A Safe Place for Your Stuff

Back in “The Day” when you had stuff but no immediate need for it, you stored it. Finding a safe place for your stuff was pretty limited. The most likely storage area was an attic in your home, or perhaps the basement. The attic would get extremely hot and had the risk of rodents, bats and spiders/bugs. Basements were cool and damp, with the threat of flooding, mildew and different types of bugs, such as silverfish, crickets and roaches.

If you did not have an attic or a basement, you might use the garage and just forego parking your car in the garage. Sometimes people would rent out their garage for a little extra pocket money to extended family, neighbors or military personnel being deployed.

In the 1980’s, a new business popped up to help with storage needs – the backyard metal shed. With people using their garage for storing their “stuff” there was a growing demand for someplace to put lawn and garden gear, sporting equipment and tools. Metal sheds with one large door were sold at hardware stores for a reasonable price. They needed little preparation, were easy for any handy DIY’er to erect in just a day, and did not need any special building permits or zoning requirements. Some shed became more elaborate, with multiple door styles, some with windows, and metal gave way to wood and vinyl.

About 20 years ago, household storage demands in the U.S. grew enough to warrant the birth of commercial businesses making garage style units available for monthly rental fees. The growing demand for self storage was created by people moving and by various lifestyle transitions, such as

  • marriage,
  • divorce,
  • retirement,
  • a death in the family,
  • college students
  • foreclosures/evictions

Now, one in 10 households in America rented a self storage unit. More than 700,000 self storage units nationwide are rented to military personnel. this is about 4% of all units, but domestic military bases with adjacent large residential areas can see the use of self storage units by military personnel can be from 20%-95% of all rented units. Self storage companies value military personnel as customers and usually offer them special incentives and discounts, such as: “one-dollar move-ins” or “first month free,” 10%-30% discounts off monthly rental rates, months of free rent, gift certificates, use of a moving truck at no charge, and no rent increases while they are deployed overseas.

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