storage units

If you have no prior experience with renting a storage unit, the initial process can seem overwhelming and confusing to boot. Storage units are a great add-on to any home, giving you room to stash items that you don’t use frequently, but can’t or don’t want to get rid of. This is a tremendous help when you downsize your home, or if you suddenly add on a new member (hello, baby!) and have a lot of possessions that no longer fit within the walls of your condo or townhome. Let’s face it – with so many people in the City of Brotherly Love living in multifamily housing, space is a big issue for a lot of folks. A storage unit may just be the answer if you can find one nearby, and if you can afford it.

Size matters

The first thing you need to establish before diving into a storage unit rental is what size you need. The best way to do this is to sit down and make a list of every item you want or need to store, and possibly measuring these items’ dimensions if they are large enough that they will make a difference. Storage units come in several standard sizes, with bigger units understandably costing more. Standard storage sizes range from 5-by-5 to 10-by-25 feet, which in reality is the range between a small closet and an entire garage. Let’s break it down:

  • A 5-by-5 unit equates approximately to the dimensions of a small closet (think your linen closet or a diminutive pantry) and in terms of storage potential could possibly contain several small- to medium-size boxes, a dresser, or a single bed. College students, people living in studio or efficiency apartments, or snowbirds could benefit from a unit this size, or a household that needs space to store winter/summer wardrobes when out of season.
  • A 5-by-10 unit is closest in size to a regular (not deluxe) walk-in closet, which means that there is enough space to contain bigger household goods such as a queen-size bed or couch. This is the perfect size for a family who has downsized and is now down an extra bedroom. Tucked-away baby clothes, a disassembled crib and changing table, and all the tummy-time mats, jumpers, boxed-up teething toys, and board books of an outgrown infant will fit fine while you wait for the next addition to your family.
  • A 10-by-10 unit is of the right size to contain two bedrooms’ worth of furnishings. Now we’re talking about empty-nesters who moved from a spacious family home to a 55-plus condo, who don’t want to sell off beloved furniture and do want to hold onto stuff for their kids when they get married and have families of their own. My best friend, who has three kids and owns a house but never has enough space, uses a unit this size to hang onto bags that she accumulates throughout the year for her annual yard sale, along with plenty of “stuff” that just doesn’t have a suitable place.
  • A 10-by-20 unit, one of the largest available, is comparable to a standard one-car garage, and could feasibly hold the contents of a multiple-bedroom house. This is the size unit you need if your house went on the market and sold faster than you expected, and you still haven’t found the new home you desire. Or maybe you’ve just relocated and are living in an apartment until you take the lay of the land and figure out where you want to live.

Cost counts, too

Unless you are making fat stacks of cash each month (in which case you’d probably just buy a bigger house), the price you’re going to pay for your Philadelphia storage unit plays into your decision as well. You might love the roominess and storage potential of a huge unit, but you may not be ready for the accompanying huge bill. Small storage units start at about $40 a month, while the gargantuan ones can set you back around $225 or upwards. For some people, that’s a third of their rent, and this is simply not feasible. You have to find the balance between cost and function, and factor in convenience as well. Unless you are just storing your Christmas decorations, or something else that you don’t plan on touching more than a couple of times a year, you likely want to find a facility that is close to you. It’s a huge inconvenience to drive half an hour to get your stuff, so you may be the captive audience of your closest facility.

In conclusion, renting a storage unit can be a great way to help you organize and de-clutter while still hanging onto your stuff, or to accommodate changing life situations. Do your research, and you will find a situation that works out for you.