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A Guide for Student Self Storage

Adele MacGregor

Written by Reviewed by Dave Sayce

12th Jan 2022 (Last updated on 19th Jan 2022) 8 minute read

Whether you’re storing items for the summer break or utilising a storage unit during a study year abroad, self-storage can be a huge help to students, especially those studying far away from home.

Student storage has grown in popularity across the country and there are a number of benefits for current students. From reducing stress between accommodation moves to giving you extra space, utilising a storage unit can be a huge help whilst studying.

At Compare My Move, we work with storage, home removals and property experts to bring you everything you need to know about hiring and making the most of self-storage. In this article, we look at why self-storage is useful for students, what you can and cannot store and how to find the best storage options near you.

This article will cover the following:
  1. Why Use Self Storage as a Student?
  2. International Student Storage
  3. What Size Storage Unit is Best for a Student?
  4. How Much Does It Cost
  5. The Do’s and Don’ts of Using a Storage Unit
  6. Making the Most of Your Storage Unit
  7. How to Find Student Self-Storage

Why Use Self Storage as a Student?

Storage units can be useful for international students, UK students studying abroad or for students who have moved out of a parents/guardians home and do not have room for their belongings in student accommodation.

For some, long-term storage is the way forward but for many students, short-term rental options are ideal during term holidays. Universities with accommodation and landlords renting to students may require tenants to move out during holidays, especially the summer break. Rather than transport your items home and then back again when the new term starts, many students opt for local self-storage to store their belongings during the summer, and sometimes winter, months.

Additionally, if your University course includes studying abroad, you may want to store your belongings for the duration of your programme.

What to Consider Before Using Self-Storage

There are a few things to consider before hiring a storage unit to make sure you are making the most of the unit, especially on a student budget. This includes being aware of the cost and what you can and cannot store.

We have looked into these factors within this article already, but as an overview, here are a few things to consider before picking out a unit:

  • Size of unit you need
  • Length of time you want to rent it for
  • Whether you need a specialised unit such as climate-controlled storage
  • Being aware of what can and cannot be stored
  • How much it costs and what is included in the price

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International Student Storage

Self-storage can be essential for international students. Between terms and accommodation moves, transporting items home can not only be arduous but, in some cases, it may not be an option at all.

Without a place to keep belongings, summer holidays and finding new accommodation can be a stressful time for those who do not have family or a fixed address in the UK. Self-storage allows these students to keep their belongings in storage between terms, during moves and when they want to travel in and around the country they have chosen to study in.

What Size Storage Unit is Best for a Student?

This will entirely depend on the number of belongings you own and want to store, but many students will have most of their belongings in one room in a house share, with a few items in communal areas. With this in mind, a unit bit enough for the content of one or two rooms should more than suffice.

However, if you have more than the average student, or you own the majority of the furniture in the property, you may want to consider a bigger unit. You can discuss your options with storage companies who can advise you on the best unit size for your needs.

To learn more, read our guide on storage unit sizes.

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How Much Does It Cost

Self-storage costs will vary across the UK, with premium areas and large cities like London typically costing more than areas such in the North of England, for example. Additional factors to consider when looking at costs is the size of the unit, the length of time you rent it for and potentially the level of security required.

The average cost of storage in the UK is currently £23.94 per sqft according to the UK annual industry report from the Self-Storage Associate (SSA). As we’ve mentioned, areas like London are more expensive at £33.06 per sqft, with Wales and the West Midland being the cheapest in the country.

Costs will also vary from company to company, so ensure you obtain and compare costs before committing to a unit. Many companies may offer student discounts or a specialised student service at a discounted rate, so be sure to explore your options with companies before committing to a unit.

What is Included?

What is included in the cost of the self-storage unit will vary from company to company and you should be clear on what is included before agreeing to the terms of renting the unit. If you don’t, you could face extra costs further down the line if you want extra security or a specialised unit.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Using a Storage Unit

When you rent a storage unit, there will be guidelines on what you can store inside it and use it for, and what you cannot do or store. For example, you cannot set it up as an office or use it as somewhere to stay. Below we take a look in more detail about what you can and cannot store in your self-storage unit:

What You Can Use Your Student Storage For

Your storage unit can be used to store any items you do not need at term time or need to store during the holidays and between accommodation moves. Providing the items are not illegal and are approved by the company, you can store the majority of your belongings in these units.

You agree on the length of time they are stored there with the company and you must vacate your items when the lease on the unit is up unless you choose to renew it.

What Not to Put in Your Storage Unit

Each company will have their own rules and regulations but across the board, the items below are generally not accepted. Some of these may seem like common sense but storage companies will have strict regulations about particular items and you could be in trouble with the law for storing certain items, such as stolen goods, weapons or illegal items.

  • Weapons
  • Food and perishable goods
  • Flammable and combustible materials
  • Radioactive and toxic materials
  • Stolen Items
  • Legal Goods
  • Chemical
  • Animals
  • Yourself - companies have strict rules on residing in storage units

Be aware that if you are using a removal company to transport your items to your unit, many removal companies will also have their own restrictions when it comes to non-allowable removal items.

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Making the Most of Your Storage Unit

When paying for a storage unit, you’ll want to make sure you get the most out of the space you have available, getting the most of your money whilst ensuring your items are stored and packed safely.

Below we’ve included some of our top tips to making the most of your storage unit:

Declutter Beforehand

We recommend decluttering prior to moving house and this can also be applied when preparing for self-storage. Organising and donating or selling belongings rather than putting them into storage not only helps when it comes to emptying and unpacking the unit, but it can also save you money. By storing only what you really want (or need) to own, you ensure you are not paying for space used up by items that will be disposed of once you retrieve your belongings.

Unit Size

Knowing how much room you have in your unit is essential to making the most of self-storage. Not only does this ensure you have room for all your belongings, but it also means you can plan how you pack the unit so everything can fit in safely so that it will not be hazardous when entering the unit and avoid damage to your items.


If you are renting storage long-term, for a study abroad or placement year, for example, you will want to consider changes in temperature across that period and also how your items will fare whilst in storage.

Many items will benefit from being stored in plastic, air-tight containers to protect them from the elements. If you have particularly fragile or valuable belongings or items that are especially vulnerable to extreme or fluctuating temperatures, you may want to consider climate-controlled self-storage options.

Keeping an Inventory

Creating an inventory allows you to keep track of the items you have stored, minimising the risk of losing items, especially if you are regularly using storage between university years and holidays.

Organising and Labeling

As with keeping an inventory, labelling items is another way to minimise misplaced belongings and also helps you get to what you need quickly.

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How to Find Student Self-Storage

At Compare My Move, we have a large network of reliable removal and storage companies across the country who can offer storage options to suit your needs.

Storage companies will often offer a specialised student storage service, so always ensure you ask about the options available when discussing your storage needs with a company.

We can match you with up to 6 local, verified and fully insured removal firms, many of which have storage options or connections with reputable storage companies. Furthermore, our removal partners can get your items to and from your storage unit safely, ensuring your items are protected every step of the way.

Adele MacGregor

Having written for PerformanceIN, WalesOnline, Grazia Magazine and The Olive Press, Adele now writes advice articles for home movers, first-time buyers and house sellers alike.

Dave Sayce

Reviewed by Dave Sayce

Owner & Managing Director, Compare My Move

Dave Sayce is the owner and managing director of Compare My Move and has over 10 years of experience in the house removals industry.