Closetbox Storage the Service Part-Time Expats Have Been Waiting For
Updated November, 2017 (as this material is time-sensitive)
There was no day that I dreaded more as a part-time expat than moving day, that day I put my personal things into storage in order to enable someone to live in my Denver apartment while I’m in Mexico.
At the last storage facility I used, chosen for its close proximity to my apartment, a man appeared to be living out of one of the units. Since he did rent it, he had the right to access the premises.
He would use the bathroom, sometimes hide in there out of Denver’s cold and seemed to come in off-and-on throughout the day for several weeks until management put an end to it.
While I never feared for my safety (and maybe I should have), the storage building was within an office building. The units created a lot of blind corners. I was always scared that he would unexpectedly pop out in front of me in the practically-empty facility.
Someone once wrote that the people you encounter in storage facilities are people either on the way up or on the way down.
Often storage facilities are desolate places where hoarders extend their domain. Many a time I’ve glanced into an open unit and thought why in the world would someone pay to store that?
So imagine my excitement as a part-time expat when I found a new company, Closetbox, that comes and picks up your boxes for you, takes them to storage and then re-delivers them back upon your return.
Very excited indeed. The company has services in 27 cities, precisely the places where the cost of living might encourage people to consider a part-time expat life.
Rather than paying a set rate according to unit, Closetbox charges by how much space your household goods take. For example, if you have too much for a 5'x 8" unit you wouldn't have to pay for the next-size-up unit to only partially fill it. Your price is based on space your items/boxes take up in the warehouses they find.
If you are storing for over three months, which you will as a part-time expat, you can almost always get a promotional discount; a month's rent free, a waiver of the administration fee or one of the charges to deliver your goods.
The charge is $99 flat-fee to deliver your items back, about the same you would pay an outside moving company. As far as convenience, it's nice to have the two services, the storage company and delivery service, bundled.
For me, Closetbox isn’t just a logistical life-saver, it’s an emotional one.
With Closetbox, I can avoid that whole depressing, occasionally even a bit threatening, storage facility experience.
Typically people want their storage units reasonably close to where they live. You may or may not find a well-lit, clean, affordable, well-managed facility with units available nearby. With Closetbox, you can skip that part of the process and not worry about where the storage unit is located.
Wrapping delivery with the storage service makes the whole experience feel quite concierge for very close the same cost of finding reasonable storage and coordinating deliveries yourself.
If you become a part-time expat, you might otherwise have to ask a friend with a SUV to help you move once a year, every year, a request that becomes burdensome. Closetbox enables me so save those valuable friend chits for real emergencies when I'm in another country.
Closetbox charged me a flat rate of $87 a month for their minimum size unit, a 5” x 5” high-ceiling locker, which was plenty large for my 17 medium-size boxes, and one monstrous box of skis and a bicycle.
Most storage companies pull you in with seemingly low monthly fees, then have a habit of tacking on other requirements.
For example, Storagebox does not tack on an insurance requirement (It's galling that storage companies ask you to pay for insurance in case they are negligent and damage your contents) or the requirement of buying a specific $15-$20 lock from them that some storage companies hit you with.
I received a coupon for $50 off the first month, then $25 for a well-deserved Yelp review. Their $87 rate was one dollar less than I paid per month last year for a facility that on several occasions left me and my friend The Lucky Chosen One outside screaming into an intercom in twenty-degree weather while we waited for a remote employee to buzz us into the property.
After arranging the time to pick-up my boxes, Closetbox emailed me several times to re-confirm the time. On that morning, two cheerful people arrived at my door and whisked away my boxes ("Take then away, Jeeves!), including the eight-foot long box of skis.
Closetbox doesn’t own their own storage building. They work with other companies and use their available spaces. Should I unexpectedly need to retrieve something from storage before the predetermined date, I do have an address of the storage unit where my things are being kept. Or I could simply call them they bring my stuff back to me (for an extra charge, understandably).
Important: Make sure you count your boxes and label them in detail, like a manifesto. When they bring them back you'll need to remember how many boxes you stored, unlike when you are hauling them to storage yourself. This is important should you receive fewer boxes back than you had stored.
Their seamless service saved what's already a bitter-sweet day from being a depressing, stressed out one, and relieved me of that homeless feeling I always get when I have to go to a bleak storage facility and say goodbye to every physical artifact that demonstrates I ever existed.
Closetbox was founded in 2016. The first several years of a company are the often the best days to be a customer. Customer service people are bubbling over with enthusiasm to be part of a new, high quality and needed service. Unexpected costs of doing business have not yet been tabulated and passed on to the customer.
Closetbox still has a new company’s faith in their customers, that they are only on their way up, and going to be reasonable and reliable.
Either that or they have managed to find a special niche of those who will have everything ready on time in well-labeled boxes ready to be parted with until a predetermined date - a niche of experienced nomads who will check all devices - email and text for delivery times when the delivery date arrives.
Not too many products so uniquely match the needs of a part-time expat. I will admit to you right now that I am soliciting the company to advertise on this site, knowing how much the part-time expat comes to appreciate any service that helps him/her feel less rootless.
These are the customer salad days of Closetbox. Take advantage of this service now, while it's still bright and shiny.
Related Links: Top tips for how to sublet or rent your current Canadians or U.S. home for a worry-free expat life. - Ventanas Mexico.
To keep storage costs to the minimum, de-clutter. Coming to Mexico with too much stuff is posted on forums to be many expats chief regret.
The surprising things you need for a long-term versus a vacation stay. - Ventanas Mexico
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About the author of this blog: Kerry Baker is author of two books, "The Interactive Guide to Learning Spanish Free Online. (Check out the reviews!) and "If Only I Had A Place," the guide on how to rent in Mexico for aspiring expat who want to live luxuriously for less.