Dear PoPville – Storage facilities / units advice?

Photo by flickr user GodzillaRockit

Dear PoPville,

My boyfriend and I are trying to buy a house sometime this spring/summer, but as my lease is up in two months, we will be combining our households into his one bedroom condo for 2-5 months. Much of my day to day belongings and valuables can come with me, but my furniture (couch, large chair, bookcases, double bed and frame, desk, dresser) and some larger storage boxes need to find a temporary home. What storage facilities do you or your readers recommend? I’ve heard delivery trucks (like UHaul) sometimes come discounted/free with a unit rental.

I am also interested in those portable PODS or PackRat units that get dropped off at your place, you fill them, and then they store them. Their websites show a variety of charges, and I can’t figure out how much it actually costs regarding initial delivery fees, same day pick up fees, redelivery fees. How does it work for those regarding residential street parking…can I just get an emergency no parking sign? Or a permit?

Any suggestions for facilities, one of the pod units, or even just dos/don’ts of using such units are welcome!

16 Comment

  • ah

    I was happy with Store to Door (now known as U-Box, which appears to be owned by U-Haul, which may not be a good thing). The rates were reasonable and the units were smaller–I think 5×8 feet, which was more in line with what I needed.

    Call the companies to ask about fees–there really aren’t too many charges: Pickup/dropoff and length of use.

    If you put it on the street, you need a permit. Go here:

  • I had a PODS deliver my apartment stuff to DC about 2 years ago from Florida, and I have to say their customer service was excellent, and the PODS was easy to use. They drop off the unit, you fill and and they take it away, either to storage, or wherever. It is on the expensive side, and the reason you can’t find any info on pricing is that it depends on the length of time and the distance. I suggest you call them with your specs. I’m sure the other storage type things operate similarly. It was a slight pain to get the street signs to block off space for the unit- and of course people will park in your spaces anyway. So if you plan to put it in the street, rather than say a parking lot, you’ll want to be vigilant about the space you “rent” from the city to park your unit. The trucks that drop them off require a lot of room. However, all in all I really recommend PODS.

    • I totally agree. We used PODS when we moved from Ohio to DC over a year ago and lived in the District before needing to unload the POD by 6 some months–they’ll store it for you in VA or MD. And they’ll give you a free quote but need to know all your travel needs. They charge an upfront fee once you sign that covers most of the costs minus the monthly fee–if you even need it. So once you’re set to move, you owe basically nothing at that stage. And yeah, you just need to contact DC about getting a no-parking permit(s) for your areas when moving: Good luck!

    • I second the thumbs up about PODS!!! My husband and I sold our condo on the Hill in January last year, and moved in with my folks in Fairfax until we moved into our new Hill place in May. We packed up the POD, it lived in storage for a few months (we could have visited it, but we didn’t end up needing anything from it while it was there), then came back to the Hill where we unpacked it. The trucks do need a good bit of room, but those drivers are AMAZING. The POD delivery is pretty awesome to watch. It wasn’t too hard to get the permits — just be sure to allow yourself about 2 weeks before your move to get it all settled. If you call the info line, they can give you a better idea of the total charges.

  • Emmaleigh504

    I have never used a pod, but if you are doing the packing/unpacking yourself, they might be more attractive than a storage unit since you only have to pack and unpack once.

    I have used a Uhaul storage unit in another city. It was perfectly adequate for the few items I stored.

  • The EZ Storage in Brentwood (4301 Rhode Island Ave.) is really safe, clean, great management.

  • I recommend DoorToDoor. Great customer service and I remember it being fairly reasonable. I found getting a no parking permit was quite easy, and the people on my street were nice enough to obey the sign. They look small but you’d be surprised how much stuff you can fit in there.

    • Agreed. PODS is overpriced and Uhaul will take any opportunity to screw you on fees that they possibly can. The one on Brentwood Rd has typical DC customer service.

      I used Door2Door for 2 cross country moves and never had a problem. You can also cut costs by picking up your stuff in small batches from their warehouse.

  • LW here – I forgot to include it in my email to PoP, but can anyone speak to my concerns about water damage and/or pests? I got a UHaul van once that had (dead) roaches in it and since then I’ve been wary about anything to do with moving/storage…

    Before I get criticized, I realize roaches especially are a reality in this city and I’ve dealt with them in my own otherwise nice apartment. I just want to know if its happened to anyone else that they found bugs in their storage units…

  • We have a small storage unit at the U-Haul across South Capitol Street from Nationals Park and, apart from a sometimes wonky elevator, never have had a problem. I think they gave us two months free, too, and I’m sure they’ll cut you a similar deal if you rent a truck from that location.

  • janie4

    I used Beltway Movers – I packed my own stuff, except for the kitchen, they stored it, and they delivered it when I moved into my place. Ran me $139 a month four years ago. However, you have no access to the stuff while stored. But I like them, and they’re a great moving company.

  • Had a similar situation and used the U-Haul at Rhode Island NE near the Home Depot. Pricing was reasonable and they people were good to work with. On the few occasions I was there it also seemed very secure.

    • Used the UHaul storage of RIA – people and unit were good – but access with a vehicle was often difficult with the comings and goings of the rental UHaul trucks.

  • We used U Store It (now it has a new name) in Petworth (corner of Upshur and Kansas.) Great experience. We slowly moved our things in our vehicle (easier space wise to pack and move out rather than doing a “big move”) on the way out, then had movers unload once we moved into our new place. They key to our happiness was the facilty was clean and safe and most of all very, very close to both our move out and move in location, which saved us money.

  • I was using MinUStorage until yesterday. It’s a typical storage facility, not a pod, but they were great. They just changed their name to something different, I can’t remember it. I was paying 112.00 a month for a climate controlled unit. It was clean, safe, well maintained, etc. It was my first experience with storage and I was very very satisfied.

  • I looked into PODs and other movable storage units when we moved recently, and Mayflower has one that worked out to be the best price. Unfortunately, you have to get a permit to have any such unit on the street and can only have it on the street for a few days (can’t remember how many) so it wasn’t worth it for us. Good luck w/ your move!

Comments are closed.