Columbia, MO: Top Things to Know About Storage

Krista Diamond |

Just Because it has the Highest Prices in the State Doesn’t Mean that it’s Expensive

If you’ve been living in Missouri your whole life, then yes, you might want to stop spending all your spare change on St. Louis style ribs. But if you’re moving to Columbia from pretty much anywhere else, the fact that it’s the priciest town in the state won’t mean much to you. According to a study by the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, Missouri has the 11th lowest cost of living in the country. This takes into account things like groceries, transportation, utilities and of course, the big one: rent. Why is rent so important in the case of storage? Well, storage is basically a form of real estate, so when you’re looking at how much an apartment costs in a city, you can expect storage trends to follow a similar pattern. If apartments are affordable, storage probably will be too. In Columbia, you can snag a one bedroom for under $700 a month, easily. Home sales are climbing (as are home prices), but Columbia still remains well below the national average when it comes to cost of living, and unless hipsters start really getting into college football, it’s unlikely to become the next Brooklyn anytime soon. If you can spend over $500 a month on rent, you’ll have your pick of neighborhoods, and because Columbia is pretty much a small town compared to St. Louis, wherever you land, you won’t spend too much time stressing about safety. As far as storage goes, you can snag a great unit for an unbelievable price. In most cities, $40 won’t even get you a 5x5 unit. In Columbia, it’ll get you an 8x18 at StorageMart. Check out our size guide and see for yourself: that’s a lot of space.

It’s the Athens of Missouri

The nickname “Athens of Missouri” is kind of a silly one (you’ll learn to call it “CoMo” instead) but it’s accurate. The name is a reference to the city’s educational focus and dope architecture. Take a stroll around the University of Missouri and you’ll get to see both. Jesse Hall, the main building on campus, features six columns and is photographed almost as much as the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. Those lovely columns are situated on the David R. Francis Quadrangle which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s a place so beloved that even Thomas Jefferson digs it, or at least his ghost does (his tombstone is located there). The University of Missouri, or Mizzou, is the biggest university in the state and makes Columbia about 35,000 people stronger during the school year. That means lots of student storage users. Whether you are one or not, your storage needs will likely be affected by the influx of students each fall and their subsequent departure each summer. If you’re a student, look for storage facilities that offer student discounts and summer specials. And plan ahead. You don’t want to be looking for storage when finals come around only to find out that the unit you want is already gone. Reserve a unit as far in advance as you can and save yourself stress. And if you’re not a student but you’re still someone who utilizes storage over the summer, apply the same principles to your search. Students typically go for smaller more affordable units, so if you’re in the market for something smaller than 10x10, you might face some competition, especially if you prefer to rent near campus.

You’ll Survive the Weather

Columbia weather is known for being a little, shall we say, drastic (a more accurate word might be punishing) and drastic weather and storage don’t always mix. Because Columbia is not quite southern and not quite midwestern, it kind of gets the worst of both regions. In the summer, you can expect humid temperatures that peak in the 90’s and in the winter you’ll be treated to about 18 inches of snow coupled with temperatures that bottom out in the teens. Mostly, you can expect it to be wet. Moisture in a storage unit is always a recipe for disaster, especially if you’re storing musical instruments, artwork, antiques or anything that is sensitive to extreme temperatures and humidity, so if you can’t afford to chance it, look for a facility that offers climate control. The good news? Columbia doesn’t quite sit in the area known as Tornado Alley, so you probably won’t get sucked into the sky and whisked away to Oz anytime soon. You might hear those creepy tornado sirens a few times a year, but as long as you’re not in the habit of taunting those dark clouds, laughing at the sky and generally tempting fate, you’ll be fine.

You’ll Make Plans to Bike the Whole Katy Trail (But You Won’t Follow Through with Them)

Columbia’s very own MKT Trail is 9 miles of limestone carved glory that follows an old railroad bed through downtown and connects to the illustrious Katy Trail. Never heard of it? Don’t worry, you will. It stretches across Missouri from east to west and encompasses almost 250 miles of multi-use path. The Katy Trail winds its way through fields, prairies, forests and soars above Missouri River views as it meanders through quaint little towns. You can bike across the whole thing in about five days either on your own or as a part of the annual Katy Trail Ride which includes food, showers, camping and camaraderie. You can also make dubious plans to walk the whole thing, but we recommend sticking to the more attainable goal of taking a nice little walk through Columbia’s Rock Bridge Memorial State Park. It’s got streams, caves and lush trails. And you don’t really need to see what the world looks like outside of Columbia anyway. If you’re looking to store your bike or any outdoor gear during the off season, make sure to properly clean it with a mild, gentle soap, pat it dry and if it’s possible, hang it. This is especially important if you’re renting an outdoor, drive-up unit as rainwater can occasionally (rarely, but occasionally) enter more easily. If you can’t hang your stuff, place it on a pallet so that it’s not directly off of the floor. This will ensure that it’s ready to go when it comes time for your next adventure.