Self-Storage: A Safe Extra Space for Your Stuff

During the third quarter of 2010, two new television programs, Storage Wars and Auction Hunters, which featured storage auctions, were released. Though these two programs (plus the other three that began to air shortly thereafter: Storage Wars: New York; Storage Wars: Texas; and, Storage Hunters) focused on the popularity of storage auctions, one other, and more basic fact was implied – the need and use of self-storage or mini storage by thousands of Americans.

Self-storage (shorthand form for self-service storage) is a booming industry in the US. This industry is involved in the renting out or storage spaces, like rooms, containers, outdoor spaces or lockers, to individuals or businesses on a short-term basis (though longer-term leases are possible), usually a month.

As the year 2009 closed, about 58,000 self-storage facilities have been made available to anyone who needed extra space. A self-storage gave individuals and families that space where they could keep the things that they have outgrown but cannot part with, while for firms, an additional safe shelter for temporarily unused office equipment or for whatever purpose the spaces were needed.

Self-storage facilities began in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 1958; the business opened next in Texas in the late 1960s. From 2000 to 2005, more than 3,000 new facilities were made available in the US every year. The need for self-storage space can be based on three things: American consumerism; American mobility; and, according to some property analysts, the older houses, built with smaller closets and rooms, and the disappearance of the American attic.

Every year, especially during the holidays, people just love to fill up their home with new stuff. The purchase of new things, however, only means need for space; but, with no extra room in the house, old stuffs will have to give up their spaces for the new ones. Re-placement, though, does not necessarily mean throwing out the old – things many people are not prepared to part with, thus, the need for self-storage.

Extra spaces, where people can keep some of their household items safely, are in demand, especially during summer when a lot of lease terms end, the time when moving to a new house is at its peak. And, if the new residence cannot house all of one’s belongings, things of secondary importance are rather kept in a self-storage.

And then there is the case of the totally new house design.

According to the National Association of Homebuilders, the average American house has gotten much bigger. Up until 1973, the size of an average American house was 1,660 square feet; in 2004 it increased to 2,400 square feet. But there was one extra space missing: the attic.

Many houses, especially in the temperate states, like California, Florida and Texas (the three states that also happen to have the most self-storage facilities), were designed as ranches or bungalows with neither a basement nor an attic where old stuff can be kept and no room for a consumerist’s haul.

But ranches or bungalows are not the only houses having space problems for even modern houses now lack an attic as builders have shifted to using trusses, which are cheaper, compared to rafter-based roof frames.

Those in the self-storage industry say that in every ten U.S. households one is renting a self-storage unit. Self storage is one place where you can store anything that needs to be stored safely, without a high risk of damage. Not all self-storage facilities are the same; thus, make sure your belongings are kept well and protected, and accessible anytime you need to access them.