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Storage Decisions for College

Updated on June 29, 2016
Michael Ttappous profile image

Michael has been an online freelancer and writer for many years and loves discovering and sharing about new experiences and opportunities.

Storage Decisions before the College Move

You’ve just finished high school. The summer’s coming to a close and the time has come to start thinking about what’s going with you to college and what’s staying behind. Whether your college is abroad or in another state (or just down the road), you have to decide what’s most important to have by your side on your new journey.

Moving to College

Most college degrees range between two to four years, and being away from home that long leaves some big storage decisions to be made. If your family needs to use the room for another reason (a bedroom for another sibling; an office or study for your dad; …), you should be planning ahead on what you’re going to do with your stuff. Thinking ahead about storing your things is great practice for when you finally arrive at college and need to re-pack your belongings at the end of the academic year (see below).

If your parents are mad at you for some unforetold reason (“You should have gone to business school!”), they may choose to simply throw away the things you leave behind. It would be painful to lose possessions with sentimental value just because they look like trash to others.

A Good Storage Option

One alternative is to take everything you love with you. Another is to threaten your family that throwing your stuff away is a ‘deadly’ decision. And another choice you could make is a self-storage unit.

This is a relatively inexpensive way to keep stuff safe that you would like to have after your college years are complete. Storing your belongings in a safe self-storage unit helps you guarantee that you don’t lose anything that you have valuable memories of. They also help to declutter your family’s home while you are away, and that will very likely be appreciated.

Most self-storage facilities offer different storage sizes, so you can pay only for the amount of space you need. It’s important to remember, though, that even though you can store whatever you want in your self-storage unit, you shouldn’t store items that are dangerous or that may be legally questionable. Below are a few tips on how to treat your storage unit if you decide it’s a useful option:

  1. Avoid storing food items, especially things that may spoil soon. You don’t want to return to an infestation that’s ruined all of your other items.
  2. Unless you’re going all out for a temperature-controlled unit, don’t store flammable liquids or materials in your storage unit. In fact, if it might be toxic or hazardous or useful for insects, don’t store it.
  3. Use labels to make your stuff easier to find.
  4. Think ahead and plan how to store everything before starting. Box and place heavy items underneath the pile, working your way up with lighter objects.
  5. Stack your boxes and furniture so that you can find what you’re looking for. Don’t build a labyrinth!
  6. Most importantly, use trustworthy, strong boxes to store your precious cargo. Don’t end up regretting using boxes that can tear, get wet, or collapse under weight.
  7. Air and water and heat can affect many of your possessions, so plan ahead to protect them!

a) Seal your working tools to stop them from rusting;
b) Protect glass items and TVs with bubble wrap;
c) Disassemble your furniture to save space and transport them easier;
d) Cover your furniture with sheets, plastic and covers to keep them scratch- and dust-free;
e) Don’t throw big and small stuff in the same box—organize your packing.

Storing Only What You Want

Whether you’ve decided to store your home possessions before heading off to college, or you need to now store your college stuff, there are also details to think of that can be pesky (or pesty!).

The above tips are essential to remember, but there are things to watch out for that are harder to see… If you’re leaving a box or two behind at campus or using a self-storage unit, you have to take care of the problem of pests. Of course, it’s hard to know if you have a pest problem, but you should be active in avoiding pest problems, and there are some quick ways to do that:

  • Ask your storage facility if there is a history of pest problems, as well as what they do to get rid of them.
  • Sugary items are magnets to pests, so don’t store things you don’t need to. Always ask yourself, “Is this chocolate/cereal/Coca-Cola worth opening a box of cockroaches?”
  • It’s always a safe bet to wash washable items before storing them away. Clean your dishes, clear the dust off of other belongings (potentially removing unseen bugs or unborn eggs), and make sure that other liquids won’t spill or leak. If you cook a lot in college, thoroughly clean your pots and pans and cooking utensils.
  • That brings us to another point: wrap and seal your silverware in smaller storage containers to keep them organized and protected—as well as to protect your other possessions.
  • The boxes that you use may themselves be infested. It’s nasty to think that you’ve cleaned and packed everything perfectly only for the box to be littered with hidden eggs and critters. Plastic storage boxes are a solution, but so is manually cleaning the boxes yourself. It’s important to cover yourself at every end.

Making the Move

When it comes time to move away from home or to move back from college for the summer break, make sure that you cover yourself and protect your belongings. Colleges can't always guarantee the safety of your boxes if they offer storage, and the elements will always have an effect on self-storage units. Use these tips (and share them with friends!) to ensure that you can always return home or to college carefree about the status of your most important possessions.


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