Once you decide to rent a storage unit, one of the most important questions to ask is: Which items are not safe to store? It's wise to do an inventory of items you plan to place in storage. Share the list with the manager of the storage facility. Most facilities will have you sign a contract stating that you will abide by a set of rules and regulations and that you will not store certain types of items like flammable liquids or food. Management will know what can and cannot be stored, but here are some beginner pointers.
Those vintage kerosene lamps should be emptied and cleaned before packing them into your self storage unit. Other potentially explosive or combustible materials include gasoline, paint thinners, cleaning solvents, motor oil, propane tanks, paint, corrosives, alcohol and fireworks. Potentially explosive materials can be hazardous to your health and to others. You want to ensure the items you are storing are kept safe and having a flammable liquid nearby could endanger them. Be sure to check with the storage facility manager for a complete list of explosive items.
Weapons of any type are generally prohibited from being stored in self storage facilities. This includes antique firearms such as that pre-World War II artillery collection. Firearms can be potentially explosive and also dangerous if they were to fall into the wrong hands.
Radioactive materials are found in some medical supplies. While most types of medical supplies can be kept in storage, those items containing radioactive materials or equipment cannot. While most of us don’t commonly keep medical supplies around the home or office in large quantities, medical personnel or sales reps may have an abundance of such items, most of which could be kept in a storage unit.
While it is a common practice to place vehicles in storage, regulations typically state that the vehicle must be operable and properly registered, licensed and insured. You are still liable for a stored vehicle and any damage that could be caused by the vehicle, thus warranting the need for insurance. Also, many storage units limit the storage of tires. Often no more than four tires can be stored in a unit. This is to help keep the cost of disposing of the tires low should you fail to fulfill your contract terms and claim your items.
While it is a common practice for many construction companies to place overstock equipment pieces into a rented storage unit, there are some exceptions. Never place equipment used for underground drilling or tracking of water into storage units as this violates the law. Be sure to check with the manager of the storage facility you are renting for a complete list of construction items that can and cannot be placed in storage – as lists tend to vary from place to place and are subject to change.
While it may be fine to place properly sealed canned food into storage units, do not store perishable food items such as cereals, flour, meats or cheeses. Also, do not store animal products such as cat litter or pet food in storage. These items will quickly spoil, create a foul odor and attract bugs and rodents. If these items cannot be quickly consumed, consider giving them away or tossing them out. You don’t want to waste money storing spoiled food.
It may seem obvious, but plants and animals, dead or alive, are prohibited from being placed in storage. While it may be tempting to temporarily place your dog, ‘Bubbles,’ into your climate-controlled storage unit for a few days while you take that out of town trip, this is never recommended. Any supplies you leave her will not make up for the fact that storage units are poorly ventilated. If you don’t want to leave her home alone, consider finding a pet sitter, keeping her in a kennel or dropping her off at your sister’s house for a few days.
It may seem absurd, but cases of this have shown up on the nightly news. In desperate situations, a storage unit may seem better than the street, but this is not allowed and for good reason. Storage units are often dark and poorly ventilated with no cooking or restroom facilities. Many have no way to regulate the temperature. Customers are not allowed to plug in refrigerators, stoves, heaters, generators or air conditioners. For your safety and the security of other customers, storage units cannot be used as a motel.
The advice on this website is provided as a courtesy for informational purposes only. “Storage Tips” are offered as-is and no warranty is expressed or implied. For more information, see StorageFront’s Terms and Conditions.