An easy guide to self storage
During uni, you'll probably move house more often than you eat hot dinners. Self storage is a great way to keep your things safe when between houses!Credit: Safehouse
When summer approaches and you have to move house (again!), it can be a real pain to have to move all your stuff home for a few months if you haven't worked out where you'll be living next term yet.
Whether you need somewhere to keep your belongings safe over a few nights or for the whole summer, self storage is a pretty straight forward option that guarantees your stuff will be kept safe.
So how do you go about getting yourself some of this self storage stuff? We have all the info you need, as well as the best self storage companies to go for!
Do I need self storage?
Policies on moving out during the summer do differ from place to place and, as we warn in this article, some landlords have rules against storing items over summer – even if you're paying rent. Be sure to check your contract, and know your rights!
Even if you're lucky enough to get a place in uni halls for a second year, you'll probably be required to move your things out before your new tenancy agreement begins.
Self storage is also the most hassle-free option for storing your belongings safely if you're lucky enough to be spending a semester of your degree living abroad.
Packing up and taking everything home with you over summer is of course an option, but depending how much stuff you actually have, it can be easier just to store most of it in a storage container.
Tips for cheaper self storage
Self storage can be expensive, so as always – it's a good idea to shop around before making any commitments.
Here are a few top tips we've picked up over many, many years of moving from one house to the next and wangling discounts as we go!
- Use a self storage comparison site to find out what the cheapest option is – yup, there's even a site for it!
- If you can, opt for a storage centre as close to where you're moving to as possible so you can keep petrol prices down
- Ask the storage company if they offer a free van for the move, or even better – van + driver to help carry boxes! This is quite normal practice so be sure to ask
- When making your booking, ask for an upper level storage container as these tend to be cheaper
- Ask if they offer any discounts for students. Companies like Big Yellow and Safestore offer as much as 50% discounts to students, so get your NUS card out!
- Planning to use the space longer than a few months? If you can confirm you'll be using the container for a longer period, you might be in with a chance of getting a discount of around 8-10% off, so try your luck!
- Chance your arm – ask the storage company if they can throw in any moving boxes for free, and if you have no luck there, try asking at your local shop if they have any spare boxes lying around. If you don't ask, you don't get!
- Think hard about how much space you'll need. Overestimate and you could be forking out for extra space that isn't used; underestimate and you might need to get two containers – ouch!
- Try teaming up with a friend if you don't have too much stuff to store. Sharing the price of a container is an ideal situation – 50% discount right there!
Best self storage companies for students
There are loads of self storage companies out there, including heaps of smaller local companies that might be worth checking out (we'll leave that part to you).
However, as far as larger companies go, these are the best of the bunch.
Big Yellow storage
One of the biggest and most secure companies out there, Big Yellow is also a really convenient option for students.
Not only do they offer £50 to go towards hiring a man with a van to transport your stuff to and from the storage unit, but they also offer up to 50% discount for students looking to store there things for up to 8 weeks over summer.
They have the choice of either big lockers with a key and PIN code, or larger units that will be big enough to store furniture too if necessary.
You are required to pay weekly though, and you need to give them 7 days notice before you clear out your unit.
Safestore self storage
Big yellow's main competitor is Safestore. There are so many Safestore units across the UK that you'd be hard not to find yourself within a short driving distance from a branch wherever in the country you live.
Safestore offer a 20% student discount on unit rental as well as 20% off packing facilities like cardboard boxes and bubble wrap, provided you have a valid NUS card.
The deals they offer with transport and discounts for longer periods differ from case to case, so they recommend you get in touch with a member of staff to find out more details.
Don't forget to haggle!
Lovespace is a new self storage startup that's ideal for students with lots of little things to pack away in boxes over summer.
With Lovespace, you simply pack up the cardboard boxes they send, and a driver will come and collect them all from you, free of charge.
Unfortunately, Lovespace don't allow you to store larger pieces of furniture, but they will take things like mirrors provided they're bubble wrapped (and you let them know in advance).
The best thing about this service is that they have a pay-as-you-go scheme, which is ideal if you don't know how long you'll need to store your stuff for. Also, you can arrange for the driver to then deliver your stuff at a later date anywhere on mainland UK, so no worries if you've not worked out where you'll be living next term yet! And you won't have to lift a single box yourself!
Now that you know what your best options are, it's time to start packing those (hopefully free of charge) boxes!
Make sure you know which items you want to store and which you want to take home with you. Although, worse comes to worst, you will be given keys to your container so you can access it any time you need to. Therefore, if you do happen pack something away in your container that you didn't mean to – it's not the end of the world!