5 Things You Can’t Use A Storage Unit For

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There are many different uses for storage units, and no matter what size you want or what requirements you have, it’s likely you’ll be able to find one that works for you. However, as useful as storage units are and as flexible, there are still some things you cannot use them for. It’s always best to check before you sign any agreements or spend any money, as there will be rules and regulations you need to adhere to, and by signing a contract, you are promising to abide by the rules. The last thing you want is to pay your deposit and first month’s rent only to find that you can’t then use the unit in the way you want to. With that in mind, here are five things you can’t use a storage unit for.


Although, of course, you can spend time in your storage unit, you’re not actually allowed to live in it. You can use it as a gym, art studio, hobby room, reading nook, gaming center, or similar, but this is only on a temporary basis. In other words, although you can spend a few hours in there, or all day if the need arises, what you can’t do is make it your permanent home. That means you can’t have mail delivered there, you can’t install any cooking equipment, you can’t have a bathroom, and you can’t sleep there.  

This is a rule that every storage facility will have, so if this is your intention, you’ll need to come up with a different plan. The issue is health and safety and insurance, and therefore you simply won’t be able to do it.

On a related note, it’s worth remembering that you can’t keep human ashes in a storage unit either. Although you might think they are harmless – which they technically are – they won’t be covered under any insurance, so it’s best to keep them with you if you have any. In that way, you can protect them properly, and you won’t fall foul of the rules.


Just as you can’t live in your storage unit yourself, neither can you have any animals in there on a permanent basis. You may not be able to have them in there even if you’re just visiting and happen to have your dog with you, for example – again, this will depend on the specific rules of the facility you have chosen.

It would be inhumane to leave any pet or other type of animal in a storage unit, even if you did visit every day to feed them and play with them. Animals need natural sunlight, and they need human company as much of the time as possible. On top of this, there is a risk of contamination should they get out. If it is found that you’re storing living animals in your unit, you could be prosecuted.


Even if you could live in a storage unit – which, as we’ve said, you cannot – you wouldn’t be able to store any food in there with you, so it would be impossible anyway. The fact is that perishable food is banned from storage units because it will rot. This will attract vermin and insects, it will allow mold to grow, and it will smell and potentially become something of a health hazard.

Even if your unit is climate-controlled, organic matter will still rot, although it might take a little longer to do so.

You might think that canned goods would be allowed, and in some places, they will be, but it is best to check this. Even though they are technically sealed and should be free of rodents and other pests, there is the problem of combustion. When food is left in a sealed container, there is a risk that some bacteria can get inside, even through the most minuscule of holes. When this happens, the oxygen levels rise, and the cans can explode, which is potentially dangerous and, at the very least, is messy.

Hazardous Materials

Due to the fact that once the door of a storage unit is locked, no one is going to be checking the items inside (apart from the owner, of course), it is not allowed for you to store any kind of hazardous material within the storage unit. If the door is closed, no one knows what is happening behind it, and if there is a potentially dangerous situation, it could be that it isn’t discovered until it is too late. Therefore, there are definite rules about what kind of hazardous material is banned from storage units. Some examples include:

  • Paint and paint thinner
  • Fireworks
  • Acetone
  • Kerosene
  • Gasoline
  • Propane tanks
  • Turpentine
  • Fertilizer
  • Grease
  • Oil
  • Chlorine bleach
  • Acid
  • Compressed gas
  • Radioactive materials
  • Weapons and ammunition

Although you might not think you have any of these items in your storage boxes, it’s worth remembering that some household cleaners will contain some of these ingredients. Even in small quantities, they won’t be allowed, so check all the labels before you start packing for storage.


Again, tires might seem perfectly innocuous, and if you run a mechanic’s business or have your own car that you fix up on a hobbyist basis, you might want to store tires in your storage unit. However, in most places, this will not be possible.

There are two reasons why tires are usually not allowed in a storage unit. The first is that they can be very dangerous. Although they won’t spontaneously combust, if there were to be a fire and the tires burned, the fumes they would give off would be extremely hazardous. Secondly, if the tires are abandoned, it costs a lot for the storage facility to dispose of them, and this is something they would rather not risk. The only exception is if you are storing a vehicle, and the tires are on that vehicle.

Regarding vehicles, you will be unable to store them if they are uninsured and not registered. It is likely you will be asked to provide evidence of this before you can store it.

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