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 apartment, how 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!

If you’re wondering what you can expect to pay for a storage unit, see our follow-up guide:

Read: How Much Storage Units Cost & How to Get Better Deals


How Much Storage Units Cost & How to Get Better Deals


Shopping and trying to figure out how much storage units cost can be a challenge… especially when you’re trying to coordinate a move, too. 

Prices are heavily influenced not only by availability but other factors that aren’t as obvious. 

In episode 7 of Master Your Move, Corey, our Dallas manager draws upon his past expertise as a storage facility manager to guide you in getting the best storage unit deals. 

Read on to learn how much storage units generally cost, the four main factors that influence cost, and tips for renting storage units with a winning combination of availability and price. 

How Much Storage Units Cost in General 

So what’s a good price for a storage unit?  

Generally speaking, around $1 per square foot. Remember, this isn’t a hard-and-fast rule since demand plays a role, and smaller units can cost more while larger units often run lower. 

MASTER TIP:  Use this chart to see how much a monthly storage unit may cost you: 

Storage Unit Size *General Starting Cost Note
10 x 10 $100-$150 *This is an estimate.
Prices could double or triple based on demand, location,
and/or amenities.
10 x 15 $150- $200
10 x 20 $200-$300

 

These 4 Factors Drive Storage Unit Prices

When you’re looking for the right storage unit, price is ultimately the deciding factor.  

How much you’ll end up paying for a storage unit is almost exclusively influenced by:

  1. Size of the unit
  2. Area where the storage facility is located
  3. Demand and scarcity of local storage units
  4. Amenities and/or security features 

Below, we’ll go into these factors deeper. Plus, you’ll find tips on how to get better storage unit deals.

1. Size of the Storage Units

“They often split up things by dollar-per-square-foot… but as the unit gets smaller, the dollar-per-square-foot goes up. So there is bulk pricing [built into] all storage.”

—Corey

According to Corey, you’ll typically pay more with a smaller unit, where the price is frequently inflated. Larger units will often provide discounts. 

Why? 

Storage facilities usually price units by the square footage. 

Luckily, if you need to tuck more things away—or, rather larger items—it goes both ways. For renting a larger storage unit, say, the size of a 10×20, you’ll often save money

MASTER TIP:  If you were expecting to need two storage units instead of one, ask for a larger size so you can pay less. This way, you’ll have only one unit to worry about and you’ll save money on rent in the long run. 

 

2. Storage Facility Location 

Storage is real estate. They’re directly connected to the cost of the land. So if you’re in an expensive area and the land is more expensive, the storage is more expensive. If you’re out in the boonies where the land is cheaper, then the storage will be cheaper.”

—Corey

The area where your storage facility is located will also significantly influence the cost of your unit. 

So, pricier areas will host more expensive storage options, complete with features and amenities that justify the cost. 

Newer storage facilities will often offer the best deals and security features, especially the kind of mechanisms that heavily rely on technology.

If you live in a swankier part of town, expect to pay a bit more for storage—but make sure the amenities are worth it! The alternative? Skip looking for local storage units and go a bit further out. 

MASTER TIP:  Live in a higher-priced area? Try to save money by looking for storage facilities in another neighboring (but less expensive) zipcode.

 

3. Demand & Availability of Local Storage Units

“[They] had systems in place where the computer would automatically increase the price of a unit size as we ran out. So, scarcity increases the price of a storage facility. If I only had one 10×20 drive-up [storage unit] left, it would be $500. It would be so much more expensive because we only had one left.”

— Corey

As they say in basic economics, scarcity of an in-demand supply can increase the value.

It’s no different when it comes to storage. And there’s no negotiating the cost of a storage unit because price increases are oftentimes built into the system.

Seasonality greatly affects the demand, and consequently, the price, of renting storage units. 

Summer, for instance, is peak moving season

People are moving into new houses, breaking their leases, downsizing, and more. Right before summer, plenty of teachers also pack up their classrooms and need someplace to store supplies and decor.

Think about everyone you have to compete with to get a decent deal on storing your stuff. Then, start hunting early.

Many investors are simply trying to sell recently built and practically full storage locations.

Since tenants tend to book storage units for the longterm,  brand-new facilities can be a cash cow and managers are looking to fill them as quickly as possible. That means they’ll usually offer better prices than more established storage facilities.  

MASTER TIP:  Look for a new storage unit facility to find the best deals.  $100 for a 10 x 10 unit, or  $200 for a 10 x 20 unit are both great prices! 

