Apr

7

The Storage Story

Written by

This guy could use a blue bin

We all have stuff, and lots of it. By May 12th, that stuff has to be out of our current Columbia housing. So what are you going to do with it? Even if you’re staying in the city, there will be some items you would rather tuck away for the summer. The Housing Website has a few storage suggestions, but hardly a comprehensive list. So, Bwog presents a breakdown of the options for storing your crap this summer:

Hudson Storage

You probably recognize this storage company as the burly men in jumpsuits shooting boxes up and down ramps during move-in week, but they are actually Manhattan’s premier storage service.

As a well-established company that runs a massive operation, Hudson is definitely not the best bargain around. That said, if you’re looking for reliability regardless of the price tag, Hudson is the way to go.

Cost:

The main attraction is Student Storage Bins, 48″x28″x24″ boxes (roughly the size of a blue bin), running $185 each. This price includes storage from May 1st through September 6th. Though you can put as much stuff as you want in the bin, it must be able to close and seal. One of these probably won’t fit everything, but two just might.

For those desiring a little more privacy, Hudson will also store your junk in a 5’x5’x5′ personal room for $187.50 per month (that will be about $600 for the whole summer, including tax).

Convenience:

Pick ups can be scheduled starting May 1st, and are made curbside (in front of your dorm).

Hudson provides complimentary curbside drop off (in front of your dorm) of Student Storage Bins Monday through Friday, excluding Labor Day; they will deliver the contents of private rooms on September 4, 5, and 6.

Security:

Hudson will handle your shit with love and affection. And maybe a few jostles. Storage is in an ADT secured fireproof warehouse.

Extras:

You can access your stuff Monday through Friday during regular business hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) by appointment.

Off Campus Storage

Will not be servicing the Columbia community this year.

Protip: click that link from any CUIT network connection to see the announcement.

Dorm2Dorm

Dorm2Dorm is an extremely professional-looking startup founded by two University of San Diego graduates with the goal of providing convenient, respectful door-to-door storage service. Also, they have a really pretty website. The professionalism and lower total cost of Dorm2Dorm provides a compromise between Hudson and some of the less legit-seeming companies below.

Cost:

Dorm2Dorm charges a flat rate per item per month, as well as the cost of storage supplies. While a full breakdown of storage prices can be found here, the company also provides several “model” situations to give a rough estimate of the total cost, all of which come in at about $100/month. Costs of packing supplies are available here, and are about the same as other companies. They also encourage you to order extra supplies, as they will not charge for any unused supplies returned at the time of pickup.

Optional insurance comes in at roughly $2/month/$100 insured.

Many additional services are subject to an extensive fee schedule.

Convenience:

While Housing has said that they will not allow storage companies to enter dorms for security reasons, Dorm2Dorm makes a personal appointment (in a two hour timeframe) to have one of their representatives meet you at the building and get your stuff securely in the company’s hands.

Security:

The way that Dorm2Dorm (and most of the other companies on this list) is able to make their service affordable is by renting large units that get more square-footage per dollar and then storing many customer’s boxes in a single space. While this might not be the most secure situation imaginable, any of the “per-box” storage companies operate on the same principle, and insurance is always an option for valuables.

Extras:

Unlike the other companies, Dorm2Dorm offers an “Elite” program, which features private, climate controlled storage rooms and many other probably unnecessary features for $19/month. They also allow reasonable access with a day’s notice, should you need it, though with an attached fee (see above).

Campus Storage

Not to be confused with Off Campus Storage, this ambitious startup shares much with Dorm2Dorm at about the same prices. The storage service is a minimum three month contract, with the final month prorated.

Cost:

Breaking it down, Campus Storage charges a bit less for supplies, but a bit more per item per month, so expect to pay about the same as you would with Dorm2Dorm, about $100/month. Insurance is cheaper, at $1/per $100 insured.

Convenience:

Same deal as Dorm2Dorm, Campus Storage will not be allowed to come to your room, but will make an appointment to have you hand off your packed boxes and any miscellaneous items outside the residence hall.

Security:

Climate-controlled, secure storage facilities in and around the city, same operating principle as Dorm2Dorm.

Extras:

Campus Storage will deliver your stuff to you at any point in the middle of the summer, but at the cost of additional labor. The contract is also a minimum of three months, so you will still have to pay for any remaining time, even if they are not actually storing anything.

CollegeBoxes

A subsidiary of U-Haul, the familiar truck rental and moving supply company, CollegeBoxes provides a mildly more corporate experience than the two startups at about the same price.

Cost:

Full breakdown available here, with prices listed per item per semester. The standard storage kit that CollegeBoxes provides upon registration costs $39.99 and includes 5 boxes plus all the supplies you need to pack them. Whether you use all the boxes or not, the $39.99 is non-refundable.

