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Your moving supplies checklist

Moving or storing your belongings in a nearby self-storage facility can be a stressful time. We want to make it as easy as possible for you. That’s why we’ve prepared this handy checklist to ensure you have the right packing supplies on hand to keep your belongings protected and move them with ease. Print or bookmark this list and use it for your next move.

My moving supplies checklist

Moving boxes

Make sure you have sturdy, stackable boxes in uniform sizes for stacking. Flimsy or overused boxes tend to get crushed when stacked or fall apart as you are carrying them. Plastic bins tend to crack if overpacked. Avoid plastic bags if possible as these are difficult to label and impossible to stack.

Based on your specific needs you may want to also get a variety of box sizes.  This allows you to avoid over packing boxes or making them too heavy. 

Label maker and/or markers

Labeling boxes gives you a quick view of everything that stored away, It’s an easy time-saver. Don’t want to invest in a label maker? Purchase inexpensive masking tape and use markers so that you can reuse the box for future moves/storage needs.  Labeling boxes makes to process of unpacking your belongings much easier, so make sure you take the time to label properly at the beginning. 

Bubble wrap

When it comes to protecting valuables, such as fragile items, larger electronics, and items that require heavy-duty protection, bubble wrap is a clear choice. Bubble wrap protects your items from impact damage

Packing paper

While bubble wrap is the clear choice for certain valuables, packing paper is a suitable choice for small mirrors, dishes, and picture frames. Packing paper takes up less space and you need less of it to wrap fragile items. You can stack or bundle items after they’ve been wrapped. TIP: Placing a sheet of bubble wrap between heavy fragile items gives your belongings extra cushion.  Avoid using newspaper or magazines because the ink may rub off onto your belongings.

Tape and tape dispenser

The need for tape to seal boxes and bundle items goes without saying, but don’t forget the dispenser! When planning your move, avoid stressing out at the last minute by purchasing plenty of packaging tape. Streamline packing by having enough tape dispensers on hand so that everyone doing the packing can easily seal boxes. The last thing you want to do is waste time trying to find where the tape dispenser was left or who has it.  

Stretch wrap

Instead of tape, use stretch wrap to adhere to furniture padding and covers. It’s also good for bundling boxes.

Mattress and furniture covers

Mattress and furniture covers go a long way to keep dirt, dust, and unwanted elements off your fabric. However, make sure to choose the correct cover size. Covers that are too tight will hurt the breathability of the piece. Covers that are too loose can leave room for dirt or dust to gather. Covers that are too long create tripping hazards in your unit.


Use pads to protect stackable surfaces and items that are fragile or easily scratchable, such as glass mirrors, wood furniture, and pianos. Having enough protective layers around these items goes a long way.

Storage lock

If you are moving your items to a self-storage unit, the one must-have item is a storage lock. There is a wide range of locks at a variety of price points. A good rule of thumb is to invest 10 percent of the cost of what you are looking to protect on the lock. Two other items to consider are if the lock will fit your storage unit and if the self-storage unit is indoor.

To ensure your move is as stress-free as possible, proper preparation is a must. This starts with the right packing supplies and laying out your self-storage unit in advance.

Do you need moving supplies for an upcoming move?

Visit one of our nearby self-storage locations in Chicago. Under the Moving Supplies tab, you can find a list of moving supplies available at our facilities. Order by phone or stop by one of our self-storage facilities.

What size self-storage unit should I get?

One of the most common self-storage questions we receive from our customers is what size storage unit they need. The last thing you want to do is waste money on a storage unit that’s too big or cram everything into one that’s too small. Like Goldilocks, you want the unit that is, “just right.”

Wondering how much to budget to store college dorm goods for the summer or how much space you’ll need to store anything from a motorcycle to the contents of your home? We’re here to help! This article breaks down common self-storage unit sizes and what typically fits.

What size self-storage unit do you need?

Whether you’re looking to declutter, store your belongings while you move, or park your motorcycle during the offseason, there is a perfect size unit for you.

From small, 5×5 storage units to massive ones, such as a 10×30, there is a storage unit that’s just the right size to fit your needs.

If you’re more of the visual sort, head over to our size guide to see what you can fit in each unit. Otherwise, read on for answers to our storage unit sizing frequently asked questions.

What size self-storage unit is good for college students, extra home goods, and businesses?

5’ x 5’ storage unit (25 square feet)

This size self-storage unit is excellent to store extra items, such as:

  • Garden tools
  • Seasonal items
  • Office supplies and small equipment
  • Miscellaneous boxes
  • Twin-size bed or contents of college dorm room (without furniture)
  • Sports gear
  • Camping and outdoor recreation gear
  • Off-season clothing

Note: This size unit won’t fit furniture beyond a small dresser.

I’m moving and need to store the contents of my entire one-bedroom apartment or dorm room. What size self-storage unit should I rent?

5’ x 10’ storage unit (50 square feet)

About the size of a mid-size bedroom, a 5’x10’ self-storage unit is perfect for storing an entire bedroom/dorm room, office, or studio apartment.

These size units also are perfect for those looking to remodel a room or office. They provide the space you need to keep your belongings safe during construction or move!

We are moving into a new house and out of our one or two-bedroom apartment? What size will fit all my stuff?

10’ x 10’ storage unit (100 square feet)

This 100 square foot unit should hold all your items! It is ideal for storing an entire living room and two full bedrooms. This size unit holds larger mattresses, an entertainment center, bigger appliances like washers and dryers, dining room furniture, and all the goods from your two-bedroom home or apartment.

