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College kids on the move.

College grads: Time for Self Storage 101

by Jenny

Congratulations, college graduates! You may be feeling a little sad right now, like you just finished the best years of your life (so far). Maybe you’re really happy because you just finished the busiest years of your life (don’t get used to it!).

Regardless, leaving the college life behind is a major transition — not the least of which is the fact that you’re probably finding a new living space, or will be very soon. During this somewhat tumultuous time, self storage can be a huge help.

Storage facilities can simplify the moving process if you’re moving home from college — mom and dad don’t want all your stuff stuffed into the garage. Be considerate!

But that’s not all:

  • A self storage unit can save you money. If you’re moving into a small apartment, or living with roommates, self storage can prevent you from sacrificing important, sometimes expensive belongings like furniture or even your car.
  • If you’re living in a major metro area like New York or Chicago, you may not need to drive. Vehicle storage is likely less expensive than a parking garage, gas, or getting your driver’s-side mirror fixed when you get randomly sideswiped on a crowded street.
  • A self storage unit is a stress-reliever if you don’t know where you’re headed next. Traveling? Joining the service? Moving for work? You may be better off putting your possessions in storage, rather than lugging them across the map. That’s probably cheaper, too.

This topic hits close to home for JoEllen Salkin, co-owner of Organizing 4 U in Cleveland, Ohio. Her daughter graduated from college this month — and when we spoke earlier in the semester, she shared tips for what students can do with all of their books, bedroom furniture, and other belongings after graduation.

“The question remains whether to bring these items back to home base from college to store, or take with them to the new apartment when starting the first job,” JoEllen said. “Since there is not always a job to start immediately, nor adequate space at home, other options need to be explored.”

College grads prepare for the next step.

JoEllen Salkin’s Smart Storage Advice for College Grads

1. Remember that money is the bottom line. Storage is pretty versatile, and cheap storage isn’t impossible. There are ways you can find a place to keep your college stuff. This keeps you from buying items all over again.

“The various sizes of storage units that are available are a valuable resource for anyone transitioning to a new stage in life,” JoEllen explained. “It will be less expensive to store items for even a short term than to purchase items again. This is important for anyone getting settled in a new locale with limited funds.”

2. Hit the ground running. Even if your college apartment was not exactly adorned in the most beautiful home furnishings, you probably still have many of the items you need to get your new life started. Good examples include furniture, dishes, and bedding.

“While many items may not be exactly what the graduate wants to furnish the new apartment as she transitions to this next stage in life,” JoEllen said, “they will be useful when setting up a new place, and will save money if re-used, even for a short time.”

In other words: you may have your eye on that gorgeous, Gothic bed from Restoration Hardware, but until you have an extra $2,000 floating around, your college model will do.

Even if you aren’t using everything from your college years, public storage may be a better option than tossing things out, or trying to overload what storage space you have.

“There is no sense cluttering up someone else’s space with items that do not belong,” JoEllen explained. “Large items such as furniture, storage tubs with off season clothing, and kitchen essentials are items that can be safely stored in a unit.”

3. Fight FOMO (fear of missing out). Mom and dad are moving. They don’t want to tote your teenage bedroom’s worth of memorabilia to their new place out West. You don’t want to see your fondest memories end up in a dumpster because your first apartment is the size of a matchbox.

Time to ask yourself some hard questions. How many of these mementos are truly special, and how many are…well…junk? Full disclosure — this is coming from someone who held onto her old high school and college notebooks for years.

“Many parents have already made a transition to a smaller home, and want to pass along specific things to their son or daughter, but there is no room in their home, and the young adult has not yet become established and has no room,” JoEllen said. “We see this all the time, and are currently helping a family prepare their home for sale so they can downsize. The bedrooms of the home are currently cluttered with books, leftover dorm room items, and outgrown clothes. The items will be stored in a unit until a time when they have a large enough place of their own.”

4. Simplify. Make no mistake, college grad — it is easier to organize your items once when you move them into a storage unit, rather than moving them and organizing them every time you switch locations. When you get a storage rental, get organized and you’ll find it’s easy to retrieve your items in the future.

“If possible, utilize boxes and storage tubs of similar size for easy stacking,” JoEllen advised. “We like banker’s boxes and plastic tubs that are not too large. Be sure to identify what is in each container by using a marker or labels. Shelving is also a good idea for ease of retrieval.”

5. Make sure the heat is on (or off). Temperature shouldn’t scare you away from storage. There are ways to make sure nothing melts, freezes, or gets ruined by humidity.

“Depending on what is stored in a unit, the climate controlled self storage option is important to avoid extremes in temperature,” JoEllen said. “This will protect the items that are stored there. If items are stored in a climate with snowy winters, the climate controlled unit will be important for access, and comfort when retrieving the stored items.”

Best of luck, college grads. You have a lot to look forward to in the years ahead. Just make sure your past isn’t crammed into your closets.

• DIYer, Designer, Declutterer
• Freelance Blogger & Home Beautifier
• Gelato Junkie ;)

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