Self storage on a budget
When you're at university, you'll probably move house more often than you'll eat hot dinners. Self storage for students is a great way to keep your things safe when between houses!
When summer approaches and you have to move house (again!), it can be a real pain to have to bring all your stuff home for a few months if you haven't worked out where you'll be living next term yet.
Whether you need somewhere to keep your belongings safe for a few nights, or for the whole summer, self storage is a pretty straightforward option that guarantees your stuff will be kept safe.
So how do you go about getting yourself some of this storage unit stuff? And how much does it cost? We have all the info you need, as well as the best and cheapest self storage companies to go for!
What’s on this page?
Do you need self storage?
Policies on moving out during the summer do differ from place to place, and as we warn in our tenancy agreement checklist, some landlords have rules against storing items over summer – even if you're paying rent. Be sure to check your contract and know your rights as a tenant!
Even if you're lucky enough to get a place in uni halls for a second year, you'll probably be required to move your things out before your new tenancy agreement begins.
Self storage is also the most hassle-free option for storing your belongings safely if you're lucky enough to be spending a semester of your degree living abroad.
Packing up and taking everything home with you over summer is obviously an option, but depending on how much stuff you actually have, it can be easier to just store most of it in a storage container.
And, of course, if you're an international student, self storage will practically be a necessity. It's a waste of time (and money) to move everything back home for a couple of months, only to have to bring it back come September. So self storage is the best option if you won't be in the country for a couple of months!
How much do storage units cost?
It's hard to say for sure how much storage units cost because, as with most things, the prices will differ depending on what you're after and whereabouts you are in the country.
That said, most self storage companies will let you search for a quote on their website, meaning you can establish the cheapest prices before committing to a unit.
As a quick guide, we've compiled prices for both a larger and smaller storage unit – or in the case of Lovespace, both eight and 15 boxes, as their costs are based on how many boxes you store, rather than how many square feet you hire.
While this does mean that you only pay for the storage you need, it does make it harder to estimate how much you'll be paying until you know how many boxes you have. Note that the price per box per week will decrease as the number of boxes increases.
Lovespace do accept larger items such as beds and wardrobes, but you must request storage of these individually.
As for location, we've gone for the closest facilities to the centre of Manchester – partly because it's the birthplace of Save the Student, but mostly because it should give you an indication of what you can expect to pay in a city (minus the London premium).
How much does self storage cost?
|Storage company||Cost of large* storage for 8 weeks||Cost of small** storage for 8 weeks||Other costs|
|Big Yellow (Stockport)||£181.80||£79.20||Padlock, insurance, transport|
|Safestore (Manchester Central)||£126||£90||Padlock, insurance, transport|
|Lovespace||£82.50||£67.20||Lovespace picks up your boxes free of charge, and returns them from £5.95 per box. You will need to pay for insurance|
*a 50 sq ft unit, or in the case of Lovespace, 15 boxes
**a 25 sq ft unit, or in the case of Lovespace, eight boxes
Remember that these costs are just quotes for two very specific scenarios, and you'll no doubt pay a different amount based on your location, how much you're storing, and how long you're storing for. Always check each company's website for details of any extra costs you may entail.
How to get cheap self storage
Self storage can be expensive, so – as always – it's a good idea to shop around before making any commitments.
Here are a few top tips we've picked up over many, many years of moving from one house to the next and wangling discounts as we go!
- Use a self storage comparison site to find out what the cheapest option is – yep, there's even a site for it!
- If you can, opt for a storage centre as close to where you're moving to as possible so you can keep petrol prices down
- Ask the storage company if they offer a free van for the move, or even better, a van and a driver to help carry boxes! This is fairly common practice, so be sure to ask
- When making your booking, ask for an upper-level storage container as these tend to be cheaper
- Ask if they offer any discounts for students. Companies like Big Yellow and Safestore offer as much as 50% off to students, so get your TOTUM/NUS Extra card out!
- Planning to use the space for longer than a few months? If you can confirm you'll be using the container for a longer period, you might be in with a chance of getting a discount of around 8–10%, so try your luck!
- Chance your arm – ask the storage company if they can throw in any moving boxes for free, and if you have no luck there, try asking at your local shop or supermarket if they have any spare boxes lying around. If you don't ask, you don't get!
- Think hard about how much space you'll need. Overestimate and you could be forking out for extra space that isn't used. Underestimate and you might need to get two containers!
- Try teaming up with a friend if you don't think you can justify the cost for just yourself. Sharing the price of a container is an ideal situation – 50% discount straight off the bat.
Best self storage companies for students
There are loads of self storage companies out there, including heaps of smaller local companies that might be worth checking out (we'll leave that part to you).
However, as far as larger companies go, these are the best of the bunch (in no particular order):
Big Yellow Self Storage
One of the biggest and most secure companies out there, Big Yellow is also a really convenient option for students.
Not only do they offer £50 to go towards van hire, but they also offer up to 50% discount for students for the first eight weeks of storage.
They have the choice of either big lockers with a key and PIN code or larger units that will be big enough to store furniture too if necessary.
However, you do need to give them seven days notice before you clear out your unit.
Big Yellow's main competitor is Safestore. There are so many Safestore units across the UK that you're unlike to find yourself much more than a short drive from a branch wherever you are in the country.
Safestore offers a 50% student discount on the first eight weeks of unit rental, as well as 20% off packing facilities like cardboard boxes and bubble wrap, provided you have a valid TOTUM/NUS Extra card.
The deals they offer with transport and discounts for longer periods differ from case to case, so they recommend you get in touch with a member of staff to find out more details. Don't forget to haggle!
Lovespace is a new self storage startup that's ideal for students with lots of little things to pack away in boxes over summer.
With Lovespace, you simply pack up the cardboard boxes they send and a driver will come and collect them all from you.
Unfortunately, Lovespace doesn't allow you to store larger pieces of furniture at all of its locations, but they will take things like mirrors provided they're bubble wrapped (and you let them know in advance). Enquire within!
The best thing about this service is that rather than paying for a whole storage unit, you can just pay for the number of boxes you actually need to store. This means prices can start from as low as 55p per box per month!
Also, you can arrange for the driver to then deliver your stuff at a later date anywhere on mainland UK, so no worries if you've not worked out where you'll be living next term yet. And you won't have to lift a single box yourself!