What Size Storage Unit Do You Need?

Are you looking for a storage solution for all of your stuff? Whether you’re a college student who needs climate-controlled storage for the summer or you’re a homeowner who just needs some extra space, storage units make it a cinch to store items that just don’t fit in your current living situation.

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There’s just one problem: picking the right-sized unit for your needs. After all, large units work for vehicle storage, but they’re overkill if you’re storing a few boxes of holiday decorations.

You don’t want a storage unit that’s too large or too small, and that’s where we come in. moveBuddha is here to help you find the best option for your storage needs — and budget.

Check out this guide to learn what storage unit size you really need, plus a few expert tips to help you make the most of any self-storage facility.

Storage unit size guide: What you need to know

Storage unit companies offer a range of different unit sizes, but finding the right size isn’t always easy. Follow these steps to find the best storage unit for your needs.

1. Calculate your storage needs

While houses are typically measured in square feet (sq. ft.), this measurement doesn’t account for height. This is why you need to look at storage units based on cubic feet — or length x width x height.

But first, you need to figure out how much stuff you have. To do that, you’ll need to estimate the weight and volume of the items you want to store.

This is simple if you work with professional movers. When movers give an in-home estimate, they should give you a copy of the report, which should include estimated weight and cubic feet.

If the list only shows estimated weight, use this formula to calculate cubic feet:

Total weight ÷ 6 = cubic feet

For example, if the movers estimate your stuff weighs 7,500 pounds:

7,500 pounds ÷ 6 = 1,250 cubic feet

Assuming your estimator was accurate, this means you should look for a storage unit that can handle at least 1,250 cubic feet.

If you’re on the fence between using a full-service mover’s warehouse and public storage facilities, you can use moveBuddha’s moving estimates to determine how much space you’ll need if you choose the latter option.

You probably won’t be able to load your storage space as tightly as a professional mover would a truck, but with a little hard work and patience, you should still be able to average between five and six pounds per cubic foot.

Here is an easy to follow formulas and real-world examples below if you aren’t at the measuring stage quite yet.

Self-Storage Unit Size Chart

Unit Size Square feet Cubit Feet What it fits
5 x 5 25 175 Personal items, boxes, luggage
5 x 10 50 350 Studio apartment
10 x 10 100 700 1 or 2 bedroom apartment
10 x 15 150 1050 multi-room apartment or small home
10 x 20 200 1400 Average 2 bedroom house
10 x 30 300 2100 Portion of a large multi-room home

*Based on a unit height of 7 feet

2. Choose the right storage unit size for the job

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Once you know the cubic footage of your belongings, it’s time to look for a unit that best fits the volume of stuff you want to store.

Every self-storage company is a little different, but these are the most common storage unit sizes.

5 x 5 units

Capacity: 175 cubic feet, or 1,050 pounds

5 x 5 storage units are some of the smallest storage units you’ll find. They definitely can’t fit a king-sized mattress or sofa.

5 x 5 units are more like storage lockers, but that makes them ideal for storing small items like:

  • Seasonal decor
  • Boxes
  • Small or disassembled furniture
  • Storage bins
  • Hobby equipment

5 x 10 units

Capacity: 350 cubic feet, or 2,100 pounds

With twice as much interior space as a 5 x 5 unit, a 5 x 10 unit is a great option for storing the contents of a small one-bedroom apartment.

Though they’re not much bigger than the size of a small walk-in closet, these units will accommodate:

  • Mattresses and box springs
  • Major appliances
  • Standard furniture, like dressers and a chest of drawers

10 x 10 units

Capacity: 700 cubic feet, or 4,200 pounds

A 10 x 10 storage unit is the way to go if you have a one- or two-bedroom apartment and want a medium storage unit to declutter your space.

10 x 10 units are about the size of a small bedroom, so they can accommodate:

  • Bedroom sets
  • Small mattress sets
  • Appliances
  • A decent number of boxes

Storing sofas and loveseats could be a little tight, though. Stand these pieces of furniture on their ends to conserve space, but be sure to cover them with moving pads first to prevent scrapes or rips.

10 x 15 units

Capacity: 1,050 cubic feet, or 6,300 pounds

Generally, 10 x 15 units are capable of holding the entire contents of a two-bedroom apartment or a small home.

At 1,050 cubic feet, it’s possible to cram over 6,000 pounds of household goods into a 10 x 15 unit, but that’s assuming you’ve optimized every nook and cranny of space.

