Estimating the Storage Unit Sizes You Need: A Quick Guide

Storage units come in all shapes and sizes. How do you know which storage unit sizes will fit your current and future needs? After all, you don’t want to be paying for space you’re never going to use. Likewise, nobody wants the hassle of needing to upgrade and transport everything they have from one unit to another.

Understanding standard storage unit dimensions can empower you to cover all your storage needs. Math isn’t fun, but here’s how to estimate how much space you’ll need for whatever you want to put into storage.

How to Find the Right Storage Unit Size for Your Needs

Picking the best storage unit for you isn’t a guessing game. There’s a science to it, and it doesn’t have to involve carefully measuring everything you have. Your standard storage unit size guide already gives you a good idea of how big a unit is and what you can expect to fit inside.

Using a storage unit size chart makes it relatively easy to predict how big a room you’ll require. However, it’s also important to consider your future needs. Nobody can see the future, but it’s always better to choose storage units sizes that are slightly bigger than what you need right now.

Giving yourself some wiggle room can avoid any unnecessary upgrades later.

Picking Storage Room Sizes Step-by-Step

So, where do you get started when selecting different storage unit sizes?

Here’s a mini-guide to put you in the correct ballpark.

Step One – Take Stock of Your Items

Go through what you want to store initially before deciding on a storage unit size. The last thing you want is to pack everything up, move half your items in, and then find out there’s not enough space. The storage facility may not have a bigger unit at the time.

While there are no requirements to measure everything, you should measure more oversized items, such as furniture. You should also consider any irregularly shaped items, such as bicycles.

The way to maximize storage unit space is to pack strategically while still providing access to the most used items. Knowing how much space those awkward items will take up enables you to make the right decision.

Step Two – Study a Sizing Guide

Every storage facility will have some semblance of a sizing guide available. They’re mostly accurate, but they don’t tend to consider the vertical space you have available.

Make sure you always round your storage needs up. It’s always better to have more space than you need because you can store additional items later. When in doubt, opt for the next size up.

Most people maintain their self-storage units for years unless storing items for a specific purpose, such as travel or work relocation.

Step Three – Gauge with a Truck

An easy way to figure out how much space you need is to use a moving truck. Like storage units, moving trucks also come in several standard sizes.

The conversions are relatively straightforward, too. A full 20-foot moving truck would fill a 10’x’15’ unit.

Storage Unit Size Guide

Remember that most storage units are roughly eight feet from floor to ceiling. The sizes of units are quoted in terms of length and width.

Most self-storage facilities opt for standardized storage unit sizes. Let’s go through the most common sizes and how much you can expect to store in each.

5’x5’ Unit

This is the smallest unit of them all. Equal to roughly 25 square feet and about the size of a small walk-in closet. These are the units for those with various odds and ends they don’t have space for at home.

One of these units can store a single piece of furniture, a mattress, holiday decorations, and some personal items. However, you will need to keep tabs on how much space you have at any one time.

5’x10’ Unit

These units come with 50 square feet of storage space and are the size of a standard walk-in closet. Most people use these storage units to store belongings from a one-bedroom apartment or college dorm.

You can store a queen-sized mattress, dresser, bike, television, and several storage boxes. These units are ideal for young, single people.

10’x10’ Unit

The 10’x10’ unit is America’s favorite storage unit. Equivalent to half of a one-car garage, you have 100 square feet of space to work with. Your storage unit will have roughly an extra bedroom in storage space.

You can store the contents of two whole bedrooms in these units plus an entire family room. Keeping furniture, sofas, and boxes is easy when working with these units. Most people won’t require anything bigger than this.

10’x15’ Unit

Rent one of these units, and you have 150 square feet of space to work with. These units are just under the size of a standard one-car garage.

You’ll be able to store items from three bedrooms, and they can accommodate larger items, like tables, appliances, musical instruments, and wide-screen televisions.

10’x20’ Unit

Enjoy 200 square feet of space. These units are perfect if you need to store a classic car over the wintertime. They’re also ideal if you plan on traveling overseas for a significant period.

A 10’x20’ unit can store everything you need from a three or four-bedroom house. Workout equipment, refrigerators, washers, dryers, and dining sets will all fit into one of these storage space sizes.

10’x’30’ Unit

A 10’x30’ unit is the biggest storage unit in most storage facilities. With 300 square feet of space, you can store everything from all but the largest houses. These units are equivalent to around a one-and-a-half car garage.

People use these units when they need to store vehicles and boats. If you’ve got a fully furnished five-bedroom house, this is the unit size you need to store all your belongings comfortably.

Making the Most of Storage Unit Sizes: Tips & Best Practices

There’s an art to deciding what to put into professional self-storage and how to pack everything inside to maximize the space available.

Let’s go through some additional tips on making the most of what you have available.

Determine What Must Go into Storage

Not everything needs to go into storage. Comb through your home and see how much unused space you have. It doesn’t make sense to pay for a bigger unit than you need if you’ve got a spare walk-in closet or a guest bedroom you never use.

It’s also important to look at the costs. Unless something has significant sentimental value, it could be better to sell or trash lower-value items. You’re losing money for no good reason if the cost of the storage unit is worth more than what’s inside it.

Tour the Unit in Person

Even with a storage unit size guide, it isn’t always easy to visualize how much space you have. Unless you’re already acquainted with self-storage or real estate, the chances are it’s still a struggle to determine what 50 square feet of storage space means.

