If you’re any kind of tech-head then you’re at least aware of Dropbox and other cloud-storage options (OneDrive, Google Drive, or Box). You’re almost certainly using it to keep scanned documents that you would suffer without safe in the cloud – and storing irreplaceable images and other files so that a hard drive failure won’t completely destroy your life. What would happen if you had a live-action, as opposed to digital, version of that same service.
As it happens, that exists and it’s called SpaceBox here in South Africa. The concept is quite simple, if a bit more expensive than Dropbox’s monthly fees, and combines the ideas behind cloud storage with those of personalised storage – like renting a small locker that you’re totally going to storage extra furniture in and not live in when times are tough.
Except that SpaceBox isn’t going to be suitable for those hoping to stick a spare couch or bed somewhere. It’s all about storing the smaller things in life – your clutter, if you will. Your real-life files, even, or things that will fit inside a small box. How SpaceBox works is that you’d hit up the website, create an account and then request the boxes that you require. SpaceBox delivers to the address specified, you fill the boxes (and create an inventory, if you’re super-organised or are hopeless at remembering where you’ve buried your treasure) and have them collected. But you’ll have to make certain that your items can fit inside the 60 x 40 x 40cm boxes and that you don’t exceed the 25kg weight limit of each container. Just a heads-up.
SpaceBox then transports your boxes to an unspecified location where they will be securely stored until you need them again. The ‘unspecified’ bit is a security measure but it does require a leap of faith. Even you won’t know where your items have been stored. SpaceBox CEO Hjalmar Venter outlines the other security measures in place, saying “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.”
Counting The Cost
It doesn’t come cheap to have your goods collected and dropped off when you need them at a later stage though – Users will wind up paying per box that they have stored, to the tune of R99 per month per box. That’s not too bad if you’re packing a single box in storage but whipping ten boxes away to the great beyond will suddenly set you back a grand per month.
Having your items delivered back to you will cost you a flat fee, because no company can get away with free delivery unless you’re spending at least some cash (looking at you, Takealot). Whether you’re having a single box dropped off or all of them, the delivery is arranged through the website (as is inventory management) and comes with a flat cost of R250.
Price vs. Convenience
They say that a sign of reaching adulthood is deciding that money is less important than convenience (paying someone to look after your kids so that you can get some sleep at long last, for instance) and it’s that sort of thinking that will drive SpaceBox. The concept has already launched overseas and has proven quite popular there and there’s little reason why the same shouldn’t be possible here, even with the costs involved.
Moving 250 kilograms of clutter out of your home and into an exterior location without having to physically locate and pack boxes before dropping them off at a storage facility (and having to drive back any time you want something) could be a significant time investment – or it could cost you R1,000 a month (for ten 25kg boxes) and R250 per delivery so you can rummage through your stuff.
There are two sides of the fence to be seen here. One half will consider this to be too much money by far and won’t consider it. The other half will look at this as money well spent for the chance to look less like a hoarder while saving space AND retaining the items that have vanished from sight. Having a live-action Dropbox though… that’s quite cool on its own.