While relocating, renovating, or just needing a home for some of your belongings, self-storage may be a wonderful option. While a lot of goods may be securely stored in a storage unit, you should be aware of what can and cannot be stored in a storage unit so that you can make other arrangements.
There are laws, regulations, and standards that storage businesses like CubeSmart, Public Storage, and Extra Space Storage all have that you must follow, but some things are fairly common. This includes everything you can’t legally or safely store in a storage facility. Other things may be prohibited for unclear reasons, but you are still not allowed to bring them in.
However, if you’re considering renting a storage unit, make sure you know exactly what you can and cannot keep in it before you do so that you’re not caught off guard. You also need to inquire, is it illegal to live in a storage unit before you start living in it.
These 11 items you can’t store in a storage unit certainly won’t come as a surprise, but here are all the other things you can.
Things You Can’t Put in a Storage Unit
All storage facilities have their own policies, including restrictions on what may and cannot be stored there. The following are the top 11 things you should never store in a storage unit, regardless of where you rent it from:
- Wet items
- Weapons and ammunition
- Unregistered or uninsured vehicles
- Stolen and illegal goods
- Priceless and irreplaceable items
- Living items (and dead ones)
- Hazardous materials
Find out why each of the things on this list is a no-no for self-storage in the information below:
It’s impossible to keep perishable food products fresh even in a climate-controlled unit since they’re insect, mold, and mildew magnets. Using shelf-stable goods, such canned meals, may be problematic since some can attract rodents and pests while others can catch fire.
To be on the safe side, don’t store perishable goods in your storage unit. If you have any doubts about whether or not anything can be stored there, contact the storage business for clarification. Keeping shelf-stable foods in securely sealed containers may allow you to preserve them, but you should know this ahead of time.
Toxic, flammable, and combustible items cannot be stored in a storage facility. Included in this are the following:
- Chlorine bleach
- Compressed gas
- Paint thinner
- Propane tanks
- Radioactive materials
If a home cleaner is especially hazardous or harmful, it may end up on this list.
Likewise, moving firms won’t accept these things, so be sure to properly dispose of hazardous materials on your own before moving day if you’re making a move.
Stolen and illegal goods
Your storage place won’t allow you to retain anything that’s been reported stolen or is otherwise unlawful. As a result, self-storage facilities are not only well-monitored but also more likely to have their staff report any questionable activity to the authorities.
Weapons and ammunition
Most storage facilities include a list of things you can’t store, including weapons like hand grenades and flamethrowers that you don’t want to go off inadvertently. That’s because the facility faces a slew of liability problems on top of the obvious safety concerns. There are many problems that may arise if your unit is put up for auction.
Dead or living items
The fact that humans and animals cannot be stored in storage containers, whether they are living or dead, should go without saying. Plants, flowers, and human ashes are all included under this law, as are all other living and dead objects.
While it is possible to store wet goods (such as kayaks, surfboards, and diving gear), they must be completely dried before the door is closed. The reason for this is because mold and mildew thrive in dark, enclosed areas, such as your storage container. Aside from being disgusting, this may also damage your things, so make sure they’re completely dry before putting them away to avoid this problem in the future.
Priceless and irreplaceable items
Irreplaceable or priceless items should not be placed in your storage container. No matter how careful you are, putting anything in storage comes with some danger. For example, if you have a financial setback later on, your things may be sold at auction. Similarly, although it’s very rare, accidents like fires, floods, or robberies may happen on the premises and damage your belongings.
The same cannot be said for every antique or precious, which is why many storage businesses actively urge you to keep them. However, if the item is really priceless to you, you should keep it close at hand.
Store your cash and other valuables in a bank deposit box rather than a self-storage facility if you need to keep them safe. You should do this for the reasons stated above, in addition to the fact that your valuables would be safer at a bank than in a storage facility.
Clothes made with fur require a relatively narrow range of climatic conditions in order to be maintained correctly. Furs, as a result, are often prohibited from storage by storage providers. Rather than relying on a general storage company, when you need to keep fur, search for a company that specializes in fur storage.
A tire fire is no joke, and if a storage business is left to deal with the leftover tires, they may be hit with hefty disposal costs. For these reasons, tires are often included on the prohibited storage item list.
However, you can only store the four wheels of a car if they are still attached to it.
Unregistered or uninsured vehicles
When it comes to car storage, most businesses are happy to provide it, but there are a few restrictions. Notably, before you may leave your vehicle behind, it must be legally registered and insured, regardless of whether it’s a car, a boat, an RV, or another kind of vehicle. In certain cases, documentation of registration and insurance may be requested, so make sure you ask the business you’re renting from what’s required of you.
What can you store in a storage unit?
Good news: The list of things you can’t put in a storage unit is far smaller than the list of things you can. While climate-controlled storage may be required for some of these goods, the following is a short summary of what may be securely stored:
- Antiques and collectibles
- Home décor
- Musical instruments
- Sports equipment
Always check with your storage provider first if you have any doubts about whether or not anything can be stored there. If you know ahead of time, you won’t be caught off guard later on.
Can You Live in a Storage Unit?
Is it illegal to live in a storage unit? Yes, several municipal and federal housing regulations prohibit residing in a storage container. For legal and insurance reasons, storage facilities must evict anybody residing on the property.
This limitation is in place for a reason. It is dangerous to begin with, because of the lack of ventilation in a storage container. When a storage facility caught fire in 2019, a guy was discovered deceased inside.
In another case, owing to health concerns, authorities were forced to remove a number of people from a storage facility. Authorities also made it clear that residing in an area not designated for residential use is a crime.
Why is it illegal to live in a storage unit?
Living in a storage container is prohibited for a variety of reasons, the most important of which being safety.
- The doors are secured from the outside with a lock.
The majority of self-storage facility doors are roll-up garage doors with locks on the outside. Many storage facilities also require managers to do numerous walkthroughs during their shift to verify that all doors are closed and secured before leaving the facility. This is done to protect the possessions of tenants, but if you live in a unit, you run the risk of being locked inside. This may, at best, make you feel claustrophobic for the rest of the night. This has the potential to be deadly, at the very least.
- It is dark since there are no windows or other sources of natural light.
Natural light is critical for one’s mental health. People who live in storage units may suffer from depression, fatigue, and claustrophobia as a result of their cramped quarters. Children in particular may suffer from a lack of natural light and space.
- There is no running water in the storage containers.
Living in a storage unit means you’ll either have to spend most of your time outside the container or sit quietly and discreetly within it since doing so is against the law in most cities and towns. Either way, your restroom and bathing choices will be severely restricted. With no access to clean, fresh flowing water, personal hygiene deteriorates, and health problems may arise.
- Cooking inside a unit is dangerous since it may cause a fire.
A storage unit fire may be started by a number of different things. People trying to use stoves or grills without enough ventilation is one of the most likely causes. Storage unit occupants are often at fault when flames break out.
- You will be caught
In the above-mentioned popular YouTube video, it is discussed the need of becoming invisible in order to reside in a storage unit. With the advancement of technology, this has become an increasingly difficult fact to ignore. With cameras and security measures in place, it is doubtful that someone will be able to hide out for long in a storage unit. If you’re found out, you may be subject to legal penalties as well as the loss of your apartment and personal property.