Storage sites help students’ belongings secure over summer

As the end of the year approaches, many students, particularly those who don’t live within the New England area, are probably wondering what to do with all the stuff that they have accumulated over the course of the school year.

Last year, the College eliminated on-campus storage due to the overcrowding of the storage rooms in dorms. The overcrowding of these spaces, mainly due to students leaving their possessions there for much longer than the length of the summer, had created a fire hazard. Additionally, the storage spaces had become prime targets for theft on campus.

Last summer, the College provided free storage space in an empty warehouse on Water Street for students, but this year, free storage will only be provided to certain financial aid students, and they will be limited to a maximum of three boxes.

This leaves students with three possibilities: bringing everything back home with them, making friends with a townie and leaving things at their house or paying a storage facility to take their stuff for the summer. As the leaflets that are already accumulating in SU boxes demonstrate, the third option is probably the most popular. There are several storage facilities in the Williamstown area with varying quality of service.

Perhaps the most popular of these is Connors Brothers. They pick up what students want to store for free on specific days and times at the end of the year and drop it off again in the fall. They charge by the box, though, which certainly makes for an interesting exercise in testing how many books and other things you can jam into one container without breaking it. If you want to drop off or pick up your stuff at the storage facility itself, you might be a little surprised that it is actually an abandoned railroad depot.

According to owner Ellen Bayliss, Connors Brothers has been storing things for students for approximately the last 15 years on a small scale. This will be the first year, however, that there is no free student storage, so she is not entirely sure what kind of increase in business to expect. “We don’t really have a sense of how huge or how not huge it’s going to be,” she said. The company has been fine-tuning its student storage program, though, adding more insulation to keep the buildings warmer, adding self-storage units in addition to bulk storage and allowing for more time between the free pickups.

Last summer, Sara Gersen ’05, stored a few boxes of things at Connors Brothers. When she opened one of them in September, she was shocked to find a family of three mice living among her sweaters. After she recovered from her surprise, however, she was gratified to discover how accommodating the storage company was. “They compensated me almost immediately and she [Bayliss] wrote me a personal letter apologizing and explaining how sorry she was,” she said. According to Bayliss, nothing like that had happened before and she offered Gersen free storage for this summer.

There are also a few self-storage facilities in Williamstown and Adams that are accessible if you have a car. Mullen Brothers Moving and Storage is in Adams, approximately a 20 minute drive from campus. If you can’t make it all the way out there, they’ll even come pick up your stuff for you, for a “small” fee of over $320 since they charge you for a minimum of four hours of work, even if you only have a few boxes moved.

State Road Car Wash and Self Storage is a little closer to Williams, by the Friendly’s on Route 2. This is a new storage facility and is all self-storage units. It’s a little bit worrisome that there doesn’t seem to be any security around the storage facility – there’s not even a fence. Hopefully, the individual locks on the storage units themselves work well.

Another company advertised in the Yellow Pages, called Adams Self Storage, doesn’t actually have any storage space free at this time, but didn’t hesitate to recommend Delftree Self Storage, in North Adams, which claims to have the best rates in town. Brendan Docherty ’04, who rented an 8’ by 10’ storage room there last year, definitely had an interesting experience. First of all, the storage company is also known as Delftree Corporation, which is a mushroom factory. Furthermore, the storage building is fairly old and it’s not always open during the advertised hours. Conveniently – perhaps too conveniently – it is rather easy to break in and retrieve your stuff, as Brendan discovered this fall when no one was around to let him in.