• Laing Self Storage

5 Facts about storage

Have you ever been driving down the street, passed a self storage facility, and thought to yourself, “Hmmmm, I wonder what little-known facts there are about storage?” Didn’t think so. But now that we’ve piqued your interest, aren’t you even the teeniest bit curious? Do you know how far back storage facilities date? Or the most common demographics of people who rent self storage units? Grab your mug o’ tea, cozy up in your favorite armchair, and get ready to learn five little-known facts about storage.

When were the first self-storage units created?

The concept of self storage came about 6,000 years ago in what is now Xi’an, China. People would place their belongings—to-do lists etched in turtle shell, bamboo reed flip-flops, collectible spearheads, and family heirloom jewelry made of jade and teeth—in clay pots and store them in underground pits. Guards monitored these storage areas to ensure no one removed another person’s pot or its contents.

It is widely believed that it was a man named Xiang Lau who opened the first storage facility when he realized his mud hut was overflowing with the prized bones of his enemies. He wanted to keep them in his man cave to gloat to all his friends, but his wife made him remove them after she kept tripping over them. Thus the idea for an off-site self storage facility was born. Apparently Lau was the first to offer deals, too, such as a free ox rental when renting a storage unit.

Okay, maybe the story of Lau is undocumented. But odds are a shortage of living space and a bickering couple led to the birth of ancient self storage.

When did modern self storage facilities emerge?

Modern self storage involves a tenant renting a space that no one else has access to. This concept was unheard of until Lauderdale Storage opened in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 1958. It set a new precedent that remains the norm to this day.

The industry continued to grow in the 1960s with the first self storage facility in Odessa, Texas called “A-1 U-Store-It U-Lock-It U-Carry the Key.” Despite the wordy, forgettable name, the business was a fast success. It was built in an industrial area where fishermen could store their boats and oil field equipment for quick access—which is why they were 100 feet by 30 feet, the right dimensions for storing bass boat trailers.