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Things You Shouldn’t Keep in Storage

Stack of dozens of vinyl records in their sleeve

TLC Moving

TLC Moving

A Look at the Obvious and Not-So-Obvious Things You Shouldn’t Put In Storage

Whether you’re moving, downsizing, or you simply need to store some items away for a while, usually the best option is to rent a personal storage unit. They’re safe, reliable, and simple.

But even though a storage unit is an excellent solution for storing your stuff, not all of your stuff can be stored in these units. Some things will get damaged in storage, and others are downright prohibited from most if not all storage facilities.

So to help you choose the right storage for your belongings, and to make sure you don’t put the wrong items in storage, here’s a look at what you shouldn’t keep in storage.

How to Choose A Storage Unit

Speak with your local moving company about finding the right type of storage unit for your belongings. Professional moving companies offer warehouse storage solutions for small items and sometimes even large items.

When choosing a storage unit, consider the following:

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  • How long do you need it for?
  • How secure is it?
  • Is there insurance?
  • Should you get storage units that are climate controlled or not? (Climate-controlled storage units maintain a constant temperature and humidity level to protect all types of belongings.)
  • Are your belongings suitable for storage units?


What Not to Store

While each storage facility will have a list of items you can’t store, here are common items that you should never store.

Living Things

Storage units are made for storing material belongings that you do not have space for at home. They are not meant for housing living things.

These units are small, dark spaces with a limited air supply, so they are not safe or hospitable for living in or storing plants and pets.

Plants need sunlight to survive, which a storage unit cannot provide. And leaving a pet in a storage unit, even for an hour, will be a traumatic experience for your pet and is considered animal cruelty.

Along with living things, you should never store dead animals either (e.g., taxidermy).

Illegal Items

Stolen and illegal items are also prohibited from storage units. And a storage unit is not a wise place to store these items.

Police can easily inspect a storage unit if they have probable cause and a warrant. Witnesses, police dogs, and security footage are just a few things that can give police probable cause to search a unit.

Hazardous Materials

Storage facilities prohibit the storage of hazardous materials. These are dangerous, toxic, explosive, combustible, or flammable materials that could threaten the safety of the entire storage facility.

Hazardous materials include but are not limited to:

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  • Fireworks,
  • Gasoline,
  • Propane,
  • Motor oil,
  • Antifreeze,
  • Car batteries,
  • Paint,
  • Cleaning products,
  • Fertilizers,
  • Asbestos,
  • Acid,
  • Pesticides,
  • Weed killers, and,
  • Biological waste.


Unregistered Vehicles

To avoid raising red flags, don’t store unregistered vehicles. An unregistered vehicle may appear to be an abandoned vehicle. So all vehicles in storage units must be registered, insured, and fully operational.

Scented Items

Anything that has a strong scent, whether edible or not, can attract rodents. So if you must store tasty-smelling candles or soaps in your storage unit, be sure to wrap them and store them in air-tight containers first.


Thinking about storing bulk food items? Think again. Any type of food will attract pests, including rodents and insects, which could lead to an infestation in your storage unit along with your neighbour’s storage unit.

Perishable foods will also rot and mold, causing an unpleasant smell and damage to your other belongings in storage.

Medical Supplies

If you plan to store medical supplies and equipment in a storage unit, do so with caution. Many medical supplies have radioactive materials that are illegal to store in storage facilities.

Firearms and Ammunition

Many storage facilities prohibit the storage of firearms. And most, if not all, storage facilities will not allow the storage of ammunition. Ammunition falls under the category of hazardous materials since it is dangerous and combustible.

To find safe storage of firearms and ammunition, contact your local shooting range or gun shop.

Electronics (OK If Climate-Controlled Unit)

The extreme heat and cold of the summer and winter months can damage electronics left in storage units. But if you must store your electronics, opt for a climate-controlled unit to avoid this damage and keep your electronics safe.

Antique Items & Family Heirlooms (OK If Climate-Controlled Unit)

Antique items and family heirlooms are at risk of damage from extreme temperatures, expanding in the heat and contracting in the cold. So, unless you opt for a climate-controlled storage unit, don’t store these delicate, priceless belongings in your storage unit. And if any of your family heirlooms have sentimental value, you’re likely better off keeping them close by at home.

Vinyl Records (OK If Climate-Controlled Unit)

As with antiques and electronics, vinyl records are also at risk of damage if stored in a non-climate controlled unit. The fluctuations in temperature will cause vinyl records to warp, which will ultimately ruin the sound quality of your beloved record collection.

Extremely Valuable Items

Although storage units can be very secure, you should consider storing your precious items elsewhere, like in a safety deposit box at your bank.

Extremely valuable items include artwork, jewellery, money, bonds, IDs, health records, social insurance numbers, and other valuable documents.

If your storage facility does allow you to store valuables, they may require that you show proof of insurance for each item.

Keep these things in mind when planning to store your belongings. Some things simply don’t belong in storage units, whether climate controlled or not. So be cautious and consider finding alternative storage solutions for anything you shouldn’t keep in storage.