Self storage buildings may be mundane and cumbersome, in keeping with the homogenised post-modern town model where every place is quickly becoming a caricature of another, but such companies as Safestore, Big Yellow and the like most certainly have their purpose and place, maybe even more so with more and more repossessions taking place in these difficult times.
And the credit crunch has not only affected the home owner of course as business from many different sectors have had to make contingency plans in order to survive this current economic storm. The self storage sector is no different.
Safestore, has recently released their full-year financial report, which at first glance makes for grim reading with a pre-tax profit amounting to 86 per cent below the previous financial year's total. That's not just a drop, that's a drop of Gran Canyon esque proportions.
But, in the grand scheme of things, Safestore, with over 90 self storage centres in the UK and Paris, still made a return of 14.9 million pounds during a 12 month period that has done its worst to nosedive towards recession.
So the self storage sector has most certainly been hit, with numbers of short-term customers obviously dropping due to less and less people moving house because of the unstable mortgage market. But you would still be surprised by how many people still use, and will continue to use, self storage companies - a profit for Safestore of nearing 15 million pounds pays testament to that.
Self storage is without question the most convenient way of getting your furniture out of harm's way when redecorating your house, especially when you consider that most households' garage either stores the car or is cluttered with horded goods (or junk, depending on some peoples' habits).
It's affordable too! It won't cost you an arm and a leg to store your furniture for a short time period in self storage and really is the hassle-free option that will give you peace of mind that your belongings are stored safely and securely.
Many self storage centres are easily accessible with more than adequate parking space. They are user friendly and offer you access to your belongings 24 hours a day, and you will be the sole key holder to the unit where your belongings will be stored, so you can come and go as you please and plan your move, refurbishment or redecoration project accordingly and on your terms.
And it's all ethical too! Recyclable materials are on offer as protection for your goods including cardboard boxes and eco-friendly bubble wrap and sofa and mattress protection covers. Look out for offers too as some self storage centres offer free van hire with every new unit rental - and most offer free AA breakdown and an insurance waiver thrown in. Many companies offer a discounted removal service also.
A friend of mine recently had an extension built, so I suggested the services of a particular self storage centre. He also took them up on their free van rental service and by all accounts the whole service ran smoothly - more so than the builders working on the extension, that's for sure - and it really didn't break the bank. In fact my friend was annoyed with himself for having never used self storage in the past! And when recommending a friend he also received a hundred quid's worth of vouchers. He really couldn't grumble at that.
So next time you drive around and moan about yet another self storage centre, just reflect on the fact that they really do serve a purpose. And if you're in two minds about using a self storage centre, you really shouldn't waste any time, just make the call and reserve a unit as it will be a blessing in disguise, believe me.
Shaun Parker is a leading expert in self storage with many years of experience managing self storage centres and consulting self storage companies. Find out more about self storage at http://www.safestore.co.uk