Self-storage is an excellent solution for storing your belongings while you’re moving house, going on a trip around the world or just keeping all the items you don’t currently need from cluttering your home. While you can put almost anything into a storage unit, there are also some prohibited items you should never put into storage.
Perishable and food items
Any foods and other perishable items should never be brought into a storage unit. Even a small amount of food or other organic matter can and will spoil, even in a climate-controlled storage unit. Rotting organic matter is a breeding ground for all sorts of bacteria and fungi while also producing awful smells and attracting lots of vermin. Such an infestation will damage most, if not all of your stored items and can even spread to other neighboring storage units. Even non-perishable food items or pet food in sealed bags could hold the risk of rodents and insects finding them, so make sure to ask the staff of the storage facility beforehand.
Flammable or combustible items
Any flammable and explosive items are often on the top of the list of forbidden items at self-storage facilities. This includes any kind of fireworks, ammunition, gasoline, oil, propane, kerosene and any other pressurized, highly volatile and easily combustible products. If it can easily catch on fire, then a storage unit is NOT the place for it. Such items pose a huge hazard when put into enclosed airspace and can easily threaten the facility if an accident happens. Your unit can explode, destroying not only your belongings but those of your neighbors, as well. In such an event, you will most likely be held accountable for any damage done.
It might seem like common sense to most people, but we still have to point it out – any living (or dead) creatures should NEVER be put into a storage unit! Besides being a morally abhorrent thing to do, putting living beings into self-storage is strictly forbidden and is even against the law. The same goes for any remains of humans or pets – their place is not in a storage unit. So whether you can’t care for your cat while you’re moving or need a place for your Egyptian mummy, self-storage is not the solution this time. Consider asking family or friends to look after your pets when you don’t have the ability to do so.
Wet or damp items
Storing kayaks, scuba gear, skis or any other equipment that gets wet often is acceptable, as long as you ensure that it is completely dry before being put into storage. Wet or even just damp items stored in a dark space with little to no air circulation are the perfect environment for mould and mildew to grow rampant. Besides being gross to deal with, it can permanently damage your belongings, so take great care not to bring anything humid into your storage unit.
Plants don’t thrive in storage units
Storing a plant might not be as morally wrong as putting your dog into storage, but you should still never do it. Plants need light, water and fresh air to grow properly, while a storage unit provides none of that. Even worse, plants will evaporate any water they currently have into the surrounding air, increasing your unit’s relative humidity, leading to – you guessed it – mould and mildew! It’s best to give all the plants you can’t take care of to someone else or plant them outside, if possible.
Firearms and illegal substances
Most self-storage facilities do not allow any kind of firearm to be stored there. This includes handguns, revolvers, shotguns, rifles, grenades, flamethrowers and so on. Firearms pose a risk and are strictly regulated by the law and, as such, are a big headache for the storage company if they have to deal with your abandoned unit. Consider buying a gun safe or finding specialized storage for any firearms you own.
On the topic of strictly regulated items, any illegal substances – such as illicit drugs or chemicals used in the production of such drugs – have no place in your storage unit. Storage units are not a way to avoid the law – you will be caught and prosecuted.
Toxic and hazardous materials
Any hazardous or toxic materials should never be put into self-storage. What is allowed or not depends on the facility in question, but some substances that are often prohibited are:
- Paint thinner
- Radioactive materials
Any biological waste and other possibly contagious materials are also strictly forbidden, so keep that in mind! Sometimes the hazardous material might not be as obvious, like building materials containing asbestos, for example.
Any stolen or illegal goods
Like we said before, storage facilities are not a get-out-of-jail-free card – any stolen goods, contraband or other items that are illegal in the country should never be put into storage. All self-storage facilities are equipped with video surveillance, which means that whatever you do will be caught on tape. The staff are also liable to call the police if they notice anything suspicious on the premises, so keep any illegal activities and/or items away from your storage unit.
Extremely high-value items
There is more than one opinion on this topic, but the general consensus is that if you can’t bear losing it, don’t put it into self-storage. If you have items of immense sentimental value that cannot be replaced if they are lost or damaged, then their place is somewhere close to you. Other items worth enormous amounts of money, like priceless jewellery, ancient antiques, bonds, stocks, and other valuable documents, are not 100% safe in your small storage unit. Sure, the storage facility is secure, and your items are insured. However, fires, floods and robberies can still happen, and some things just can’t be adequately reimbursed by insurance, no matter your policy.
Self storage services are a great way of holding everything you don’t currently need, but there are still things you can’t put into your storage unit. The exact limitations depend on the storage facility you choose. Still, after reading this article, you now have a general idea of what you should avoid bringing into a storage unit, be it for the safety of you and those around you or prevent losing belongings whose price cannot be measured in money.