When Missouri native Jessica Rapp started collecting donations for a series of pop-up thrift sales around Beijing, she found herself with the problem of space. For a few months, she stored bags full of second-hand clothes, accessories, and tchotchkes at her house, but soon needed another solution.
“I’d essentially moved out of my apartment before going to the US last October but was still storing clothes there,” she says. “A bunch of people said I could keep stuff here and there, but the [most important]thing for me was having access to the clothes in one place. It was very stressful.”
At the time, Rapp was the style and nightlife editor of the Beijinger (beijingkids’ sister magazine). She saw an ad for a self-storage company called Koala Mini Storage in one of the magazine issues and started using the service shortly after. “Basically you get a storage space, pay monthly or pay three or six months upfront for a discount, and they give you a key and passcode,” she says. “You have 24-hour access to the space, which is really nice.” This allows Rapp to sort clothes at her own pace; whatever she can’t use in her thrift sales, she donates to charity organizations like Roundabout.
Self-storage services can also be useful for expats moving to Beijing. It can be tough to find a spacious, western-style apartment here. If you’re moving to Beijing from another overseas posting, you may find there isn’t enough space for all your belongings. Self-storage facilities can buy you some time and peace of mind.
The idea is simple: rent a locker, put your stuff in it, slap a padlock on the door, and access it whenever you want. Usually, self-storage companies have affordable prices, flexible storage terms, round-the-clock security, and 24-hour customer service. In Beijing, two companies stand out for their English service and convenient storage locations: Koala Mini Storage and China Self Storage.
Koala Mini Storage
Koala rents out containers ranging from 1 to 30 cubic meters. According to Koala’s website, the “large” container (9 cubic meters) is spacious enough to store furniture and appliances from a one- to two-bedroom apartment. Security is key (pun not intended), with each of Koala’s four locations guarded with security cameras, electronic gates, smoke detectors, and fire alarms. In addition, only customers have access to their storage locker. Koala has branches in Sanlitun, the CBD, Ciyunsi, and Wudaokou. Lockers can be rented weekly or monthly, with prices ranging from RMB 100 to RMB 1,500 per month depending on storage size and needs. If you’re unsure which size you need, contact Koala to speak to a consultant. The company also offers storage for businesses and corporations, and moving help through local partners Zenda International and Trust Mover International.
China Self Storage
One of the few self-storage facilities based in Shunyi, China Self Storage provides custom-sized storage units at low prices and flexible storage periods. Like Koala, customers have access to their locker 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Security features include a warehouse-wide alarm system and full-time camera surveillance. The website has a handy online reservation tool that estimates how many cubic meters customers will need for their belongings. There’s also a section with detailed tips for storing fragile items like pianos, chinaware, and blackwood furniture. When in doubt, call the China Self Storage hotline or chat with a customer service rep online.
China Self Storage 万福金安自助仓储
Daily 24hrs. Jin’an Building, Tianzhu Huayuan Xijie, Shunyi District (400 600 6378, firstname.lastname@example.org) www.selfstorageinchina.com顺义区天竺花园西街金安大厦
Koala Mini Storage 考拉迷你仓
Daily 24hrs. 1) Bldg 10, 3 Qingnian Lu Xili, Chaoyang District (5206 2431) www.koalaministorage.com 朝阳区青年路西里3号院10号楼; 2) B1-B2, 28 Dongzhimen Waidajie, Chaoyang District (6415 8622) 朝阳区东直门外大街B1-B2; 3) B2/F, Huayuan Shiji Commercial Building, 88 Shuangqing Lu, Haidian District (6257 7946) 海淀区双清路88号华源世纪商务楼B2层; 4) Rm A101, B1/F, Unit 2, Bldg 1, 3 Xiadian, Chaoyang District (400 017 8889) 朝阳区下甸甲3号院1号楼2单元B1-A101
If you’re interested in donating clothing or attending one of
Jessica Rapp’s thrift sales, add her on WeChat at jmrapp19.
This article originally appeared in the 2015 beijingkids Home and Relocation Guide. Click here to read the issue for free on Issuu.com. To find out how you can get your own copy, email email@example.com.