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Heidy Lee / Gavel Media

The Sticky Summer Storage Industry

It’s a hell week of finals season. After the third sleepless night, you still have a stack of work lying in front of you as you pop open yet another energy drink. And then you realize the worst of it: you still have to pack and store away all your dorm possessions. 

While storage isn’t as complicated for those who live nearby and are able to pack everything into the trunk of a car to take home, the same cannot be said for those who live further away. As a result, finding a storage solution and packing everything creates added stress during a time when all focus should be directed toward schoolwork and finals. Though it is often ideal for parents to come and assist students with putting their things into storage, many parents are unable to take time off work or fly to Boston, and students are left to take apart heavy furniture on their own. 

In general, all storage options are incredibly expensive, especially in Boston. With so many college students in the area, storage facilities are able to charge incredibly high prices, knowing that students will have nowhere else to turn. For those who come from less well-off backgrounds, the extremely high storage costs present a major challenge. There are no resources available to curb the high cost of summer storage, leaving people paying hundreds to store a few possessions. Ironically, the worst part about this situation is that storage costs are typically more than the worth of the possessions themselves. 

One resource for students during move-out is BC Student Storage, run exclusively by Piece by Piece Movers, which is the only storage company allowed on campus. Due to this exclusive arrangement between the two, Piece by Piece is free to charge students whatever they want, since they know desperately stressed students will pay their fees regardless. For BC students without access to transportation to bring their items to a storage facility, most are left with no other options and are forced to resort to Piece by Piece and its exorbitant prices. Despite the seemingly trivial nature of summer storage, BC has hilariously created a mini-monopoly on the student summer storage industry in the most BC-like fashion possible. Taking into account winter clothes, pillows and bed sets, fridges, microwaves, televisions, and various other supplies, average storage costs soon start upwards of $300. Funny enough, Piece by Piece’s cheapest unofficial storage plan, which is a five medium box kit combined with the cost used to store these boxes, costs $250. However, looking at the dimensions of a medium box (18’x18’x18’), five of these boxes are insufficient to store all the possessions of a majority of students. 

In comparison, other Boston schools seem to do a much better job assisting their students with summer storage. Most schools do not restrict the number of storage services allowed to assist students with moving out. Vendors have competition so storage prices across the board are somewhat lower for students than here at BC. For instance, UPS is one such company that assists BU students with moving out. While storage prices are relatively similar between UPS and Piece by Piece, UPS gives out complimentary storage boxes to those using storage, while Piece by Piece does not, contributing to a lower overall price with UPS. This is just one of many examples of the better summer storage systems in place at other schools. 

If you are using BC Student Storage through Piece by Piece this summer, take note of some important tips. Piece by Piece charges approximately $45 to store one of their own designated cardboard boxes for the summer, and $55 for a non-Piece by Piece box. The boxes Piece by Piece offers come in specific dimensions, yet larger boxes exist. Therefore, it may make more sense to purchase a larger box from somewhere else and pay slightly more for a non-Piece by Piece box, yet also enjoy much more storage space. Furthermore, Piece by Piece packing materials can be bought cheaper elsewhere, so it may also make more sense to run to a local UPS or FedEx to purchase these materials. 

If you have access to a car, either your own or a friend’s, also keep in mind that it may make more sense to rent out nearby non-BC storage space. To minimize the strain on your wallet, you can even reach out to friends with whom you could potentially share a storage unit and split the cost. 

At the end of the day, it is important to remember that the best storage solution varies by person. If you have fewer things to store and only need to use a few boxes, Piece by Piece is the better option. On the other hand, if you have more to store and can get a group of friends together to share a space, renting out a storage unit instead makes more economical sense. If you are living off-campus next year, then Piece by Piece may not be available to you either, so you will have to use a storage unit. Regardless of the circumstances, be sure to formulate your storage plan early and start packing before you leave so that you are not overly distracted during finals. By doing so, you can eliminate worries about the safety of your belongings and set yourself up for a stress-free start to the summer.

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