Get a Quote

So, you’ve decided it’s finally time to pull the trigger and get a portable storage container (or maybe even your own entire fleet).

Good call.

Sure, as a leading provider of portable storage containers, we may be biased, but we honestly can’t think of a better, more flexible, or cost-effective way for any business to handle its storage needs. In fact, in our opinion, it’s a no-brainer.

What isn’t a no-brainer, however, is what comes next—determining exactly what size of portable storage container is right for you.

In fact, without a little guidance, it’s easy to find yourself in a real Goldilocks-type situation by either underestimating your storage needs and discovering that the unit you recently bought or leased is too small to meet your requirements or thinking that you are going to need more space than you actually do and getting stuck with something that is simply too big.

Luckily, we’re here to help. With decades in the portable storage industry, we have the experience and expertise to help you find a portable storage unit that’s “just right” for you.

4 questions to ask yourself when determining the size of your portable storage unit

1. How much stuff do I have to store?

OK, so you’ve probably already thought of this one, but chances are you probably haven’t thought about it at the level of detail we’re proposing. To get a firm grasp on exactly how big of a storage container you will need, it’s essential that you do a complete inventory of everything you plan to put into it.

  • Do you have boxes to store?
  • If so, how many and how big are they?
  • What are some of the other big items you have to store?
  • Can any of it be consolidated?

A lot of figuring out how much space you need, depends on how well you do packing it all up. We've offered packing tips for portable storage, but once you have all that, it’s time to do a little math. Approximate the size of each piece and then combine them to determine roughly how many cubic feet of storage space they’ll require by taking their width by height by depth. Next, compare it to the cubic feet available in different sizes of storage containers.

For example, the smallest storage containers on the market are usually 8’ x 10.’ With these containers, you have interior dimensions of 7' 8" (92 inches) wide by 7' 8" (92 inches) high by 9' 2" (110 inches) long, which gives you a total capacity of just under 539 cubic feet.

2. What’s the single biggest thing I need to store?

Sometimes you can make the math even easier by simply identifying the longest, tallest, and widest things you have to store and comparing them to various sizes of available storage containers.

Have some supplies that are 30 feet long? Unless you’re really, really good at geometry or your name is David Copperfield, don’t go for a 20-foot container—it’s just that easy.

3. How much access do I need to my stuff?

This is one a lot of people don’t think about. But, even if you’re great at Tetris and can somehow make everything you have fit into an 8’ x 20’ container without a single foot of wasted space, it doesn’t mean that an 8’ x 20’ container is the right choice for you.

When you’re storing items that you need on a regular basis—or even if there’s just a remote possibility that you might need something at some point down the road—you need some space to move around. So we recommend always allowing for pathways throughout your container and organizing your materials in a way that takes into account accessibility almost as much as packability.

4. How much space do I have on my site?

You know that old phrase, “your eyes are bigger than your stomach”? Well, a similar thing is true when it comes to picking out a storage container. Don’t fall in love with an 8’ x 40’ container if you don’t have space for it on your work site. And, even if you have space for it, if you don't need it, it will inhibit your day-to-day workflow drastically.

One of the biggest perks of utilizing portable storage containers is that they are container-based, so sized to fit. By mixing and matching various containers in different configurations, you can almost always find a solution that will give you the storage space you need while offering a footprint that works well within your site.

With Portable Storage, More Options to Choose From

If you’re in the market to buy a container-based building, it’s important to note that you’re not limited to storage or office configurations in lengths of 10 feet, 20, and 40 feet. In truth, you’re not limited at all.

That said, some of our customers aren’t necessarily looking to customize an entire building from the ground up. So to give those customers a head start on their next project, we recently started offering the following nine off-the-shelf container layouts.

  • 10’ Laboratory
  • 20’ Mobile Office with Restroom
  • 40’ Mobile Office with Restroom
  • 20’ Restroom Unit
  • 40’ Restroom Unit with Locker Rooms
  • 20’ Data Center
  • 20’ Guard Shack with Turnstile Option
  • 40’ Tool Crib
  • 40’ Multi-Section (Mostly Open Concept)

Utilizing one of these pre-designed layouts as the foundation for your project, you can add all of the bells, whistles, and final touches you want to bring together the perfect building to meet your needs.

Right-Sizing Your Portable Storage to Suit Your Needs

Choosing between 10 feet, 20 feet, and 40 feet can be one of the most challenging—yet critical—steps in obtaining a portable storage container. Doing your homework in advance can help take a lot of the guesswork out of the process and help you get the right container to meet your needs.

To learn more about portable storage units, take a look at our in-depth Complete Guide to Onsite Storage, or talk to someone at SiteBox Storage today.