Cheap self storage units
At university, it can feel like you move house more times than you eat hot dinners. Self storage for students is a very handy way to keep your things safe when between houses.
When summer approaches and you have to move house (again!), it can be a real pain to have to bring 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 for a few nights, or for the whole summer, self storage is a pretty straightforward option that guarantees your stuff will be kept safe.
So how do you find the right self storage unit for you? And how much will it cost? We have all the info you need, as well as the best and cheapest self storage companies to go for.
What's in this guide?
Do you need self storage?
Policies on moving out during the summer do differ from place to place, and as we warn in our tenancy agreement checklist, some landlords have rules against storing items in houses over summer – even if you're paying rent. Be sure to check your contract and know your rights as a tenant!
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.
Also, if you're lucky enough to be spending a semester of your degree living abroad, self storage is also the most hassle-free option for storing your belongings safely.
Packing up and taking everything home with you over summer is obviously an option, but depending on how much stuff you actually have, it can be easier to just store most of it in a storage container.
And, of course, if you're an international student, self storage will practically be a necessity. It's a waste of time (and money) to move everything back home for a couple of months, only to have to bring it back again the following September.
How much do self storage units cost?
It's hard to say for sure how much storage units cost because, as with most things, the prices will differ depending on what you're after and whereabouts you are in the country.
That said, most self storage companies will let you search for a quote on their website, meaning you can establish the cheapest prices before committing to a unit.
As a quick guide, we've compiled prices for both a larger and smaller storage unit – or in the case of Lovespace, both eight and 15 boxes, as their costs are based on how many boxes you store, rather than how many square feet you hire.
While this does mean that you only pay for the storage you need, it makes it harder to estimate how much you'll be paying until you know how many boxes you have. Note that the price per box per week will decrease as the number of boxes increases.
Lovespace do accept larger items such as beds and wardrobes, but you must request storage of these individually.
As for location, we've gone for the closest facilities to the centre of Manchester – partly because it's the birthplace of Save the Student, but mostly because it should give you an indication of what you can expect to pay in a city (minus the London premium).
Cost of self storage
|Storage company||Cost of large* storage for 8 weeks||Cost of small** storage for 8 weeks||Other costs|
|Big Yellow (Manchester)||£309.60 (plus 50% discount for up to eight weeks)||£216 (plus 50% discount for up to eight weeks)||Insurance and security deposit|
|Safestore (Manchester Central)||£215.18||£151.15||Insurance|
|Lovespace||£83.25||£30.80||Insurance and box returns|
*a 50 sq ft unit, or in the case of Lovespace, 15 small boxes
**a 25 sq ft unit, or in the case of Lovespace, eight small boxes
The quotes in the table were provided in June 2020.
Remember that these costs are just quotes for two very specific scenarios, and you'll no doubt pay a different amount based on your location, how much you're storing, and how long you're using self storage units for. Always check each company's website for details of any extra costs you may entail.
How to get cheap storage
Self storage can be expensive so, as always, it's a good idea to shop to find the cheapest deal.
Here are some top tips for saving money on self storage:
- Use a self storage comparison site such as Compare the Storage to find out what the cheapest option near you is.
- Choose 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, a van and a driver to help carry boxes! This is quite common practice, so be sure to ask.
- When making booking a self storage unit, ask for an upper-level storage container as these tend to be cheaper.
- Ask if they offer any discounts for students. For example, Safestore offer as much as 50% off to students for the first eight weeks (this should cover your summer holiday).
- Planning to use the space for 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%, 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 or supermarket if they have any spare boxes lying around. If you don't ask, you don't get.
- Think carefully about how much storage space you'll need. Overestimate this and you could be forking out for extra space that isn't used. Underestimate and you might need to get two containers.
- Try teaming up with a friend if you don't think you can justify the cost of a self storage unit for just yourself. Sharing the price of a container is an ideal situation – that's a 50% discount straight off the bat.
Best self storage companies for students
These are the best companies for cheap self storage:
Big Yellow Self Storage
One of the biggest storage companies out there, Big Yellow is also a really convenient option for students.
Not only do they offer £50 to go towards van hire, but they also have discounts of up to 50% for new customers.
You can also get 50% off your next bill for referring a friend.
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.
However, you do need to give them seven days notice before you clear out your unit.
Big Yellow's main competitor is Safestore. There are so many Safestore units across the UK that you're unlike to find yourself much more than a short drive from a branch wherever you are in the country.
Safestore offers a 50% student discount on the first eight weeks of unit rental, as well as 20% off merchandise in-store, excluding padlocks.
The deals they offer can vary for longer-term storage, so it's worth getting in touch with a member of staff to find out more details. Don't forget to haggle!
Lovespace is a slightly newer self storage startup that's ideal for students who have 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.
Unfortunately, Lovespace doesn't allow you to store larger pieces of furniture at all of its locations, but they will take things like mirrors provided they're bubble wrapped (and you let them know in advance). Enquire within!
The best thing about this service is that, rather than paying for a whole storage unit, you can just pay for the number of boxes you actually need to store. Prices can vary, but as a guideline, you can expect to pay just over £10 for a small box, or around £28 for a large suitcase.
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 transport a single box yourself – ideal.
Not too bothered what happens to your stuff? Why not sell your belongings and start living in a tent like this student did?