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If you’ve got a lot of stuff you don’t want to get rid of and very little space, then hired storage can be a life-saver. But knowing exactly what you’ve got in storage, and finding it when you want it, can be a tortuous exercise. SpaceBox, a newly launched division of national space provider XtraSpace aims to change that.
The on-demand storage service allows you to schedule free drop-off time online. From there, the SpaceBox team will deliver as many orange storage boxes as you need to your door. Once you’ve packed your stuff in the boxes, you can can schedule a pick up team. SpaceBox’s team will then arrive, help you seal the boxes, and transport them to a storage facility.
SpaceBox also allows you to create an online inventory, meaning that if you want anything back you can simply sign into your account, scroll through the catalogue and click on the boxes you want returned. According to SpaceBox, they will then be delivered to your door at a time and date of your choosing.
It’s able to do so thanks to a unique ID and bar code attached on the side of each box. Users can also take pictures of their boxes and upload them into the virtual catalogue with the corresponding box ID.
While the company says that the idea is new in South Africa, it is actually fairly popular in cities such as Hong Kong and New York, where space is at a premium (In the UK, SpaceWays fulfills a similar function). If you happen to be short on cupboard space for instance, you could pack up your summer wardrobe and electric fans and place them in storage for the winter.
“It’s an incredibly easy way to create space in your home or office, and declutter your life by eliminating distractions,” says CEO and co-founder, Hjalmar Venter. “From vinyl records, out of season clothes and treasured books to unused sporting equipment and your last five years’ tax paperwork you have to keep, you can now open up your living space and declutter your environment without having to get rid of things you might need later.”
While the company is backed by a large-scale storage provider, it isn’t actually aimed at the kind of people who rent large-scale storage boxes. Instead, says Venter, it’s aimed at “those who have small lots of odds and ends they need to be kept safe, and who don’t want the hassle of shopping around to find lockers, movers and boxes, and all the stress that goes with it”.
Addressing the question of security, Venter says that SpaceBox’s XtraSpace backing is particularly beneficial. The company also says that its staff receive extensive security training and that access to the boxes is limited.
“Only authorised personnel know where SpaceBoxes are stored and are allowed entry,” says Venter. “That’s an important factor in our security plan. We also have a state-of-the-art security system, CCTV, 24-hour guard patrols and fire suppression technology. The boxes themselves are closed with tamper-proof seals in your presence, and protected from the elements.”
SpaceBox is currently available in Johannesburg and Cape Town but plans are afoot to expand the service nationwide.
According to the company:
- Delivery of boxes is free, as is transport to the storage location. A monthly fee of R99 (incl VAT) per box kicks in from the day you receive the boxes to pack.
- There is a flat fee of R250 to take boxes out of storage and deliver to the consumer’s residence.
- Boxes can contain up to 25kg of goods. They are a standard size of 60cm long x 40cm high x 40cm wide, or 70L.
It’s a pretty neat concept, but it’ll be interesting to see what the takeup among South Africans is like. Perhaps its greatest potential is in Cape Town, where space (especially in the City Bowl and Atlantic Seaboard) is at a premium.