Practically all storage facilities will give you a physical or virtual tour of some of their facilities. They may already have videos online of different units.

Go Bigger than What You Need

You never know what tomorrow might bring. Save yourself the hassle of sorting through your items or upgrading to a bigger unit later by investing in additional space now.

Of course, it doesn’t mean you need to double the amount of storage space you have. Simply upgrading to the next size up early should be more than enough to cover your storage needs for years to come.

Indoor vs. Outdoor

Storage facilities often have indoor and outdoor units. Both have the same security standards in place. Whether you suit an indoor or outdoor storage room depends on what you intend to store.

Think about how you’ll access your storage unit. Indoor facilities will often have narrower corridors. For example, trying to get the furniture to your room may be impossible.

Consider what you want to store now and what you may want to store in the future. With bigger, bulkier items, you need broader access points.

Think About Vertical Space

Different storage unit sizes are quoted with regards to their square footage. In an ideal world, you would also know the cubic footage of your unit.

The way you utilize vertical space can help you get more from your storage unit. Intelligent stacking is the best way to use vertical space.

Some units may even have shelves or racks to help with organization. It largely depends on the provider and what they have available.

One point to remember is that you should not attempt to stack to the ceiling. It could become a safety hazard and put your items at risk. Heavier items should go on the floor, with the lightest items on top.

Pack from Most Used to Least Used

If you have more items and expect to return to your storage unit to add/remove things, you should consider access. For this reason, experts suggest putting those least-used items toward the back of the unit and your most used items at the front.

Remember, if your storage unit is a long-term investment, you may need to consider creating aisles between your stuff. After all, the last thing you want is to take everything out of the unit and put it back in each time you need to retrieve something.

Again, it’s another reason you should opt for larger storage space sizes.

Using a Virtual Moving and Storage Calculator

Augmented and virtual reality technology has changed the way the world works. Virtual real estate tours are just one example of how this technology alters the way we do things.

Virtual moving and storage calculators are also helpful for determining how much space you need. Moving and storage calculators give you a more detailed estimate than a standard storage unit sizes chart.

They work in the same way as a virtual loading machine. Select common furniture pieces room by room, add different box sizes, and include everyday recreational items. The percentage bar of your selected storage unit will fill as you add other things.

It’s the next evolution in the standard sizing chart and supports you in making a more intelligent storage decision.

Frequently Asked Questions About Choosing Storage Unit Sizes

Paying for a self-storage unit for the first time can be complicated. It’s natural to have questions about the process of renting a storage unit.

Here are the answers to all the most commonly asked questions people have.

Is it best to get one big storage unit or two smaller units?

It’s always better to go one size bigger than to start splitting items between smaller units. When you work out the costs, it’s more economical to rent a larger unit.

It can be confusing to have items in different units. Nobody wants to unpack an entire unit only to realize the item they were searching for is in the other one.

Also, smaller storage units tend to be in higher demand. Bigger units are easier to come by.

What is climate control in storage units?

Climate control in storage units helps maintain a comfortable temperature to protect the goods of people within. Generally, individual storage units are not climate controlled, but entire facilities are. Self-storage companies will often have a portion of units with the climate control feature.

Parts of the U.S. prone to extreme temperatures benefit the most from this feature. For example, if you live in Southern California, storage facilities will often have a cooling system. In rural Wisconsin, they will invest more in heating systems.

Do you need climate control?

It depends on whether what you’re storing is valuable and vulnerable to changing temperatures. If all you’re storing is a bunch of old clothes or worn furniture, the extra cost associated with climate control likely isn’t worth it.

What if I end up needing a smaller space?

Sometimes you will spring clean your storage unit and find that you no longer need that same unit. Typically, storage companies allow their customers to switch units. There may be fees and additional charges involved, particularly if you signed a long-term contract.

Thankfully, most storage facilities only have monthly contracts with no minimum stay, so the worst-case scenario is you lose your remaining days.

The only barrier to moving to a smaller space is that smaller units may be unavailable. Smaller units, like 10’x’10’s, always have higher demand.

If you required a larger unit in the past, the chances are you will do so again. For this reason, it might be worth maintaining your larger unit just in case you need to store more stuff later.

When should I ask for a storage unit with outdoor access?

As a rule of thumb, if any of your items cannot fit through a standard doorway, you should ask for a unit with outdoor access. It’s highly recommended that you choose a storage room with outdoor access even if you can disassemble an item. After all, who wants to assemble and disassemble a piece of furniture?

Smaller items packed in standard boxes can be stored with indoor-only facilities. As always, try to forecast your future storage needs so you don’t need to move later.

How much does a storage unit cost?

Storage units vary in cost. All units are charged based on a monthly rate because long-term contracts aren’t the norm. Many people don’t know how long they’ll need the space, so it’s more convenient.

Your monthly rate depends on your unit, the location, the season, and how much availability there is. It’s a market that constantly fluctuates based on supply and demand.

Generally, the most influential factor is square footage. The smaller your storage unit measurements, the less you’ll pay.


Figuring out storage space sizes is far from straightforward. With so many tools available, you can get a pretty good estimate of how much space you’re likely to need. What’s important is you take into account your future storage needs and what you need right now.

Get self-storage done right with Jubel Moving & Storage. We’re the premier movers in the San Francisco Bay Area. Make your self-storage venture a stress-free one. Our movers support you every step of the way in keeping your belongings safe.

Take advantage of door-to-door storage services with Jubel Moving & Storage. Find out how much it could cost, reach out for a free estimate now.