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.


Standard Storage Unit Sizes

What size storage unit do I need? Unfortunately, the answer isn’t always straightforward since there are several standard storage unit sizes with varying features.

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

We created this in-depth storage unit size guide (complete with videos) to help you narrow down your selection. If simple graphics are more helpful for you, check out our storage unit size estimator instead.

How to Pick the Correct Storage Unit Size

1. Determine the storage unit’s primary function.

You don’t want to outgrow a storage unit and then need to move everything to a larger space. First, you’ll need to assess the primary function of the unit to help you figure out what size storage unit you need,.

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 function of the unit will have an impact on the storage unit size that makes the most sense.

For instance, if you plan to store business inventory, rent a larger unit than you’ll initially need to give you room to grow. If you want a storage unit to declutter your home a little at a time, pick a unit with extra space upfront.

However, if you only need to store items during a temporary move, pick a unit that’s appropriate for your initial belongings. In this situation, the amount of stuff in your storage unit is unlikely to change.

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 until you actually take an inventory.

When making your inventory, make a note of the following:

  • Include roughly how many moving boxes you’ll store.
  • Determine how many pieces of furniture that will go into storage.
  • Get rough measurements of larger pieces, if possible.

3. Use painters tape to measure storage unit sizes.

If you have a hard time conceptualizing space, here’s one trick to try. Use some painters tape or masking tape to mark off a space the size of an average unit (listed above) in your driveway or another open area. Next, start placing some empty moving boxes inside to see how quickly the area gets filled. This trick works best for the smaller storage units.

4. If you’re in doubt, go one size bigger.

Being more economical by choosing a storage unit that is smaller than you need isn’t always a good idea for safety reasons. For example, you should avoid packing boxes more than four high. Also, avoid stacking furniture more than two pieces tall. 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. You could also save money on a larger storage unit if the rental is not climate controlled. Don’t let the larger size deter you before you have a chance to run the numbers.

Common Storage Unit Sizes

When checking out the following storage unit 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 storage facilities. How can you use it? The 5’x5′ is perfect when you need a little more room around the house. Let’s 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, and it’s helpful if you want just a little more space for your belongings. This size is ideal 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. You can 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?

  • All the contents of a small apartment
  • 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 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
  • All the contents of a two-bedroom home
  • 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 an ample 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

If you’re still unsure what size storage unit you need, contact our customer service team with specific questions. Good luck!

Editor’s note: This post originally published on November 20, 2018, and was revised July 20, 2020.

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.

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