List of Items Not to Put in Storage

Knowing what things to put in Storage will help you come up with a storage solution that works best for you when you’re moving to another home. But you should also be careful when planning to rent a storage unit for your storage needs simply because there are also things you are not allowed to put into storage. Check out GarageSmart

Public storage restrictions do exist to ensure the safety of your belongings, the safety of other people’s possession, and the safety of the entire storage facility as well. And even though you’re paying for the rented space to store your stuff, you’re not allowed to store food in there, for example, due to the risk of possible pest infestation that could ruin your items, and those of other storage renters, forever.

Here’s a list of things that you should never put into a Storage unit for safety reasons. Bear in mind that in case of trouble resulted from you not following the storage safety rules, you will be held responsible for any potential damages.

So, don’t put into storage any items that you are not supposed to. Simple as that.

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This is one of the most frequently overlooked safety rules when using self-storage! Food, including pet food, should never be kept in a storage unit. Just think about it – you leave food in the enclosed space for a long time, it will rot, and its smell will attract insects and rodents alike. In turn, those little intruders will probably damage the rest of your stored items by chewing on them and even nesting in them.

Want bigger problems? Infestation is quite possible for the entire self-storage facility. And if miraculously, no rodents enter your unit for the food, mould and bacteria will appear from the rotting food. You’re not allowed to store any type of food in the storage unit, so don’t overlook this safety rule.

First of all, food items left for a prolonged period of time can attract insects or rodents, leading to a much-unwanted infestation problem. The pesky invaders can chew on all sorts of items, nest in them, and literally destroy your and other people’s belongings in the process.

And secondly, some foods will rot and start emitting bad odours, thus providing favourable conditions for bacteria and mould to grow. Rotting food items can be the reason for potential pest infestation in the first place. This includes food items such as produce, meats, dairy, cereals, and rice. This also includes and animal products, such as pet food. These items can attract bugs and rodents, or encourage bacteria or mould.

Your storage unit shouldn’t be used as an off-site pantry. Temperature fluctuations can turn your unit into a breeding ground for bacteria if you store milk, vegetables, and other fresh foods there. And dry goods like grains can attract vermin.

When it comes to putting together a list of what items you should not put inside of a storage unit, perishable food items should sit firmly at the top of the list. While it’s true that most canned foods can easily be kept inside a storage unit, most foods, including pet foods, should never be kept inside a storage unit. Aside from the fact that these perishable food items spoil quickly and rot, they could also turn your storage unit into a health concern for the entire facility.

If you’ve made the decision to store perishable foods inside your storage unit, mould and mildew won’t be far behind. Fungi will quickly grow and spread to other stored items in your unit. The infestation will impact all the precious belongings you’re storing inside of your unit, regardless of whether they’re perishable or not. Worst of all, the rotting food and unwanted smells could also lure pests such as rodents and insects into the storage unit. These unwelcome visitors will quickly turn your extra space into a nightmare of extra horrific proportions. To avoid these issues, simply keep perishable items out of your self-storage unit.

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Live animals/pets

This one is crazy: who would want to leave a live animal in their Storage unit? Yet, there are those who have done it. Leaving a live animal (for example, your poor pet) in a self-storage unit is not only against the public storage restrictions, but it is against the law. Don’t ever do it! If you’re leaving and you can’t take your animal friend with you, then the least you want to do is subject them to darkness, loneliness and without proper cares.

Do you care for your pet at all? If yes, leave them with a family member or a friend you can trust, hire a pet sitter or leave your animal friend with caring pet professionals. Under no circumstances are you allowed to leave any live animals in your storage unit. It is not only morally wrong, but it is also against the law to do so.

Don’t ever leave pets or other animals in a storage unit!

If, for some reason or another, you won’t be able to take care of a pet after the move, then leave the animal with a family member, a trusted friend or take them to a licensed animal shelter, thus giving them the chance to be adopted by another person.

Storage units are for non-living things. It is illegal for any person to reside in a storage rental, animals of any kind are forbidden, and even plants are not allowed. Nothing that requires light, food, and water to live can be kept in a storage unit. Don’t have enough space in your current pad for your turtle terrarium or 75-gallon fish tank? Thinking of setting it up in your storage unit instead? Think again. For ethical reasons, you aren’t allowed to leave pets in storage.

While it may seem like a convenient and affordable alternative to a kennel, no, you cannot keep your cat, dog, parrot or anaconda in your storage unit while on holiday. These units are for inanimate objects only, so don’t go getting any ideas with that fern, either.

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Now that you know never to leave a live animal in your rented space, what not to store in your self-storage unit includes plants as well. As you know well, plants need light, water and fresh air to grow, and these three essentials cannot be found inside in a storage unit.

If you can’t take your plants to your new home or you can’t find space for them in your current residence while the latter is being remodelled, then leave them with friends or give them away. In other words, don’t kill your leafy friends while desperately trying to save them.

