Every university student looks forward to summer break. However, students who live on campus have one extra hurdle to jump through before they can head home. They have to decide what to do with all of their belongings.
For students who also happen to be ardent minimalists, this may not pose much of a problem since they may have little more than some clothing and toiletries to worry about. Most students have not just clothes but also books, electronics, room decorations, and even small furniture to worry about. When that’s the case, renting a self storage unit is almost always the best solution.
What Is Self-Storage?
Self-storage provides a convenient solution not just for students, who can often find facilities near their universities, but also for homeowners, apartment renters, entrepreneurs, and others. Self-storage units range in size, and facilities sometimes offer different services such as mail services and mobile storage.
Some storage facilities are indoors and offer climate control at an additional cost. Others utilize shipping containers or other creative solutions to keep costs low and offer easier access. At the end of the day, though, all reputable self-storage facilities offer students a convenient place to store everything from sports equipment to dorm fridges, making it easier to plan for summer vacation.
The Benefits of Student Self-Storage
Some students may be wondering if it’s worth renting a storage unit when they could bring all of their accumulated belongings with them when they head home to visit family. Of course, this is only a viable option for people with parents who live close to campus and have both the space and the patience to put up with housing not just university students home for a break but also everything they own. Even when that’s the case, the benefits of student self-storage make it a much better option. They include:
Save Money on Transportation
University students who opt to rent storage units instead of toting all of their belongings home with them can save money on transportation, even if they have their own cars. With a nearby self-storage unit, student renters don’t need to worry about keeping their belongings safe. They may need to purchase a few boxes to make better use of the available space, but they won’t need the amount of bubble wrap, moving blankets, packing tape, and other supplies required to transport items safely by car.
For students who don’t live nearby or don’t have their own vehicles, the savings are even greater. Without a self-storage unit, students who plan to take planes, buses, or other forms of public transportation home will have to mail their belongings, which requires not just lots of packing supplies but also paying shipping fees.
Keep Items Safe
Students planning on storing their items with a local friend for the summer may also want to think again. No matter how good that friend is, there’s just no guarantee that all of those belongings will be safe and secure throughout the long months of summer.
When students rent storage units, they’ll have the peace of mind of knowing that their belongings are safe at all times. Self-storage facilities have security features like video surveillance and electronic gate access in place to help guarantee that no unauthorized individuals will be able to access the units.
Avoid Unnecessary Strain on Relationships
The fact that people’s parents or friends are willing to hold onto all of their belongings for multiple long months of summer doesn’t necessarily mean that they want to. This is particularly relevant to students heading home to stay with their parents. These living situations can already be tense for families that have gotten used to having more personal space, and adding a whole dorm room’s worth of clutter to the mix isn’t the best way to mitigate the problem.
Student self-storage avoids uncomfortable situations. Instead of having to ask their parents for help that they may or may not be happy to offer, students can take care of their responsibilities and begin redefining their relationships in healthy ways as they enter adulthood.
Facilitate the Transition to Off-Campus Housing
Students thinking about moving off-campus when they return to school have even more reasons to rent storage units over the summer. That way, when fall rolls around, they’ll be able to make the move easily instead of having to transport everything a second time.
Having a storage unit makes moving easier for everyone by eliminating the need for rushing through the unpacking process. Instead, students will be able to retrieve items as they’re ready, which can be uniquely helpful in situations where people are typically purchasing furniture, including bureaus, drawers, and other storage, and decorating apartments for the first time.
How to Choose the Right Storage Facility
The unfortunate truth about self-storage is that not all facilities are created equal. Finding the right one requires doing a bit of extra legwork, but it’s worth taking the extra time. Here’s what to consider:
Distance From the Dorms
The first thing to consider is how far the storage unit is from the university campus. Distance from the dorms is particularly important for students who plan to keep their storage units through the school year, although it’s also crucial for summer self-storage renters who want to use personal vehicles rather than moving trucks to transport their belongings.
Commitment to Security
Students should look for a storage facility that shows a clear commitment to on-site security. For self-storage, that usually means employing video surveillance and requiring keypad entry. Some facilities provide locks for renters, while others expect customers to secure their units.
Ease of Access
Most of the time, indoor storage facilities can only be accessed during business hours. Outdoor, drive-up units are accessible 24/7 as long as renters have the passcode to the gate. Students who plan on using their units throughout the year should be particularly cautious about renting indoors since they may need to retrieve items at unusual times depending on their class schedules.
Affordability and Transparency
For most university students, affordability is a top concern. That’s why it’s important to find a storage facility that offers not just affordable self-storage options but also fully transparent pricing. Some facilities claim to offer competitive prices to lure renters in, then tack on all kinds of fees, so be sure to ask about the total cost.
Tips for Saving Money On Self-Storage
Students who want to save money on self-storage shouldn’t do so by choosing a less-than-reputable facility. After all, saving a few bucks isn’t worth coming back at the end of the summer to find that everything in the unit was stolen or damaged during a storm. Instead, use these tips for saving money on self-storage through a reliable service provider.
- Ask About Short-Term Rentals: Not all self-storage facilities offer short-term rentals. Some require students to sign leases for six months, or even a year. Unless they plan on using the storage unit year-round, paying for those extra months is like flushing money down the drain.
- Share a Unit: Most students don’t need full storage units, but it’s not always cost-efficient to rent smaller lockers since they tend to be available only at indoor storage facilities. The more affordable solution is usually to go in on a full-sized unit with some friends from school.
- Use the Space Efficiently: Instead of storing everything that’s in a dorm room for the summer, students who plan to share units with multiple other people can save money if everyone goes through their belongings first to get rid of anything that’s not truly necessary. Groups of renters can also make more efficient use of the unit by using shelves to maximize vertical storage, although this approach does require investing in shelving.
- Take Advantage of Discounts: Some storage facilities offer discounts to university students. Others have more general deals in place such as low-price guarantees. Students can often take advantage of these discounts and deals to pay less for their rentals.
- Avoid Damage to Stored Items: This may seem like a no-brainer, but every year, students lose cherished belongings due to simple mistakes like failing to defrost dorm fridges. Getting everything set up for the move a few days in advance is the best way to avoid this issue since it leaves students time to deal with these kinds of minor but essential tasks.
Self-Storage Is the Way to Go
No one wants to spend summer worrying about what’s happening to their favorite books, furniture, or wardrobe items left at a friend’s house or fighting with their parents about taking up too much space in the family home. Student self-storage offers a practical and effective solution to both of these problems.
Before renting a unit, look into the facility’s reputation. Ask other students about their experiences or head to a third-party review site to get a broad overview of what other people liked and didn’t like about it. Some facilities now offer not just free quotes online but also a simple, no-contact sign-up process, so it’s easy for students to rent the perfect units once they know where to go.