Even as the tiny home movement and the minimalist mindset have taken root and flourished in the United States, Americans still have an incredible amount of extra stuff. So much stuff, in fact, that one in eleven pays for additional storage space. Self-storage facilities, portable storage units, and warehouse storage services have grown into a $38 billion a year industry.
It’s not hard to figure out why our number of possessions has grown. Everyone just has more stuff. Ironically, in a world of disposable products, Americans still find it hard to dispose of anything. Clothes are shoved into the backs of closets or boxed up as new outfits are added every season. Mobile phones are replaced every few years, but the old versions are tossed in a drawer “just in case.” Televisions, video games, computers, and more all are easily jettisoned for a newer model, but never seem to make it into a proper resting place. And although no statistic supports this, a large portion of self storage space simply must be occupied by discarded, seldom-used exercise equipment.
Of course, no one wants to get rid of Grandma’s old chest of drawers or Great-Granddad’s favorite rocking chair, although neither really fits—physically or aesthetically—with your current décor. And what to do with Dad’s old convertible that he never got around to fixing up? You can’t possibly let go of those family treasures, right?
Although some believe that the self-storage market is saturated, most experts claim and research indicates that the number of available units and unit occupancy rates will continue to grow well into the 2020s. Here are three facts that support that theory.
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Self-Storage is Popular in any Economy
The self-storage industry is an anomaly when, compared to other real estate-related markets, performs well in any economic conditions. When the economy is weak, and the real estate market is sluggish, many people choose to downsize and turn to self-storage as repositories for their extra possessions. When the economy is strong, people have more disposable income to buy more things, therefore displacing their old things into self-storage units. Additionally, the process of moving from home to home, parents’ home to home, or apartment to apartment often requires temporary storage between residences or reveals a surplus of items that won’t be moving to the new place and therefore require storage.
Self-Storage Facilities are Becoming more Glamorous
Influenced by new policies in several large cities, self-storage owners are changing the face of their facilities to make them more attractive, environmentally-friendly, and accepted by land-strapped communities. Multi-unit storage buildings in cities like New York and Charleston, South Carolina now feature sleek, discreet facades similar to office buildings, with lush landscaping and elaborate entrances. High-end amenities, like state-of-the-art climate control and security surveillance are also trending. There are even niche options for storing wine collections or luxury sports cars.
Americans’ Stuff Takes Up a Lot of Space
According to a self-storage industry report by Sparefoot, there are more than 50,000 storage facilities (each with multiple storage units) offering more than 2.3 billion square feet of storage space. That’s an average of more than 7 feet of storage space per storage unit customer, of which there are more than 30 billion. Each state—and even individual cities—have unique self-storage statistics. For example, self storage units in Cedar City Utah may be more popular to renters in April, where May is the most popular month for new self-storage unit rentals in Salt Lake City. Or the average monthly rental fee of a storage unit in Newark, Delaware is nearly $40 higher than the fee in Milford. And in Florida, the most popular storage unit size is a five-fee by ten-feet unit, while in Texas—where everything is bigger—renters prefer a ten-by-ten space. No matter how you slice and dice the numbers, self-storage is a booming industry all across America.