Plants are another example of what not to put in storage units during a move. If you did, you’d be practically depriving your plants of the three basic things they need to grow: natural light (sunshine), water and fresh air. And such a thoughtless act would effectively mean the end of your plants.

What’s more, plants can attract pests, thus potentially creating even more problems during the renting period. So, if you can’t find any place for your leafy companions in the new home, just give them away to interested people who will take care of them.

Plants can’t survive without daily sunshine and regular water; they also attract insects and other pests and therefore aren’t allowed in Storage . Gardeners, you can stow away your shovels, pots, and other tools in your unit, just not your live plants.


The best temperature for storing art ranges from 70 to 75 degrees. Extreme temperatures can cause canvases to either shrink or expand, damaging the piece of art. They would also be more susceptible to theft.


Your leather jacket and shoes also might not care well in a storage unit. Leather can also be affected by temperature extremes, which can cause it to shrink or expand. 

Sensitive documents

You may think you’re protecting yourself by locking your documents away, but as many thieves have shown, a Master Lock is no deterrent. In fact, in Washington state, a hard drive containing 1.2 million people’s names, health records, and Social Security numbers was stolen from a storage unit, according to the Associated Press.

night burglary of house

Hazardous materials

Speaking of restricted items in a storage unit, hazardous materials do classify as such. By definition and as a rule of thumb, anything that has the potential to create substantial damage if opened or spilled is considered a hazardous material. Corrosive, flammable or explosive materials are strictly forbidden to be put in storage as they pose serious health risks and can cause damage to property in seconds!

Examples of such no-no materials include chemicals, aerosol cans, acids, gases, gasoline, propane tanks, lamp or motor oils, paints, paint thinners, cleaners, pesticides, weed killers, car batteries, fireworks, liquor, charcoal, and more. Also, what you shouldn’t put in storage is yard equipment containing fuel. Yes, you can store a lawnmower in your unit but only after you have drained all the fuel and oil from the machine.

And no, you are definitely not allowed to store firearms of any type, ammunition, and explosives – look for suitable storage for your weapon at your local gun shop or shooting range.

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Hazardous materials are another good example of what not to put in a storage unit. Any materials that have the potential to corrode, burn or explode are strictly forbidden by law to be stored at public storage facilities. The reason is more than clear – they pose a serious risk to human health. Dangerous items can lead to costly property damage as well.

Common non-allowed items for storage include chemicals, acids, gases, fuel, oils, paints and paint thinners, pesticides, liquor, fireworks, and so on. Request the full list of forbidden items for storage from the storage company you’ve selected. You may be allowed to store various yard equipment (your lawnmower, for instance) only after you’ve removed all the fuel and oil from their tanks. Gasoline, ammunition, and fireworks have no place in a storage unit because of the heat and lack of ventilation. Your lease agreement should specify what else makes a list.

Hazardous and toxic materials such as biological waste, asbestos, and acids are far too dangerous to be kept in a storage unit. While this may sound like an obvious statement, some toxic materials aren’t as obviously hazardous as others. For example, fertilizers and even some cleaning chemicals can prove harmful if improperly stored. The decision to house these hazardous materials can quickly turn your storage unit and the surrounding areas into danger for customers of the entire property.

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Let’s take a closer look at asbestos as an example. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that can be found in some common household items such as adhesives, plastics, baby powder, hairdryers, and much more. It is made up of microscopic fibres that can easily be released into the air and inhaled. If exposed to these hazardous items, they may cause serious harm to individuals and can lead to an array of different diseases such as asbestosis, mesothelioma, and even lung cancer. Beware of the dangers that ordinary household items can carry.

At the top of the list of unpermitted items is anything that can catch fire or explode. Gasoline, propane, oil, grease, chemicals, cleaners, or paint are in this group as are fireworks or explosives. This category applies to anything toxic or hazardous, even biological waste, fertilizer, and asbestos. It also includes anything that is considered an illegal substance and anything radioactive.

Items considered inherently dangerous such as explosives tend to be prohibited from most storage facilities. The possibility of combustion and igniting a fire proves too risky for items such as gasoline, kerosene, and fireworks to be housed inside a standard storage facility. Items that have the remote potential to be explosive pose a serious hazard to anyone that enters the facility. If you are unsure and have concerns over items that you intend to store, be sure to check in with the storage facility staff prior to moving these items inside.

Flammable items put your storage unit at risk of catching fire. If there’s a spike in temperature, combustible materials could explode. Here’s a full list of things to avoid:

  • Propane tanks
  • Aerosols (e.g., hairspray and cooking spray)
  • Jerry cans (fuel cans)
  • Gasoline or anything containing gasoline
  • Lighter fluid
  • Linseed oil
  • Paint
  • Explosives
  • Fireworks
  • Kerosene lamps
  • Fertilizer
  • Asbestos or anything containing asbestos
  • Acid (car batteries and drain cleaners may contain acid)
  • Propane tanks
  • Biological waste (e.g., syringes and needles)
  • Toxic or corrosive waste (e.g., old batteries and leftover paint)


In most cases, firearms and ammunition are not permissible in storage rentals. Specifics about these particular items can be obtained by contacting the storage company.

