Long-term self storage facilities are booming in popularity. In 2016, 24 new self storage sites opened across the UK – the greatest number in any European country.
So what are the reasons for this growing demand for self storage space? While we can’t be exactly sure, we can take a look at recent studies and make some informed guesses. From millennials to mindfulness, here are five reasons why we think more people are discovering the benefits of long-term self storage facilities.
The ‘working from home’ phenomenon
According to the Office for National Statistics, the number of self-employed people in the UK rose from 3.3 million in 2001 to 4.8 million in 2017. With so many more people launching their own businesses – alongside flexible working becoming more popular – it’s highly probable that the number of homes being adapted to contain office space will have seen an upswing in recent years.
As spare rooms and second bedrooms are converted, personal belongings need to be put somewhere safe and accessible. Similarly, many small businesses need storage room for products and important documents. Self storage is an ideal solution. The Cushman and Wakefield Self-Storage Association UK Annual Industry Report of 2017 appears to correlate with this too, finding that fifty percent of respondents who were self storage business users were comprised of 1-3 people.
House and Carriage storage costs less in rental charges than large office premises, helping to reduce overheads. There are no costs associated with utilities or council tax either, and small businesses are exempt from business rates. SMEs will pay VAT, however if you’re VAT registered you may be able to claim this back.
A change in behaviour from millennials
Another possible reason for the growth in long-term self storage facilities may be that millennials are finding it harder to get onto the property ladder than earlier generations. In fact it’s not uncommon for young people to live with their parents until their mid-thirties. In the meantime, their belongings are stored – you guessed it – in the homes of their parents.
Self storage helps here by allowing parents to make room by storing their own possessions away until their children have flown the nest. Or it enables them to store their children’s possessions while they are at university or renting, until the younger generation is able to secure keys to their own place.
UK homes have less space
British homes are smaller on average than in many other European countries – according to an Office of National Statistics report from 2016. The study found that the average UK property was 90 metres square – compared with 106 metres square in Portugal, and 131 metres square in Cyprus. In the US, properties averaged at a whopping 245 metres square.
Compare this with the finding that UK residents rent four times more self storage space than the French, and nine times more than people in Germany, and a pattern emerges. In fact when asked in the Cushman and Wakefield report the reasons for using self storage, the most popular answer – at forty percent – was: ‘no room for items at residence’. When homes are overcrowded, self storage can help make valuable space.
The need for top-notch security
Security may also be a contributing factor towards the rise of self storage use. In the Cushman and Wakefield report, it was found that the ‘security monitoring of storage areas’ was the third most important feature of a self storage facility (after ‘cleanliness and presentation’, and ‘convenient access to site’).
For many people, home security is not sophisticated enough to completely prevent the thefts of valuable items. Sheds and garages provide space, but have basic locking mechanisms that an experienced burglar can easily overcome. A House and Carriage storage facility, however, offers safety and security on staffed premises.
A fashion for minimising
Finally, the hectic modern life means that we are a stressed nation. In recent years, the Office of National Statistics has seen a rise in depression and anxiety, and this in turn has led to popular psychological health movements such as ‘mindfulness’, which often promote the value of a ‘decluttered life’. The idea is simple: keep your environment clean and clear, and you’ll feel calmer, and more in control.
Decluttering a house doesn’t have to mean getting permanently rid of items that are genuinely useful. If you have possessions you don’t need to access regularly, but want to hold on to, then self storage is an excellent solution. Your possessions are safely stored away, while you get on with the business of enjoying your peaceful and relaxing sanctuary of your home.
Whatever the reasons for the growth in long-term self storage facilities, customers are reaping the benefits. The Cushman and Wakefield report finds that nearly 90% of self storage users who responded are either ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with their self storage service.
At House and Carriage you pay only for the space you need right now. And you can decrease or increase the space you have as you go along.
Whatever your reasons for needing self storage, call 01608 811 444 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to see how we can help.