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The UK is the largest self-storage market in Europe with 46% of the total space. Despite this, many of us are still unsure what self-storage actual is.  According to a survey carried out by the Self Storage Association, 90% of people surveyed had heard of self storage. However only 30% of the respondents understood exactly what it means.

So we’ve put together a plain English guide to self storage.

The online dictionary describes self-storage as follows:
[noun] a rented space in a building for storing property, where you can bring or take away your property yourself

To elaborate, a self-storage centre rents single units in various sizes to individuals or to businesses. Customers can rent units on a short or long term basis depending on requirements. Access is unlimited but only given to the person hiring the unit unless the hirer gives their permission to admit others.

Self-storage not to be confused with Removal storage

Removal storage is arranged by your removal company who collect, load and deliver your items into the removal company’s specialised warehouses in wooden container storage. Access is less flexible and must be arranged in advance with the removal company. This option suits people who have no need to access their items on a regular basis.

But why use storage anyway?

The most common reasons for using self-storage tend to be a result of a life changing event such as moving house, entering or leaving a relationship, a birth or death. This supports the view that using self-storage tends to be unplanned.

The survey claims that 48% of respondents don’t believe they have anything to put into self storage – we know they are wrong!

With more people making home improvements, the industry has seen storage used on a short term basis to clear rooms being renovated. In addition, new build properties have been getting steadily smaller over the years with many unable to provide adequate storage space. Self-storage can help with the deficit.

Raised awareness through reality TV

In 2010, two new television programs featuring storage auctions, Storage Wars and Auction Hunters, were released in the US bringing the idea of self-storage to the general public. The popularity led to additional shows such as Storage Hunters helping increase the visibility and interest of storage auctions.

The UKTV’s entertainment channel Dave introduced the storage auction to the British public with Storage Hunters UK pulling over a million viewers. The reality show features a group of bidders going head-to-head, blindly bidding on abandoned containers.

The cast of the highest rated show on UKTV’s entertainment channel Dave secretly filmed at Space Saver storage centre back in January 2015.

But don’t worry – a self-storage facility does not take possession or control of the contents of a unit unless rental payments are not met.

Centres are not just storage, there’s more on offer…

Many facilities offer add on services such as packing materials and van hire. In some larger centres, you can also rent secure mailboxes and office space.
Generally insurance does not come as standard. It is always wise to check with the individual centres as to what is included in the storage quote. If content cover isn’t included, then it is the individual’s responsibility to organise insurance for their items.

Hopefully that all makes sense – now are you sure you don’t need some storage?