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Origins of Self Storage

Thousands of people use self storage units for all manner of reasons. From storing excess household items to vital business documents, self storage is useful in all spheres of life. You might think that self storage is a new concept, but this isn’t true: finding somewhere to store particular possessions is a problem that humanity has faced for millenia.


In light of this, in this article, the Simply Storage team is looking back at the history of the self storage unit, following it right up to today.


Ancient storage


Ancient history suggests that people have always had a need to store items in a communal space. However, these were rarely personal possessions. Mostly, the items to be stored were food, such as meat and vegetables, and were stored in spaces carved into walls.

In ancient China, however, we get the first glimpse of what an ancient storage facility might have looked like. In China, people used to store their personal belongings in large ceramic pots, which were secured in a communal underground facility. Ultimately, this would guard against invaders getting their hands on particularly precious items.


The beginning of modern storage


If we fast-forward a few thousand years, we get to where the concept of self storage really began. In 1850s America, a man named Martin Bekin created huge storage buildings to help meet the needs of immigrants that were coming over. By 1906, this concept had been fleshed out further. In Los Angeles, warehouses with reinforced steel structures were being built, which resembled the storage units of today.


However, in 1958 we get our first self storage company: Lauderdale Storage in Florida. Thanks to the scale and popularity of the idea, Lauderdale Storage was extremely successful and others to start companies using a similar concept. In 1960, A1 U-Store-It opened in Texas. Founded by Russ Williams, A1 operated by purchasing apartments, converting them into units and charging people to store items there.


By 1980, the idea had caught fire and spread across the ocean to the UK. This is also the time when business storage gained traction. With many expanding businesses needing somewhere to store their documents, surplus stock and other office equipment, business storage was secure and cost-effective solution.


Self storage today


By the end of 2009, over 58,000 storage units have been built worldwide, offering customers all over the globe a secure place to store their precious items. In the UK, it is estimated that there around 800 storage facilities which, given the size of our island, is rather a lot!

Over in America, it is estimated that one in ten households rent a self-storage unit to store their items. Moreover, recent surveys suggest that demand for self storage units are on continually on the rise!


Simply Storage are based in New Malden by Kingston upon Thames, providing all solutions for personal and commercial business with a no minimum contract period and at a low price. If you would like more information about Simply Storage or wish to book our services, please get in touch with one of our professionals today!

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