How to Utilize Vertical Space in Your Storage Unit

Jon Fesmire | November 2, 2017 @ 9:00 AM

So you’re about to rent a self storage unit. Great! That will give you some extra room in your home and allow you to keep your stored belongings safe. Of course, you’ll want to utilize the space in your new unit as well as you can. Your unit isn’t just 5x5 feet or 10x10 feet. You also have eight to ten feet of vertical space.

How can you utilize that space effectively and safely? Read on.


Long or tall furniture pieces, like mattresses, are items that you won’t need to get to very often. As such, you will probably want to place them against the back wall of your storage unit. You’ll have to use your judgment on this. For example, if the stability of the furniture items is in question, you might want to stack a row or two of boxes first.

To save space with your stored furniture, we recommend taking it apart first. Tables and bed frames can generally be disassembled, and some couches have short legs you can remove. In storage, place the parts together, and cover them with sheets or blankets. As for the screws and other pieces of hardware that go with your furniture, place these in ziplock bags and tape them to the matching furniture pieces. That way you’ll know exactly where it is when the time comes to reassemble your furnishings.

Some couches can be stored vertically. If you can store yours on one end, do so, and place it in a corner of the unit. Store clothing and other light items in dressers, and tape the drawers shut, before moving them into your unit. You can place dressers against a wall and stack boxes on top of them.

Stacking Boxes

First, we strongly recommend that instead of getting used boxes from friends or from stores, you should purchase strong, new boxes. If your self storage unit sells supplies, you can get sturdy boxes meant for storage there.

Also, consider plastic bins, which you can use exclusively or in addition to good-quality cardboard boxes. These are great for creating a more sealed-off environment for your things.

After packing your boxes, you will want to stack them as safely as possible in your self storage unit. To do so, make stacks of like-sized boxes, and stack from heavy to light, as you don’t want your heavier boxes crushing your lighter ones. This also makes it safer to pull the higher boxes down.

Use a step stool when putting up, or taking down, the higher boxes, to give yourself a bit more height, allowing you to use more of the vertical space.

Incidentally, as you are packing your boxes, create an inventory of what is inside each. This will make it much easier to know what you have stored, and where each item is, when you need to retrieve something.


Perhaps you want to be able to use that vertical space, but you also want to have easy access to specific items, or a variety of items. That’s where shelving really helps.

One possibility is to use your bookcases. Place them against one wall and put the boxes containing your frequent-access items on the shelves. Just make sure to leave a pathway in front of them so that you can pull those boxes free.

Another is to purchase shelving specifically for your unit. Often, you can get such shelves at office supply or hardware stores, or at the storage facility itself. In fact, if the facility sells shelves, they may also install them for you.

For the sake of safety, you should still place heavier boxes on the bottom shelves and lighter boxes on the top shelves. Make sure you have that space for maneuverability, and have a great solution for storing things like sales inventory, tools, and more.

Follow these suggestions, and you’ll find it’s easy to maximize your vertical space and store more in your unit.

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