Whether you dread the idea of bringing your belongings with you over the summer break or you don’t have enough room in your flat or dorm room, a self-storage unit may benefit you.
Living in a cluttered room only makes your life harder, and moving expensive electronics is both expensive and stressful.
If you are interested in finding out whether self-storage services are suitable for your needs, read on. This guide will help you choose a high-quality storage facility and understand what can be stored and what other benefits come with it.
What to Look for in a Self-storage Service
High demand at the beginning of the semester makes it hard to find a self-storage facility at an affordable price. If you can, make sure you contact a facility at least one month before the semester begins or ends.
In some cases, you may have to search for facilities a few miles away from your the place in order to find affordable units.
Fortunately, many companies are aware of how many students are in need for self-storage services and they often offer discounts for students.
Before you decide what company is suitable for your needs, make sure you ask the following questions:
- Are they any additional costs such as deposit or sign-up fees?
- Are they any penalties if you don’t pay the fee on time?
- Is the fee negotiable if you plan to use it for more than 6 months?
- Is the self-storage facility open 24/7?
- What does the security system of the facility look like? Do they have security camera, or guards patrolling?
- Is the lock included in the price?
- What happens to the items stored in the facility if something happens with your credit card and the payment is declined?
- What are the items you can’t store in the facility?
What Can You Store?
Most storage facilities have strict policies when it comes to what you can store in their units. A general rule of thumb is that items that degrade in time (e.g., perishable foods and plants) are not accepted.
Also, guns and inflammable belongings such as paint are also not allowed.
While some students use their self-storage facility as a place where they study (you can set up an alternative office here as well), it’s not allowed to live in a unit.
That being said, you can store anything in a unit, including furniture, books, clothing, and electronics.
What Type of Storage Unit?
Depending on the type of access, security, and the size of the storage unit, you can choose from outdoor and indoor units.
When it comes to indoor units, the security measures typically include surveillance, guards, and alarms for each storage unit door. Depending on how much space you need for your belongings, you can choose from small locker units to units as big as a sizable room.
The outdoor units are the ones you can access from the outside of the facility, and you can drive to the unit. The only downside of this type of storage is dust. If you have items that don’t go well with dust, you mat have to opt for an indoor unit.
You also have to consider what kind of items you have. Are they sensitive to temperature and humidity? If the answer is yes, you may have to opt for a climate controlled unit. Electronics, wood furniture, leather clothing, musical instruments, and books are all sensitive to humidity and sudden temperature changes.
Wood furniture can develop cracks when there are sudden temperature changes. Leather drys out and cracks as well if humidity levels are too low, and textbooks can develop mold and mildew if the humidity is too high.
When Is Renting a Storage Unit a Better Idea Than Moving Your Belongings?
Students who live far away from home and happen to have more than a few backpacks to carry benefit the most from self-storage units.
In some cases, the items aren’t heavy but there are fragile and hard to carry. Moving companies may charge quite a bit, and going back and forth with your kitchen supplies, towels, and other items is tiring and stressful.
The costs for a self-storage unit aren’t high, and most companies give students discounts. Depending on your needs, you will pay anywhere between $12 and $100 per month. The factors that impact the price of the unit are as follows: size, location, and features.
Some students use self-storage units during the time they are in campus as well, both for storage purpose and for privacy when it comes to studying and writing reports.
How Should You Pack Your Belongings?
While you may feel tempted to put everything into boxes and leave the storage facility as soon as possible, a little bit of planning can help you in the long-term.
For example, when you are placing the boxes in the unit, make sure you leave enough space so you can walk around.
Labelling boxes is also important; otherwise, you will end up really frustrated while searching through everything in a small unit.
Make sure you keep an inventory of each item that you store as well.
If you choose a larger unit and you have furniture, electronics and other heavy items, make sure you keep a floor plan at home and one in the storage unit. This will help you find what you need faster as well.
The items you need less often should go at the bottom or in the back, while the items you will need frequently should be easier to reach. Shelves are also a good idea, especially if you have mugs, home decor, and other small items.
You can cover cabinets with a thin fabric to protect it from dust and use the drawers to store smaller items. This way, you will save space and keep everything neat and organized.
You can also store items in your fridge. Just make sure you defrost and clean it first; otherwise, it will develop mold.
Clothing and towels can be put to a good use as well, as fragile items can be padded by using fabrics.
For more tips on how to pack your belongings, feel free to check our packing guide.