How to Choose the Right Portable Storage Unit Size

Once you have decided to rent a portable storage unit temporarily or even to solve long-term space problems, you still have some choices to make. Many people rent their units online and may not have that face-to-face interaction with a storage specialist. Perhaps the hardest part is determining the size. Ordering too small a size can be a real hassle, but too big is simply a waste of your resources.

General Sizing Guidelines for Moving

When it comes to relocating your home, the industry has established some general rules that you can follow for sizing. The average apartment needs about 600 cubic feet. A two- to three-bedroom house generally requires about 900, and you generally want to add 300 for every bedroom beyond that. Therefore, 1500 cubic feet is a reasonable estimate for a two-story home with five bedrooms.

Dimensions and Weight Capacity

Those rules of thumb will generally cover the dimensions and weight capacity too. However, if you know that you will be storing an item or items that are particularly large, have an unusual shape or are particularly heavy, then you may want to account for those characteristics specifically. In certain cases, it may be necessary to opt for more cubic feet than you would otherwise use.

Sizing for Long-Term Storage

Sizing for long-term storage that you will add to and take from over time is a little less straightforward. You have to think about how you plan to use the container, and it can be useful to predict how you may use it in the future. While you could certainly upgrade at any time, making the best choice now is more efficient than having to transfer contents to a new unit or opting to pay for a second container.

If you can think in terms of rooms, then you can use 385 cubic feet per room as an estimate for this type of storage. Be mindful that a garage or a basement is a lot bigger than the average room considered when coming up with this guideline, so factor that in accordingly. This 385 guideline compares to a 10-foot moving truck. A 15-foot truck accommodates 2-3 rooms or about 700 cubic feet. A 20-foot truck, on the other hand, accommodates 3-4 rooms or about 900 cubic feet.

Although too big is not ideal, too big is better than too small. Always err on the side of caution and that additional space. After figuring the dimensions you require, you may find yourself smack dab in the middle of two options. In those cases, we recommend moving up to the larger size. Sure, you’ll spend a little more, but loading, unloading, packing and unpacking will all be a lot easier as well.