Prices include $100 of insured value, with extra insurance at a rate of $3/month.

Convenience:

Using a more sophisticated (read: automated) registration process, CollegeBoxes requires you to print labels for your boxes from an online system. Also, their pickup windows are generally much larger than Dorm2Dorm or Campus Storage, about 4 hours.

Security:

Though the incident occurred four years ago, CollegeBoxes does not have a perfect track record for reliability. The company has since been acquired by U-Haul, and seems to have cleaned up its act. However, they will likely be shipping your stuff cross-country to cheaper storage facilities, while Campus Storage, Dorm2Dorm and Hudson store in local warehouses.

Extras:

Supporting a multinational real-estate conglomerate!

Neighborhood Storage Facilities

If you’re set on schlepping your stuff down Broadway in blue bins, there are several local storage unit warehouses including One Stop and Manhattan Mini Storage.

Cost:

Varies. Expect $200+/month for a 5’x5′ unit. Could be split with friends.

Convenience:

None at all. Unless you consider tearing around corners with your blue bin full of valuables a convenience.

Security:

You’ll be the only person other than the staff with a key to your unit; about as secure as you’re going to get, provided the island of Manhattan doesn’t go underwater in the next 3 months.

Extras:

Racing blue bins down Broadway after finals is about as much fun as you’re going to have this summer. Also, access whenever you want.

Box Balancing via Wikimedia Commons

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10 Comments

  1. MMS  

    I've done Manhattan Mini Storage twice, and I've paid between $66 and $96 a month for the smallest unit (4' x 4' x 4' I believe). Definitely not $200+ unless you plan on splitting 3-4 ways or something. That said, the distance is pretty inconvenient, but moving it back and forth once isn't too bad (they do also offer a complimentary move via their van though it's annoying to book).

    Also free water bottle when you visit the facility to quench your thirst from running down to 107th.

    • Anonymous  

      If you sign up for their newsletter, they run sales every once in a while. I've gotten a 4x4x4 for under $50/month in a past summer.Might be too late now though as prices go up as semester comes to an end.

  2. Anonymous

    I tried Campus Storage... they never answer their phones... so it's hard to get in touch with them. They were over 3 hours late for my pickup scheduled time frame. I wouldn't recommend trying them.

    • Melissa

      I tried Campus Storage and the service was great. There customer service department is very accommodating. They answer emails very quickly during normal business hours and were on time with pretty much everything.

      The anonymous tip above must have been mistaking them for "off campus storage" who no longer operate.....

  3. Anonymous  

    Very useful, thanks for posting this Bwog!

  4. Anonymous

    Dorm2Dorm guys are a ton of fun to hang out with and talk to, but I wouldn't recommend them based on their service. They ruined a ton of my stuff last year and were 6 hours late to drop off, even though I had the Elite service and paid for insurance. Also, rooms are not temperature-controlled. All candles I had packed had melted to one side, and photos/papers all came back stuck together. Wouldn't recommend them.

  5. Anonymous  

    Tuck it away storage is actually the best option, and it's not on this list. It's affordable, close by (you can use blue bins) and the staff is friendly and helpful. I think you also get a free pick up when you first rent the unit.

  6. Hudson is Horrible  

    I used Hudson last year and I have to say they were completely unreliable and inconvenient.
    They lost my paper work, claimed I hadn't paid (when I had), and the guys working the truck were late picking up.
    The fall getting my box back was worse, as they don't deliver during move-in days, so on the first day of school be prepared to wait for hours for them to show up while you are also trying to get to your classes. They cancelled and rearranged my pickup time (after I had already been waiting in the rain for them to show) and when I finally got my box they didn't want to give me a dolly to move it with. I don't know how else they expected me to move it myself, but eventually they gave me a dolly on the condition that I hurry.
    I don't recommend them, and I'm so pissed Off Campus won't be available.

  7. Collegeboxes

    To: bwog.com
    From: Collegeboxes.com

    Regarding: "However, they will likely be shipping your stuff cross-country to cheaper storage facilities, while Campus Storage, Dorm2Dorm and Hudson store in local warehouses."

    Great article! One correction regarding the statement quoted above. Collegeboxes ONLY stores using local facilities. We never ship your stuff to "cheaper storage facilities".

    Below is where we store all the items from Columbia customers.

    U-Haul Moving & Storage At Grand Concourse
    383 Grand Concourse
    Bronx, NY 10451

  8. Alex

    Tuck-it-away is the place to go. Cheap and relatively painless. If you get a 5x5 and split it among 3-5 friends, it's even better...I had all my stuff stored for a summer for $65 one year.

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