Need a place to store some extra stuff while traveling or a spot to keep unwanted items until you have a chance to sell them?

If you’re running out of space, a traditional answer is to haul your boxes to a self-storage unit. Many people do: Nearly 10 percent of American households rent storage space. However, if you live in a big city, renting a storage unit isn’t always simple.

People in urban areas aren’t as likely to have access to large vehicles, and, even after renting or borrowing a truck, it can be tricky to navigate city streets and find a parking spot.

I founded the company two years ago, after having a life experience that required me to downsize my possessions.
— CityStash CEO Tim Friemel

CityStash is a startup working to take the hassle out of storage for residents of urban areas; for now, it serves the Washington, DC, and San Francisco markets. CityStash, billing itself as “Cloud Storage for Your Stuff,” provides a monthly subscription service for storage of a customer’s belongings.

The company delivers empty boxes and crates directly to your door. After you’ve had time to pack and label the containers, CityStash picks them up and brings them to one of its two warehouses. Then, whether you want to retrieve just a single box or your whole collection, you can submit an online request to get access to your items within 24 hours.

“I founded the company two years ago, after having a life experience that required me to downsize my possessions,” CEO Tim Friemel said. “As I quickly discovered, self-storage in Washington, DC, is expensive.”


A customer in San Francisco shows her love for CityStash.

Friemel set out to create an alternative.

“We went out and started working on the concept and the branding, and got funding from an angel investor,” Friemel said. “We’ve developed proprietary software that handles the whole process, from order-taking to inventory to invoicing.”

Earlier this year, the startup secured nearly $450,000 in angel funding.

The company launched in Washington, DC, and then expanded to San Francisco a year later. CityStash operates climate-controlled warehouses in both locations.

CityStash charges a set fee for specific unit sizes or items, with discounts for customers who use their own storage containers. If a customer has a 4.5-cubic-foot container to store, pricing would be $8 a month. There’s also a per-item fee for various types of furniture, such as $29 a month for a sofa. “You’re not paying for extra space that you aren’t using,” Friemel said.

So far, CityStash has served more than 1,000 customers, Friemel said.

“Our typical customer is a woman in her mid- to late 20s or early 30s. She’s between places, or maybe going abroad for a few months and needs a place to keep her stuff,” he said. “She doesn’t have the means to pick up her items and store them on her own, so we directly solve that problem for her.”

CityStash also caters to people who are downsizing, decluttering, storing seasonal clothing or stashing holiday decorations.

“When you have the elements of on-demand service and pricing per item, it can solve a lot of problems,” Friemel said.