History of Storage Unit Rental

January 26, 2018

Nowadays, we can see a self-storage unit near every major interstate for each town we visit. Not much thought is given to the compounds that hold rows and rows of rented garages behind locked fences. Have you ever driven by one and thought to yourself “who thought, hey, I know, I’ll build rows and rows of garages and charge people to put their stuff in it!” If you had known that man, you probably would have laughed and dismissed the idea. But, oh, what a brilliant idea it has turned out to be! In the United States, there are more than 49, 000 storage facilities in the 22 billion dollar storage unit industry! Nearly one in every ten households rents a storage unit, and more than double that has temporarily rented a storage unit at some point. We wanted to take a few minutes to briefly review the history of the storage unit.

If You Build It…

Although there were signs of storing belongings in crates and having others watch them, dating back to over 2,00 years ago, the first real documented storage and moving company was established in 1891.It all began in Omaha, Nebraska when brothers Martin and John Bekins founded the Bekins Company. They had a staff of 12 employees and operated three horse-drawn “vans” to assist people with their moving needs. In 1895, they expanded to Los Angeles and began using moving trucks. In 1906, they established a warehouse, built of steel and concrete. Over the next few decades, they expanded and continued adding warehouses. After World War II, the company focused on four major components of the moving industry: local moving and temporary storage, long distance moves, international moving — including that for the military, and long-term storage.

Disposable Income

It wasn’t until the sixties that a disposable income and personal finances were common. The need for short-term — in the event of deaths, divorce, or moving transitions — and long-term storage became evident. In 1964, Russ Williams and Bob Munn built the first storage facility that used garage-like doors, much like the ones we are used to seeing today. Their storage facility, names A-1 U-Store-It U-Lock-It U-Carry-The-Key was the first in the sense of self-storage units, wherein the renter handled all of their own loadings, unloading, and storing; Russ and Bob simply maintained the facility and collected rent. Over the next few decades, more and more storage facilities opened, prices dropped, and the American people collected more than they needed. Storage units became much more popular to handle the overflow of “stuff” and “things” in homes, as garages were not yet as commonplace as they are now.

Modern Day

Modern-day storage unit facilities have evolved to be much more than just a garage away from home. Storage units are available in a variety of sizes and shapes and offer other amenities, such as active security and climate-control. Storage units have been used as gyms, offices, and recording studios, along with acting as garages and storage sheds.Many storage unit facilities also offer access to moving supplies and rent moving trucks and equipment. Today, shows such as Storage Wars, Auction Hunters and American Pickers highlight the mystery of what is stored.

If you need a storage unit for short-term or long-term use, to hold your treasure collection or old Beetle, Store-It-Right is the place for you! We offer climate-controlled units and top-notch security to ensure that your belongings left in the same condition they came. Take a tour of our Ruckersville facility and see how we can help you manage your storage needs today!

Write a review