By: Eva Prada
It’s that time of year again, Spring time and summer move out of dorms. I would have never thought about self storage units and storing things over the summer. But this past week my husband and I went to pick up our daughters from college: UCF in Orlando on Tuesday and FSU in Tallahassee on Friday. Upon arriving at the parking area for the dorms, we noticed that the dumpsters were overflowing. At first we didn’t pay much attention to them, after all, we hadn’t seen our daughter since early March and we were on a time schedule.
As we entered our daughter’s suite, we couldn’t believe how much stuff she had. I mean, how much can one person accumulate in nine short months. I know one needs lots of things to make their dorm comfortable; storage containers, bookshelves, bins, microwave, TV, game consoles, rugs, and more. We were totally unprepared for the sheer amount of things she had to move out of her suite. Nor did we have enough vehicle space to transport all these things back home. Judging by those overflowing dumpsters we saw, I guess other parents were in the same predicament as we were or else the stuff belonged to students who are seniors and they wouldn’t need it anymore.
There had to be another way, then to dispose of the stuff that wouldn’t fit. I guess we could donate to an organization. But which organization and where are they in proximity to the university? We didn’t have much time before checkout time.
Then we thought about storing the items for the next semester. We searched on our phone for self storage in Orlando and quickly found several companies with units available, very close to the university and we were able to book them right online. Although we had to get a unit larger than what we needed, we estimate the cost for storing the items over the summer would still be less than repurchasing them again in August. Having less stuff to transport back to home made it more comfortable in the car as well. This was such a great solution, that we wondered why we hadn’t thought of it before.
It didn’t take us to long to think of this solution when we arrived in Tallahassee three days later. This time when we saw the overflowing dumpsters, we realized that this is a very common thing for college students. As we entered our daughter’s room we were once again confronted with an abundance of stuff. We couldn’t believe it. Our daughter at UCF had a suite style dorm with her own room and a shared living room, dining room and kitchen. It is understandable that she would have so much stuff; bookcases, TV, chair, tailgate stuff, pots, pans and other kitchen stuff and appliances. But our daughter in Tallahassee had a community style dorm, where she shared a room with another girl, a not very large room I might add. And although she had less stuff then the other daughter, she still had way too much to transport 8 hours back home; cube storage unit, plastic storage bins, microwave, rug, over the door racks, closet organizers and more. Of course after our experience in Orlando, it did not take us long time to search our phone for self storage in Tallahassee, find and book a unit near FSU. Next year, for our daughter’s second year of college, we will know better and plan ahead. Who says only students learn at college.
Here are some tips I would pass on to you for storing dorm stuff:
- Search online and shop around: prices vary greatly.
- Book early to get the size unit you need. No need to book a 10 X 10 storage unit if all you need is 5 X 5 storage unit.
- Show them your homeowners policy, this will save you some money each month.
- Purchase plastic storage bins and use them instead of cardboard boxes; label the bins.
- Place plastic storage bins on floor and place other items that can be damaged by water on top.
- Do not store any food items and make sure kitchen and appliances are clean.
- Keep an inventory: We took pictures with our phones and emailed them to ourselves.
- Purchase a good lock, most places sell them on site, but you can get one cheaper at a local hardware store.
- Buddy up: Get a friend to share your storage unit, saving even more.
Good luck and Happy Summer!