Acing Summer Storage for College Students in 5 Easy Steps
When you’re experiencing end-of-term stress and the excitement of planning your summer away or semester abroad, it can be easy to forget about all the stuff you won’t be bringing with you. Summer storage for college students is best planned ahead so you’re not rushing to find a solution the day before you’re heading home or hopping a flight abroad. Here are five quick steps to make it easy.
When do college students need summer storage?
You might be considering whether you need temporary storage in the first place. Hauling all your belongings home in between semesters is a real hassle. It’s also added stress on parents to stash extra belongings at home if space is already at a premium. Some students might sell, donate, or just get rid of their stuff in between semesters, but the cost of replacing items can quickly add up. So, for a lot of college students, summer storage for rent could be the best solution. You likely won’t need to rent much space so it might cost less than you think.
How much does summer storage cost?
The cost of summer storage for college students depends on the option you choose and how much you have to store. If you live in a dorm room and most of your stuff can be packed up in boxes, your storage costs could be cheaper. But if you’re living in an apartment with furniture and kitchen items, you’ll be paying higher storage prices. For self-storage and portable storage solutions, expect to pay about $100 to $150 a month. For school-specific services, which include pick-up and drop-off, you’ll pay per box or item, with costs running from about $12 per month for small boxes to $40 for large boxes. But if you’ve got more than a few large boxes, those costs can quickly add up!
1. Get rid of as much stuff as you can
We all tend to hoard belongings over time. Whether it’s books and notes from semesters past or clothing that has fallen out of fashion (or no longer fits!), your best bet is to get rid of as much stuff as you can before you pack things up in storage boxes. The more you part with, the less you keep and the more you can save on storage prices.
When decluttering, keep distinct piles in mind:
- items you could sell
- items to donate to charity
- items you’d like to keep
Take a day to comb through every drawer and article of clothing in your closet. Be ruthless and make snap decisions. Enlist the help of a trusted friend to make tough calls. If you need some inspiration, watch the hit Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. The Japanese decluttering guru has plenty of great advice and mantras for those wanting to get organized. These ideas will even help you get a head start on downsizing your stuff after college.
2. Figure out how much storage you need
After you’ve pared down your belongings to one “keep” pile, it’s time to assess your storage needs. Like picking out the perfect container for your dinner’s leftovers (which can be oh-so-satisfying), there’s a sweet spot to hit when it comes to selecting a storage solution. You can pack a surprising amount into storage units since you’ll be utilizing eight feet of vertical space. Usually, a 5′ X 10′ or 10′ X 10′ self-storage unit or a 7′ X 7′ is enough for college storage, but if you’re not sure, this handy guide will help you estimate how much storage space you’ll need.
If you think you’re toeing the line between two storage unit sizes, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Often, the larger size isn’t much more expensive to rent and will provide peace of mind. Another idea to save on costs is to rent a larger-sized unit and share the space with a friend or roommate. It could be a convenient option if you find someone that’s moving out of (and back into) your dorm or neighborhood around the same time.
3. Research storage options
Summer storage for college students get competitive as units and services get booked out, especially when you get into May and the end of the term. Reserve your spots early to snag the perfect dorm storage spot at the right price. Here are a few college storage ideas to consider.
School-specific storage services
There are a handful of college storage services out there that specialize in storing students’ belongings during the summer or a semester abroad. If your college has an arrangement with one of these services, they can often be the easiest and most affordable options if you’re on campus. However, their availability may be limited, and free pick-up and drop-off dates are usually restricted to specific dates. Prices also go up as their storage facilities reach capacity. So you’ll want to check into these early to reserve your spot and get the best price.
With most storage companies, you’ll pack up small belongings into boxes at home. Then they’ll send movers to your dorm at a designated date to pick up storage boxes along with larger items like furniture, bikes, or musical instruments. The items are stored at a facility and delivered back to your dorm when you’re ready to start school again. Storage is typically charged per month and by size, although some have set terms (usually four months) over the summer.
