You Need Storage, but Why?

Admin | August 23, 2018 @ 12:00 AM

Have you ever wondered why the demand for self storage keeps growing?  It's hard to drive a mile or two in most cities without passing a self storage facility.  These storage facilities are filled with the prized possessions of people that live in the area, and sometimes people who have moved away.

Back in the mid 90's, at the University of Arkansas, my real estate instructor, Mark E. Risk, told our class about a change that was happening all over the country. He explained that there was a government-inspired push to move people from the suburbs back into cities like Los Angeles and even small cities (like San Luis Obispo, CA, and Arroyo Grande, CA). He talked about mixed use projects where we would essentially go back to the days where retail would be on the street level and apartments would be over the retail store.  Sure, this existed in cities like New York, but it didn't exist in a majority of smaller cities across the country.

As a young college student, it was hard for me to imagine the government forcing people to give up their large homes and large lots and move back to the city. How would the government do this?  Well, the government didn't need to do much. All they had to do was let capitalism work and allow developers to develop what the market demanded. People were tired of spending hours in traffic, and the thought of moving back to the city where they could walk to shopping and work was very attractive.

In addition to allowing mixed use housing, many cities started allowing home developers to put houses on smaller lots. My wife and I lived in a new home in Santa Maria and we could almost touch our neighbor’s home by leaning out the window. That may be a slight exaggeration, but it's pretty close to the truth. We had a 5-foot setback on one side and a 10-foot setback on the other. That was it!

As people moved into apartments and smaller homes, the demand for self storage started to grow. Housing developers wanted to give people the best "bang" for their buck by dedicating the majority of a home to living space. Out went the huge closets, and 3-car garages. In came open floor plans that made the smallest of living spaces attractive.  Out went a place to store Christmas ornaments, motorcycles, classic cars, extra furniture, seldom used yard equipment, and the baby clothes that remind us of years gone by.

Renting a storage space is a very inexpensive way to add back in that missing garage and closet space that was excluded from your home.  For as little as $50 to $60 per month in the Arroyo Grande and Nipomo area, you can you can store your belongings in a safe and secure environment. This is much cheaper than paying for a larger home or moving to a bigger apartment.  It makes sense to rent storage, and that is why so many of your neighbors have a storage unit.