The true cost of storage for college students

Trying to help a college student move out of the dorms when they’re hundreds of miles from home can be a huge headache for parents. Just ask any parent who has done it.

Travis Henry’s daughter went to school at Scripps University in California, a solid 1,000 miles away from the family’s home in Colorado. When it came time for her to pack up and move home for the summer, logistics were always a nightmare.

“She had to attempt to rent a storage unit, rent a truck and enlist some help moving her belongings, all at the same time every other college student was doing the same,” says Henry, vice president of marketing and communications for Closetbox.

He remembered another semester when he drove out to California in his daughter’s car, helped her unload her storage unit and flew back home the same day — talk about exhausting. Not to mention, summer move-out happens while students are trying to study for finals, say goodbye to their friends and line up summer internship or travel plans.

“Some of those cross-country trips were the best father-daughter experiences we had together. I just wished we didn’t have to deal with storage when we got to California!,” Henry said.  “It would have been nice to have a little more quality time with her in her college town.”

Girl studying at laptop

Closetbox, a concierge storage service with teams in Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and dozens of other cities, can make your life easier when summer break rolls around. On top of that, you’ll actually save money because you’re not having to pay crazy fees for a flight, a hotel room, a moving truck, movers and many other costs.

While on the surface it may seem cheaper to let your college student go the DIY route, we crunched the numbers to show some of the hidden costs of self-storage.

Girl reading

“Knowing now the costs associated with doing it yourself, I can safely say Closetbox is a bargain,” Henry says.

Here’s how Closetbox works: When your student is ready to move out of the dorms, a team of professionals will arrive at her door and load all those heavy boxes of books into a truck. They’ll transport her belongings to a private vault, where they’ll remain safely secured for the duration of the summer. When August rolls around, the Closetbox team will deliver her belongings right to her door. It’s painless and so much less stressful than having her do it herself (or flying in to help).

Bear in box

Here’s how Closetbox stacks up against a self-storage unit:

Storage Unit Rental

Traditional self storage:
Average monthly rent on a basic 10-foot by 10-foot unit: Starting at $165 per month, no matter how much space you use in the unit.

With self-storage, you’re paying for dead space. Air. Nothingness. No matter how full your unit is, you’ve still got to fork over the same amount.

Closetbox:
Monthly rent on a 10-foot by 10-foot unit: $172 per month, but probably less. 

Closetbox only charges you for what you store, so if you actually only fill 60 percent of the space, the price comes down, too. You don’t have to pay for wasted space.

Flight

Traditional self storage: 
$300 to $800.

It’s not just one roundtrip flight – it’s technically two, since you’ll be flying out in May to help your student move her belongings into a storage unit and again in August to help her move back into the dorms. Keep in mind that summer is peak travel season, which may cause the cost of your flight to skyrocket!

Closetbox:
$0. 

Airplane in sky

Hotel room

Traditional self storage: 
$450 to $650.

Once again, you’ll need to count this expense twice since you’ll really be making two trips to your student’s college town. Oh, and of course, since every other parent also needs somewhere to stay at the same time, even a mediocre hotel room is going to cost a fortune. Good luck!

Closetbox:
$0. 

Meals

Traditional self storage: 
$200.

Because no self-respecting adult would sneak into the cafeteria and use their daughter’s meal plan. Plus, you will likely need a glass of wine (or something stronger) after you spend all day sweating and grunting as you move your daughter’s belongings into storage.

Closetbox:
$0. 

Rental car

Traditional self storage: 
$200, plus gas.

Lots of college students don’t have cars on campus, either because they’re not allowed to or because parking is prohibitively expensive. You know what that means? You’ll need to rent a car each time you visit because, let’s face it, you can’t drive the moving truck everywhere.

Closetbox:
$0. 

Moving truck

Traditional self storage:
$250, if you get a good deal.

Remember: You’ve got to rent the truck twice. Once to move your student’s belongings into storage, and once to take them out of storage. You might want to throw another $100 on here for accidentally rolling over your kid’s macro economics textbook.

Closetbox:
Currently, we are offering free pickup when you store for at least 12 months ($350 value!). Or, pay just $99 for a pickup for five months or more.

Return fee: Whenever you’re ready for Closetbox to return your items, you’ll pay a flat return fee that’s dependent on your storage term. More importantly? You’re saving valuable time that you can now spend with your college student, instead of griping at each other during summer move-out.

Moving truck insurance

Traditional self storage:
$20. Two insurance charges for two trips.

Closetbox:
$0

Labor

Traditional self storage: 
$400 for movers.

If your college student simply can’t move all of her belongings on her own, you’re going to have to hire some movers to help her — and they don’t come cheap.

Even if you don’t hire movers, go ahead and tack on that extra $400 anyway for your own time, which, let’s be honest, is actually priceless. Don’t forget to add a bill from your physical therapist because you threw out your back trying to pick up a box of textbooks.

Closetbox:
For typical pickups, you pay $0 for two licensed, bonded and insured professional storage movers. 

Work boots

Insurance

Traditional self storage:
$11 to $15 a month. Unlike with Closetbox, self-storage companies require insurance so you’ve got no choice but to pay up.

Closetbox:
$10 a month, though it’s optional because with Closetbox you get a limited level of coverage at no extra cost.

Unlike self-storage, Closetbox doesn’t require insurance for you to store your belongings in a private vault. You’re already provided with Closetbox Cares Coverage, which includes up to $200 worth of coverage a no cost. If you want additional peace of mind, you can purchase extra insurance.



Paper with calculator

Moving dolly 

Traditional self storage:
$20 rental. You’ll need it twice. Starting to see a pattern here?

Closetbox:
$0

Administrative fee

Traditional self storage:
$25 a month. Wait, what is this even for?

Closetbox:
$0

Dollar bills

Lock

Traditional self storage:
$20. Don’t forget the fact that you’ll need to buy a lock for your self-storage unit.

Closetbox:
$0.

Lock with key
The choice is easy. Ready to use Closetbox? Schedule your pickup today.

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