Self-Storage Scholars: An Undergrad’s Guide to Self-Storage 101 (Guest Post)

It’s no surprise that college students are one of the largest customer bases for storage facilities everywhere. As an undergrad, the roof over your head is temporary at best (assuming you’re not living at home). It’s not uncommon to be in a different building every year, and since you’re only in classes for nine months out of the year there is an awkward hiatus where you don’t know what to do with your stuff in between moves (and sometimes even when you’re settled, space can be a precious commodity). Storage units are great way to keep your stuff safe and near campus during the summer months, but it pays to know what you’re getting into.

How will you store your stuff this year?  (Photo by hoosadork via Flickr)

How will you store your stuff this year? (Photo by hoosadork via Flickr)

What Size?
Storage unit facilities offer different sizes, but a typical one will have a range of units to choose from. The smallest are called “lockers” and are typically about 5’x5’. As a college student, you’ll most likely want to lease a 5’x5’, 5’x10’, or 10’x10’ at the max. Here is a breakdown of what you can expect to fit in these units, so you can better plan your storage needs.

  • 5’x5’: The “locker” size should be more than enough room for someone living in a shared dorm, or even a single dorm. Since dorms typically provide furniture like beds, desks, chairs, and dressers, you shouldn’t have many large items. Get creative and think of it like a game of Tetris, and you’ll be surprised by what you can fit this small unit.
  • 5’x10’: If you have any furniture, bikes, or other larger pieces then you’ll probably want to look at this larger size. Move in the larger items first, then stack your smaller stuff around it if you want to maximize the potential of the space.
  • 10’x10’: By the time you’re a junior you’ll be surprised how many things you’ve managed to accumulate. Upperclassmen tend to leave the dorms and live in student apartments or houses. A 10’x10’ unit should fit all of your furniture and items, providing you haven’t bought any major appliances.

Saving Money
Blah, blah, blah, (insert overused broke college student joke here). Everyone knows college students have little to no money, and while “discount storage units” are never a good idea, there are still some ways to save money. Other than looking out for promotional offers from facilities throughout the year, your best bet is to find some friends and split the cost of a unit. If you follow this route, make sure that you go in with people you can trust and that the facility allows multiple names on the lease, or figure out who will be responsible for the lease. Also be sure that everyone has a copy of the key.

Lock it Down!
Some facilities offer electronic or cylinder locks with the units.  These are the best available, but most of the time you are required to provide your own lock. It is tempting to spend $5 and throw on a cheap combination lock, but you get what you pay for when it comes to security and these are easily broken or picked. Your best bet is to purchase a disc lock. These are very hard to cut or break and they offer pick resistant tumblers. As mentioned above, if you are sharing a unit make sure that everyone who needs a key has one!

Storage units are a great way to keep your stuff organized and safe while you leave campus for the summer, and they can be affordable when you team up with friends.

Jenn Young is freelance writer working with Uncle Bob’s. She is passionate about beautifying her home and she currently writes on anything and everything related to storage and organization!

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3 thoughts on “Self-Storage Scholars: An Undergrad’s Guide to Self-Storage 101 (Guest Post)

  1. Always look forward to your blogs. You touch on things not normally discussed, or discussed from a different perspective, and always pertinant!


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