Evolution of a Self Storage Unit

Evolution of Self Storage Unit

Self storage units, also known as self-service storage units have become an important staple in the lives of many busy people. These storage facilities lease space to small businesses or individuals and the space leased can be used for a variety of purposes. Even though people have grown familiar with the idea of self storage few know the history behind the storage unit. Most people believe that self-storage units are a recent invention when they have been in existence for a several decades.

The first self storage companies were established in the mid 1970s. These companies began leasing units of various sizes to individuals and businesses in need of additional storage space. The initial rules put in place by self-storage companies prohibited individuals from sleeping or otherwise living in their storage unit. They also prohibited the resale or subleasing of the storage units. Overtime more rules were put into place to prevent individuals and businesses from storing potential hazardous materials.


Throughout the years the self storage industry has continued to grow rapidly. As more people all over the world move on a regular basis the need for private storage facilities has grown rapidly. Individuals moving for personal and professional reasons have started using self storage facilities to store furniture and other items between moves. Even after moving many people have chosen to use self storage units as a convenient way to store seasonal items and other belongings that are inconvenient to have around at all times but are too valuable to throw away.

Many of the first self storage units were located in urban areas and were part of larger buildings. Quite a few businesses and even public schools leased out storage space to the general public. In some areas huge self storage facilities existed that had elevators and other features to help customers get to and from their storage units. Overtime self storage facilities were opened that catered to individuals storing large items such as cars, boats, and RVs.

Self storage units come in a wide variety of sizes designed to fit the needs of individuals with a few items or people needing to store enough furniture to fill a house. Storage units start out at units that are no bigger than the average walk in closet and go up to the size of a two car garage. Most self storage units can be accessed by using a metal door that rolls up in a way that is similar to the average garage. Initially self storage units were built using concrete and metal with the renter being asked to provide their own lock. Over the years construction has become more secure as features are added to interest new customers.

Self storage units now come in climate controlled and cold storage units. Climate controlled units are well constructed and insulated in such a way that the temperature of the unit remains constant. These storage units remain dry and comfortable which helps prevent molding and other forms of damage that sometimes occurs when items are in storage. Cold storage self storage units are also offered to provide small businesses and others a way to safely store food items and even wine for long periods of time.

Regardless of whether a person needs traditional storage, climate controlled storage, or cold storage they are charged a monthly rental fee. These fees are usually determined by the type of facility being used and the size of the storage unit. Over recent years self storage facilities have developed a contract that has be signed by all individuals leasing self storage units.

These contracts usually state the individual renting the storage unit will not store hazardous material in their unit, will not attempt to live in their unit, will pay their rent on time each month, and also promises that the individuals property will never be touched or disturbed by the staff or management of the facility. If the renter does fail to pay their rent a lien is placed on their storage unit and the contents of the storage unit can eventually be auctioned off. In recent years storage facility auctions have become a popular way for collectors and resellers to gain access to second hand items cheaply.

Self storage facilities have also changed their security methods over the past few decades. As outdoor storage facilities became popular storage facility owners began seeking new ways to protect their customer’s property. This has been done with the help of advanced technology such as keypads and codes used for gaining access to the storage facility, video surveillance used to monitor the property, and even gates and fences designed to deter criminals.

The advancement of self storage facilities seen to date are only the first of many. As millions of individual’s world wide lease self storage units for personal and professional use the self storage industry will continue to change and grow.