Courtesy of Kennedy Smith

In an effort to address a lack of affordable options, one student has created a Yale-only summer storage system that charges a flat rate of $250.

Kennedy Smith ’26, the founder of SummerStore LLC, said that the group is able to offer their low price by renting out large storage units to store many students’ belongings, which massively drives down the per-person cost. Smith said that around 100 students have signed up to store with SummerStore this summer, adding that this number may fluctuate in the coming weeks. 

“I envision ‘SummerStore’ not just as a business, but also as a community-centric initiative that evolves in tandem with the needs of students,” he wrote to the News. “I was disappointed to see a lack of services that offered a flat rate … the average college student would only need storage that could realistically fit inside a dorm room.”

Popular moving services such as Dorm Room Movers and Storage Scholars can cost students upwards of $500. These services charge students on a per-box basis, with additional costs for items like furniture, fridges and TVs. Renting a 5′ x 10′ x 10′ dorm-sized storage unit at U-Haul for four months costs around $400, plus additional transportation costs.

On move-out day, students using SummerStore will bring their belongings to “designated pickup locations” near their residential colleges. At these locations, SummerStore employees will load the boxes into trucks and drive them to the storage unit. Included in SummerStore’s flat rate is this transportation, as well as storage insurance and packing supplies.

Each residential college and Old Campus has a student “team lead” responsible for logistics and coordinating with students. Other students hired by SummerStore will work as paid, trained movers on move-out day only.

Gabriel Haley ’27, the Old Campus team lead, met Smith in the Silliman Buttery last semester. Smith told him that the previous summer, he had organized a group of Silliman students to store in one large storage unit together, and the plan was successful and affordable.

When Haley told Smith that he was unsure about his storage plans for this summer, they began talking about expanding Smith’s system from last year, and the plans began to cement the next day.

Haley said that he got involved with SummerStore because having a Yale student-run service is “a friendlier model” than having professional movers come to pick up boxes.

Harvey Lloyd Picar ’25 was part of the storage group Smith organized last summer. He said that the experience was positive, and if he ends up storing his belongings in New Haven again this summer, he will use SummerStore.

Picar said that the biggest difference between SummerStore and other companies is trust, explaining that he has more trust in his peers than in other larger companies that might students use.

Last spring, Yale eliminated storage options the University previously offered in the residential colleges. In an email to students announcing the change, Yale framed the decision to end storage as an equity issue as some colleges had more storage space than others.

“Storage capacity across the 14 colleges varies widely and inequitably, the types of belongings eligible for storage have long been limited, and options in general have been challenging for the colleges while meeting few students’ needs,” Dean of Student Affairs Melanie Boyd wrote in the email announcement.

Several students told the News when the decision was announced last March that they did not think that completely removing in-college summer storage was the best response to disparate space availability.

Smith echoed this sentiment, saying that he disapproves of Yale’s decision to end storage.

“Yale’s prior decision to discontinue allowing students to store items inside residential colleges, while perhaps necessary from an administrative perspective, was something that I witnessed to extensively further complicate summer storage planning and affordability, especially for FGLI students,” Smith wrote.

Picar said that he understands why Yale would be concerned about equity issues arising from varying space availability, but that the current solution only wastes space. He said that there could have been better ways to solve the issue, such as sharing space between colleges.

Marisa Henriques Figueira, director of operations at the Dean’s Office and Faculty of Arts and Sciences, told the News that Yale’s storage options had become less and less effective at meeting students’ needs over time. She said that this is what led to the decision to eliminate storage.

She pointed to new policies that the University has adopted instead to support students seeking summer storage.

For this summer, Yale College will cover 75 percent or up to $340 of summer storage costs –– at specific Yale-partnered vendors –– for students on financial aid whose parent share is under $10,000, who are residing on campus in 2024 and who live over 150 miles from New Haven.

In 2025, this assistance is expected to drop from 75 percent to 50 percent of storage costs, up to $225.

“We encourage students to get their plans together early ––  whether with one of our convenient preferred vendors or make plans on their own,” Figueira wrote.

SummerStore will finalize its rental contracts with storage facilities by April 21.

Josie Reich covers Admissions, Financial Aid & Alumni for the News. Originally from Washington, DC, she is a sophomore in Davenport College majoring in American Studies.