First of all, are you storing all of your stuff, some of your stuff, or none of your stuff? Each one requires a different calculation to arrive at the optimal square footage for a storage space.
In the first case, all of your stuff, consider the size of your living space. Apartments can be tricky, since they seem small even when they’re three-bedroom monstrosities. If the former is the case for you, say you have a small mattress, a table and some chairs and a bunch of boxes with your clothes and electronics, a small unit is probably enough. A small unit can be either 25 feet square or 50 feet square.
For a larger apartment, one with many beds and lots of furniture and personal items, a medium sized unit may be required. These run between 80 and 150 square feet. A 150 square foot unit can fit a small boat, so that’s something to think about. Would all of your belongings fit in a small boat? If no, how much would have to be thrown overboard? Not too much? Go for a medium storage space.
If you’re only storing some of your stuff, going on square footage of items is a smart choice. Using a pen, paper, and a ruler, or graph paper, sketch the floor plan of a storage space from above. Measure the items you’d like to store and consider how they would be stored. In boxes?In bags? Hanging on hangers or a rack? Can they stack on top of each other? Is anything an odd or outsized shape? Many things are larger than they seem to the naked eye. An overstuffed living room chair, for example, takes up around 25 cubic feet of space. That’s the same as a washer or dryer! Other things, like baby strollers and cribs, take up a lot less space, around 10 cubic feet, because they often come apart. Things like tall, elegant lamps, or statues may seem slim, but remember to measure their bases and topmost points. Wide lampshades can take up a surprising about of room. And, because of their shape and texture, often can’t be stacked upon.
If you’re not storing any of your stuff, you probably don’t need a storage space.
One great way to estimate the amount of space you’ll need is to try our storage calculator.
Estimating is always a good idea when you’re getting a storage space, because measuring each individual thing can be tedious. However, people often underestimate the amount of stuff they have. Helping a friend move is a prime example of this. Don’t necessarily automatically assume you need a super-large storage space, but do consider the possibility that you’re under estimating and leave room to walk around in the space. Otherwise, you’re just buying another closet to shove things in and forget about!