Self-storage is a practical part of modern life, which means that many people don’t consider storage facilities to be all that interesting. In fact, you might have negative feelings about self-storage, believing it some contemporary creation to keep capitalism thriving.
However, the history of self-storage is a bit longer and the statistics surrounding the practice a bit wilder than you probably expect. Here are some fun facts about the concept of off-site storage, which might change your perspective on this useful service.
Self-storage as a Concept Is Over 6,000 Years Old
There’s some evidence to suggest that the Ancient Chinese utilized underground storage units to hold possessions that didn’t fit inside their minimalist homes. A legend says that a man named Xiang Lau invented the idea when he was tired of his wife nagging him about clutter, and he rented space in his underground storage pit to his friends and neighbors. Other cultures through history have also likely taken advantage of self-storage, like Romans soldiers returning from pillaging and British merchants leaving on decades-long voyages.
Yet, the true beginning of modern self-storage takes place in America. In Omaha, Nebraska in the 1800s, the brothers Martin and John Bekins launched Bekins Vanand Storage Co. with three horse-drawn buggies, called vans. The Bekins would help families move their belongings across the state and store some possessions for short periods. Eventually, the Bekins expanded, offering services as far West as Los Angeles. Believe it or not, Bekins still exists as moving company today.
Self-storage as we recognize it today large structures of small, personal warehouses began in Fort Lauderdale, Florida thanks to the Cullum family, who opened up business in 1958. At this time, the United States’ economy was booming in the post-war era and American families were more prosperous than ever. Since then, Americans have accrued more and more possessions, necessitating more and more storage solutions.
Most People Use Storage Over the Long Term
Though self-storage can be an incredibly useful temporary storage solution for example, for those remodeling their homes, moving cross-country or managing an inheritance most people who pay for storage units do so for a much longer time period. A poll conducted by the Self-storage Association found that 52 percent of respondents rented a unit for longer than a year whereas 13 percent of respondents rented storage for fewer than three months. If you are tempted to take advantage of off-site storage, you should use this information to choose a storage unit that is convenient to access and suits your long-term storage needs.
Rural Areas Have the Most Self-storage
Though most people associate storage with dense urban areas filled with renters, the truth is that most self-storage facilities are in more rural parts of the country. If you are looking for storage, Los Angeles has plenty of options, but you are more likely to find a bounty of storage facilities in towns like Tulsa, Little Rock, Wichita and Knoxville. There are many reasons for this, such as larger nearby military bases, the need to store large farm equipment and weather conditions that necessitate more protected storage solutions. Because storage units come in all shapes and sizes, there is storage that suits every need.
U.S. Self-storage Units Are Almost All Full
In 2015, 90 percent of all storage units nationwide were occupied. Considering that there are more storage facilities than McDonalds and that there is enough space within U.S. storage facilities for every American to stand beneath a storage roof it is astonishing how many belongings are taking up space in self-storage. Though there has been a storage facility boom since then, with a large number of storage entrepreneurship and development, storage units fill up fast, so you should act fast if you want a particular storage unit that is available.
Storage Facilities Provide Billions in Tax Revenues
Love or hate self-storage, you can’t deny that they provide invaluable services to many Americans who need extra space. Even better, storage facilities are large and profitable, meaning they provide states with billions of dollars in tax revenues every year. Most storage businesses pay property taxes as well as sales and corporate taxes, depending on local laws. As a result, storage facilities might be contributing significantly to the quality of your roads, schools and cities.
Self-storage can be both fun and functional if you have the right mindset. Though Americans have been led to believe that they are the only ones using off-site storage, the practice has in fact existed for millennia, and it will likely continue for millennia more.