You may have read an article by the BBC recently on the UK’s increasing reliance on self storage. Entitled The people with more stuff than they have room for
', you’d have been forgiven for thinking that it was a piece about hoarding or people with unfeasibly large collections. In fact, the article illuminated the growing difficulty in the UK of finding affordable housing with enough storage space. It found that people are increasingly turning to self storage to keep their belongings safe and out of the way, and that they find the cost of doing so is worth it for the extra space in homes with inadequate storage.
The problem with new-builds
New-builds have many faults, the main one being that they are tiny. The architects design the windows to be in proportion to the exterior of the property, so you don’t really realise just how small they are inside until you try to instal a three-seater sofa and find you can’t then open the living room door. They seldom have usable lofts (the roof space is carefully insulated) or cellars, and what would be considered a box room in an older house is labelled a spare bedroom in a new-build.
Why is there so little storage space in modern houses?
In 2011, the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) ‘Case for Space
’ report highlighted the fact that new homes in the UK are much smaller than equivalent houses in Europe. At that point, RIBA had discovered that many new-build houses did not meet minimum size standards recommended by the London Borough Council. Minimum size standards were adopted in 2015 but that did not exactly translate into new houses being built with adequate storage or living space.
The government issued a white paper in 2017 that allows developers to get around national minimum size standards anyway, by creating ‘permitted developments’ - i.e. by allowing offices to be converted into flats. This was with a view to providing more “micro properties” that people could afford to buy. Unfortunately, these micro properties have barely enough space to swing a proverbial cat, let alone store a vacuum cleaner.
Making the most of the space available
If you live in a small property, you have to become very creative with the space available.
Storage beds that allow you to lift the mattress to reveal extra space beneath can be useful, and people have been known to use the space beneath reclining sofas to stash DVDs and spare blankets.
The point of the BBC article was that many people find even these steps inadequate to meet their needs and are turning to the long-term use of self storage facilities such as ours.
With low weekly rates for space that is clean, dry and easily accessible, many of our customers store household items with us all year round.
What would you store?
Think for a moment about the items you have in your house that you only dig out once a year, or even once a month. How often do you look through your photo albums? How many months will it be before you’ll wear your summer clothes again? Your Christmas goodies - your tree and decorations, and extra cookware - and camping gear may be taking up valuable space that you just can’t afford to waste. These belongings are things that you will use again, and it would be a shame to throw them away, but they take up an awful lot of your living space.
Valued belongings soon become ‘clutter’ if left lying around, and when things get in the way they tend to get damaged and broken.
Self storage as an option to extend your living space
Buying a small property that you can afford will at least get you on the property ladder and will hopefully prove a sound investment. To make living in your new home more comfortable in the meantime, placing items such as those mentioned above in self storage is an option to think about.
Keeping your belongings in self storage may add a small amount to your monthly expenditure but if you think of it in terms of rent or mortgage, it is far, far cheaper than what you would spend on a larger property. Your stuff will be safe and waiting for you whenever you need it back, whether that’s in a week, a month or a year’s time - or even longer.
If you're in need of some extra space do get in touch as we have 118 stores nationwide and our friendly storage team would be more than happy to answer any of your storage related questions.