What Not to Store in a Storage Unit

by Dusty Rhodes on Mar 31, 2023  in 
Antique car in storage unit

Whether you are planning to move or are looking for extra storage space, a storage unit makes the perfect place. Not only that, but having a storage unit allows you to have a space that keeps everything safe and secure. While there are things that you can put in the storage unit with no problem, there are other things that you shouldn't store, and you should know what these items are so that there are no issues later on.

Many companies who offer unit storage will have individual policies, rules, or regulations that must be followed as far as what can and cannot be stored. Although it can seem obvious about storing items, many do not have a firm understanding of why certain items should be left out. A lot of the items that cannot be stored are due to the legalities surrounding them or to maintain safety. Some items that you wish to have stored may even be considered as banned although it may not be clear as to why.

No matter what, when a storage unit is rented, you need to ensure that you know what items can and cannot be stored and that you are remaining in compliance with the storage unit’s rules and your rental agreement. If you are unsure of what you should or should not store, then you need to be aware of a few items that need to be kept out.


Items That Should Not Be Stored In Your Storage Unit

Like we mentioned, the storage unit you rent will have the final say of what you can and can’t store. With that said, let’s take a deeper look at the 11 items you should not have in your storage unit.

  • Living things (plants and animals)

  • Food that is perishable

  • Hazardous materials (corrosive chemicals, improperly stored batteries, paint, cleaning supplies etc)

  • Anything that can be affected by humidity or flame

  • Any items that are wet

  • Money

  • Irreplaceable items

  • Unregistered vehicles

  • Anything illegal

  • Keep all explosives, ammunition, and guns at home

  • Items with strong odors

1. Living things (plants and animals)

Regardless of whether the living thing is an animal or plant, they need to be left out. When you have a storage unit, it is not designed to be a place for you to take them when you are not able to take care of them. Not only will it be prohibited, but it may be considered cruel in nature. So when you plan to go away for a while and do not plan to take your pets; you need to find an adequate pet sitter or shelter that can care for them temporarily. You could also have relatives keep an eye on them for you.

If an animal is kept in a storage unit, they could easily die from suffocation, due to very low ventilation. Plus, the storage unit staff does not have the proper animal training and the animals may become aggressive.

If you store plants, they may die when they are not provided with an adequate amount of water and natural sunlight.

2. Food that is perishable

No matter how long the storage period will be for perishable food, using a storage unit is not a good idea. Besides the storage unit not being a food pantry, the food items can easily spoil over time and cause you to throw them out. Plus, food easily attracts insects, such as cockroaches and ants. When these bugs enter the storage unit, they can easily multiply and spread throughout the other storage units.

When food is not removed from the unit and it rots, it will begin to cause a foul odor to fill the space. The rotting items will also turn into mold and cause bacteria to spread. So when you have these perishables stored, there may be more problems than good that comes from it. So it is best to just have food items out no matter if they are perishable or nonperishable.

3. Hazardous materials - corrosive chemicals, improperly stored batteries, paint, cleaning supplies etc.

When it comes to hazardous material, there are many types that can cause potential problems in the storage unit. If waste is stored, it can easily spread disease that can lead to an infection or outbreak to the immediate area. You should also keep out all material that is hazardous in nature, such as paint, paint thinner, or chemicals that are corrosive. If these items are in the storage unit, you are putting everything in danger. You could also end up contaminating nearby storage units or damaging other items.

4. Anything that can be affected by humidity or flame

When you have items that humidity or fire can affect, then they could be easily lost. Many of these items are delicate in nature and can be affected by high humidity. Other delicate items that should be left out involve crystal, leather, and glass. Besides a proper climate, the items need to be handled delicately. When you have items stored in the storage unit, you need to ensure that the items are stored and handled properly.

With leather, it needs to be in a good climate that is controlled so that it does not crack or become brittle. In order to avoid this, the leather should not be stored because it will require polishing.

5. Any Items That Are Wet

When a storage unit is wet or has moisture within, it puts all of your other items at risk of water damage. Knowing this, it is best to keep all wet things out. Beforehand, you should check that all stored items are dry.

