Although it’s incredibly popular all over the world, self storage is still a relatively new concept – especially to the UK. It started to emerge in America in the 1950s and the first unit was opened in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 1958. Quickly catching on and becoming incredibly popular, the original company which is owned by the Collum family now boasts an incredible 53,000 units across the USA.
Finally arriving in the UK in the 1980s, it is thought that there are now more than 1,000 self storage facilities in the UK with a combined floor space of over 30 million square feet. According to the trade body for the UK self storage industry, the Self Storage Association, there are 815 recognised facilities across the country. However, this figure is actually likely to be higher once small, private facilities are included in the total.
Generating a combined income of more than £350 million per annum, on average 28 percent of these facilities are found in London with a further 35 percent based in the South and 23 percent in the North and Scotland.
Having enjoyed much success over the last few decades, the self storage industry continues to grow. With an average of 0.5 square feet per capita in the UK alone, the uses for these facilities continue to expand.
Once reserved for those who needed temporary accommodation for their furniture during a house move, units are now used for a whole range of things. One of the many reasons for this is down to house prices continuing to rocket which means that people can’t afford to buy or rent bigger properties so as a result are being forced to keep their infrequently used possessions elsewhere.
It’s not just the number of people using self storage that has increased however, the length of time people are keeping their goods locked away for has almost doubled in the last ten years. Some have suggested that this could be down to the fact that Brits have become a nation of hoarders and we find it difficult to let go of our possessions even if we don’t have any use for them.
From storing excess home wares, paperwork, office equipment, cars and high value items to acting as a business premises for many companies, it seems like there is no end to the uses and needs for self storage facilities.