Dorm storage costs: From $12 to $40 a month per item or $120 for four medium boxes stored for four months. Storage for furniture and non-boxed items ranges from $35 to $75 or higher per academic term. Pricing can add up so be sure to include everything you need to store when you’re getting an estimate.
For a DIY option, you can try self-storage. If you live off-campus, self-storage units can be a decent option for summer or temporary storage, especially if you have furniture. But keep in mind you’ll need access to a vehicle or truck big enough to tote your stuff, or you’ll need to pay to rent one for the day – and again when you return to school. You’ll be responsible for getting your belongings to the storage facility, but you normally have full access to the unit in case you realize you need something in the middle of your storage term.
Self-storage costs: About $100 per month for a 10′ X 10′ storage unit. Be sure that you’re getting a month-to-month rental without a long commitment term. Prices can vary depending on your location and don’t include transportation. Be sure to check for student discounts.
If you don’t have access to a vehicle or don’t feel comfortable driving a huge rental truck, a portable container might be the solution for you. A container will be dropped off to your location and you can pack it up at your leisure. When you’re ready, the company will pick up the container and return it to you after the summer break or your semester abroad ends. If you live on campus or in an apartment building, check with your property manager or dorm supervisor before reserving a container to make sure you can reserve a parking spot for the container while you’re packing it. Don’t worry, though, as container services like PODS frequently deliver and pick up containers on school campuses. If you’re renting a house it’s even easier because the provider can place the container right there in your driveway, which means storage is just steps away – convenience that’s hard to beat. Another advantage of using a portable container from PODS is the ability to have it shipped just about anywhere in the U.S. This flexibility can really come in handy when you’re closing in on graduation and not exactly sure where you’ll end up living!
Portable container costs: PODS container prices start at $149 a month for the 7′ X 7’ container. Rentals of three months or more qualify for free pick-up and delivery and a discounted monthly rental rate — just be sure to ask for the BUNDLE promo when you reserve.
4. Pack it up
Packing for storage is a lot like moving. You’ll want to keep your stuff organized and tidy to maximize the storage space and make it easy to unpack once you’re back home. Just chucking stuff into boxes may seem like a good idea now, but you’ll regret it later. Same goes for making sure everything is totally dry to prevent mildew and mold from spreading in storage. And if you’d rather not invite bugs for a summer party, you want your kitchen items and appliances squeaky clean — no food, spills, or crumbs.
Grab plenty of storage boxes before you start packing. A great dorm storage idea is to post on social media asking for free boxes. You might find a friend or fellow student that’s just unpacked and wants to get rid of their empty boxes. No luck? Here are a bunch of ways to score free boxes.
Now that you’ve got the boxes, make use of every available space. Stuff socks into shoes and small kitchen gadgets into the microwave (just remember to remove everything before you plug it back in again!). You’d be surprised at how much hidden space you can find.
If you’re dismantling any furniture, clear sandwich baggies are your friend. Use them to store small pieces like screws, and tape baggies to the underside of furniture items. That way you won’t have to worry about losing parts, and you’ll know what piece belongs to what item.
5. Store it
All that’s left is having your stuff picked up or loading it your storage unit or container. Congrats! If you have a locked storage unit or container, keep the key in a safe place and make note of that hiding spot in the Notes app on your phone. File any online documentation about your storage where you can find it easily. Do things like forward the email with details to yourself with a subject line that says “Storage,” save the company name in your phone contacts (make sure “Storage” is in the company name), or save the details in a file folder named “Storage.” Snap a photo of any paper records so that you’ll have a copy on your phone just in case anything happens. This all may sound silly, but it’s amazing how hard it can be to remember details after a few months.
All set? Go forth and enjoy your summer or time abroad, knowing that your stuff will be safe, sound, and ready for you when you get back from whatever adventures await.
Thinking about reserving a portable container from PODS? Don’t forget to use the BUNDLE promo to get a reduced monthly rate — plus free pick-up and delivery — with storage rentals of three months or more.
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