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.

Here, we will discuss possible storage options, whether it is sending your things home to mom and dad, reserving a self storage unit or finding other alternatives.

Have a Plan

First, plan out what you want and ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Is your load of extra stuff getting out of hand?
  2. When do you need to free up some extra space?
  3. Is this going to be temporary, such as over the summer or for a semester when you study abroad?
  4. How much time do you wish to spending sorting through the items and separating them into the things you might use in the near future and the things you can live without?

Thoughtful planning ahead of time can save you stress and money. When it comes to storing your belongings while in college, a couple of the most popular options are to either send things home to mom and dad or to reserve a self storage unit near campus.

Sending Things Home

The Pros:
  1. Sending extra items to a distant location provides a more permanent fix to the excess clutter in your life than stuffing them in a closet where they will need to be moved again in the future.
  2. At mom and dad’s you will have no monthly storage fee (hopefully).
  3. Your things will be in a climate-controlled space if mom stashes your boxes in your old room.  The freed up space will make it possible for you to start fresh and buy new things that match your current interests and fashion flair.
  4. You will be keeping your old things together in one location far away, but they will not be thrown out so you will be able to use them later when you have more time and square footage in your home.
  5. You can make your parents do the dirty work of digging through your old stuff if you happen to need something that you sent home.
  6. It will be easy to hand down clothes, old alarm clocks or furniture to siblings and relatives.
The Cons:
  1. Shipping large packages is not cheap.
  2. Large furniture could be difficult and costly to haul back and forth between breaks.
  3. There is no insurance policy; you cannot guarantee that your dog (or little sister) will not get into your things.
  4. You will not have quick access.
  5. It might be difficult to get your parents to ship back something that you tell them you need.
  6. Your family might ransack your things and make claims to them while you are away.

The Beneficial Options in Self Storage

Alternatively, leasing a self storage unit near campus may open up some beneficial options, as illustrated below:

  1. 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.
  2. Easy access will allow you to rotate seasonal clothing throughout the school year.
  3. You will be able to pack furniture near campus during breaks.
  4. You can take things to the unit anytime and quickly make space in your room.
  5. You may opt to share storage space with friends to save money.
  6. 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:

  1. Storage facilities, especially near large campuses, get booked fast as summer approaches, so make plans to reserve a unit well in advance.
  2. Avoid the degeneration of your items. Be sure to wash clothes and blankets, and to overall store your items properly.
  3. 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.
  4. Remember storing electronics like a television or video game system will require a climate-controlled unit to ensure that parts do not melt.

Alternatives to Mom and Dad’s Place and Self Storage

In addition to sending your items home or putting them into a self storage unit, consider the following alternative options:

  1. Portable storage units are available. Renting one of these may save you the cost and time of transporting your items to a self storage facility or of shipping them home.  When you order a portable storage unit, the storage company will haul a large box to your location. You pack your items into it at your convenience.  The company then hauls the box back to their facility and you can access your items from there with a little advance notice.  If you prefer, you can have the portable storage unit left at your dorm (with campus approval), in your friend’s driveway (if your friend agrees to it) or at some other location of your choice.
  2. Some companies also offer storage by mail.  Here, you pay a monthly rate based on the size of each box that you store with the company.  You may have shipping charges, also.  This storage option helps you avoid the extra cost of wasted space in a storage unit and protects you from the possibility of family members messing with your belongings.

Organizing Your Unwanted Items

If you decide to take the time to separate the things you want from the things you’d like to discard, consider the following possibilities:

  1. Drop off old clothes and accessories at charitable organizations like the Goodwill, Disabled American Veterans thrift store or the Salvation Army.
  2. Sell name brand clothing in good condition to for-profit thrift stores.
  3. Sell old electronics online, at the local pawn shop or at a swap meet.
  4. Host a garage sale with friends.
  5. List items for sale or that you would be willing to donate for free to a needy fellow student on your school’s online bulletin board or stick flyers around your residence hall.

The advice on this website is provided as a courtesy for informational purposes only. “Storage Tips” are offered as-is and no warranty is expressed or implied. For more information, see StorageFront’s Terms and Conditions.

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