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Commonly Prohibited Items

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Storage facilities are like snowflakes; each one is different. Their policies on just about anything can vary. If you plan on using self storage, you'll want to know ahead of time if your stuff is even allowed in there. Ask each facility what they do and don't allow but, as a heads-up, look at the list below to see some commonly prohibited items.

Illegal items

Illegal things are still illegal in storage and, if the facility finds out about you having any of these items, don't bet on them covering for you.


This includes gasoline, kerosene, and fireworks. Simply put: if it is designed to cause fire, don't store it. This has as much to do with protecting your things as it does the things of others.


They cost a lot to get rid of, so if a storage facility allows you to store a car, they probably won't let you include more than the four tires already on it. In case you disappear and leave your stuff there, they don't want to have to pay too much to dispose of them.

Medical items

Prescriptions, x-ray machines, heart monitors: check with the facility to see what is allowed and what is not. Generally, these things aren't permitted.

Living things

No facility is going to accept an animal for storage. The obvious concern is that it will die inside the unit, where there is no food or water. However, this rule extends to plants as well, which could wilt and rot.

Items with a strong odor

Whether the smell is considered "good" or "bad" often does not matter. The danger that the odor could have an effect on other people's things or bother the employees of the facility is reason enough to ban certain things, including perfumes and colognes.

Hazardous materials

This includes chemicals, radioactive materials, and toxic substances. For obvious reasons, these things cannot, in good faith, be stored in a facility that cares for other people's belongings.

Aerosols and pressurized materials

If there is a spike in temperature, they might explode. Most facilities are looking to avoid complications like this.

Jewelry or extremely valuable items

Not all facilities are comfortable storing precious jewelry or antiques. There are some places that specialize in these kinds of items because they pay for the added security and insurance. Make sure that you are covered insurance-wise when storing items like these.


Some facilities will allow them; some will not.

To reiterate, the name of the game is asking questions. There are facilities that specialize in some of these things, since they aren't usually allowed in regular storage. Just make sure you do your homework so that you don't end up with a pile of stuff on moving day that has no home.

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Patrick Hanan  Posted by Patrick Hanan on August 27, 2009

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