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The Complete Guide to Self Storage for College Students


With September right around the corner, college students are savoring the last few moments of summer break before heading back for the fall semester. From buying textbooks to securing internships, there are many things to check off the to-do list before classes begin. One of the biggest tasks is often figuring out where to store books, clothes and other belongings that don’t fit in a college dorm.


Whether you’ve outgrown your current living situation or simply need a place to safeguard your belongings before starting a study abroad program, a self-storage unit can be a great solution. Here are key ways you can use — and make the most of — self storage throughout the school year.

In This Article:
  1. When Should College Students Use Self Storage?
  2. What Are the Benefits of Self Storage for College Students?
  3. How Can College Students Make the Most of Self Storage?

1. When Should College Students Use Self Storage?

There are many reasons college students can benefit from renting a self-storage unit. While many may just need storage space during the summer, others may find value in keeping a unit throughout the entire year.

1. While You’re Studying Abroad

If you’re studying abroad in the coming year, renting a storage unit can help minimize travel-related stress and keep all of your belongings safe until you’re back on campus. A storage unit is also a great place to keep any items you’ll need to take with you (such as large pieces of luggage or winter clothes) until you’re ready to head out on your international adventure.

Tip: If you need a place to keep all the souvenirs and gifts that you bought for family and friends, you can stow them in a storage unit until you see your loved ones next.


2. During the School Year

If you don’t have room to bring all of your belongings to your college dorm but need to use them during the school year, consider keeping excess items in a self-storage unit near campus. This gives you easy access to all of your things when you’re ready to swap out some of your seasonal clothes, books or other items for other options.

Keeping your belongings in a storage unit also gives you an extra layer of security and privacy, which can put your mind at ease if you’re living with people you don’t know well and want to ensure your prized possessions stay safe.

3. Through the Summer Break

Most colleges require students to remove all of their belongings from the dorms once the semester ends. If that’s the case for you, a storage unit is an ideal solution, allowing you to keep everything near campus instead of hauling it back home for a few months.

4. To Keep Seasonal Items

If you live in a state with all four seasons, you’ll likely need to swap out some of your clothes — and potentially some other belongings, like umbrellas and snow boots — depending on the time of year. Keeping these items in a storage unit ensures you’ll be able to access them as needed. A storage unit is also a great place to keep anything that you’ll need for seasonal hobbies, such as a kayak, surfboard or skies.

5. For Student Organizations or Clubs

If you’re in a club or student organization and want to help with some of the leadership responsibilities, you might need a place to store banners, tables and other supplies. If that’s the case, a self-storage unit is a great choice since you can access it at any time without adding clutter to your own space. And because both indoor and outdoor storage space is available, you can easily find one that meets your needs. Renting a storage unit can also be helpful for anything you need to complete projects for your major, such as film equipment or art supplies.

6. Before College Graduation

Graduating from college is an exciting time, but it can also be full of uncertainty. You may not know what job you’re going to get or where you’ll be moving after you receive your diploma. Keeping some of your possessions in self storage while you solidify details can take some of the pressure off of immediately figuring out your next steps. Because you can rent a storage unit on a month-to-month basis, you can keep your items there as long as you need without having to commit to a year-long lease if you end up moving sooner. This keeps you from spending unnecessary money on storage once you’re ready to pack up and move into your new place.

2. What Are the Benefits of Self Storage for College Students?

Renting a self-storage unit can be a convenient and flexible way for you to store your belongings, regardless of the time of year. Here are some of the benefits of using self storage:

  • Month-to-month terms. Life as a college student can be unpredictable, and committing to a year-long contract isn’t practical for many students. SmartStop offers storage units on a month-to-month basis so you can make use of self storage only when you need it.
  • Easy access to your unit. Many students have a busy schedule during the week and don’t have time to head to their storage unit during traditional business hours. Our facilities offer extended gate hours so you can access your belongings in the early morning or late at night, whenever is convenient for you. Be sure to check the gate hours of the facilities closest to you and choose the one that works best with your schedule.
  • Unit sizes to suit your needs. At most of our facilities, SmartStop offers up to eight different unit sizes to accommodate a wide range of budgets and belongings. This includes units as small as 5’ x 5’ (perfect for a hall closet’s worth of items) and 10’ x 20’ (great if you want to split a storage unit with your roommate and store an entire apartment’s worth of belongings for the summer). You can use our size guide to see what kind of unit is best for you.
  • Moving supplies. Moving out of your dorm or apartment can be overwhelming, so it helps to have easy access to any supplies you may need in one convenient place. Many of our storage facilities offer boxes, bubble wrap, moving kits, locks and other supplies you may need, as well as dollies for easy loading and unloading.

3. How Can College Students Make the Most of Self Storage?

Regardless of what you need a self-storage unit for, it’s helpful to organize it for year-round access. When  summer is over and the back-to-school season is here, you can organize your unit in a way that makes it easy for you to find (and grab) specific items when you need them. Here are some tips:

Whether you need a storage unit for the next four years of college or just a few months, finding one near your college campus ensures you’ll be able to keep your excess belongings safe and easily accessible for the duration of your stay there. For more tips and details on self storage, check out our blog.

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