Story of storing

Bloomington has enough options to fit every student’s moving needs.

When students need to leave town, they’re stuck with a dilemma: what to do with all that stuff.

While some students decide to haul their stuff home, many will opt to stash their belongings in one of the available storage facilities in Bloomington. Julie Aton, secretary and treasurer of the Indiana Self Storage Association, a non-profit trade organization, shared some tips for students looking to rent a storage unit.

Don’t just choose the closest storage facility

Most people select the closest facility for the sake of convenience, but Aton said for summer storage, that might not be the best choice.

“It would be important for someone who would be making frequent trips to the storage unit,” she said, adding most students renting a storage space make only a few trips between their dorm or apartment and the storage facility.

Visit the facility beforehand

“A visit to the storage facility should assure the facility is clean and well-maintained,” Aton said. “The staff should be professional, courteous and accessible. Ideally, you should look for a facility that is fully-fenced with a computerized access gate and surveillance cameras and is well-lit.”

Aton said it’s helpful to see the actual storage units beforehand, too.

Potential renters should ask about pest control, gate access hours, payment options and office hours, Aton said, adding it’s also helpful to check online reviews.

Take extra measures to protect your belongings

Most storage facilities offer both climate-controlled and non-climate-controlled storage units.

“For summer storage, you may prefer temperature-controlled storage, especially if you are storing electronics and nice furniture,” Aton said.

However, if temperature-controlled spaces aren’t available, there are steps students can take to protect their belongings from the heat and humidity. 

Aton recommended purchasing a chemical moisture absorber, such as DampRid or Dri-Z-Air, for storage units without air conditioning. She said placing a tarp or wooden pallets on the unit’s concrete floor can further protect belongings.

“It is important that the items you store are dry, clean and protected,” Aton said. “You can also further protect your items by covering them with plastic.”

Save some money

Aton said students should look for special discounts for student storage.

“You may also be able to negotiate a discount if you pay the full amount in advance,” she said.

Storage rental companies will often ask whether your belongings are insured. 

Some will offer insurance, but students can also check with their current insurance providers to see if they can cover the items going into storage.

Lock up your stuff

Most facilities require renters to provide their own locks, though many will sell locks at the facility, Aton said. She suggested a high-quality, maximum-security lock, such as a disc lock.

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