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7 Things You Should Never Store in Your Storage Unit

Jon Fesmire | October 3, 2022 @ 12:00 AM

When you sign up for a self storage unit, one thing you’ll agree to on your contract is a list of things you will not store. These prohibited items are listed for good reason. We’re going to cover the ten categories of things to never store in your storage unit, and why each of them is disallowed.

Flammable or Explosive Materials

Never store items that could spontaneously catch on fire, or catch on fire easily and have that fire spread quickly. Obviously we’re not talking about things like paper, which can catch on fire if touched by a flame. You can keep using cardboard boxes and storing documents and books.

We’re talking about more dangerous items like fuel tanks, fireworks, fertilizer, and any chemicals that can easily catch fire. If a fire does start, these will only cause it to spread causing terrible damage to your belongings, neighboring units, and the facility as a whole.

Hazardous Materials 

Yes, flammable materials are hazardous, too, but this category catches everything else. Do not store items like acids, fungicides, disinfectants, chemicals, or radioactive materials. These can cause a variety of health and other problems.


Here we’re mostly talking about functional firearms. Ask the facility if you’re interested in storing knives or decorative guns or swords. Facilities prohibit pistols, rifles, and other firearms.

There are a variety of ways to store guns safely including with Gunsitters® Secure Firearm Storage, a self storage company that specializes in storing firearms.


Picture this: a fire takes off in a storage unit and reaches a box of bullets. Suddenly, they’re firing in every direction as the gunpowder in them ignites. That’s a nightmare scenario, but because of the danger, tenants may not store bullets and other types of ammunition, which are all explosive.

Perishable Food

While canned foods may be allowed at many storage facilities, perishable food and open food containers are not. Food will rot and stink in your unit. It will also attract pests, including insects and rodents. That can lead to an infestation not only in your unit, but in the rest of the facility.

When you prepare things for storage, make sure nothing is food-based, and that everything is free of crumbs and other food particles.

Live Animals and Plants

Please, don’t put your pets in a storage unit when you go out of town. Some may think that if they include enough food, water, and a place for their pet to relieve itself, that’s all right. It’s not. It’s cruel to the animal whether you’re gone for a half a day or a week, it necessarily includes storing open food, and it can attract pets. If facility management realizes you have an animal in there they will call the police to report you for animal cruelty.

Obviously, don’t leave a person in there, either, living or deceased. Yes, bodies have been found in storage units. And this does mean that you can’t sleep in your unit.

Plants will die in a storage unit, as there’s no sunlight coming in. Plants are also food and will attract pests.

Illegal Items

This category covers a lot, so let’s get to it. This includes anything strictly illegal in your area, including illicit drugs, drug paraphernalia, and weapons. It also includes anything stolen. Yes, if you’re in possession of something stolen, that makes it illegal for the purposes of storage, even if you’re not aware that it was stolen. So, know where you belongings came from before you store them.

Of course, that leaves a lot that you can store, from off-season clothing and sports equipment to art, toys, furniture, business inventory, and more. If you’re looking for a storage unit, we have listings across the U.S. and Canada.

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