When the items are even wet a little bit, the amount of damage that the moisture can cause can be a lot. The slightest moisture can cause mildew, bacteria, or mold to grow. When these grow, they could spread to other stored items in your unit. The moisture can easily cause wood to rot and your delicate items can easily be damaged and eventually ruined. If you store items that are used for water, such as a kayak or canoe, make sure that they are thoroughly dry. Also, make sure that any water tanks that you have are kept out of the storage unit.

6. Money

Your storage unit will likely have security measures in place that include guards. However, not everything is considered to be 100% safe. This is why you need to keep away from storing money, jewelry, or loose precious stones. Not only will you not have to worry about losing them, but the owners of the storage unit cannot be held liable for the loss of any item. It is best to save any money or any precious items at home or in a bank vault. This way only you will have the authorization to retrieve them later.

7. Irreplaceable Items

When you have sentimental items that are considered to be high value, they will never be replaced if anything happens to them. These items could include heirlooms or antiques that your family passes down from generations. These irreplaceable items should be kept at home with you to prevent any problems caused by damage.

Besides those we mentioned, valuable items that you consider irreplaceable may also include photo albums and passports. Items such as these need to be safeguarded at all times and in a safe to prevent theft. Although you are not restricted from storing your passport, judgment needs to be used based on how much you use them.

8. Unregistered Vehicles

When you have a vehicle that you no longer drive or is not driveable and it is unregistered, then you cannot store it in your storage unit. If you do plan to have it stored, it needs to be registered and insured in your name. These vehicles include trucks, boats, cars, motorcycles, and any trailers. Before you store them, the storage company will likely verify that the items are legitimate and not stolen.

You know that the storage facility will be reputable when they will require you to provide proof of ownership. Plus, having the vehicle insured is also a good idea so that it is covered in case of any damage while being stored.

9. Anything Illegal

When you rent a storage unit, you need to keep all items that the government considers illegal. The items considered illegal can vary and involve drugs that are federally illegal, medicine that is unlicensed, or even bootlegged alcohol. You should also avoid storing items that have been smuggled. It is a good idea to ensure that everything that you are storing is legal so that you prevent yourself from getting caught with items that are illegal.

10. Keep All Explosives, Ammunition, and Guns at Home

In order to maintain security of the storage unit, it is best to keep any and all explosives out of the storage unit. These explosive items include any guns, fireworks, and any ammunition for the guns. If a fire breaks out in the storage unit, then these items will explode and cause significant damage to the storage unit and surrounding area. If an explosion occurs, then it could also affect individuals who are in other units.

If items that you have stored cause an explosion, you will be ultimately responsible for the damage. This may also be the case for insurance purposes as they may view the damage as being intentional in nature.

11. Items With Strong Odors

When you have items that have a fragrance, you need to determine if it will be too strong for storage purposes. When you have a strong smelling scent or odor in the storage unit, it can be difficult to pinpoint the cause. This is why you should keep strong smelling items out. If you don’t, then you could easily attract all types of bugs, which may begin to destroy other items. The last thing that you want is to open a box in storage and find a rat nest that has made your unit its home.

Items That Can Be In Storage Units

As long as you take the proper steps to ensure that items are safely stored, then you should have no problem storing items. The good part is that you have a lot of other items that are storable so that you don’t have to be concerned about them. A few of these items include:

  • All electronics

  • Any books

  • Wines

  • Decorations

  • Art

  • Appliances

  • Mattresses

  • Exercise equipment

  • Furniture

  • Photographs

  • Instruments

When you are uncertain about items that are allowed or disallowed for storage, you need to contact the storage facility for clarification. They will be able to provide more details surrounding the items.

Comply With All Policies Of The Storage Facility

By complying with the storage facility, you are making sure that the storage unit you have will remain in the same condition that it is in at the time of renting. When you sign a rental agreement, it will state the items that are permissible and what are not. If you decide to ignore the rules, then you could cause serious problems in the future. You could also be sued if damage occurs to other units and it is discovered that you are responsible for the damage.


Dusty Rhodes