Storage 101: Everything You Need to Know About Self Storage

Find self storage near you.

There’s a lot to consider when renting a storage unit for the first time. What storage unit size is best for you? Do you need climate control? Fortunately, the experts at Extra Space Storage make finding the right storage solution simple. Use this guide to learn the basics of self storage, and feel free to reach out to our friendly, knowledgeable team at any point for assistance.

What Is Self Storage?

Self storage provides space for individuals to rent and store their personal or business belongings. The storage space—also referred to as storage units—is typically rented on a month-to-month basis.

Unlike full-service storage services where the customer has limited access to their belongings and relies on the storage provider to store and manage their belongings, self storage gives you much more control. You can pack and arrange the storage unit however you’d like, access your belongings at any point during the location’s open hours, and store or take things out of storage whenever you’d like.

Common Reasons for Renting a Storage Unit

Moving

Storing possessions while moving to a new home, transitioning between leases, living in temporary housing, and relocating across the country are some of the most common reasons for renting self storage.

Life Transitions

Whether it’s divorce, downsizing for retirement, caring for a family member’s estate, or working through a natural disaster, self storage can ease the burden when sudden life changes arise.

Decluttering

The best way to avoid moving to a larger home or office while also keeping your space clutter-free is to move items that you want to hang on to but don’t necessarily need at the moment to a storage facility.

Storing a Vehicle

Cars, motorcycles, RVs, boats, trailers, commercial vans, and more can be stored safely at a storage facility, freeing up your driveway or garage space at home or the office.

Home Renovations

Remodeling a home or office can take several weeks or months and may require you to move furniture and appliances out of the way. Moving these items to a storage unit temporarily is a convenient solution.

Business Storage

Small to mid-size businesses and contractors often use storage units for additional space where they can store inventory, materials, files, equipment, or business vehicles.

College Storage

Freeing up space in a dorm room, heading home over the summer, or studying abroad for a few months are all reasons why college students rent storage close to their university campuses.

Military Living

Active military and military families are typically on the move every few years, making their way to different bases. As these changes can be drastic, self storage can be an incredible help when relocating.

How to Choose the Right Storage Unit for You

As you shop for a storage unit, there are several factors you’ll need to think about.

What to Look for in a Storage Facility

Security

When you store your belongings at a self storage facility, you’re trusting that they’ll keep your belongings safe. Because of this, security should be a consideration when choosing where to store your things. Extra Space Storage utilizes security measures like well-lit facilities, video surveillance, and electronic gate access. Some of our locations take security a step further with features like on-site resident managers, individually-alarmed units, and security access to your floor only.

Cleanliness

When looking for self storage, consider the cleanliness of the locations you’re looking at. Storage facilities that take measures to keep their facilities clean show you that they care about you and your belongings. Locations that aren’t maintained should be a warning sign. Cleanliness matters to us. At Extra Space Storage, we take extensive measures to maintain the quality of our facilities. We want you to feel welcome and comfortable at our locations, and we want you to know that your belongings are in good hands.

Customer Service

The level of customer service a storage facility offers matters. Many companies don’t even have staff on site to assist their customers with questions or when something goes wrong. At Extra Space Storage, our staff is dedicated to helping you with your self storage needs. We take pride in the professionalism, knowledge, and positive attitude our team brings to work every day.

Location

The best location for you will vary based on why you’re renting a storage unit. If you just need more space at home, something close to home or on the way home from work will be perfect. If you’re moving to a new home and using storage to help with the transition, something near your new home might make more sense. Think about how and when you’ll need to go to the facility, and determine the most convenient location for you.

Price

Several things go into the cost of a storage unit, including facility location, storage unit size, amenities like climate control, and more. As you begin your search, knowing your budget will make it much easier to decide on the location and storage unit that makes sense for you. At Extra Space Storage, we offer highly-competitive rates and move-in specials at many locations, including first month free and first month half-off.

View storage unit prices in your area now!

Understanding Storage Unit Access Types

Outdoor, Drive-Up Access

Comparable to garage space, outdoor storage units with drive-up access are incredibly popular due to their convenient accessibility. Pull your vehicle (including moving trucks and even semi-trucks at some locations) right up to the storage unit to load and unload items.

Indoor Access

Indoor storage units are located within a building, making them more like a walk-in closet than a garage space. Not only does this provide protection from the elements, but it also means having access to self storage features like climate-controlled storage.

Find the Best Storage Unit Size for You

The common storage unit sizes that you’ll find at Extra Space Storage facilities range from 5×5 to 10×30, but storage units are available in sizes as small as 2×2 up to 10×40 and larger depending on location. Let’s take a look at the most popular sizes and their uses.

5×5 Storage Unit

The size of a small closet, 5×5 storage units are great for small storage needs, but can hold more than you think! 5×5 storage units can hold items like a small mattress set, a chair, dresser, extra boxes, seasonal decorations, or garden tools.

5×10 Storage Unit

With 50 square feet of storage space, 5×10 storage units can hold the furnishings of a mid-sized bedroom, including a queen-sized bed, a dresser, a couple chairs, boxes, and more!

