Things Not to Store in Storage

A self-storage unit is like a home-away-from-home for your belongings. However, that doesn’t mean you can store anything you’d keep in your home in a storage unit. 

Storage facilities have rules about what’s not allowed in their units. For the safety of the facility and people on the property (as well as for cleanliness), it’s important to follow these rules.  

No matter where you store, living and working in a self-storage unit is not allowed. Beyond that, rules may vary by location and establishment. Following is a list of common things not to store in storage; be sure to check with your storage facility for a complete list.

Firearms and Other Weapons

Guns, bombs and other weapons are a liability. Not only is it potentially dangerous for firearms to be on site and possibly stolen (unlikely but possible), but they are a problem if the unit contents go up for auction. 

Consider keeping your firearms and other weapons with a trusted friend or family member (transferring paperwork appropriately) or finding a company who specializes in weapons storage.

Food and Food Containers 

Food in an enclosed storage unit is a great way to attract pests and create unpleasant smells. Perishable items like meat, dairy, fresh produce and eggs are absolutely not allowed. 

Boxed/bagged dry goods like cereal, pet food and powdered milk are also a bad idea, as mice and bugs can still get into them. 

Canned goods may or may not be allowed, as extreme temperatures can cause them to explode. Containers that previously held food but cannot be thoroughly washed carry scent and residue and are not allowed.   


Real fur clothing and other items may not be allowed, or it might be allowed only in a climate controlled unit. Not only can the fur degrade, but it could possibly be attractive to pests. 

Hazardous Materials

Anything combustible, toxic, corrosive or contagious is not safe in a storage unit. Fire hazards are the greatest concern, but other materials can pose risks to air quality and property damage. Among materials not allowed are:

  • Gasoline
  • Fireworks
  • Acid
  • Grease
  • Fertilizer
  • Certain cleaning products
  • Propane tanks
  • Paint thinner
  • Aerosol cans
  • Car batteries

You may store a lawn mower, just be sure to empty the tank first. 

Anything Alive or Dead

If it’s living or used to be living, it’s not allowed in a self-storage unit. This includes plants, animals and their remains (including human cremains). 

Obviously it would be cruel to keep a pet or other animal in a storage unit. It’s dark, and can get uncomfortable or dangerous with temperature changes. Plants also won’t do well in this sunless, dry environment. 

Dead plants and animals are another problem. The smell alone is an issue, but remains can quickly become unsanitary and attractive to pests. 


Banks and credit unions are the best place to store money. Storage facilities don’t want to store money because of the likelihood of it being related to some sort of illegal activity. If you have money you need to store, talk to your financial institution for advice. 


Tires may or may not be allowed in your storage facility. They are sometimes prohibited because they are difficult to extinguish if they catch on fire. Separately, if the contents of a storage unit go up for auction and the tires don’t sell, there may be a disposal fee that comes with getting rid of them. 

Priceless and Irreplaceable Items

We all have those items that are very precious to us but might be worthless to someone else. Or maybe you have an heirloom that could fetch thousands of dollars on the market. Either way, it’s not always wise to put these important things in self storage.

First, if theft or a fire happens, your priceless item might be gone forever. Beyond that, these kinds of things are difficult to assess for insurance value, and they might not sell at all in an auction (facilities care about this if they have to put unit contents up for auction). 

However, if you do decide to store delicate or cherished items, a climate-controlled storage unit is your best bet. See: 3 Reasons You Might Need a Climate-Controlled Storage Unit.

Non-Operating, Unregistered or Uninsured Vehicles

Broken down vehicles are not allowed in storage facilities. They can be a safety hazard, and you’re not permitted to work on them on site anyway. 

The concern with unregistered and uninsured vehicles is that it’s harder for customers to prove the vehicles belong to them. As we said before, self-storage facilities want nothing to do with stolen items and this is one way to safeguard against that. 

For more, see: How to Store Your Car in a Self-Storage Unit

Wet Items

Once the door to your self-storage unit closes, the ventilation is minimal and any moisture can quickly turn to mold and mildew. If you plan to store a boat or other water equipment, ensure it’s completely dry before going into storage. See our Ultimate Guide to Boat Storage for more

Scented Items

Things like scented candles and essential oils might not seem like a problem when it comes to a self-storage unit, but they can cause issues. Generally, the facility won’t want the unit to smell like whatever you’ve been storing after you move out. One or two vanilla candles in a box might not be noticeable, but 10 boxes of candles are definitely going to be noticeable. 

If you don’t have a climate-controlled unit, candles might begin to melt. While this isn’t an issue for the facility if the candles are contained, melted wax on the walls and/or floor of the unit is a problem (especially if it’s scented). 

Keep Your (and Others’) Belongings Safer

While not allowing certain items in the self-storage unit might cause some inconvenience, it’s ultimately for the safety of the facility, its customers and their belongings. Be sure to follow the rules of the facility you choose.

For more information on how to store with Storage Post, contact the location nearest you today!