Unless you are legally or morally obligated to write a report on the self-storage industry, you’ve probably never stopped to think about all the interesting facts and figures there are on this subject. And why would you when there are more important things to ponder—like why the Venti size at Starbucks is 24 ounces when “venti” means twenty.
It may surprise you to learn that the story of storage spans 6,000 years, includes tales of exotic, faraway lands, and features an edge-of-your-seat resistance to economic recessions. Sounds kinda like a James Cameron movie, doesn’t it? Minus the aliens, ocean liners, and cyborgs, of course.
Check out this list of fun self storage statistics (and commit them to memory—there will be a pop quiz at the end):
- The whole idea of personal storage outside the home originated in China about 6,000 years ago. Confucius was a teacher who gave lessons to whomever was not busy declaring war that day, but because he was a nomad, he had no handy basement or attic space to stash his teaching material. Thus his desire for an ordered, ethical world paved the way for clay pot storage and underground pits. Most likely it was Confucius. It might have been his cousin Ralph.
- Cut to the 1850s England when British gents needed to store their valuables while traveling because they didn’t trust their servants not to sell everything on eBay. Apparently the bank vaults were jam-packed with Queen Victoria’s private collection of jewels, whalebone and steel bodices, and dirty magazines, so the bank owners would use moving companies’ extra space.
- Self storage really started to get underway in the United States after World War II as a method of land banking (when you buy land as an investment). Often what would happen is that a developer would wrack his brain for a really cool use for the land, but when he couldn’t come up with anything because there was already a coffee shop on every corner, he’d give in and build a self storage facility.
- “Some reports indicate that the first modern self-storage facility appeared in Corpus Christi, Texas, in the 1960s.” Like a hologram.
- Self storage is among the fastest-growing industries in the United States, edging out selfie sticks by a mere 8%.
- There are nearly 58,000 self-storage facilities worldwide (as of 2014), 3,000 in Canada and 1,000 in Australia. Why other countries weren’t included in this statistic is beyond us.
- In the U.S., there are about 2.3 billion square feet of self-storage space. That’s three times as big as the Island of Manhattan in New York, and roughly the same footage as all the Starbucks in any given three-block radius.
- The average rent for a 10’x10′ unit is $118 per month for non-climate controlled and $151 per month for climate-controlled. Considering that a closet-sized studio apartment in New York goes for about $2300, it’s no wonder so many people live (illegally) in their storage units.
- In the United States alone, there is 7.3 square feet of self-storage space for every man, woman and child. This means that not only could the entire country stand under the roof of a self storage place at one time, but the guys who come up with statistics have an awful lot of time on their hands.
- It took 25 years to build the first billion square feet of self-storage space, but only 8 years to build the next billion square feet. At this rate, another billion square feet of storage space will be constructed in the next 3 hours.
- Unlike your girlfriend, storage facilities don’t require a long-term commitment. Most people will rent a storage unit for 11 months, longer than most marriages last these days.
- Every day two new self-storage facilities are built in the U.S., which is a faster rate of growth than McDonald’s.
To paraphrase Derek Naylor, president of Storage Marketing Solutions: Thank god for human laziness or self-storage facilities would be out business!
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