The Evolution of Self Storage Facilities


Storage units

The purpose of self storage units has shifted over the years. The first self storage facility was created in England in the 1850s as an alternative to storing valuables in banks, a favored solution by British citizens who traveled.

That trend continued for a while, and through much of history, self storage was used primarily by people in transition, to store possessions while they moved, married, divorced, or dealt with a family death.

When the storage trend intersected with American consumerism in the early 1990s, the purpose of storage containers shifted. American families in the early 90s had twice as many possessions as their counterparts 25 years earlier, and they needed a place to store their excess belongings. By 2007, 55% of renters used their storage unit rentals just to store what they couldn’t fit in their homes.

In 1995, at the height of the transition to storing extra items, 1 in 17 households in the U.S. rented a storage unit. That number has gone up to 1 in 10 households. Many people also use storage units to store valuable or seasonal vehicles. This allows vehicles to avoid rust and water damage, especially during the winter.

The increase in material possessions led to a boom in the number of storage facilities across the country. Today, there are as many as 51,000 storage facilities scattered across the U.S., including over 48,5000 “primary” facilities as of 2013 and 4,000 “secondary” facilities. In fact, there’s over 7 square feet of storage space available per man, woman and child in the U.S., amounting to a total of 2.3 billion square feet.

If you find your house getting cluttered, or you’re scared to go into your basement for fear of knocking over that skyscraper of boxes, maybe it’s time to jump on the storage bandwagon and free up some space. Find a self storage company near you and find out how you can live a more mess-free existence!