Also, you cannot store any types of guns and ammunition in a public storage facility. 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 could be potentially explosive and also dangerous if they were to fall into the wrong hands.


Holding on to a computer, TV, or camera for future use might seem like a good idea, but stowing electronics in a Storage unit for an extended period of time could cause the metal inside to erode.

Scented or wet items

What not to store in a storage unit include scented or damp items. As mentioned above, strong scents can easily attract pests, insects, rodents or vermin to investigate the source of the overwhelming odours. Trust us, and you don’t want any living things crawling or flying around in your rental unit as that will spell out T-R-O-U-B-L-E in no time.

Also, any items that are wet or damp will start producing mould, mildew and spread bacteria in your self-storage unit, and that will likely damage some, most or all of your prized possessions placed in temporary storage. First and foremost, make sure that every single item you plan to store in there is perfectly dry before you pack it up and leave it in your storage unit. Never place wet or damp items in a storage unit because the initial moisture will create the right conditions for mould and mildew to grow, and when that happens, all of your stored items will be in serious risk of getting damaged forever. So, before you put any items in storage, make absolutely sure that they are 100% dry – that’s especially important when storing clothes and shoes.

Scented items such as candles and soaps may attract unwelcoming guests such as insects or rodents even when those things are not edible. So, avoid putting in storage anything that gives off strong odours. Steer clear of wet items, like an umbrella—they’re breeding grounds for mould, mildew, and bacteria. Also, be cautious of items with strong smells—these can attract insects and rodents and might make your storage neighbours unhappy, too.

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This safety rule is pretty simple: don’t store any items that have high value for you. Value is measured differently for different people. An expensive piece of jewellery is valuable because it has a high monetary value. Still, a piece of inexpensive clothing or an ordinary painting can have extremely high sentimental value for you. The security of the whole storage facility can be exceptional, but nevertheless, it’s not worth the risk to push your luck and find your valuables stolen or damaged. So, always keep your valuables safe with you.

As a rule of thumb, you should not put into storage items that have very high monetary value (jewelry) or sentimental value (artwork pieces) simply because no storage facility can be safe enough. The better option would be to keep your valuables in your new home and possibly invest in a high-quality personal safe for your high-value items. However, if placing valuables in a storage unit is your only option, then inform the storage company about your intention and discuss the need to purchase additional insurance for your prized possessions. Check out garage cabinets

Unregistered Vehicles

The only vehicles that can be stored are those that are fully registered, insured, and in operable condition. This includes boats, RVs, trailers, motorcycles, cars, and trucks. Anything not registered by the person renting the space cannot be stored at the facility.

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 fulfil your contract terms and claim your items.

Stolen items / Suspicious Items

One of the things you should never put into a storage unit is… drum roll was stolen things! Now that should be common sense right there, but hey, you never know. You’re not allowed to keep items in your self-storage unit if you don’t legally own them or if you don’t have the explicit permission to keep them there by their true owner. Why? Because it is very illegal. If the facility manager senses or suspects that something illegal is going on, then they won’t hesitate to call the police for further investigation. If it turns out that you’ve placed in storage items have been reported as stolen, then you could be arrested and interrogated. In other words, don’t even think about doing it.

Not surprisingly, you cannot store any stolen items in a storage unit simply because it is illegal to do so. In other words, you must legally own the things you put in storage or have the permission to keep those items there by their respective owners. You can be sure that any illegal activities will be reported immediately to the authorities (understand the police) by the facility manager or other storage facility staff, so don’t do anything that you shouldn’t do.

No storage centre wants to be involved in any dodgy business, you feel? Any illegal substances or stolen items (such as an entire front lawn, it has happened), are banned from being stored in your self-storage unit. As for weapons, including guns, bombs, or anything else that goes BOOM, these are out of the question too.

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Don’t assume that all construction equipment can be placed in storage

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.

The cost of living may be rising, but that’s no reason to trade your one-bedroom apartment for a 10×10 storage unit. We love self-storage, but human beings were meant to be out in the sunshine, not inside a dark storage unit. Living in a storage unit is against the rules, and it’s dangerous. It’s illegal to live or work in a storage unit. In other words, you can’t turn your storage unit into your home or office. If you get caught for either, you’ll likely forfeit your unit (and get in trouble with the law).

In 2005, GarageSmart® pioneered the garage storage category in Australia. Since we’ve built a reputation of providing a premium product along with a friendly and professional service. GarageSmart has the best garage storage solutions. GarageSmart is the nation’s leader in complete garage fit-outs. We are a privately owned company and we are very proud of that. GarageSmart is a complete “do-it for you” premium garage fit out company.

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