Things You Should Never Keep Inside a Storage Unit

Written by: Editorial Team - Published: Jul 15, 2024


Even though you’re paying money to keep your items in a storage facility, you can’t store anything you want in your unit. Storage companies have policies in place for the safety of staff, tenants, and all belongings housed in their facilities. New customers must sign a lease before receiving their space that includes an agreement on what they will and won’t store on the premises. This guide will provide helpful lists and information on what you can and can’t keep in a storage unit and why.


Things not Safe for Storage

It seems like knowing what not to keep in a storage unit would only require a bit of common sense, but you would be surprised at how many people don’t know or choose to disregard restrictions that have been put in place. Some may not even think twice about keeping a lawn mower full of gasoline in their unit over the winter. However, gasoline is a flammable liquid and a fire hazard under certain conditions. For the safety of yourself and others, it’s imperative to know what is not allowed to be kept in a storage unit.

Hazardous Materials

Any kind of material or substance that is flammable, combustible, or toxic should not be stored in your unit. Storing these kinds of materials is a risk not only to your belongings but to the other tenants’ possessions as well. A few examples of hazardous materials include:

  • Gasoline
  • Oil
  • Propane tanks
  • Paint
  • Paint thinner
  • Mineral spirits
  • Weed killer
  • Fertilizer
  • Pressurized gas tanks
  • Aerosolized spray

Illegal Items

What else should you not put in a storage unit? Anything that would be illegal to have in your possession. Definitely no illegal drugs. Even though marijuana is legal in most states, it’s still considered an illegal drug on the federal level and thus can’t be kept in a storage facility. Weapons you obtained unlawfully and any stolen goods are also items to never put in a storage unit. 

Firearms, Ammo, and Explosives

Although some facilities may allow people to store their empty firearms, it’s best to err on the side of caution, especially if you didn’t secure a storage unit for the purpose of keeping guns. Ammunition and firearms should never be stored together anyway, so ammo is definitely off the table. Explosives like grenades and fireworks are extremely flammable and are therefore prohibited from being kept in a storage facility. Security can also be an issue. If someone knows you’re keeping these kinds of items in your unit, you could become the target of a robbery.

All Things Living

Hopefully one of the most obvious things you should never keep in a storage facility is any kind of living (or deceased) person or animal. Storage units are not conducive to any kind of life. Even though some may be climate controlled, it is against policy to keep any living or once-living thing in your unit. Knowing that storage facilities are usually monitored on 24-hour video surveillance and receive daily supervision, it’s highly unlikely you would be able to do this without getting caught.

Plants are another living thing to keep out of your storage unit. While it may seem like they could survive for a time, they will eventually die from lack of sunlight and water. The plant would then begin to rot and potentially ruin your things or attract pests and rodents. 

Your storage unit should house inanimate objects only.


Produce, meat, and any other perishable food will undoubtedly attract unwanted visitors like ants and other insects that could, in turn, destroy your belongings and endanger the storage units nearby. Depending on each company’s rules, you may be able to store canned foods and nonperishable food items in your unit, but many facilities are not climate controlled and are subject to extreme temperatures during the winter and summer months. Subjecting canned or jarred foods to those types of conditions could spoil them or cause them to rupture.


Registered vehicles in good working order can be kept at the facility, tires and all. Keeping individual tires in your storage unit, however, is prohibited for good reason. Unfortunately some people pass away before they can empty their unit and others abandon their belongings, leaving the facility to deal with it all. Tires are heavy and difficult to dispose of, and storage companies understandably don’t want to be burdened with the disposal of old tires. Even worse, in the event of a fire, tires release extremely toxic fumes and burn for a very long time. It looks like your seasonal tires will have to be kept at home in the shed or garage.


Any kind of moisture in a storage unit that contains items like furniture, clothes, or documents is a risky situation. Dark and damp environments are the perfect breeding grounds for mold and mildew. Spores can work their way into mattresses and garments, destroying them completely.

As mentioned above in the hazardous materials section, you shouldn’t be storing any dangerous liquids or even household cleaners. Harsh chemicals exposed to high temperatures and severe weather will have a greater chance of releasing fumes and leaking out of their containers. 

Money and High-Value Items

A storage facility is not a good place to keep cash, gold, or any other items of high or even sentimental value. If something is priceless to you, it probably shouldn’t be kept in a storage unit. Although these locations are under constant surveillance, anyone with a pair of bolt cutters could easily snip a lock on a storage unit. Banks are the best place for currency and items of personal value. Consider looking into a more secure option than a standard household item storage facility.

What can be Stored in a Storage Unit?

Storage facilities are designed to give people a safe place to keep their excess household and personal items or act as a go-between for boxes, appliances, and furniture during a move. Units come in a wide range of sizes and can be filled from the bottom to the top, stacked as high as the ceiling. Most people use storage units for the following:

  • Art. Have the freedom to store your art and swap out pieces when the mood or season changes. 
  • Books. Appreciation for books can lead to quite the accumulation, and our guide can teach you how to best store your collection of books.
  • Furniture. Whether you’re in the middle of relocating or you need a place to keep your old dining table, think about using a storage unit and learn how to store wood furniture.
  • Antiques. Family hand-me-downs or second-hand store finds are kept safe from the elements and overuse. Our guide can advise you on how to store antique furniture.
  • Electronics. The state of technology changes faster and faster each year. A storage unit provides a safe place to keep the outdated electronics you’re not ready to let go of yet.
  • Seasonal decorations. Consider putting the items you only get out once a year in storage — and read our guide on how to store your decorations.