What Not to Store

Jon Fesmire | Jun 12, 2019 @ 09:59 AM

So, you’re ready to get a new self storage unit. You know what size you need. You know whether or not you need climate control. You’re ready to sign your lease, right? One thing you might not be aware of, however, is which items you’re not allowed to store.

But wait—since you’re renting the space, shouldn’t you be able to put whatever you want in your unit? Well, no, and there are good reasons for this. The most common reason is safety, meaning the safety of your belongings and those of other tenants. Another is the safety of the property. Then, there are legal reasons.

Although your facility will provide you with a list of what isn’t allowed, this article will explain why certain things are prohibited in self storage.

Perishable Food

While canned goods may be allowed (ask the facility before you store them), perishable food is not. Food can rot, smell terrible and grow mold, which might spread to your other items. Pests in your unit could spread to other units, too.

Pets and Other Live Animals

This, put simply, is animal cruelty, and it’s illegal. Your pets or other animals need someone watching over them. A dark storage unit is not the place for them. Animals also attract pests, especially if they die in the unit.

If you have to leave town and can’t take your pets with you, get a friend to watch them, or hire a professional pet sitter.

Live Plants

Your potted plants need light, fresh air, new soil, and water. They’re not going to get these things in a self storage unit. Also, like animals, they can attract pests. Instead of putting your plants in your unit if you have no room for them at home, find a place for them in your yard or give them to friends.

Hazardous Materials

Flammable, corrosive, and explosive materials are right out. These can cause serious damage to property, from your stuff to the facility buildings.

Of this type, prohibited items include paints, paint thinners, pesticides, weed killers, fireworks, charcoal, liquor, ammunition, and car batteries, among many others.

Now, in specialized storage, there are differences. For instance, car batteries are allowed in vehicle storage, and liquor in wine storage. But when it comes to standard storage units, these things are not allowed.

Scented Items

Even if your contract doesn’t say so, you should avoid storing items with strong scents. Heavily scented items can attract pests.

Wet Items

Make sure everything you store is dry before you bring it in. Wet items grow mold, and the moisture can attract pests.

Stolen and Illegal Goods

This one’s easy to avoid. Don’t steal things or have illegal goods, including illicit drugs. It should go without saying that this is highly illegal.

If the manager suspects you have stolen goods in your unit, they will call the police. You could be arrested. This is true even if you weren’t the thief, so know what you’re storing and where it came from.

Valuable Items

Here’s another one that’s not a hard and fast rule, but a recommendation. In general, it’s better to keep your valuable items at home.

However, any facility with good security is just as safe for your stuff. If you do need to store some valuables in your unit, you can give them a little extra protection from theft. Keep your valuables in the back of your unit, and preferably at the bottom of stacks of boxes.

On the rare possibility your unit gets robbed, chances are the robbers will grab a few things from the front before they drive away. Thieves are often in a hurry and get out quickly just in case they’ve been spotted.

Follow these rules and you’ll not only get the most out of your unit, but you’ll be a great tenant and a good neighbor to your fellow storage customers.