So, you’ve taken the plunge and decided that you want to rent a storage unit?
You’ve probably planned everything you want to put in there and even found the perfect unit for you, but what if the items on your list are not allowed in your storage unit?
Your Unit, Your Way?
Every storage unit in the US and across the world has particular rules and regulations about what can and can’t be stored within it.
Before you set about renting your storage unit and filling it up with everything you would like to store, you should take note of your chosen unit’s list of prohibited items and prohibited uses so as not to be disappointed and waste your money; or risk breaking the rules of your storage rental provider.
Here at Storage Area, we work with storage unit providers in San Diego, Jacksonville and many other locations across the US, and we have put together a list of the most common items that cannot be stored in most storage units.
Let’s get this one out of the way first; you cannot store any illegal items inside your storage unit or use your storage unit for illegal purposes.
Each state has different rules on what is considered ‘illegal’, but for the most part, things like storing illegal drugs, the money gained from illegal operations, stolen artwork and relics, illegal pornography, and most other items coming from illegal misdeeds cannot be stored in a storage unit.
As an added aside to this, you cannot use your storage unit for illegal purposes, such as growing/cutting drugs or taking drugs, etc.
Flammable and Combustible Items
Every year thousands of Americans try to store things in their storage unit, proving a health hazard to other unit owners and the staff working there.
Fires in units are a serious problem, so most unit owners will say that combustible items and anything flammable, or items likely to cause a spark, cannot be stored inside the unit.
Chemicals and Explosives (including radioactive material)
Following straight on from combustible materials, storing chemicals and explosives inside your storage unit is also not allowed across all units.
Certain rules on which chemicals may be stored within units, but this is up to each individual rental provider. All rental providers will prohibit the storage of explosives and toxic materials, such as radioactive materials, within their units.
Firearms and Ammunition
Practically every storage unit provider across the US, regardless of gun laws within the state, will prohibit firearms and ammunition storage within their storage units.
The risk to storage unit owners for unattended firearms and ammunition is too great to risk allowing people to store such items within their units.
Most storage units in the US will not allow the storage of weaponry, firearm, or otherwise.
It depends on each storage unit provider to determine what they class as weaponry, which is debatable, especially when storage units are used for hobbies such as reenactment where a number of replicas or blunted weapons may need to be stored.
If you need to store weapons for a particular reason, it is best that you speak to your chosen storage unit provider and explain the situation. They may have certain rules and regulations that will allow you to store some weaponry, but this will not usually be extended to firearms of any type (including replicas or decommissioned antiques) or chemicals such as black powder that can be used to create the explosives.
If you were thinking that your storage unit is the best place to keep your and usable but much-loved car, you might be left feeling a little let down that most storage units will not allow you to store vehicles inside the unit that are uninsured.
Most storage unit providers will ask to see your insurance details for any vehicles that will be left within the storage unit, but some dispensation may be made for specialist vehicles or vehicles that are in the process of being restored.
In this case, it’s always best to ask the provider directly what their rules are surrounding the storage of vehicles and the like.
Food and Perishables (including canned food)
Storing food and perishables is prohibited in most storage units, as is growing foods within your storage unit!
Due to the fluctuating temperatures that can be found within some storage units, some rental providers may also prohibit the storage of canned foods and canned goods.
This can be a problem for people who rent a storage unit as there are extended prepping pantries, but once again, it’s best to communicate directly with the rental provider to find out exactly what is prohibited and what the temperature fluctuations will be like. Long-term storage such as sealed mylar bags of dried food in properly sealed buckets may be allowed.
The storage of any live plants is prohibited across the US in almost all rental units.
Most rental units do not come with lights that run continuously when someone is not inside the unit, neither do most units have any form of a window to allow in natural light.
Most self storage units are not the best place to grow plants anyway, and most units do not have a reliable power source – were you thinking of setting up lights and heaters to grow your plants?
Humans, Animals, or Body Parts
There have been some amazing things that people have been tempted to store within storage units across the US, and TV shows such as Storage Wars have shown us some of the crazy lengths people will go to store things, but perhaps the strangest thing to be stored in a storage unit is human body parts, especially things like specimens in jars.
For most rentals in the US, body parts (regardless of origin) are not allowed to be stored, and this also goes for animals and humans alike.
If you want to store your taxidermy specimens, you will have to check with your storage rental policy first.