The Great Debate: What Self-Storage Tactic Will You Choose?

By Elizabeth Hilfrank on July 11, 2017

As if it’s not hard enough to figure out where to put everything when you move into your dorm room, how about when you move out? For people living far from their universities, managing their belongings when they leave for the summer can be quite the challenge.

To lessen the self-storage stress on top of spring semester finals, I’ve done the research for you. Here are some options to consider for when you next pack up.

Photo courtesy of

1. Home

This is the most obvious option. If you are within driving distance, even if it is far, you can drive all of your belongings home.


•It’s free. All you have to pay for is the gas for the car.

•You know exactly where everything is.

•Safety is of the least concern.


•Space. Do you have enough room in your car to bring everything home? The last thing you want to do is have to pay for another car. Kind of defeats the purpose, doesn’t it?

•Ease. Physically moving your belongings all the way home (even the things you know you won’t use over vacation) just to turn around and bring it all back in a few months could be more of a hassle than the money is worth.

2. A friend’s off-campus house

Try asking around to see if someone who has a house in the area not under college control would be willing to store your things for a couple of months.


Most likely free, or very very cheap.

•Location is close.


•You don’t know how safely guarded everything will be.

•You now have put a middleman in between you and your belongings. You will have to work with their schedule.

3. College storage

Some colleges offer storage spaces on campus where people can keep their items when they go home.


•You don’t have to move your things very far at all.

•You know the safety level of the area.


•The price of storage may be higher than necessary. Colleges make it seem like a great deal because it is so convenient, but you may be able to do better at another storage unit nearby.

•You do not know the person watching your things, so there is a higher chance of damage as things get moved/shuffled around.

•Most of the time these “spaces” are in basements, so there is a higher chance of mold, dirt, or friendly little creatures getting into contact with your items.

4. Storage units

There is a high chance that there are many options for external storage areas near your college town. If you go this route, there is a lot to consider to make sure that you get the best deal.


•Student discounts! Many storage facilities will offer reduced prices for students.

•Most offer 24-hours security surveillance cameras as an extra safety measure.

•You have the option for many additional features, such as climate control in case you go to a school that is accustomed to extreme weather.

•You have the choice in how much space you want (most commonly a 5×5 or 5×10 will suffice).

•Unlimited access (aka not depending on a friend’s schedule).

•You can read up on reviews to know if the place is good or not.

•You can pay month-to-month.

•You have the option to receive additional insurance.


Basically all that was said in the pros can be said in the cons as well, and here is how:

•Companies may try to add on additional amenities by making them seem like something you can’t live without or simply without you noticing, causing an increase in price.

•You may find you are paying for more space than you actually need.

•Not all companies offer free transportation of goods from the college to the storage unit and back. So, you will have to find a car or pay for transport.

•While there may be 24-hr surveillance, there is still not a 100 percent guarantee on safety.

5. Portable storage

You can also have a portable storage unit delivered to your home so that all of your belongings are always with you but not in your direct space.


•Convenience. You don’t have to worry about what to bring home and what to store because, in the end, it will all be with you anyway!

•You can choose how much space you want or need.


•It can be more expensive because of the convenience aspect.

•Finding a place to put it may be difficult. You do not want to anger your neighbors by taking up the whole road, but do you have room in your driveway for it?

Photo courtesy of

So there you have it. Five options to debate when it comes to self-storage. One other aspect to consider when moving in is that if you have a lot of new items to buy, you don’t necessarily have to purchase them all at home and then try to move it all. Instead, go to the store, and see if you can organize for store pickup at your campus location. Some stores will even deliver directly to campus.

I'm a junior at Gettysburg College with a self-designed major called Writing and Performing Media, and I am a Spanish minor. When I'm not studying, I'm probably running with the cross country or track team, hanging out with my sorority, Alpha Delta Pi, looking at pictures of my dog or eating (mostly desserts). I love all things journalism, and I have a strong passion for storytelling.

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