Before you head to a local storage facility, make sure you have the answer to the question: what size storage unit do I need? These videos will help you figure it out.

What size storage unit do i need

One of the most common questions we get asked by customers is, “what size storage unit do I need?” Unfortunately, the answer isn’t always straightforward.

The storage unit size best suited for your situation depends on a few different factors, like availability, intended use, and how much stuff you want to store.

We created this in-depth guide to help you narrow down your selection before you rent. However, if you’re looking for a visual aid, check out our space estimator or watch our storage unit size videos for more help.

If you’re still asking yourself, “what size storage unit do I need?”, feel free to reach out to us directly.

How to Know What Size Storage Unit You Need

1. Determine the primary function of the storage unit.

To help you figure out what size storage unit you need, first you’ll need to assess the primary function of the unit. Some common questions to ask yourself might be:

  • Will I be storing a car?
  • Will I be storing an expanding business inventory?
  • Do I need temporary storage for a move?
  • Do I want to store some items indefinitely?
  • Will I be rotating items in and out of the unit?

It’s important to know what you want to store and how often the items in your unit will be changing. The versatility you require will have an impact on the size of storage unit that makes the most sense. You don’t want to outgrow a storage unit and then need to move everything more than once.

For instance, if you plan to store business inventory, rent a larger unit than you’ll initially need to give you room to grow. The same goes for wanting a storage unit to declutter your home a little at a time. However, if you will only be storing items from a house or apartment temporarily during a move, pick a unit appropriate for just your initial belongings.

2. Create a preliminary inventory.

You might have a general idea of what you want to store in the storage unit, but walking through your house and making a list can be helpful. Sometimes you don’t realize how much stuff you need to store for a kid going off to college, for instance. Perhaps they have more dorm furniture than you realize.

When making your inventory, make note of the following:

  • Include roughly how many moving boxes.
  • Determine how many pieces of furniture.
  • Get rough measurements of larger pieces if possible.

3. Use painters tape to measure storage unit sizes.

One trick if you have a hard time conceptualizing space is to use some painters tape or masking tape to mark off space. In your driveway or another open area, measure out the sizes we discuss below. Then start placing some empty moving boxes inside to see how quickly it gets filled. This trick works better for the smaller sized storage units.

4. If you’re in doubt, go one size bigger than you think you’ll need.

Being more economical by choosing a storage unit that is smaller than you need isn’t always a good idea for safety reasons. Avoid packing boxes more than four high. Also, avoid stacking furniture more than two pieces high. Doing so could result in damage to your belongings or become a hazard when unpacking.

Also, make note that sometimes a larger sized unit is only a couple more dollars a month. In some cases, a larger unit might be less expensive if there’s more availability, being that the space is not climate controlled. Don’t let the larger size deter you before you have a chance to run the numbers.

Related: Do You Really Need Climate Control When Renting Storage?

So… What Size Storage Unit Do I Need?

When checking out the following sizes, keep in mind that not all locations will have all the sizes available. In this case, it’s best to opt for the next size up.

5 x 5

This compact space is the smallest storage unit available in most larger storage facilities. How can you use it? The 5’x5’ is perfect when you need a little more room around the house. To put the size in perspective, this unit is the size of an average closet. It should hold several boxes and one or two small pieces of furniture.

What fits?

  • Chest of drawers
  • Several moving boxes or totes
  • Small chairs
  • Clothing

5 x 10

The 5’x10′ is our second smallest storage unit but helpful if you want just a little more space for your belongings, like if you live in a small apartment in the city. For comparison sake, it’s roughly the size of a walk-in closet. However, it’s big enough for a king-size bed, an extra dresser and about ten to fifteen medium size boxes.

What fits?

  • 1-2 large pieces of furniture
  • 10-15 moving boxes or totes
  • Yard equipment

5 x 15

The next size is a narrow 5’x15’ storage unit, which is about 30% bigger than the 5’x10’. This storage unit can fit the furnishings of a full-size bedroom, which will work well if you’re moving out of a tiny studio apartment. Roll in a motorcycle for winter storage, too.

What fits?

  • Bedroom furniture
  • 10-15 moving boxes or totes
  • Motorcycle

10 x 10

The 10’x10’ is the most popular storage unit size because of its versatility. It’s a medium-sized space that amounts to about one-hundred square feet or about half the size of a standard garage. You can comfortably fit the contents of a two bedroom apartment and all the boxes and totes that go with them.

What fits?

  • Items from small apartments
  • Major appliances
  • 10-20 moving boxes or totes

10 x 15

For a medium-sized unit, consider the 10’x15′. You can store the contents of two bedrooms in here, including large items like appliances, furniture, and even a piano. If you have a compact car to store, this is the unit to try first.

What fits?

  • Some compact cars
  • Items from two-bedroom apartments
  • Major appliances
  • 10-20 moving boxes or totes

10 x 20

The second largest storage unit is the 10’x20’. To visualize, picture the size of a one-car garage. This unit should accommodate most midsize cars or all the furniture, appliances and boxes of a two or three bedroom home.

What fits?

  • Belongings from a 2-3 bedroom house
  • Some compact and mid-sized cars
  • A fair amount of small business inventory or supplies

10 x 30

The largest residential storage unit available is the 10’x30’. If you rent this storage unit, you’ll have access to just about three-hundred square feet of space. This unit is large enough for the contents of a four-bedroom home. If you’ve got a large family or growing business and you need a large space — it doesn’t get any bigger than this! You could even fit a pickup truck in here and still have room for lots of odds and ends.

What fits?

  • Contents of a four-bedroom house
  • Mattress sets
  • Large appliances
  • Dozens of boxes and totes

Did this guide help you finally answer the question, “what size storage unit do I need?” If not, feel free to explore our space estimator or contact our customer service team for specific questions. Also, be on the lookout for the best storage unit deals for ways on how to save money during the process.

About the Author


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.

Make Payments I Account Info I Alerts

Made a storage space reservation at Life Storage? Great - let's find it for you!

Pin It on Pinterest