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Storage Unit Tips: What Not to Store in a Storage Unit

In 2014, there were 48,500 self-storage facilities in America. To put it in perspective, that same year there were more self-storage facilities than McDonald's and Starbucks locations combined. 

Americans like their stuff. The average American home contains 300,000 items. And while our home size has nearly tripled in the past 50 years, we still need more storage space.

If you've been thinking of putting a few items in storage to eliminate clutter in your home it's important to know the rules. Not everything can be safely kept in storage.

With that in mind, keep reading. We're sharing our favorite seven storage unit tips of what you shouldn't keep there. 

1. One of Our Favorite Storage Unit Tips Is to Never Keep Perishable Food There

It's probably best if you don't store any type of food in storage. Food products such as dairy products, produce or meats will not only perish but attract unwanted pests. 

However, if you rent a climate-controlled storage unit, you can more safely store canned goods.

Hot and Damp Conditions Spoils Canned Foods

For those who don't have climate control, storing canned food in a hot climate isn't a good idea. If the storage unit is damp, the cans could rust. 

And any space that goes above 85 degrees can spoil the food inside. Even bagged dry pet food will spoil in extreme weather conditions.

2. Never Keep Valuable Items in Storage

If you have items that are truly valuable, keep them in locked a safe in a bank or at home. If you feel the item is valuable due to sentimental rather than economic reasons, then keep it at home. 

While self-storage units offer security, it's still not worth the risk. Not only could your valuable items be stolen, but they are also at a higher risk of becoming damaged.

3. Do Not Place Hazardous Materials in Storage

Some materials are too hazardous to be placed in storage. Especially if the unit isn't climate-controlled. 

Also, all storage units ban storing the following materials because they are hazardous, toxic, flammable, and/or combustible:

  • Gasoline

  • Kerosene

  • Lamp and motor oils

  • Acid

  • Grease

  • Compressed gas

  • Biological waste

  • Toxic waste

  • Paint thinner

  • Fireworks

  • Chemicals

  • Narcotics cleaners

  • Propane tanks

  • Asbestos

  • Fertilizer

  • Corrosives

  • Aerosol cans

You should also drain all fluids from your lawnmower and any other type of outdoor equipment before placing it in self-storage. 

4. Anything Living Should Never Be Keep in a Storage Unit

While this seems like a no-brainer, it does happen. It's also against public storage restrictions but bears repeating.

Do not ever leave an animal or pet in a storage unit. If you cannot bring the animal with you, you have other options such as:

  • Having a family member or friend care for the animal

  • Hire a pet sitter

  • Boarding the pet at a proper facility

  • Relinquishing your pet to an animal rescue facility

Pets need access to food, water, and sunlight. They also need companionship. 


You also shouldn't store plants in a storage facility. Plants need water, light, and fresh air to live and grow. 

If you can't care for your plants, ask a friend or family member to take them. Offer them for sale or for free on sites like Craigslist. You may also be able to donate your plants to places such as retirement homes. 

5. Public Storage Is Not the Place to Keep Weapons

While many Americans enjoy buying and keeping weapons, a storage unit is not the place to store them. Most storage facilities will not allow you to store any kind of weapons or even ammunition.

And if you rent a storage container, someone could break in and steal them or use them against you. 

Instead, if you need to store your weapons somewhere other than your home, look into a gun storage locker rental facility near you. This way, you'll rest easy knowing they're stored safely and won't end up in the wrong hands.

6. Don't Keep Stolen Items in Storage

The first rule of being a thief should be to never store stolen items in a place that's easily traced back to you. The only items you can legally keep in a storage unit are things you either legally own or have explicit permission to keep the items from the true owner. 

If the facility manager suspects something is illegal, they will call the police to investigate. And if the police discover you're in possession of stolen items, you'll be interrogated and possibly arrested.

If it's on your property and someone suspects you are holding on to stolen items, they also may contact the police. 

7. These Office Supplies Don't Belong in Storage

For many businesses, a self-storage container is the perfect solution. Especially since certain office supplies are perfectly fine to store in a self-storage unit such as extra pens and paper.

However, the following items should never be stored in a unit:

Medical Supplies and Equipment

If you're a medical sales rep, having a storage unit to house your medical supplies and equipment may seem like a good idea. But you can't keep items such as:

  • Hazardous chemicals

  • Radioactive equipment

It's also a good idea to find out what can be safely stored in a storage container if you work with medical supplies and equipment. 

Construction Equipment

There are many pieces of construction equipment that can easily fit inside a storage unit. But keep in mind some of the equipment is too large, so you may not be able to fit everything inside. 

Also, certain types of equipment such as geophysical or groundwater instruments for investigating groundwater shouldn't be kept in a storage container. These highly sensitive pieces of equipment should be carefully stored elsewhere away from the elements. 

Work With Us

Even with these storage unit tips, it might be hard for some people to decide what they should and shouldn't place in a storage unit or container. We can help. Contact us today to schedule your consultation or appointment.

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1 Comment

Gail Hays
Gail Hays
Oct 04, 2021

Lovely blog yyou have

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