When choosing a self storage unit, first you need to know how many cubic feet of furniture, boxes, etc you need to store and the cubic footage it consumes.  If you don’t know this go back to What Size Storage Unit Do I Need?  When trying to calculate your storage size needs, there are first some questions to ask.  These will help you determine how much of the space you reserve is actually usable.

Can the furniture and boxes be stacked from floor to ceiling, front to back in the space?

If the answer is yes, multiply the length, by width, by height of the unit for your usable storage space.  For example, if you rent a 10’x20’ space with an 8’ ceiling, you have a 10’x20’x8’ =1600 cubic feet of usable space.

Is an aisle down the middle necessary to access certain items?

If so, take the actual amount of space and deduct the aisle like so; The same size space as above 10’x20’x8’ or 1600 cubic feet minus a 3’ aisle down the middle.  Multiply 3’ as the width of the aisle, by 20’ deep, by 8’ high or 480 cubic feet, so the actual usable space would be 1600 cubic feet- (minus) 480 cubic feet or 1120 cubic feet of usable storage space.

Do the items in storage require more space due to antique condition or inability to stack?

If so you might cut your actual usable space by 1/3 to 1/2.  This is a situation where some type of shelving or racking can be helpful to maximize space while providing the quality of space necessary.

So remember the rule of thumb.  Usable storage space equals length x width x height of the self storage space minus length x width x height of the unusable storage space to arrive at the actual usable storage space available. By using this method, you can choose the self storage option that best fits your needs.


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