With more Chicago homeowners having to downsize due to the economy, space is tighter than ever.
You can rent a storage space — some of them offer the first month for basically free — or you can check out this new alternative.
It’s called Storage by the Box, and it’s the only ship-and-store, by-the-box public storage option in the country.
Basically, you pack up your stuff in their box and ship it for free to a safe, climate-controlled, state-of-the-art storage warehouse.
When you need your stuff, you go online and request your items be shipped back to you, and they are.
“Lack of storage space is a real problem for a lot of people, especially urban residents living in small apartments,” said Phil Murphy, founder and CEO of Storage by the Box. “Renting a public storage unit can be expensive, especially if you don’t have enough stuff to fill it. You could end up paying for way more space than you need. And, if you live in an urban area without a car, getting your stuff to and from the unit can be a nightmare.”
After you sign up for Storage by the Box, the company will provide to you free double-walled shipping boxes, packing materials and FedEx shipping labels. You can even use your own boxes and their shipping labels.
Shipping of all items is free, but customers do pay extra for return shipping when they want their items back, though the company offers discounted rates through FedEx.
There’s same-day shipping of your retrieved boxes if you ask for them before 3 p.m., and $1 per box provides you with a protection plan that covers most items.
“The service is ideal for storing sports gear like golf clubs and skis,” Murphy said. “These awkward items not only take up a lot of space, but can be very expensive to ship to vacation destinations. With Storage by the Box, you can keep the clubs or skis in storage and have them sent directly to the hotel or resort. When you’re ready to head back home, just use the pre-paid label and send the gear straight back to storage. It can’t get much more hassle-free.”
In this economy, I don’t know many people who are vacationing, but it’s still an interesting idea.
Storage by the Box claims it can save customers up to 70 percent over the rental cost of a traditional public storage facility. To see for yourself, check out their cost-comparison tool at www.storagebythebox.com.