History of Self-Storage

Self-Storage has its origins rooted in China around six thousand years ago. Archaeologists discovered ancient underground storage areas, where the Chinese used to store their possessions in clay pots.

These pits were monitored, to make sure that nobody could remove any pot or its contents except for their own – it seems the ancients valued the security of their possessions just as much as we do today!

Fast forward a few hundred centuries and Britain refined the concept for the sake of dignitaries who had to be away from home for extended periods of time. Items were arranged to be crated and placed into stables – often with watchmen to secure them.

Self-storage as we now know it became popular in America in the 1960’s in Odessa, Texas, with a store called “A1 U-Store-It”. It’s founder, Russ Williams, worked in the oil industry for most of his life, however his real passion was fishing, which he enjoyed in his spare time. Russ needed somewhere to store his equipment that was both safe and out of harm’s way, yet accessible when he wanted to go fishing. He realised others could benefit from somewhere convenient to store their things away from their home, and so bought a group of apartments and garages to rent out space.

Twenty years later and the self-storage craze hit the UK with the first facilities originally appearing in London in the 1980s. Now there are now an estimated 830 self-storage facilities in the UK providing approximately 30.1 million sq. ft. of storage space.

There’s every reason to believe that a number of social and economic factors will continue to drive our need for self-storage units in the future. As expanding families outgrow their homes, and our human nature leads us to buy more stuff than we have room for, more and more domestic and commercial customers will continue taking advantage of self-storage facilities.

It’s not just homeowners or consumers that are using Self Storage units – businesses are as well. 35% of Self Storage users are actually businesses, who use their units to store stock, trade show stands, vehicles and more. Some businesses have even been able to run their entire operation from a self-storage unit!