 

4. Amenities & Security Features 

“One storage unit I worked at had drive-up climate control. They had this huge door that you actually drove into, so you drove in the building, and you could unload into a drive-up unit. We charged a huge premium for that, because there were only 25-30 units on the ground floor where you could drive through.” 

—Corey

Most people will settle for having an alarm on their storage facility and be satisfied.  

But is that all you need? You actually have plenty of storage options for moving, complete with the most cutting-edge and convenient amenities. 

Considering how much amenities factor into your cost for a storage unit, seeking out lots of features will cost you more, while being too concerned with cost could put your valuables at risk. 

Amenities are also tied to the storage location, so higher-priced areas will offer more security and features that increase your monthly rate.  

When weighing features of a storage unit facility’s amenities, strongly consider what you really do and do not need:

  • Is there a facility manager onsite? (This can impact your hourly rate if you’re moving and have storage issues.)
  • Are there elevators? Are they standard or cargo elevators?
  • Do you prefer certain locking mechanisms or automatic time logs?
  • How often will you be visiting the storage unit? 
  • What kinds of items will you be storing there? 
  • Are the items highly valuable or temperature-sensitive?
  • Will you need a climate-controlled unit?
  • How long will you be storing the items?
  • Are you planning to sell or donate the contents and need them in top condition?
  • Will you need to drive your vehicle through a carport to load/unload?

MASTER TIP:  Figure out what amenities are non-negotiable before you shop so you can quickly strike off facilities that don’t meet those standards.

 

Wrapping Up

Now that you have a general idea of how storage units are priced (and ways to get the best deals), you’re ready to choose the perfect fit for your needs. 

Let us know if you still have questions about how much storage units cost or other tips on getting great prices!

Was this guide helpful? See what you really need to know before moving into a storage unit.

 


How to Choose a Self-Storage Facility for Your Move


No matter what your circumstances are when you’re moving, there’s one thing you’ll find you have in common with everyone else who’s moved: the realization that you have too much stuff! This seems to be a common discovery regardless of home size, but it’s especially apparent when you’re downsizing to a smaller space. And while donating or tossing items you no longer need is a great start, there are simply some belongings you can’t part with just yet–but you also can’t cram them into your new home. So what now? Well, now it’s time to consider using a self-storage facility. And if you’re in Houston–or really any other major Texas city–you have lots of options for self-storage. Here’s how to pick the right one for anything you need to store.

Find Out About Basic Features

Before you choose from several Houston self-storage facilities, you can start narrowing down your choices by learning some basic information. First, call each location and ask what their hours are so you know when you’re allowed to access your items. You never know if you’re going to want to go through your big box of mementos after dinner one night, so make sure that’s even a possibility at the Houston self-storage facility you’re considering.

You should also find out if it’s climate-controlled so you can make sure your belongings don’t melt during the Texas summer. Security is another feature you’ll want to know about. Is the facility gated, or are there security guards? Are there plenty of lights and surveillance cameras around the property? And are there alarms on each unit’s door?

A helpful and informative storage manager should be able to tell you these details when you call. If you’re still unsure if it’s the right Houston self-storage facility for you, schedule a tour so you can get a feel for it. That good or bad vibe you get from the facility should help you make up your mind if you’re torn between a couple of options.

Get to Know the Rules of What You Can Store

Before you pick a Houston self-storage facility, make sure your belongings are even allowed there. In general, you won’t be able to store food or plants. You also can’t store potentially dangerous items, including anything that could explode. For example, the typical Houston self-storage facility won’t let you store guns, ammunition, propane tanks, paint, cleaning solutions, pesticides, car batteries or fireworks.

Basically, most of the items you can’t put on a moving truck are also items you can’t leave in self-storage. But you can always call the Houston self-storage facility you’re considering, just to double check.

Look Into Portable Storage

If you’re having trouble finding a local self-storage facility that checks all the boxes of what you want, maybe what you really need is portable storage. With this option, you can take your time loading up a storage unit at your own house, and then you can just have the entire unit dropped off at a storage facility–meaning you won’t have to load your belongings onto a truck and then unload them into a storage unit.

In fact, when you go with MOVITS portable storage, you’ll get movers who can load all your items into the portable unit so you don’t have to do the job yourself! Just make sure you don’t need to access your items regularly when you take this route, because with MOVITS, the storage containers are stacked–which means you can’t go look at your belongings like you could with a traditional self-storage facility.

Whether you’re interested in a Houston self-storage facility or portable storage, you can get what you need with 3 Men Movers. Contact us today to learn more!