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Where Will They Put All Their Stuff?
That time between semesters when they want to bring everything home for a few weeks or a summer and you are wondering a) how you will get it all there and b) where you are going to store it all. I remember my daughter’s freshman year, I went up to get her and when we finished packing the car with barely enough room for our bodies and the car feeling as though it was skimming the pavement, I wondered if her belongings seemed to multiply over the past 10 months. Then when we began unloading everything into the garage, sorting out what could stay in our hot garage for the summer and what needed to find space in the house, I became a bit flustered. Well, not panicky, but I did begin to dream of those people that come to your home and teach you to purge.
The next year, we happily learned about storage facilities not far from campus. There are different kinds and one must consider which is best for them. For instance, this year, the year that we are (desperately) trying to teach our daughter to budget (see our blogs about budgeting here, here and here), she not only had her apartment to store her stuff in, but allowed others to use her room for storage since she was not subletting. But for many students, that is not always the case.
Further from campus and no air conditioning cut the cost. This meant carefully identifying those items that could safely remain in the Florida heat unharmed for a few weeks. She tightly secured bags filled with shoes and sweaters, boxed dishes and other kitchen items, a long mirror and so on. Of course, she needed transportation to the unit to fill it – something else to consider – and we set the rule right from the start that she was not to go alone and after dark. (Note: Most storage facility offices close at 5 or 6 pm, but access to the unit remains open and be sure the facility you choose has working cameras.) Sharing a storage unit, regardless of whether you choose because of climate control or its vicinity; is also a great idea. It cuts the cost in half and someone else always has the key (yes, keys get lost.)
When shopping for a storage unit, begin early. Think ahead. Get the confirmation in writing. We have heard of students believing they have secured a unit well in advance and then showing up on moving day and told they were sold out for months. We got shut out of the closer units by waiting until just two weeks before the end of the semester, which was part of the reason to go a bit further from campus. Begin the search and secure a unit as early as you can (a month or two is not unreasonable) before the end of a semester. Then have student slowly weed things out and even pack a box or bag or two. Think of it as a great study break where you get to thoroughly clear your mind of biology, accounting or literature.
When we moved our kids in we carefully flattened the boxes we brought, left packing tape, giant garbage bags hidden under their beds and a collapsible hand truck for future use. They were thrilled when I reminded them they were there as it took the guesswork out of having to replace those items and add that to their packing responsibilities.
Some students just don’t have the time or inclination to do all this. Finals week can be grueling. There are alternatives that may cost a little more, but can be worth it too. For personal use, and then for the purposes of being able to share with you, UF partners with On Demand Storage which delivers their boxes and packing materials approximately a week or so before pick up to pre-marketed spots on campus and then pick up their stuff at their campus hall and store it in their warehouse location. They will deliver to your students on campus hall or off-campus apartment in the new semester.
There are other companies that service UF including DormRoommovers. They too will drop off boxes, pick them up and store them and then redeliver in the fall.
Another option is CollegeBoxes. College boxes charges for 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 depending on the dates corresponding with the school’s calendar.
Some students may have friends with apartments that will allow them to store a few of their items for the interval between semesters. This can be the greatest in regard to the cost factor but remember you are at the mercy of the friend and if they intend to arrive at school after your student’s return date, things can get complicated, depending on what you have stored there.
You may find a list of other storage facilities in Gainesville here.