Ultimate Guide to College Storage

As a student, summer plans can be a little unpredictable. Will you have a job? Can you afford a storage unit? Will you live in a dorm room near school? Will you move home? And what are you going to do with your belongings in the meantime? It can easily be a stressful situation. Finding affordable college storage shouldn’t add to this stress.

We’ve got your guide to renting college storage to help alleviate some of this stress and make your college experience even better.

Reasons for college student storage

There are multiple reasons why you might need storage as a college student:

  • Homeward bound. Going home for the summer to be with family or friends is always a needed repreve after a long spring semester. But what happens when you live 4 hours away by plane? Don’t bother with the hassle of packing everything up and shipping or trucking it back. You will actually save money by looking for cheap student storage nearby and renting until school starts again.
  • Summer sales. Many ambitious students plan to move away and dream of being a top salesman while practically minting cash during their summer sales job.
  • Internships. Depending on the length and location of the internship, it might not be worth it to lug all of your belongings out to a new place. Better to live out of a few suitcases and have everything waiting for when you get back.
  • Study abroad. Now these definitely have a time limit, and you generally will be returning to school the following semester. Store your belongings close by for your return and then travel without worrying.
  • Small apartments or dorms. College housing is famous for packing as much as possible into as little as possible. You might move-out of a tiny dorm room into an apartment that already has a TV or doesn’t have enough space for that mini-fridge you have. If you don’t want to sell/give away what doesn’t fit, consider storage.

What size storage unit does a college student need?

Unless you own a home you don’t need anything larger than a 5 x 10 unit and the majority of students don’t need more than a 5 x 5 unit. Unfortunately, these storage spaces get rented the fastest in spring in college towns.

Here are some examples of what might be the right college storage unit for you:

  • 5 x 5 – The size of a small walk-in closet. Can hold small furniture, boxes, clothes, small electronics.
  • 5 x 10 – The size of a larger walk-in closet. Can hold furniture, mattresses, boxes, small appliances/electronics.
  • 10 x 10 – The size of a small bedroom. Can hold the complete furnishings of a one bedroom apartment (Aka boxes, appliances, furniture, etc.).
  • 10 x 15 – The size of a small garage. Can hold the furnishings of a two bedroom apartment (including major appliances and even a small vehicle).

These are the standard storage unit sizes. The great thing about renting college storage through Neighbor is that there is a wide variety of storage shapes and sizes (plus, did I mention we have a mobile app?). From closets for textbooks to garages for your vehicle, Neighbor’s got your back.

Rent Neighbor Storage at 50% the cost

How can you save money using self storage as a student?

Expenses are one of the biggest concerns of any college student. However, there are many ways you can save money on college storage.

  • Plan early for the best pricing. Storage prices often go up in the summer, especially in college towns. The smallest sizes often go fast as well. Start your search for summer storage as soon as possible to get the cheapest prices and avoid having to rent a larger unit than needed.
  • Maximize the space. Don’t get stuck paying extra for a storage space you don’t fully use. Find somewhere that has the shape and size you need. With Neighbor’s wide variety of storage options, you can custom fit your storage space to your belongings.
  • Declutter. Before you put anything into storage, evaluate if you really need it. If it only has been sitting in a box, it can probably go. Less stuff means less storage and that means more money saved.
  • Buddy up. Find a friend that wants to go in on a unit and split the cost. Some storage facilities will allow you to split the agreement, so you are each responsible for your portion. Especially if you both don’t have too many things to store, you could get the most bang for your buck. Then you two can go on that European study abroad without any worries!
  • Avoid hiring movers or paying for pick-up. Hiring movers can be a great idea for big moves or when storing large amounts of furniture. This likely isn’t necessary as a college or university student. While it does take more time compared to paying for moving services, using your own vehicle (or finding friends with trucks) can help save large amounts of money while storing as a student.
  • Use a storage calculator. Use a storage unit size calculator to see what size storage space you really need. Chances are you could be overestimating.

College storage

Summer storage vs. Bringing things home

The advantages of moving everything home for the summer are that you have all of your things close at hand and don’t need to pay for a place to store it all. While that may sound nice, you actually might be losing money and time by moving everything home. While home is a great place to mooch off your parents or siblings (mom’s amazing home cooked dinners, for instance), you really don’t need your snowboard and calculator with you over the summer.

By sticking to the bare necessities and instead using a student storage unit (especially with Neighbor), you could save money in a variety of ways:

  • Paying for a truck to drive your things home could potentially be very expensive. It can cost up to $100 for just one trip, depending on where you are going. Neighbor prices on the other hand, are a small fraction of that number starting at $35.
  • If you are driving your own car, instead of filling the seats with your belongings, fill it with friends/neighbors and then split the gas cost for an overall cheaper and more eco-friendly trip.
  • Leave your things behind and fly on an inexpensive airline. It’s a fast and affordable way home. Plus, these type of airlines often make their money off of baggage fees so bringing the minimal amount of baggage can help you get extraordinarily cheap airfare.
  • The drive home can be pretty bumpy; avoid breaking or leaving behind items at home. A long drive can be dangerous with a full car weighed down, so be careful and consider your options beforehand.

Are there discounts for college storage?

Many storage facilities will offer discounts for college or university students because they recognize the hassle of moving every so often. The beauty of Neighbor is that our normal prices are 50% cheaper than a storage facility discounted price. Year round, student or non-student, you can enjoy our affordable prices. Otherwise, make sure to look for somewhere that offers student storage discounts and take advantage of your student status.

What items can you store?

Always check whether the item you want to store needs a climate-controlled environment. These are some typical storage items:

  • Furniture (desks, couches, appliances, etc.)
  • Electronics (televisions, computers, printers/copiers, etc.)
  • Bicycles (scooter, moped, etc.)
  • Sports Equipment (skis, snowboard, golf clubs, etc.)
  • Linens (bed sets, towels, etc.)
  • Seasonal Apparel (snowshoes, snow clothes, etc.)

The basics you use around the house generally can be stored. You can take your clothes on a trip with you, some shoes, some toiletries, but all of that other stuff is going to need some place to stay or it all goes with you!

There will also be restrictions on what items you cannot store. These prohibited items often include perishable foods, plants and animals; explosives, firearms and ammunition; and flammables, toxic materials, fuels and chemicals.

Should you store long-term?

Sometimes you need long-term college storage for more than just a 3 month summer break (such as for a study abroad or long-term internship). Storing your things long-term can be a good solution to avoid having to ship all your items home or rent a larger apartment or college dorm while in school. In addition, some storage facilities (including Neighbor) offer first month discounts or move-in specials when you stay for multiple months.

If you are planning on storing something for an extended period of time, make sure you store it properly, as follows:

  • Quality boxes. It is worth it to have quality moving boxes that are durable and easily organized. You can even find sets of storage totes that make it easy to stack on one another to maximize your space.
  • Pallets. Get your belongings off the ground with a pallet. This protects against flooding and other damage and also circulates the air. It’s always better to keep boxes and furniture off of the floor.
  • Climate control. This is especially handy when you are storing belongings through a change in season. Don’t risk the damage that can come from extreme temperatures; wood furniture and electronics can be affected.
  • Vacuum sealed bags. These are great for long term storage of linens and clothing.
  • Cleaning. Clean whatever you are going to store beforehand. This will prevent mold from growing and keep your belongings in better condition.
  • Friend follow-up. It could be a good idea to have someone you know check on your belongings every once in a while or to drop off or pick up an item or two. Especially if you are storing a vehicle, it could help to get out behind the wheel and keep it in good shape. And if anything ever goes wrong, you will have someone there to help you deal with it.
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