What Size Self Storage Unit Do I Need?

Searching for a self storage unit doesn’t have to be as difficult as Prince Charming searching his kingdom for the owner of the glass slipper. You’re not looking for Cinderella – you’re looking for self storage. You don’t have to visit every self storage facility in the land to find the perfect fit. 

Whether you’re looking to store your small business inventory or the contents of a typical bedroom, knowing what size you need will save you time and money. You don’t want to have your unit half packed before you realize it’s too small, and you don’t want to spend extra money on a unit that’s too large. 

How Do I Choose the Right Size Self Storage Unit?

Here are some guidelines that will help you determine the storage space that you need. 

Take inventory of the Items Your Storing

Consider the number of boxes, measure appliances and large items, and take into account any large or irregularly-shaped items like bicycles or exercise equipment.

Use Size Guides and Visit the Unit Prior to Reserving

Most self storage websites include a storage unit size guide and many have an interactive space calculator. An in-person visit to the unit that you’re reserving is good idea. A visual representation of the space will help you better plan for your needs.

It’s Better to Overestimate than Underestimate

Even using all of the resources at your disposal won’t determine the exact size unit for your belongings. Of course you don’t want to spend extra money; but, if you’re uncertain, it’s better to spend a few extra dollars for enough room. It’s always a beneficial to have enough space for a path between your boxes and large items.

Think About Storage Unit Dimensions

Self storage units are typically sized as length by width, making it easy to estimate your floor space by square footage: for example, a 5 x 10 unit is 50 sq. ft. Self storage units typically have a height of eight feet, giving you extra vertical space. You can easily stack boxes and containers and position furniture and appliances to save space. 

Look for Packing and Organizing Tips

After you locate the right unit, be sure to get it packed and organized properly to make the best use of your space. Check our Packing and Storage Tips for more information.

How Much Storage Space Do I Need

Below are unit sizes and typical contents. This should give you a rough idea of what you need. This is the type of information you’ll see on a typical size guide.

5 x 5 (25 sq. ft.): The size of a walk-in closet. Ideal for boxes, books, seasonal items (garden tools and pool toys), clothing,  office supplies, and twin size mattresses.

5 x 10 (50 sq. ft.): This is a good size to store a mid-size bedroom, office, or an entire studio apartment.

10 x 10 (100 sq. ft.): An entire living room and two full bedrooms are a good fit for this space. 

10 x 15 (150 sq. ft.): A three-bedroom house will fit in this size unit. It’s ideal for large  screen tvs, sporting equipment, bikes, pianos, and tables.

10 x 20 (200 sq. ft.): This space is ideal for a five-bedroom house, including large appliances. This unit is also big enough for cars, boats, and other vehicles. 

10 x 30 (300 sq. ft.): This unit has enough space to store a five- to seven-bedroom home or a large vehicle or small boat with room to spare. If you’re making a cross-country move, this size will enable you to store the contents of your large home while getting settled.

Vehicle Parking:  Most facilities offer indoor, covered, and open parking spaces for cars, boats, and RVs. You can find information on the vehicle storage page of most self storage websites.

Whatever your storage needs, the information in this article can guide you in the right direction to easily find the right size unit at your local facility. If you’re still uncertain, speak to the manager at your local self storage business.The friendly, knowledgeable employees are always happy to answer your questions and help you to find the right fit.

Do You Know the Difference Between Self Storage Insurance and a Tenant Protection Plan?

According to the Self-Storage Association, one out of every 10 households in the U.S. rents a  self storage unit. That means 10.8 million Americans are comfortable that their possessions are safe, secure and well protected at their local self storage facility. They’ve taken the time to choose the right self storage facility for their possessions, and they know that the majority of self storage businesses have cutting edge security. Video monitoring, electronic gates, keypad access, and even bluetooth enabled keyless entry keep their belongings safe and protected.  

Despite these precautions, insurance is required at most facilities to mitigate risk and cover losses. A growing number of self storage businesses have added a tenant protection plan as another layer of protection.  A tenant protection plan covers certain losses not covered by insurance. 

Storage Insurance vs. Tenant Protection Plan

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners states that even though items in a storage unit are not physically in your home, your homeowner’s policy may help protect those items from certain hazards.  Homeowners/renters insurance typically includes personal property coverage, from certain risks, for clothing, appliances, electronics, and furniture. These items, however, are covered only up to the coverage limits on your policy.

Tenants who depend on the “off-premises” coverage of their homeowners or renters insurance to pay for any damages to items in their storage unit may be disappointed in the event of loss; “off premises” coverage is usually capped at a certain rate.

Be sure to check with your insurance agency to verify exactly how much coverage you will have for “off-premises” items.  

Homeowners/renters insurance covers the contents of a self storage unit only up to a certain limit.

  • According to the Insurance Information Institute, coverage for items in a storage unit is generally provided by the “off-premises” personal property coverage in a homeowner’s policy. Typically covered are fire, lightning, theft, and vandalism.
  • “Off-premises” personal property usually has a coverage limit of up to 50% of the policy’s dwelling coverage limit. Some homeowner’s policies have even lower limits for property located away from your home. For example, if you have $75,000 coverage on your personal property under your homeowner’s policy, coverage for “off-premises” property may be capped as low as 10% or $7,500.
  • Renters insurance generally covers items in a self-storage unit for up to 10% of your policy limits.   

What is covered by self storage insurance?

Buying self-storage insurance will usually give you coverage for damages to your possessions, less your deductible, due to loss from:

  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Hurricane
  • Tornado
  • Wind
  • Hail
  • Lightning
  • Leaking Water (excluding flooding)
  • Smoke
  • Earthquake

A tenant protection plan offers advantages that you don’t see in conventional insurance coverage.

How does a tenant protection plan work?

A tenant protection plan is a contractual agreement between the facility and the tenant, with the facility assuming limited responsibility for the tenant’s belongings while they are stored in a locked unit. In other words, operators agree to pay customers for damages to belongings up to a specified dollar amount.

Customers will be reimbursed at replacement cost for their damaged or stolen property (clothing and household linens are subject to depreciation). Protection plan fees are conveniently collected with the monthly rent, and there are no deductibles.

Losses from the following are covered:

  • Theft due to forcible entry
  • Fire, smoke, lightning, or explosion
  • Windstorms
  • Water damage from a leaking roof or broken pipe (up to protection plan limits)
  • Furs, antiques, works of art, and consumer electronics

Certain protection plans also cover:

  • Cars, boats, jet skis, RVs, motorcycles, and quads stored inside units
  • Document re-creation costs (up to protection plan limits)
  • Moth, insect, rodent, or vermin damage up to $500
  • Jewelry up to $500

Tenant protection plans do not cover:

  • Loss due to flood damage
  • Damage caused from dropping or moving property in and out of a storage room
  • An improperly packed room resulting in damaged belongings
  • Mysterious disappearance
  • Any property stored outside a locked storage room, including RV’s, cars, boats

With a tenant protection plan, you’re guaranteed an extra layer of safety for your possessions. 

Before you make a decision on any insurance or protection plan to cover your losses, think carefully about the monetary and the sentimental value of your possessions. Be sure to consult your insurance agent, and discuss your options with the manager of the facility where you choose to store your belongings.