10×10 Storage Unit

10×10 storage units provide ample space for storing items like tables, couches, bedroom sets, and more. With 100 square feet, you have the space to store the contents of two bedrooms or an entire family room.

10×15 Storage Unit

Store the contents of three full bedrooms, as well as larger items like pianos, couches, tables, and boxes! 10×15 storage units are great if you’re making a move or need extra space at home.

10×20 Storage Unit

With 200 square feet of storage space, 10×20 storage units can store the contents of a multi-bedroom house, including large appliances like a washer, dryer, and refrigerator along with bedroom furniture, couches, boxes, and more.

How Tall Are Storage Units?

The typical storage unit at Extra Space Storage is 8 feet tall, but we offer units at select locations with taller ceilings to accommodate larger items and vehicles. We also have reduced-height units in large cities where space is limited to help you save money.

For more information on the different storage unit sizes available, check out our storage unit size guide.

Self Storage Amenities to Consider

Extended Access Hours

With extended access hours, Extra Space Storage customers can access their storage units when it’s convenient for them. While our office hours are typically from 9:30am to 6pm, our gate or access hours are typically from 6am to 10pm, seven days a week. There’s no need to stress about getting to your storage unit during work hours at Extra Space Storage.

24/7 Access

For some customers, our regular storage gate hours (6am to 10pm) don’t work. That’s why Extra Space Storage proudly offers an alternative for those with unique schedules. With 24/7 gate access, you can swing by your storage unit when it’s convenient for you. Be sure to speak with the facility manager to see if 24/7 access is available.

Climate-Controlled Storage

Storage units with climate control are typically maintained between 55 and 80 degrees to help protect temperature-sensitive items from extreme heat and cold. Some facilities may even have humidity-controlled storage or heated storage to provide additional protection from external conditions.

Vehicle Storage

Extra Space Storage provides secure vehicle storage solutions for cars, motorcycles, trailers, campers, boats, RVs, and other vehicles. Storage options vary from facility to facility, but there are three standard types of vehicle storage available: indoor storage, outdoor storage, and covered outdoor storage.

Commercial Storage

We offer unique business storage amenities—such as warehouse spaces, workshop units, and office spaces for rent—to accommodate small businesses, contractors, and other commercial self storage customers. Some of our storage facilities even have additional commercial features for your convenience, such as office space, package delivery acceptance, and more!

Wine Storage

Need a safe place to store a wine collection? Select Extra Space Storage locations offer wine storage as a service to keep your valued collections in pristine condition. Whether you’re moving and need a short-term solution or are looking for something more long-term close to home, wine storage at Extra Space Storage could be the perfect solution for you!

Self Storage Insurance

Although your storage unit is often covered by your homeowners insurance or renters insurance, self storage insurance through Extra Space Storage has its own unique benefits. From the possibility of more coverage to avoiding the possibility of your insurance premiums going up, it’s worth learning more about insuring your storage unit.

Packing & Storage Supplies

Need a lock for your storage unit? Want additional packing supplies for your move? Extra Space Storage sells moving boxes, packing supplies, locks, and more at our locations.

What Can & Can’t Be Stored in Your Storage Unit?

You’re free to store almost anything in a storage unit at Extra Space Storage with some exceptions. The exceptions are basically anything dangerous or illegal. Of course, there are some items that fall into a gray area, so be sure to ask the facility manager before renting a unit to see what’s allowed on the property.

Items you CAN store include (but are not limited to):

  • Furniture
  • Appliances
  • Clothes
  • Electronics
  • Books
  • Sporting equipment
  • Seasonal yard tools
  • Business inventory
  • Vehicles

Items you CANNOT store include (but are not limited to):

  • Food
  • Drugs
  • Anything that’s flammable or combustible (i.e., gas, propane tanks, car batteries)
  • Vehicles not in working order

Frequently Asked Questions About Self Storage

Do I have to sign a contract?

Self storage leases are typically month-to-month, so there’s no long-term contracts. This allows you the flexibility to stay for as long as you need.

Can I store a car or motorcycle in a storage unit?

Yes! As long as the vehicle is in working condition, you can store vehicles in storage units.

Can I live in a storage unit?

No. It’s against the law to live or sleep in a storage unit.

Can I use a storage unit as a workshop?

No. We can’t allow tenants to use their space as a workshop.

Do I need to purchase insurance for my storage unit?

Whether it’s through your homeowners or renters insurance, or self storage insurance you purchased through us, your storage unit does need to be insured.

Find Storage Near You

Now that you’ve had the full introduction to self storage and considerations when renting a storage unit, it’s time to start your search.

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Extra Space Storage Inc., headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, owns and/or operates over 1,600 self-storage properties in 35 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. The Company's properties comprise approximately 750,000 units and over 80 million square feet of rentable storage space, offering customers a wide selection of affordable and conveniently located and secure storage solutions across the country, including personal storage, boat storage, RV storage and business storage. We are committed to being the most convenient, secure and professional storage solution in your neighborhood. And it is this commitment which has allowed Extra Space Storage to become the second largest storage units operator in the U.S. with over 1,600 properties across the country.