Though many apartments contain 6,000 pounds of household goods or less, most single-family homes have much more.

If you’re on the cusp, opt for a bigger unit just in case.

10 x 20 units

Capacity: 1,400 cubic feet, or 8,400 pounds

10 x 20 units are a popular option for single-family homes and are about the size of a standard one-car garage.

But most families with kids have well over 10,000 pounds of household goods, so this won’t be a fit for everyone.

If your home only has two bedrooms and no attic or garage, it’s possible that everything will fit nicely into a 10 x 20 unit — even if you’re including:

  • Appliances
  • A mattress set
  • Large overstuffed furniture, like sofas and loveseats
  • Bulky furniture like entertainment centers, dressers, and armoires

10 x 30 units

Capacity: 2,100 cubic feet, or 12,600 pounds

10 x 30 storage units are about the same size as a standard two-car garage.

Though storage companies like to say that 10 x 30 units are big enough for a three- or four-bedroom home, that isn’t always true.

Imagine trying to cram the contents of your multi-bedroom home into an already-full garage. It probably won’t work, right? In fact, a four-person family with kids will likely need two 10 x 30 units to completely empty their home.

Ask the storage facility if they have a spare unit available, just in case your items don’t fit into a single unit.

3. Check your local self-storage unit sizes

While there are standard storage unit sizes, every provider is a little different. Some local companies will offer units with high roofs for boats and RVS.

Others — particularly moving container companies — have standard shipping containers in various sizes. You can rent one of these to store items on your property or keep it at one of their facilities. They’re a great option when you’re moving if you need a little extra time to find a place or don’t want to move everything in at once.

Check moveBuddha’s list of some of the most popular container sizes to ensure you go with a company that can fit all of your belongings:

Container Size Cubic Feet
8′ 293
12′ 604
16′ 814
7′ ReloCube 308
27′ Moving Trailer 1800
8′ 404
12′ 620
16′ 830
10′ 420
15′ (for storage only) 680
U-Haul U-Box
8′ 257
8′ 230

*Based on a unit height of 7 feet

4. Finesse your storage techniques

Choosing the correct storage unit size definitely helps, but it’s all for naught if you can’t fill the unit. If you need a little more space in your storage unit, it often comes down to packing items efficiently. You need to think like a mover to fit all of your belongings to fit in a storage unit, regardless of its size.

Follow these tips to use every inch of your storage unit:

  • Minimize boxes to save space
  • Use uniform boxes and bins to simplify stacking
  • Use the tier system to load the unit
  • Place large items, like dressers and appliances, on the bottom as the base
  • Place nightstands, trunks, and sturdy boxes in the middle of each tier
  • Place chairs, small furniture, and fragile items on top
  • Leave an aisle down the middle if you need to access your items while they’re in storage
  • Stack the items as high as you can to use the space more efficiently

It might require a little tweaking, but carefully packing your storage unit will help you get more bang for your buck.

We know moving can get expensive, so it’s important to calculate the costs of moving before you’re in the thick of packing your belongings. Consult moveBuddha’s moving cost calculator to get instant ballpark pricing for your move.

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Frequently asked questions (FAQ) about storage unit sizes

Should I get a storage unit?

It’s time to get a self-storage unit if:

  • You need extra living space.
  • It’s time to declutter your home.
  • You’re self-employed and need business storage for important documents.
  • You need to store seasonal items, like patio furniture or sports equipment.
  • You want a place to park a boat, RV, or other large vehicle.
  • You need a permanent hiding spot for that awful dining room set your Aunt Agnes gave you.

Why do I need to measure storage unit size?

Regardless of how much stuff you want to store, you need to find the right storage unit size. This will help you:

  • Save money, since small storage units typically cost less.
  • Resist the urge to hoard more items in a large storage unit.
  • Get a large enough unit to store all of your belongings.

What should I consider before renting a storage unit?

Ask the storage facility whether you’ll have 24/7 access to your items. Consider how close you can park a truck to the unit, if it’s on a second or third floor, and if the facility provides elevators, loading docks, or dollies for you.

Which companies offer the biggest storage unit sizes?

Moving Place (3,800 cubic feet), U-Pack (1,800 cubic feet), GoMinis (1,150 cubic feet), and UNITS Storage (1,020 cubic feet) offer some of the biggest storage units.

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