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History of Self Storage in the United States

According to Wikipedia – although there is historical evidence of publicly available storage in ancient China, modern self storage facilities in which the tenant has exclusive access to the storage space did not begin to appear until the 1960s. Lauderdale Storage in Fort Lauderdale, FL was founded in 1958 by the Collum family, making it one of the first ever self-storage facilities in the United States. Modern storage facilities grew slowly through the 90s, at which time demand outpaced supply and caused a rush of new self storage developments. From 2000 to 2005, over 3,000 new facilities were built every year.
Here are some interesting facts from Wikipedia on Self Storage in the United States

  • At year-end 2009, a total of some 58,000 self storage facilities, owned by 30,235 companies, have been developed in the United States on industrial and commercial land parcels.
  • There is more than 2.35 billion square feet of self storage in the U.S., or a land area equivalent to three times Manhattan Island under roof.
  • The five large publicly traded storage operators (four REITs and U-Haul) own or operate approximately 9% of self storage facilities.
  • More recently, in many metropolitan cities where competition among storage companies is fierce, better parcels of land near residential and commercial areas are being converted into self-storage once approved by zoning panels.

According to Wikipedia one in ten U.S. households now rent a self storage unit. The growing demand for self storage in the U.S. is created by people moving (some 40 million Americans move each year according to U.S. Census data), and by various lifestyle transitions, such as marriage, divorce, retirement, a death in the family, etc.

So what does that mean today as a consumer that’s good news you have lots of options available to you and there are lots of facilities to choose from and the rates are usually quite competitive.
Where to start when deciding on a storage facility; determining your needs:

  • Do you need drive up storage access
  • Do you need climate controlled units
  • Do you need 24/7 access
  • Do you need outlets and power in your unit
  • Do you need outdoor storage for RV’s
  • Do you complimentary rolling carts
  • Do you need individual unit alarms
  • How often will you need to access your storage facilities if you are going to be going to need to visit the storage location regularly you may want to find one close to you

Also for business, you may want to consider self storage units for your extra inventory etc. as you may find that paying for a storage unit is more economical for you in the long run instead of taking up space in your office for storage. Perhaps you could utilize that space for something that will help generate revenue for your business.

Do your research and understand the differences in Services that various storage companies offer. Good luck!

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