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.