Storage History

Need some space? A storage unit can be just the solution.
Stuff, we’ve all got it. Things we use, things we save, things we need—just maybe not right now. We move our treasures from place to place, pack in boxes, unpack, pack up again, and before we know it, we have run out of space. The possessions we accumulate throughout our lives may not all have monetary value, but they mean something just the same. Having a safe place to keep these things is not only important, it can give us peace of mind and free up some much-needed space as well.

Finding a safe and secure place for our belongings is something human beings have been doing for ages. The Chinese filled clay pots with items and stored them in underground units. Possessions from across Greece were stored in the Delphi. Ancient Egyptians put their earthly treasures, of life and of death, inside chests. And the British aristocracy took their valuables to banks for protection. In the United States, the modern concept of containerized storage can be traced back to 1891, when brothers Martin and John Bekins founded the Bekins Company in Omaha, Nebraska. What started with three horse-drawn vans and twelve employees quickly expanded to include a fleet of moving vans and large fireproof storage warehouses throughout southern California. In the 1960's, the storage unit industry exploded, as people moved away from center cities and built houses in the suburbs. Many of the homes built during this time, especially those throughout the Sunbelt, did not have attics. Thus, a storage unit met the need.

Storage Units of Today
Today, storage units continue to be in high demand—because they work. According to statistics, one in ten U.S. households rents a storage unit and in 2018 it is estimated there were between 44,000 and 52,000 storage facilities in the United States. Storage units are problem solvers. They offer an easy solution for those who are moving, getting married or divorced, welcoming a new baby into the family, operating an online business, remodeling a house, or hundreds of other real-life situations. Whether the need is temporary or long-term, storage facilities have made it easier than ever to keep your belongings safe and secure. With 24 hour access, gated facilities with keyed entry codes, security cameras, convenient locations, and climate-controlled units, worry-free storage is a sure thing. Month to month leases allow flexibility to roll with whatever life brings and you can even pay your bill online.

What type of storage unit do you need?
A little planning goes a long way when it comes to selecting the right storage unit to meet your needs.

Answering the following questions will help you get the best value out of your storage unit.

  • What do you want to store? Furniture, clothing, documents, photographs, art, wine, business inventory, family heirlooms, a car or even an entire household are just a few of the things that are typically stored. If any of these items are sensitive to fluctuations in temperature or humidity, which is especially a factor in warmer climates such as southern middle Tennessee and northern Alabama, you might want to consider a climate-controlled storage unit. Read more about this amenity below.
  • How much space do you need? Visualizing the rooms in a typical house can be helpful when trying to figure out how much space you will need. For instance, a walk-in closet is comparable to a 5x5 storage unit, whereas a 10x10 storage unit is similar to a medium-sized family room. Also, if you want to be able to regularly access items without having to constantly move things out of the way you will want to allow for some extra room.
  • How long do want to store the items? Are you looking for a long-term or short term storage solution? Seasonal items such as kayaks and water toys or snowboards and heavy winter clothes are things that you would store long term and access at different times throughout the year. A short-term storage scenario would be a college student needing a place to store his or her belongings for the summer months. Knowing how often you will be accessing the unit will be helpful in choosing a convenient location.
  • Do you plan on operating a business out of the storage unit? Self-storage is ideal for businesses of all sizes. It’s a great place to keep inventory, equipment, documents, and other business supplies. Whether you operate a business from a brick and mortar storefront or have an online business, a storage unit helps you manage and operate your business as efficiently as possible without cluttering up valuable space in your home, office or store.

Please be aware that there are restrictions on what can be stored. If it is dangerous in any way, shape or form, it cannot be stored—for your own safety and that of the management and other customers. This includes combustible, flammable or toxic materials, as well as liquids or perishable items. However, if in doubt, be sure to ask the manager before you move in. Read more about this in our FAQ.

