Self storage has a long history. Buz Victor, the founder of the Self Storage Association discovered that for six thousand years people had kept their belongings in clay containers. The pots were placed in underground storage areas and were closely monitored to ensure that nobody else could see the jars. British dignitaries were later to travel abroad or spend extended periods away, so they also sought personal storage. Many times they hired banking companies to secure their valuables. The banks then would hire moving companies. These companies would often secure lofts or stables and store valuables inside crates. They also placed watchmen near the property.
By looking at the history of self storage, we can all learn more about how to store belongings and goods. Personal storage has always been about security, which is why it remains one of its most important (if not the most) aspects. We know from the history of self-storage that initially, the person responsible for protecting valuables would be held accountable in case they were stolen or lost. The bank would be held responsible if the loft of a British aristocrat was destroyed.
However, self storage has made it easier for customers to retain responsibility (except when theft or damage are caused by negligence or flaws on the owner’s part). Customers’ goods are not available to self storage owners, except for the occasion of a lien (or failure to pay rent), which is rare in the history. Therefore, security is often maintained through cameras. The main security method for self storage has been guards and complex locks. The electronic thumbprint scanner is the current equivalent and can be found in upscale storage units. Odessa was home to the first self-storage facility (as we know it today) in history. It was called “A1 U Store It, U Lock-It, U Carry the Key”. Russ Williams, a long-time worker in the oil industry, wanted somewhere to store his extra equipment and boats. After realizing that similar storage units could be used for commercial purposes by other companies in the oil industry, he bought a collection of apartments and garages. They sold more or less themselves.