By Tyranni Rineer, Certified Self Storage Manager
You just rented a self storage unit. Now you wonder to yourself what you’re permitted to store in there; something that can be easily overlooked by anyone. You are probably thinking, “It’s my stuff, it’s my storage unit…I can put whatever I want in there.” However, there are things you are not allowed to keep in a self storage unit or on our property. These simple rules are in place for your safety, the safety of other tenants and the safety of the entire facility, while also preventing damage to the items in every storage unit.
Here we list things you are not allowed to keep in your self storage unit, and also explain the reasons why they are not allowed. Some items may be things you figured were no big deal. And trust me, most of them will seem very obvious as you read through the list. You may even get a good chuckle on a few of them as you read. We also give you some tips on how best to store the items you are allowed to keep on site, helping you prevent damage to your stuff.
Items that are NOT PERMITTED in your self storage unit:
This is one that is often overlooked or may not seem like a big deal. However, perishables such as food items and even pet food should not be kept in a storage unit. Just think what will happen when insects and rodents get a whiff of that food. Not only will they enter the unit for the food, they could easily damage your other items in the unit by chewing and even nesting inside them. There is also the possibility for infestation throughout the entire facility, which causes damage and poses potential health risks for everyone. You are also just asking for mold and bacteria to grow, especially if you have a drive-up unit that is susceptible to heat and moisture from outside.
- Live/Dead Animals
While this may seem quite obvious to most people, you may not store living animals, or dead ones, in your storage unit. Using a self storage unit to house a pet is very cruel; confining them to darkness, keeping them alone and without the proper necessities. Not to mention, it is illegal. If you are going away and cannot take your pet with you, ask a family member or friend, arrange for a sitter or take them to a kennel. Dead animals are also not permitted (kind of a no-brainer here), as they will attract unwanted insects, vermin, mold and disease. Be sure to dispose of dead animals properly and legally.
- Stolen Property
If you don’t legally own it, you cannot keep it in your self storage unit. I know it seems like a silly thing to have to list here, but it is one of the rules for storage. If you have anything in your storage unit that has been reported stolen, you could get into serious trouble with the law.
- Hazardous Material
This one is probably the most common thing in question. What we designate as hazardous material is anything that can create serious damage if spilled or opened. Some examples are corrosive materials, chemicals, odorous/noxious gases, anything toxic or flammable, gasoline, compressed gas, filled propane tanks, kerosene, lamp and motor oils, fertilizers, paints, cleaners and asbestos or anything containing asbestos. These materials have the potential to catch fire, explode or cause health risks, and you may be held liable. You can keep the items for which these are used in your storage unit; provided these materials have been drained or emptied before being placed in storage. For example, you can keep your extra lawnmower in your storage unit, but the gas and oil tank must be empty or drained first.
Drugs and drug-related paraphernalia are strictly prohibited in your self storage unit and also on the property in general, and they are illegal.
This includes ammunition, munitions/firearms, bombs and fireworks – just as a few examples. Can you imagine what would happen if the fireworks you kept in your unit – or the tenant’s unit next to yours – would suddenly go off? Again, you could be held liable for damages resulting from an accident such as this. If you are going away and don’t feel safe either taking these items with you or leaving them at your house, you can ask a friend to store them for you or contact your local gun shop or shooting range. They are equipped to store items like firearms and ammunition, and many offer storage options for these situations.
- Unregistered Vehicles
Any vehicle, whether it be a car, truck, boat, RV, trailer or motorcycle, cannot be stored on the facility unless the registration is kept current, and in your name. You cannot store another person’s vehicle at our facility, even if that person is your good friend or family member. All motor vehicles must also be in good working condition. We legally need to have proof that all vehicles on our property are legally owned and operational by the tenant who is renting the self storage unit or parking space.
This one is pretty self-explanatory, but we still need to list it. You cannot live in your storage unit, at any time. You cannot work from your unit either. Storage units are designed to house your belongings only, and are not meant to be used as an apartment or office space. As silly as it seems to have to mention this, dead bodies are not permitted in the unit either. Not only that, it is illegal in all of these scenarios. If we discover that someone is using their storage unit to sleep in or work from (or to store bodies – let’s hope that is NEVER the case) the police will be called to handle the situation.