Typical Storage Unit Sizes
5 x 5 - 25 square feet of space - comparable to a walk-in closet
What is this great for? Although it may be small, it is still an extra closet and the possibilities are endless. Here are a few things that will fit in this space:
  • chest of drawers, clothing
  • skis, golf clubs
  • lamps, coat rack, folding chairs
  • garden tools
  • wine collection
5 x 10 - 50 square feet - comparable to a mid-size bedroom
What is this great for? If you are wanting to remodel the bedroom, look no further. Just move all the contents into this space and get the project started. Among other things, a 5 x 10 storage unit will hold:
  • 1-2 large pieces of furniture
  • 10-15 boxes
  • lawn mower
  • bicycles/motorcycle
  • lamps/coat racks
10 x 10 - 100 square feet - comparable to a family room
What is this great for? If you are moving out of an apartment and not quite ready to move into another place, a 10 x 10 unit is a great solution.
  • entire living room set
  • 2 full bedrooms
  • major appliances
  • contents of a one bedroom apartment
10 x 15 - 150 square feet - comparable to 3 bedrooms
What is this great for?
  • dining room set
  • sofas
  • piano
  • compact vehicles
10 x 20 - 150 square feet - comparable to a full house
What is this great for? If you are in-between homes and need to store a complete household This is the perfect space for you, capacitating roughly 5 bedrooms, and larger items like washers, dryers and refrigerators. Holds furnishings and appliances of a 2-3 bedroom residence.
  • washers & dryers
  • refrigerators
  • fishing boat
  • some full-size vehicles such as that little red Corvette
10 x 30 - 300 square feet - comparable to a 5-7 bedroom house
What is this great for?
  • entertainment centers
  • most vehicles and boats
  • commercial trailers
  • patio furniture
20 x 20 and larger spaces are available on a limited basis.

What is the difference between climate-controlled storage and a regular storage unit (non-climate controlled unit)?
While keeping your belongings out of the weather and natural elements is the overall purpose of a storage unit, the environment inside of the unit is equally important. Many items in storage can be adversely affected by fluctuations in outside temperatures and humidity levels. Non-climate controlled storage units are not heated or cooled, so even if the facility is well insulated, your items may need more environmental stability in order to keep them preserved and protected. This is where climate-controlled storage units enter the picture.

Climate-Controlled Storage
Alongside security, climate control is an important amenity. It’s a storage feature that keeps a unit’s indoor temperature between 55-85°F year-round and maintains a consistent relative humidity level of around 55%. This is done through the use of high-quality HVAC systems (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), dehumidifiers, customizable thermostats, and heavy-duty insulation. As humidity in the air increases, so does the air’s ability to hold heat. When humidity decreases, it helps keep temperatures low. Air conditioners drop humidity levels quickly while dehumidifiers work best over an extended period of time. The main advantage of a climate-controlled storage unit is mold and mildew prevention through the elimination of a fungus-friendly environment. Although dry conditions can be problematic in other climates, in the South, it is during the hot and humid summer months that extra precaution needs to be taken to prevent moisture buildup. It is estimated that three-fourths of new storage facilities now offer this feature which typically costs 30-50% more than a standard storage unit without climate control.

What is a climate-controlled storage unit perfect for?
Any items that are susceptible to mold, mildew, and fluctuations in temperature. This includes expensive or irreplaceable items as well as items that hold sentimental or historical value. Here are a few examples.
  • Wood or Leather Furniture - Wood contracts in colder temperatures and expands in warmer temperature which compromises joints and exterior finishes. Humidity can also cause wood to warp and crack. Leather furniture is especially sensitive to heat and cold and can discolor with too much moisture.
  • Musical Instruments - There is nothing worse than getting your D-35 Martin out of storage and discovering that the neck has warped. Or, finding mold growing on the pads of your saxophone. High temperatures can cause the glues and adhesives that hold the instrument together to soften and pull apart resulting in extensive damage. Metal instruments react to moisture causing bacteria growth and corrosion. Rubber and cork parts will also break down. The ideal environmental conditions for musical instruments is 72-77°F with a humidity level of 45-55%. It is also very important to properly clean, oil and pack instruments before placing them in storage.
  • Artwork - Paintings and fine art can shrink or expand in extreme temperatures. In humid environments, mold or mildew can grow and ruin artwork. An unframed painting should be stored at 70-75°F with 50% relative humidity.
  • Photographs - Photographs can stick together, fade and be permanently ruined unless properly stored.
  • Appliances - Rubber hoses become brittle and crack over time. Mechanical parts are susceptible to rust in high humidity climates as well. Be sure to thoroughly clean and dry your appliances before storing them.
  • Clothing - Leather jackets, formal wear and other expensive items of clothing need to be protected from mold and mildew.
  • Special Collections - coins, stamps, family heirlooms and historical records
  • Wine - Environment is a huge factor when it comes to preserving and aging wine. If humidity is too high, wine will age faster, causing a cloudy, brown appearance. If the air is too dry, wine corks will dry out and crumble.
  • Business Inventory - Keeping inventory protected and looking like new is essential for running any business.
  • Books and Important Documents - Humidity and extreme temperatures can yellow and stain pages so much that they become unreadable.
  • Electronics - Humidity is not a friend to electronics. It can corrode components in professional audio gear, computers, speakers, cameras and other expensive pieces of equipment. Electronic items are best stored between 50 - 80 °F and 30 - 60% relative humidity. For an extra precaution, place a few silica gel packets in boxes with electronic items and store them off the ground.