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Where Will They Put All Their Stuff?
Can you put it in storage? Oh, PLEEEASE can you put it in storage??
It’s that time between semesters when they want to bring EVERYTHING home for a few weeks or even the summer. You’re wondering: (a) how will I get it all back here and (b) where in the heck am I going store it all? Not earth-shattering questions, by any means, but certainly heavy ones. And I mean literally heavy. I remember my daughter’s freshman year. I drove up to get her and, by the time we had finished packing the car, there was barely enough room to squeeze our bodies into our seats. Not to mention, I had the feeling the whole drive home that the car was skimming the pavement, in true (if unintended) lowrider fashion. I wondered if her belongings had somehow multiplied over the previous 10 months.
Then the unloading began. We unloaded everything into the garage, sorting (as we Floridians do) what could stay in our hot garage for the summer and what needed to find space in the house. I’ll admit I was a bit flustered. Not quite panicking, mind you, but I did consider contracting with one of those professional organizers that comes to your home and teach you to purge.
The Storage Story
The next year, my load (and mind) lightened as we learned about storage facilities not far from campus. There are different kinds and one must consider which is best for what you want to store and for how long. There are also options that can be utilized outside the traditional commercial storage units. For example, the year that we were desperately trying to teach our daughter to budget (see our blogs about budgeting here, here and here), she not only had her apartment for storing her stuff, but allowed others to use her room for storage since she was not subletting. But for many students, that is not an option.
In the case of commercial storage facilities, you cut costs by looking further from campus and opting out of air conditioning. This means carefully identifying those items that can safely remain in the Florida heat unharmed for a few weeks to two months. And honestly, paying for the additional cost of climate control might be worth it to have everything stored in one place if it won’t be needed during that time. That’s something you should weigh as you’re considering your optimum storage solution. In our case, my daughter tightly secured bags filled with shoes and sweaters, boxed dishes and other kitchen items, wrapped a long mirror, and packed other heat-impervious items for storage.
HaveUHeard that something else to consider is the need for transportation to the unit to fill it? Right from the start, we set the rule that my daughter wasn’t to make that trip alone or after dark. Note that the offices at most storage facilities close at 5 or 6 pm, but access to your unit usually remains open — some into the evening, some 24 hours. When shopping, check those hours of availability and also be sure the facility you choose has working cameras. Sharing a storage unit, regardless of what features you opt for, is also a great idea. It cuts the cost in half and someone else always has a key. (Yes, keys get lost. Alas.)
Get a Move On
Begin early and think ahead when shopping for a storage unit. When you’ve made your selection, get the confirmation in writing. We’ve heard of students believing they have secured a unit well in advance, only to show up on moving day and be told the facility was sold out for months. My daughter was shut out of the closer-to-campus facilities just because she waited until the final two weeks of the semester to start shopping. This need for advance planning, along with the lower cost, is part of the reason we suggest looking for storage a bit further from campus. So begin the search and secure a unit as early as you can before the end of a semester. (Even a month or two is not unreasonable) .
Then have students slowly weed things out and even pack a box or bag or two. (As I’ve said more than once, a parent’s hope springs eternal.) At least ASK them to start. You can try playing it as a great study break to thoroughly clear their minds of biology, accounting, or literature. (That is NOT my laughter you hear in the background, I promise…)
But there was happier cooperation when I reminded my daughter and her roomie that we had carefully flattened the boxes we brought at move-in, and left them, the packing tape, and giant garbage bags hidden under their beds, along with the collapsible hand truck. (We told you that hand truck was a good investment!) It took the guesswork and busy work out of having to replace those items and adding that to their packing responsibilities.
Time vs. Money
As my muffled laughter foretold, some students have neither the time nor the inclination to do all this. Finals week is grueling. And there are alternatives. They may cost a little more, but value and worth is always about balance and weighing all the options. UF partners with On-Demand Storage, who deliver their boxes and packing materials to pre-marketed spots on campus approximately a week or so before scheduled pick up days. On-Demand then picks up the student’s packed-up stuff at their campus hall and stores it in their warehouse location. Come the next semester, they will deliver the stored belongings back to your students at their campus hall or off-campus apartments.
There are other companies that service UF, including DormRoommovers. They, too, will drop off boxes, pick them up after they are packed, store them, and then redeliver in the fall.
Another option is CollegeBoxes. CollegeBoxes charges for their supply kits or you may supply your own. You pack and label your belongings for either storage or shipping and they pick it up for free. This company aligns its services with the move-in and move-out dates on the school’s calendar.
As I mentioned in my daughter’s case, some students may have friends with apartments that will allow them to store a few of their items for the interval between semesters. The the cost factor for this can usually come in as your cheapest option, but please remember that you are then at the mercy of that friend and their schedule. If they intend to arrive at school after your student’s return date, things can get complicated, depending on what you have stored there or if they have a roommate who can give you access in their absence.
Find a Facility
For off-campus storage facilities, here are some to consider (and even share with a friend):
Affordable Self Storage – 1132 South Main St Gainesville, FL 32601. About 5 minutes from campus, with 24-hour access and security cameras. They offer a 5×5 temperature-controlled room for $80. ***These are the web rates. In person rentals may be more expensive.***
Archer Road Self Storage – 6505 SW Archer Rd. On Archer Rd., across from Beef O’ Brady’s. Both Standard and Air Conditioned units available.
Gainesville Self Storage Units – 1325 NW 53rd Avenue, Suite E, Gainesville, FL 32609 (15 min drive). 24/7 access with a range of options: 5×5, 5×10, Climate Controlled 8×11, 5×15,10×10, 10×15, Climate Controlled 10×15, 10×20, and 15×15 sizes. Call for pricing.
MakeSpace – Storage without the struggle! They pick up, haul, and store your stuff. Get $100 off your first month of storage!
Personal Mini Storage – 8825 NW 13th Street, Gainesville, FL 32653. Month-to-Month leases and units are available, as are boxes, moving supplies and U-Haul Truck Rentals. For rates, click on the link.
South West Self Storage – 3300 SW 42nd St. Behind Target, in the Butler Plaza area. Near UF campus. See their website at the link for their special offers and referral program.
StorQuest – Their newest facility is located at 2350 SW Archer Road, about 7 minutes from campus. It offers both traditional and climate-controlled units. Their other location, at 2160 NW 67th Pl, is two miles north of the Gainesville Country Club and two miles south of the University of Florida campus.
Store Space Self Storage – 3728 North Main St., Gainesville, FL 32609. Be sure to check the link for availability and specials. About a 15-minute drive from campus.
Trimark Air-Conditioned Mini Storage – 926 SW 2nd Ave, Gainesville, FL 32601. Air-conditioned storage units situated between the University of Florida campus and downtown Gainesville. A little pricier, but walking distance to campus with 24/7 access may be worth the extra cost.
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