Keeping scented items or wet items in your storage unit are also a bad idea. Although these items are not considered “banned” from our facility, it is a good rule of thumb to follow some guidelines to keep your belongings safe and free from damage. Scented items can easily attract pests, just like food will. Wet items, such as damp dish towels or clothes that have not dried completely, will aide in the growth of mildew, mold and bacteria and can quickly cause odors and damage to your property. Be sure to double check everything and ensure it is dry before packing it into boxes and placing it in your self storage unit.
If you suspect any of these items are being stored in units at our facility or you witness something suspicious, please notify the property manager promptly. We want to make sure you are safe and secure at all times when on site. Our property managers can handle these issues accordingly, while you remain anonymous.
Now that you have a running knowledge on some things that cannot be kept in your storage unit, let’s go over some items that are allowed with some helpful tips for storing them correctly:
- Registered Vehicles
As long as you have the proper documentation, you are permitted to store or park your vehicles at our facility – that includes everything from a motorcycle to a car to an RV. If you are planning to store something large like a boat or RV, it is best to call ahead rather than just stop by with your boat in tow. You want to make sure there is an available space large enough for your vehicle first. If you are planning to store your vintage 1968 Harley Hog, you may want to consider a drive-up self storage unit rather than a parking space to keep it protected and out of the weather.
You can easily store your computers, video games, stereo systems and the sort in your unit. Keep in mind that most electronics are sensitive to extreme heat and cold, so a temperature-control unit may be best. Make sure all batteries are removed, as they are corrosive and could damage your items over time when not in use.
Have a couch you can’t use or a bed that just won’t fit until you get your new place? These are the most commonly kept items in storage units. While you can keep furniture in any of our units, consider covering upholstered items and bedding with plastic covers for added protection. We also recommend DampRid to soak up any moisture and prevent it from creeping into your furniture. If you have an heirloom or really expensive piece of furniture, using a temperature-control unit is wise.
Another popular item for self storage is clothing. Make sure to box it up neatly. You can even throw in a couple cedar chips or moth balls to keep any potential insects away if you plan to keep it in storage for an extended period of time. Make sure everything is dry to prevent mildew or mold from growing.
We all know people with kids whose houses are over-run with these colorful items. When you need extra space in the house for a party or the kids just don’t seem to play with those toys anymore but you hesitate to throw them away, moving them to storage is the perfect option. Save them for a yard sale or for hand-me-downs for future children and grandkids. Make sure all batteries are removed and choose a temperature-control unit if they are expensive items that could be damaged by extreme temperature shifts.
- Household Appliances
We all know the saying, “Everything but the kitchen sink.” Well, you can store that kitchen sink here, along with your refrigerator, oven, microwave, blender and so on. Most appliances are fine when stored in any unit type. However, you may want to check the smaller motorized ones in case they are temperature sensitive. It is best to ensure all appliances are completely cleaned out and leave the door cracked on refrigerators and ovens to prevent mold and bacteria growing on the inside.
Own a lot of collectibles and valuable items handed down through the generations? Spring for that temperature-control unit, because you want to keep them protected from the extreme temperature shifts throughout the year. When delicate antiques are exposed to extreme heat and cold, they can easily warp and crack over time, ruining your cherished item.
- Business Needs
Do you have years of papers and files that you are not allowed to get rid of for legal reasons and just don’t have the space for in your office? A storage unit is the perfect place to keep those files that are getting in the way. If you have mainly paper documents, a temperature-control unit is the way to go to keep them from harboring mildew or mold. You can also keep extra office furniture in a storage unit.
Remember, these are just general guidelines for what you can and cannot keep in your self storage unit. Our property managers are trained and can help you decide which type of storage unit is best for your needs and also help you determine if what you are storing is permitted at our facility. If you have any questions or concerns, please free to contact us here or call the property manager at your facility.