College Students: What Will You Do With Your Stuff?

By    May 6, 2013

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Let’s face it: The last thing you want to think about when you’re flooded with end-of-the-year finals, essays and tutorials is what you’re going to do with your stuff over the summer. You might be studying abroad, signing a new lease or even going back home to live with your parents, but the question still remains: Where can you store your stuff? Don’t stress out, collegiate masses: Here are some options to consider while you still have the time and energy left to think.

Self-Storage

All bias aside, self-storage is a great option for the college crowd. Rather than filling up your childhood bedroom-turned-gym at your parents’ house with all of your college furniture, take advantage of the deals and promotions that storage facilities offer for short-term stays. Use SpareFoot to research storage unit prices and discounts–many facilities also offer trucks and equipment as part of the package. If you’ve never used storage before, check out this useful guide to self-storage for college students.

To make the process even easier, SpareFoot recently rolled out the University Pages feature, which helps you find the storage facilities closest to your campus. (For example, check out The University of Texas at Austin’s page.)

Garage Sale

Hosting a garage sale is a great way to make some money and shed your furniture fat at the same time. If you don’t have the time or manpower to actually set up a garage sale, Craigslist is a great way to get a similar (if not greater) amount of exposure that a real garage sale would offer. You also won’t have to worry about delivery–most people will come to pick up the furniture themselves, and you may end up selling more of your furniture in bulk.

Be Creative

Shareable recently covered the growing phenomenon of students and schools finding a more sustainable outlet for unwanted furniture at the end of the school year. Rather than letting unwanted furniture and other items go into Dumpsters, some students organize collection and redistribution programs so furniture can be used by other students.

The unwanted-college-furniture conundrum certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed by society at large–several programs and initiatives are designed to help accelerate the process. For example, Keep America Beautiful has teamed up with Goodwill for the “Give and Go: Move Out 2013” collection program on five college campuses: Creighton University (Nebraska), Northern Illinois University, the University of Toledo (Ohio), Franklin College (Indiana) and Trinity University (Texas).

Additionally, many colleges provide sustainability programs that touch on the problem of too much unwanted furniture being thrown into Dumpsters during move-out season. Marymount Manhattan College in New York City launched “Drop & Go,” which lets students donate gently used items at the end of the school year. Many items end up furnishing student apartments over the summer, and the rest goes to thrift stores, shelters and food banks.

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“In all, we’ve cut our Dumpster needs by over 60 percent using this program,” said Chris Mosier, assistant director of residence Life at Marymount Manhattan. “Last year, our 500 students donated over 350 bags of clothing, 100 bags and boxes of household supplies and over 1,500 pounds of food, along with cleaning supplies, bathroom items and opened products that were distributed for reuse as well.”

Interested in starting your own recycling or sustainability program on campus? One of the problems that many students have cited in setting up their own programs is a lack of storage. Most have needed a large storage facility to hold collected items until fall, when returning students would be most interested in buying stuff for the new school year.

To circumvent the problem of too little storage space, try negotiating a deal for your project with local storage facilities. Additionally, get your university behind you–you may even score funding for your project. Sustainability is a growing concern for many college campuses, so your initiative and interest just might be shared by your school.

“Partner with local thrift or resale shops,” Chris said. “Much of what students get rid of is in great condition and would be excellent for their stores. See if they will pick up your donations or help package items.”

Storing at Friends’ and Parents’ Homes

We’re not knocking it–after all, SpareFoot started because our own Chuck had to store his stuff with friends. This is the ideal solution for those with friends who live in the same city as their school; it certainly is convenient. And it’s probably a good litmus test for how good a friend that person is: If you’re lucky enough to have someone willing to cart your gargoyle table home with him or her for the summer, you should hold onto that friend for dear life.

Images courtesy of mmm.edu and news.wsu.edu 

Jenny is part of the marketing team at SpareFoot. She currently lives in Austin, TX and likes sushi, Faulkner and Asian horror movies.

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