What size self-storage unit do I need for three-bedrooms or a full house?

10’ x 15’ storage unit (150 square feet) or 10’ x 20’ storage unit (200 square feet)

If you’re in-between homes or renovating and looking to fit furniture from a larger house that includes a family room, kitchen, and dining room and the entire contents of your bedrooms, consider opting for a larger size self-storage unit.

The 10’x 15’ storage unit can typically store the contents of three bedrooms. This space is also ideal for larger items like televisions, pianos, couches, or tables. The 10’ x 20’ unit can store up to five bedrooms worth of stuff and larger items like washers, dryers and refrigerators.

These types of units are also ideal for businesses or restaurants that are renovating their space.

What size self-storage unit do I need for a large house?

10’ x 30’ storage unit (300 square feet)

Now this is some serious storage! With a whopping 300 square feet of space, this size self-storage unit is ideal for a five-to-seven-bedroom house, easily storing entertainment centers, refrigerators, beds, couches, and more!

What size self-storage unit do I need for a motorcycle?

5’ x 10 ft. unit (50 square feet)

If you’re storing just one motorcycle, helmets, and jackets, a 5’ x 10’ self-storage unit is all you need. If you have more than one motorcycle and extra gear, choose the next size unit up.  You can also ask if there are units available with electricity to keep the battery in good condition while in storage.

What next?

Once you know what size you need, don’t base your decision to go with a nearby self-storage facility on price alone. Find a reputable option that is nearby for storing and accessing your belongings when you need them. Look for the following amenities:

  • Climate/temperature-controlled units
  • Drive-up access for easy loading and unloading
  • 24/7 video surveillance
  • Extended access hours
  • Clean and well-lit

Still not sure what size unit you need? Use our space estimator! Simply enter the quantity of what you are wanting to store, and our tool estimates what size storage unit you need.

5 surprising things to keep in nearby self-storage

How many times can you count having said, “We don’t have enough room for all this stuff.” Let’s face it, most of the human race doesn’t have endless funds to buy a bigger place or build an addition on their house.

Nonetheless, we need someplace to put the stuff that we can’t or won’t part ways with. Self-storage may easily come to mind when you are moving or renovating. But what about the everyday things we accumulate or only need periodically? We recently went through an exercise to understand why our customers were renting storage units. Some of the following may surprise you.

Keepsakes such as photo boxes and albums are perfect for nearby self-storage

Keep the keepsakes somewhere else

We’ve moved several times. Each time we move, we cart around the same five storage bins filled with family photo albums, memories, and keepsakes. Our last move was less than a mile away. As I watched my husband break his back carrying in these same five storage bins, I couldn’t help but laugh. We maybe go through them once a year.

Photo albums hold precious memories, but people (i.e., my husband’s back) should be more precious. Consider using self-storage for items that you want to keep but don’t look at every day. Use nearby self-storage to keep items close and be sure to choose a climate-controlled facility to keep your memories safe.

And the grammy goes to…self storage

If you are a musician, you may have a large instrument, multiple instruments, or gear that you don’t have the space to store. Depending on your living situation, you also may not live somewhere where you are able to practice. One of our renter’s stores his drums in a lower level unit and periodically comes to practice. A secure and convenient self-storage for him, a free musical performance for us!

Motorcycles, sports equipments, kayaks are home runs for self storage

Self-storage is a home run for sports gear

I once lived in a condo where my neighbor was into every sport imaginable—biking, hockey, kayaking, skiing, golf, you name it. Our units only had a parking pad so he would store all his sports gear in the back hall. Every morning was an exercise in agility trying to work your way out of the back door. If you’re a sports or motorcycle enthusiast and rent an apartment or own a condo in Chicago, be considerate of your neighbors. Rent a storage unit for your sports gear.

Bring the outdoors in

Enhancing your outdoor living space is very popular today. And while Chicago isn’t the worst climate to live in, winters can be pretty brutal. Storing outdoor furniture, grills, heaters, planters, etc. can be a nightmare when you don’t have a lot of space. Of course, you can spend the money to buy really good covers and still run the risk of damaging your stuff.

Another cost-effective option would be to put these items in nearby storage. Many storage facilities have units in various sizes, offer discounts, and have moving trucks on-site to easily transport all your items. Best of all, your outdoor furniture is secure in a climate-controlled storage facility, ready to be easily set up when the weather improves.

Seasonal decoration ideas to place in nearby self storage

‘Tis the season for self-storage

Are you a Grinch or Clark Griswold? According to Fox Business, you are a Griswold. Consumers spent an average of $1,050 on holiday décor in 2019 and the New York Times wrote that one in five Americans were going to extreme lengths to outdo their neighbors for the holiday festivities back in 2017.

This isn’t just one season. Before you can get the holiday lights down, giant bunnies are popping up everywhere. And let’s not forget Halloween and that giant blow-up turkey that makes the house near me look like it belongs in the Macy’s parade.

As I pass by some phenomenal light shows and lawn displays each season in awe, I think to myself, “Where in the hell do they store all this stuff?” This is just the outside. If the Pottery Barn catalog I receive is any indication of how consumers decorate the inside of their home during these seasons, that’s a lot of stuff!

The garage, attic, or basement is often home to seasonal decorations. Outdoor rooftop? Well, nix the attic. Kids? Nix the basement. Instead of cluttering up your home’s precious real estate or sacrificing your parking space, consider keeping these items in a nearby self-storage facility.  A storage unit as small as 5×5 could do the trick.

If you have items that you believe could be put in self-storage, contact us. You might be surprised by what you can store.