Do you need extra storage for moving? These tips will help you navigate the process of renting a storage unit during a relocation.

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Is an upcoming move stressing you out? Would renting a storage unit help alleviate some of that stress (and perhaps help you make more money on the sale of your home)? Storage units provide a secure holding place for your stuff during the chaos of a move. As a bonus, you’ll be able to stage your house more effectively when you have extra storage space.

Not everyone needs storage for moving. However, sometimes closing dates don’t line up, and a storage unit evolves from a practical convenience to a moving necessity. Also, short term storage units are ideal for transient families that won’t have a home base for a while. If you need a storage unit for an upcoming move, take some time to read these storage unit tips for moving. Perhaps you’ll stumble across some helpful ideas that will keep you on task.


1. Reserve a storage unit as soon as possible.

One of the best storage unit tips for moving is to start early. As soon as you know you’re moving, reserve a storage unit. This extra time allows you to start packing right away instead of waiting until the last minute. Whether you need to declutter your home so it sells faster or you need to pack up your apartment so you can thoroughly clean it, having space to put your boxes will help keep your home welcoming and stress-free throughout the moving process.


2. Find the best storage unit for your circumstances.

Determine if a storage unit should be located near your old or new home. If you’re moving out of state, you may want to store items near your current home and then move everything at once.

When you’ve narrowed down the best location for extra storage, ask yourself the following questions.

What size storage unit will you need?

  • A 5-by-5 foot unit is perfect if you’re looking to store small items, small boxes, and books.
  • If you need to store a one-bedroom home, consider a unit that’s 10-by-10 feet.
  •  If you’re looking to pack away a three or four-bedroom home, a 10-by-20 foot unit is a good size.
  • There are also units in other sizes as well as units where you can store vehicles.

Do I need climate control?

  • If you plan to store artwork, electronics, photos, or anything else that might be sentimental, you might want to consider reserving a climate-controlled storage unit.
  • Consider the storage duration, time of year, and items you plan to store when deciding which type of unit to rent.

This article may be helpful: How to Choose Between Different Types of Storage Units


3. Inquire about moving truck rentals.

Some companies, like Life Storage, offer free moving truck rentals with a storage unit lease. These rentals can help offset some moving costs and make moving things in and out of your storage unit more seamless.*

*Due to COVID-19, we have currently suspended all moving truck rentals.


4. Pack non-essentials in storage for home staging.

If you’re selling your home, anything you can live without while moving should be packed up and stored in the storage unit. For example, if you have two sets of pots and pans, pack up one set and keep the other for use in your kitchen until it’s closer to the date you move. Clothes that are out of season can be boxed up and stored as well. Effectively staging your home will increase your bottom line, which will make the cost of renting a storage unit seem even more affordable and worthwhile.


5. Keep your storage unit organized.

We can’t stress how important it is to try to stay organized during the moving process. We’ve encouraged our customers to stay on task, and we even created the ultimate moving checklist to help them out. Remember, the moving and storage process can potentially last a while, especially if you’re trying to sell your home first.

A storage unit will help you keep your home organized during the move. However, this will be ineffective if your storage unit is a mess. Keep your unit organized from the moment you put in your first box. You might remember everything in your storage unit when you first put it in there, but will you remember what’s there on moving day? The easiest way to avoid confusion is to make sure you label everything.

Other helpful storage unit hacks for moving:

  • Keep items off the ground by lining certain sections with clean, heat-treated pallets.
  • When you determine where to put stuff, make sure you create makeshift aisles inside your unit so you can access your items easily.
  • Create a thorough inventory system that includes a diagram of the storage unit. Tape this diagram on the inside of the unit and update it as needed.
  • Consider storing an extra vehicle in storage during a move. Once the move is complete, you can head to the original destination and pick up your additional vehicle.

6. Ask the experts for advice.

Sometimes your situation is unique and might require specific guidance. Don’t be shy about asking self storage employees for advice. We encourage it! During your relocation, one of our representatives at your self-storage location can help you with any questions you have about your unit. He or she might also be able to give you some helpful moving tips they’ve learned since working in the business.

A quick phone call should also give you the information you need about climate-control, size, and cost. Remember to ask about accessing the unit when it’s convenient for you. The next time you’re nearby, set up a time to tour the facility.


Anything you can do to help ease stress during a move is worth the effort. Being able to put your belongings in a self storage facility while you pack helps reduce the clutter in your home and the stress in your life. In the end, you’ll have less anxiety about deadlines associated with the moving process when you rent storage for moving.

Editor’s Note: This post originally published on May 1, 2015 and was revised on May 28, 2020.

About the Author

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Lauren Thomann

Lauren Thomann has written about self storage and moving since 2015, making her our storage expert. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in English and Linguistics and has published over 150 articles on moving, storage, and home organization. She is also a contributing writer at The Spruce and Martha Stewart.

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