. Update it when you access or add items.
  • Periodically check your unit and rearrange things if needed. Maintaining organization prevents losing track of possessions.

With some advance planning and effort, you can keep your storage unit tidy and make the most of the space. This allows you to easily store and find items when needed.


Renting a storage unit can be a great solution when you need extra space but don’t want the hassle of a bigger home. With the tips in this article, you should now feel confident finding and renting a storage unit that meets your needs.

To recap, start by determining how much space you need and what you plan to store. Compare different storage facilities in your area based on amenities, security, and price. Look at the different unit sizes available and opt for a unit that gives you some room to grow over one that’s jam-packed. Take advantage of features like climate control and 24/7 access if it fits your situation.

The process of renting a unit and paying for it has gotten much simpler with online rental platforms. You can often reserve a unit, submit payment, and manage your account completely online. Just be sure to read all policies carefully before signing.

With a well-organized storage unit, you can safely store almost anything from extra furniture to seasonal items to memorabilia. Take time to properly label boxes and shelves so you can easily find what you need.

Finding the right storage solution takes a bit of planning and research upfront, but it’s worth it for the convenience and peace of mind. Don’t let clutter take over your home – rent a storage unit that meets your needs today!

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