What You Need to Know Before Moving Into a Storage Unit

What You Need to Know Before Moving Into a Storage Unit

Do you really need to rent that storage unit before moving? If so, what size storage unit do you even need? And, what size moving truck can fit everything you have to drop off at storage? Instead of wondering what storage to get and comparing prices, check out this guide. We’ve rounded up the best advice from Corey, our current Dallas market manager (who also happened to be a longtime storage manager in another life). 

So, if you’re looking for a unit, read this to discern whether you even need storage, what size will accommodate your house or apartmenthow much of your stuff will fit into a moving truck, how to find the right size, and the top things to consider before signing on that dotted line and moving into a storage unit.

How to Know if You Even Need a Storage Unit…

No one wants to buy something they actually don’t need. So, how do you know if you should seriously consider renting a storage unit? Generally, Corey advises viewing storage units and pods as temporary holdover solutions. 

Regardless of whether you’re moving, here are some use-case scenarios for when you may need a storage unit:

  • Decluttering your home without discarding items
  • Clearing out belongings to stage a home for sale
  • Moving somewhere new without a place to store your things
  • For use as a secondary garage 
  • When you’ve bought some things but don’t have room 

How Often Will You Pay For a Storage Unit?

Very few facilities offer weekly rentals. Typically, storage units can only be rented per month. Contracts reset on a monthly basis. Storage contracts run on a 30-day contract, so you’ll need to plan to book for at least one month. Keep in mind, you have the right to be notified when your storage rates increase. When you renew your contract, the facility will let you know of any rate increases that apply, so you have the option of moving elsewhere. 

What Size Storage Unit Do You Need?

Are you moving soon and wondering what storage unit size is best? Whether you’re already in discussions with a moving company or loading a truck on your own, it’s important to avoid underestimating how much storage you need. 

These two things will give you a good idea of what size storage unit you should rent:

  • The size of the room where your things are currently stored. 
  • The size of your moving truck where your items will be loaded. 

Here’s a simple way to figure out your storage options for moving based on truck size::

  1. Find out the size of your moving truck. (Ask the moving or truck rental company).
  2. Factor in the width difference. Most storage units are 10-ft. wide. Our standard moving trucks, for example, are 24-ft. wide (unless you booked a 48-foot Super Size truck.)

What Size Truck Is Best for Moving Into Storage?

Even if you’ve found the perfect storage unit for your needs, you still have to move into it. So what is the best truck size to book based on your storage unit? What if you’re still looking for a storage unit but want to know if your items will fit? See the chart below for the moving truck and storage unit sizes that are best for you, according to your space.

Moving truck & storage unit sizes based on your home’s square footage:

# Bedrooms Residence Size


(est. sq. ft.)

Storage Unit Size


(sq. ft.)

*Moving Truck Sizes (varies by company) **Moving Truck Dimensions 


(L x W x H)

1-2 bd apartment ≤ 1,000 At least 10 x 10 Small to medium 24′ x 8′ x 8′
1-2 bd. house ≤ 1,800 10 x 10 to 10 x 12 Small to medium 24′ x 8′ x 8′
3-4 bd. apartment or house ≤ 1,900 ≥ 10 x 15 Large 48′ x 8´x 9′
4+ bd. condo or house ≥ 2,200 ≥ 10 x 20  Or 10 x 15 (2) Large 48′ x 8´x 9′

*Terms are based on moving company standard truck sizes which vary by dimension.

**Based on 3 Men Movers moving truck sizes. A 48-ft truck is considered Super Size.

To avoid information overload (and because there are multiple factors that impact costs) the estimated prices for renting storage aren’t included in the above chart. 

Top 5 Things to Consider When Getting a Storage Unit 

Now that you know whether you should even rent a storage unit, what should you look for in one? According to Corey, here’s what to consider when you’re shopping around and comparing different storage units. While all these aspects should be considered, the following list is in order of most to least important

  1.  Location, location, location! Store something far away, and you’ll be less likely to check on your storage unit, or it will be more expensive to move somewhere else based on trip charges.
  2.  Prices & Features. These two are always tied together, and the greater the amenities, the higher the cost, although storage unit pricing includes other factors too (more on that later). Do you really need 24-hour storage access? What about higher-tech security like unit alarms? Is climate control a necessity? Most importantly: how much will that cost you each month?
  3.  Climate-Controlled Storage. This is extremely important for moderating the temperature in a storage unit so your items aren’t damaged by excessive heat or cold.  Facilities with climate control are more in-demand in hotter climates (like here in Texas) and this feature is not the same thing as air conditioning. 
  4.  Safety features. Different facilities offer different security features, so ask questions about highlights like gated entries, automatic time-logging, locking mechanisms, security cameras, and per-unit alarm systems.
  5.  Good storage facility management. Take the opportunity to speak with the facility managers—the person who will be on the premises most frequently. Based on your impression and how well (s)he answers your questions, is this person someone you’d be ok with watching over your things?

Wrapping Up

By now you should realize if you even need a storage unit, know what to consider when shopping for one, and what size moving truck will fit everything inside your storage. Was this helpful? What else would you love to know before renting and moving into a storage unit? Let us know!