Have you ever wondered how self-storage became a such a lucrative industry? Just fifty years ago, self-storage facilities were mostly “mom and pop” businesses with little competition. Today, self-storage has transformed into an essential part of modern life, offering secure spaces for individuals and businesses to store their belongings. But what’s the fascinating history behind it? Let’s dig into the history of the self-storage industry, from its ancient origins to the present day.
Storage solutions have been an integral part of human history for centuries, reflecting the universal need to safeguard possessions and resources. In ancient China, people dug underground storage pits, creating a secure space for valuable items and food supplies. The Egyptians took a different approach to storage. They constructed elaborate tombs with intricate chambers and compartments for the deceased as well as their treasured possessions. In the British Isles, people placed their items in sturdy crates inside stables or in banks when going overseas. In ancient Rome, people constructed climate-controlled storehouses to preserve of food and keep precious artifacts safe.
These early examples, while vastly different from today’s self-storage facilities, laid the groundwork for the development of modern self-storage. They underscore the need for secure and organized storage solutions, a need that persists over the centuries today!
The self-storage industry (as we know it today) has its roots in 20th-century America. Entrepreneurs recognized the need for convenient storage solutions. And with the ever-evolving lifestyle changes, population growth, and increased mobility, the demand for storage facilities grew. In contemporary times, self-storage is not just a place to stash your excess clothes and furniture; it caters to business storage, vehicle storage, and more.
The initial concept of self-storage arrived in the United States in the late 1800’s with Bekin Van Lines. The Bekin brothers built the first concrete and steel warehouse for storage, pioneering modern self-storage. In the mid-20th century, the first modern self-storage facility, “Public Storage” opened. This facility offered individual garage-style units for monthly rental. This brought customers accessibility and convenience. Then, in the 1960s, garage-style doors became popular. In the 1960s and 1970s, self-storage facilities began popping up across the United States as entrepreneurs recognized the need for secure and flexible storage solutions.
Today, the self-storage industry continues to thrive, with a global market projected to reach $71.37 billion by 2027. Over the last five years, 7 million square feet of storage space were built, equivalent to 15.7 percent of the total inventory. Storage rates are more than 10 percent higher than pre-pandemic levels. Currently, there are 4,536 self-storage properties in development. This accounts for 11.1 percent of the current inventory. Statistics show that, “There are multiple reasons for this increase, but among the main ones is the need for optimizing living space or storage while moving.”
Recent trends in the industry highlight the growing demand for boat and RV storage, with average sale prices for such facilities seeing a significant increase. Some manufacturers, such as Boxwell, produce relocatable self-storage containers that are large enough to store vehicles. In fact, Boxwell’s 10′ x 20′ unit (see below) is the strongest in the market. Technology-focused facilities are also on the rise, catering to the convenience-seeking modern consumer. Innovations in technology have played a pivotal role in the self-storage industry’s evolution. Modern facilities offer climate-controlled units and advanced security systems. They can also offer hands-free entry and locking systems. And more and more, facilities offer online booking and payment options for added convenience. Some facilities go the extra mile, offering specialty storage for wine, art, and collectibles.
From ancient storehouses to high-tech facilities, the self-storage industry’s journey is far from over. In recent years, the self-storage industry has continued to evolve through technological advancements. Manufacturers are using modern, durable materials. Self-storage features and options are continually improving. Online reservation systems and enhanced security measures have made renting storage units more convenient and secure. Facilities now offer a wide range of unit sizes, climate-controlled options, and specialized storage solutions to meet diverse customer needs.
Today, the self-storage industry stands as a testament to human innovation, from ancient underground pits to high-tech storage units. Self-storage provides people with the space they need to store their possessions, be it for the short term or the long haul. As technology advances and customer demands evolve, the self-storage industry’s journey continues, offering convenience and accessibility that was once unimaginable.
Boxwell is a leading global provider of portable and relocatable self-storage solutions designed to cater to the diverse needs of businesses worldwide. Our extensive reach encompasses storage facilities across various regions, spanning the USA, United Kingdom, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Germany, and beyond. What sets Boxwell apart is our commitment to delivering fully customizable, exceptionally durable, and effortlessly movable storage solutions that meet the unique demands of every client.
Boxwell’s portable and relocatable self-storage units are produced at Boxwell-owned facilities for a wide range of products, customizations, quality control, and shortened lead times. They believe in a hands-on approach to business, always ready to roll up their sleeves, jump in, and figure things out. With warranties in place, they stand by their product, no matter what. From the first phone call to the finished installation and onto the next order, every step and detail along the way matters. With an in-house design and engineering team, Boxwell explores innovative technologies, materials, sizes, and features to make their storage solutions the most solid, innovative, and beautiful on the market. Each of Boxwell’s storage units is thoughtfully made to order and built to last.
Work with a Boxwell representative to decide your ideal unit mix, custom colors, door conﬁgurations and more. Your Boxwell storage units will be shipped flat-packed and assembled fast with just a few dozen nuts, bolts, and basic tools. You will be ready to rent them in no time! Check out boxwell.co or call (303) 317-5850 for more information.