The college years may be a time to expand your mind, but physical space can be a problem. There are only so many cubbies, nooks and crannies in your dorm room. After you have completely suffocated and crushed whatever gear you neatly stowed under your bed in the fall with all the extra clothes and books that you accumulated throughout the year, what do you do to make space in your room to walk? Mom will be furious if she finds out that her child lives in a pigsty. Dad will surely give another lecture on male etiquette, which, as usual, ends with “You’ll never impress a girl like that!” A quick fix and a breath of fresh air — literally — may come with a call to the local self storage company.
Depending on the time of year, it may be tricky to find a cheap, available self storage space right away, especially if you live in a small to medium-sized college town. It may even be nearly impossible if you try to search within the last month of the semester unless you are willing to travel a few extra miles from campus. However, if you are looking just to free up some space during the year and you do not want to ship your “valuables” across the country to mom and dad’s basement, then renting a small storage unit may be worth the cost. There are just a few things you may want to ask a company before renting a unit:
- How is the security? (Cameras, personnel, fencing around property, etc.)
- Is there a sign-up, administration or deposit fee?
- Are the first and/or last months prorated?
- Do you need to provide your own lock?
- Will you be able to access your storage unit 24 hours a day?
- What happens to your stuff if you forget to pay or your automatic credit card payment doesn’t go through?
- Are there late payment fees?
- What can you store there?
- Are there any student discounts?
Now that you have a self storage unit, what do you store? Nothing illegal, of course, but also nothing flammable or perishable! Some places offer outdoor storage, which works great for your car if you have to leave it over spring or summer break. Others offer special features like air conditioning or climate control that protect your goods from extreme temperatures and humidity. Things to be stored include old textbooks, seasonal clothes, clothes you know you are not going to wear until maybe next Halloween, and that box you’ve had since freshman year that you know is not important enough to take the time to open.
Here are a few tips to help make things easy to find in your self storage unit:
- Label boxes.
- Place least likely to be used items in back.
- Place breakables on top.
- Leave space between rows of boxes, so you can walk between them.
- Consider adding shelves.
By freeing up some space in your room, not only will you make your parents proud (and potentially that cutie in Chem lab), but you will also be able to start doing all of the things you couldn’t in that wasteland you used to call home.
COLLEGE LIFESTYLE: WHAT TO STORE
Deciding what to do with all of the things you have accumulated during your years in college can be stressful, even frustrating. At the end of spring semester it may be difficult to decide if you are really ever going to wear half of your clothes again or read through that pile of books stacked on your shelves one day. Regardless, you may find yourself moving all of those extra things from year to year into a new dorm room or apartment as you watch them take up more and more valuable space that you could be using to live more comfortably.
Some things you may be able to get rid of, but you know that occasionally you need random things that are important to have even if they are seldom used. Knowing which things will be needed may be a challenge, but decluttering your college home can make your days there much more enjoyable. Outsourcing your extra items to different locations will give you more options. It may make it possible for you to design your living space and tailor it to your own personality.
First, plan out what you need and ask yourself the following questions:
- Is your load of extra stuff getting out of hand?
- When do you need to free up some extra space?
- Is this going to be temporary, such as over the summer or for a semester when you study abroad?
- How much time do you wish to spend sorting through the items and separating them into the things you might use in the near future and the things you can live without?
Leasing a self storage unit near campus may open up some beneficial options, as illustrated below:
- You will be able to go to the self storage facility and pick up the items you need at your convenience. When you find that a reference to last year’s science book would fit perfectly into this year’s research paper, you may be relieved to know that you just have to drive down the road to find it.
- Easy access will allow you to rotate seasonal clothing throughout the school year.
- You will be able to pack furniture near campus during breaks.
- You can take things to the unit anytime and quickly make space in your room.
- It will provide a place to store items, such as last term’s books, until you can sell them online.
If you decide to rent a self storage unit, there are some things you should keep in mind:
- Storage facilities, especially near large campuses, get booked fast as summer approaches, so make plans to reserve a unit well in advance.
- Avoid the degeneration of your items. Be sure to wash clothes and blankets, and to store your items properly.
- Leave room in and around boxes of clothes for ventilation, and keep the door of your mini fridge open. Over time, especially with the increase of humidity, moisture and mildew can build up.
- Remember storing electronics like a television or video game system will require a climate-controlled unit to ensure that parts do not melt.