Storage Facilities: The Stuff Hotel

What do you do with all the extra stuff that clutters up your garage, your basement, and every other corner of your home? The stuff that doesn’t fit anywhere? Storage facilities usually provide the best answer, with space for household and business items at a reasonable price.

Storage facilities come in all shapes and sizes. Most storage by homes and small businesses these days is self storage. These facilities can include closets, lockers, rooms, warehouse space, garage units, and outdoor storage space. Some units are portable. Even a safety deposit box at a bank can be considered a type of self storage.

Typically, people rent units from the owners of self storage facilities, usually on a monthly bases. These are often situated in one-story complexes of garage-size units. The user is usually allowed to provide her own lock, either key or combination, and may also be given a key, combination or pass card to enter the premises so she can access her unit 24 hours a day. Some storage facilities are manned by security guards or other employees, while many are unstaffed.

The Way It Works

Generally speaking, the owners of self storage facilities will not enter the storage units of their customers without permission. But if a renter falls into arrears, his property may be auctioned off by the owner to cover the past-due rent.

If that happens, a lien will be placed on the goods stored in the unit and the renter will be given a certain amount of time to pay up. If he fails, the auction will be carried out. Any money earned above the cost of the past-due rent should go to the renter. Auctions of this type have become increasingly popular on reality TV shows on basic cable.

Different types of people use self storage facilities, but most are either residential users or small business owners. Businesses usually store excess inventory or archived records, while homeowners store household items, boats, vehicles and other goods they can’t keep at home.

Storage Facilities: From History to Today

Self storage facilities are thoroughly a product of modern times, but storage itself dates back thousands of years. The ancient Chinese, for example, used public storage sites. But modern self storage facilities were really born in the 1960s. The first may be Lauderdale Storage of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

storage facilities

But there wasn’t a great deal of demand for self storage facilities in the United States until about the late 1990s. Then there was an explosion of growth, and every year between 2000 and 2005, more than 3,000 self storage facilities were built. As of 2009, the U.S. had more than 59,000 such facilities.

These sites are owned by more than 30,000 companies, almost all of them small. The leading firms control only about 9 percent of the market. With nearly 10 percent of American households now renting from self storage facilities, all these businesses are fighting fiercely for every renter and every available scrap of valuable land near cities and suburbs.

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