What Can’t You Store In A Storage Unit?

If you’re preparing to move your belongings into storage, it can be tempting to simply throw them into a storage unit and be done with it. But while it’s an easy solution, it really isn’t a good idea!

There are rules about what you can and cannot store in storage units, as well as items that, while technically allowed, you should think twice about locking away in your standard unit.

So, what can’t you store in a storage unit? Let’s take a look!

Before we get started…

While some of these items are absolute no-gos for many storage companies (usually due to legal reasons), others are simply recommendations. The rules will vary from company to company, and some may have the ability to safely store some of the items listed. You should check with individual providers for confirmation and more information.
And, of course, no item should go into storage without the proper care and preparation needed to ensure it’s stored safely and without issue. Pack your items appropriately, think carefully about where in the storage unit you want to place them, and set aside time to visit and check on them.

What can’t you store in a storage unit?


Perishable items, such as food and pet food, must not be stored in a storage unit. Not only do storage units lack the amenities needed to keep them fresh and safe to consume, but they can also attract pests, such as rats and roaches.
Consider donating any food you can’t take with you in the move – as long as it is unopened and donated before the use-by date, it may be able to go to someone in need.

Combustibles and other hazardous materials

Storage units should not be used to store materials that are deemed toxic, flammable, or combustible. They pose a huge safety risk, not just to your items but to the items in the units around you. Some examples include:

  • Turpentine
  • Kerosene
  • Gasoline
  • Compressed gas
  • Propane tanks
  • Acetone
  • Oil
  • Fireworks
  • Fertiliser
  • Paint and paint thinner

You may even find that some household cleaning items are prohibited under this rule.

Illegal/suspicious items

This one’s for any crime bosses out there – your storage unit is a terrible place to store your ill-gotten gains!

In all seriousness, storage unit services cannot allow you to store suspicious or illegal items on their premises. Staff are required to call the authorities if they suspect anything.

Living things

It likely goes without saying that you and your pets should not be calling your storage unit home, but this rule extends to plants as well. Without proper access to light and water, your plants won’t thrive like they should, so consider housing them with friends or giving them away.

And deceased ones too

The same applies to deceased creatures and plants too. While exceptions might be made for properly preserved objects that can be safely stored, items like ashes should be left off the storage list.

Weapons and ammunition

Weapons and ammunition pose a huge risk to storage unit suppliers. Not only is there the serious danger of them accidentally going off, but they will likely have their own safety and storage rules attached to them – rules that probably won’t allow for them to be stored somewhere like a storage unit.

Storing a large quantity of weapons and ammo might also be related to suspicious and/or illegal activity around the unit, putting staff and other clients at risk.

Unregistered and uninsured vehicles

While you can store a vehicle in a storage unit, the provider will not accept it without proof of registration and insurance. They should also be in running condition.

What shouldn’t you store in a storage unit?

While the following items may not be prohibited by your storage unit provider, it’s a good idea to think carefully before storing objects like these. They may need specific storage conditions to remain at their best or require extra insurance cover.


Your everyday posters and canvases should be fine in storage but consider alternatives for particularly valuable and older artworks. It’s a good idea to look for climate-controlled environments to protect delicate works of art.

Delicate clothing

Very delicate clothing might also want to be left off the storage unit list. Vintage pieces or clothing made of certain materials would likely do better in storage with consistent climate control and with easy access so you can air them out and check for damage.

We’ve got a great guide to storing clothing in a storage unit to get you started.

Wet and heavily scented items

Wet items should not be stored in a storage unit, as they can cause water damage to other objects. They also present a mould risk. Dry off anything wet before storing it.

Scented items can attract pests, and the smell may linger or be heightened while the unit is closed up. This might present a hazard when opened or even disturb neighbouring units.

Sensitive documents

You can prep archive boxes or filing cabinets to store your documents in a storage unit, but it’s often best to keep these close at hand, or – if you need them off site – looked after by a specialist document storage provider.


While storage units are, for the most part, very safe, you might want to instead store money in a safe deposit box or with your bank. They will have much more rigorous security and may be better protected in the event of flooding or fire.

Heirlooms and sentimental objects

Some things are simply irreplaceable. Objects like family heirlooms are best kept close or, like money, placed somewhere like a safe deposit box.

Ready to store your belongings?

Many of the items that are banned from storage units are banned because they could present a hazard, whether that’s to you, your items, the items of other clients, or even the facility itself. That’s why it’s important to check the rules with your chosen storage unit provider carefully.

If you’re confident that everything you have can be stored safely and with minimum risk to your unit and the units around you, reach out to your local storage company and get packing! And to help you get started, why not start with our 5 essential long-term self storage tips.