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Student Accommodation

Cheap self storage units

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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.

Summer approaches and you have to move house (again!). It can be a real pain to bring all your stuff home for a few months if you haven't worked out where you'll be living next term.

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.

But 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 student storage companies to go for.

Still not sure where to live next year? Take a look at our guide to viewing student houses and make sure you read this tenancy agreement checklist before signing on the dotted line.

Do you need self storage?

cat in box

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 planning to spend a semester of your degree living abroad, self storage is probably 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 to university.

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 where you are in the country. There are definitely some cheap storage units out there though, you'll just need to know where to look.

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 companyCost of large* storage for 8 weeksCost of small** storage for 8 weeksOther costs
Big Yellow (Manchester)£186 (including 50% discount for the first eight weeks)£194.40 (including 50% discount for the first four weeks)Insurance, padlock and security deposit
Safestore (Manchester Cheetham Hill)£268 (including 50% discount for the first eight weeks)£124 (including 50% discount for the first eight weeks)Insurance and padlock
Lovespace£178£158Insurance and box returns
StashbeeVariesVariesInsurance over £1,000
and some places require a security deposit

*a 50 sq ft unit
**a 25 sq ft unit.

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.

When you move into your new home, look into whether you need student contents insurance.

How to get cheap student storage

boxes near a self storage unit

Credit: Karolis Kavolelis – Shutterstock

Here are some top tips for saving money on student self storage:

  1. Use a self storage comparison site such as Compare the Storage to find out what the cheapest option near you is.
  2. Choose a storage centre as close to where you're moving to as possible so you can keep petrol prices down.
  3. 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.
  4. When making booking a self storage unit, ask for an upper-level storage container as these tend to be cheaper.
  5. Ask if they offer any discounts for students. For example, Safestore offers as much as 50% off to students for the first eight weeks (this should cover your summer holiday).
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Try teaming up with a friend if you don't think you can justify the cost of a self storage unit for yourself alone. Sharing the price of a container is an ideal situation – that's a 50% discount straight off the bat.
  10. Look into getting your own insurance. Most self storage companies offer insurance, but you don't have to go with them. Safestore quoted us £1.65 a week for insurance covering up to £1,000. But we were able to find insurance elsewhere for a similar price that covered much more. Shop around, but make sure it offers enough coverage!
  11. Buy your own padlock. Self storage companies sometimes charge as much as £15 for one, when you can get a decent padlock for under £10 on Amazon.
  12. You can move your belongings to a different self storage unit after your trial/discount period has ended. Obviously, it takes a bit of effort, but it could save you a lot of money!
  13. Make sure you know about the cancellation period – at some places, you'll need to give at least 14 days' notice.

Best self storage companies for students

These are the best companies for cheap self storage:

  1. Big Yellow Self Storage

    big yellow storage logo

    One of the cheapest self storage companies out there, Big Yellow is also a really convenient option for students.

    Not only do they offer £50 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.

    Visit Big Yellow Self Storage »


  2. Safestore

    safestore logo

    Big Yellow's main competitor is Safestore. There are so many Safestore units across the UK that you're unlikely 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 £10 off boxes and packaging materials when you spend £20 or more. The notice period depends on the type of contract you take out, so be sure to check it before signing up.

    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 the price down!

    Visit Safestore »


  3. Lovespace

    lovespace logo

    Lovespace is a self storage startup that's ideal for students who have lots of little things to pack away in boxes over summer.

    With Lovespace, you can 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!

    While you can choose to pay for a whole storage unit, you can also just pay for the number of boxes you actually need to store. Prices can vary, but as a guideline, you can expect to pay around £9 per month for a small box, or about £23 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.

    Visit Lovespace »


  4. Stashbee

    stashbee logo

    Stashbee works a little differently compared to the other self storage companies, as it's a platform that allows people to rent out empty rooms or garages as storage space. It's kind of like Airbnb but for storage.

    The identity of all hosts on Stashbee has been verified and the company covers insurance up to £1,000 for you as well, making it even more secure.

    To hire a storage space on Stashbee, you can search for your location and it will show you all the available spaces. Prices will vary depending on the location and the space, and some hosts require you to pay a safety deposit.

    Apart from offering storage space, it's also possible to hire/rent out a parking space with Stashbee.

    Visit Stashbee »


We've listed some of the biggest self storage companies that suit a student budget. But, 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).

Not too bothered about what happens to your stuff? Why not sell your belongings and start living in a tent like this student did?

* All information is correct at the time of writing. Prices may vary by location and size of storage unit required.

Jake Butler

WRITTEN BY Jake Butler

Jake joined Save the Student in 2010 and is the COO. As an expert across student finance, Jake has appeared on The BBC, The Guardian, Which?, ITV, Channel 5 and many other outlets. He particularly enjoys sharing tips on saving money and making extra money with opportunities like paid surveys and part-time jobs.
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