What Can’t You Put in a Storage Unit?

Hands lock the door of a self storage unit.

Self storage units are fantastic resources when you have items taking up too much space in your home. They’re a convenient, flexible option that enable you to declutter your space without throwing away anything important to you.

However, there are some limits on what you can place in storage. Storage facilities have varying rules and expectations about what you should not store in a unit on their property. 

Read on to find out what shouldn’t be put into storage units at all, and what should be stored in climate-controlled units to ensure they remain in good condition.

What items can’t be stored in a storage unit?

Although it can be tempting to fill up a storage unit without second thought, there are some things that simply can’t be stored in a rental unit. Before moving in, ask the facility for a specific list of what not to keep in a storage unit.

However, here’s a list of some general ideas of what shouldn’t be placed in storage.

Can you store chemicals and flammable materials? 

Hazardous items cannot be stored in a rental unit. Explosives, flammable items, paint, cleaning products, motor oil, and fireworks shouldn’t be stored in a rented unit, even in a climate-controlled setting. These items are too volatile and could create a dangerous situation. 

Can you store alcohol in a storage unit?

Wine aficionados and brewers might have excess bottles of alcohol that take up space in their home and garage. Whether you’re allowed to store alcohol in a storage unit varies from facility to facility. Many facilities prohibit tenants from storing full-proof spirits, like whiskey or vodka, due to their flammable nature, but don’t have an issue with properly-sealed wine or beer. 

That being said, it may not be smart to put several cases of expensive or vintage wine in a storage unit, especially if the unit is not climate controlled. Extreme temperatures can cause wine to freeze or spoil, and too low of a humidity level can cause the cork to dry out and ultimately break when you decide to open the bottle.

Can you store food in a storage unit? 

It’s not a great idea to store perishable items in a storage unit, and most storage facility owners prohibit it outright. Food might attract pests and rodents, which could be harmful for the other valuables in the unit, and could even cause an infestation that spreads to nearby storage units. Plus, food items might go bad during the duration of their storage and could end up being dangerous to eat. 

A variety of foods, including pasta noodles, sauce, and other packaged goods, are piled in a cardboard box carried by a person.

Can you store illegal materials in a storage unit?

The short answer is: no. Things like drugs, tobacco, stolen items, counterfeit money, and other contraband shouldn’t be stored in a storage unit. 

What things can you store in a storage unit?

All kinds of items! Although the above list has made it seem like there are a lot of things that shouldn’t be placed into storage, the list of items that can be kept in a storage unit is much longer. Many guests use self storage to store items such as:

  • Extra furniture
  • Seasonal clothing
  • Holiday decorations
  • Family heirlooms
  • Collectibles
  • Musical instruments
  • Tools

What’s the difference between traditional and climate-controlled storage units?

Traditional drive-up storage units are the most common option available at most storage facilities. The units are often easily accessible, as you can pull right up to the door with a truckload of your stuff. These types are usually an affordable option, and the majority of them may have walls exposed to the outdoors, so the interior temperature often mirrors the temperature outside. As a result, sometimes the units can become quite cold or warm, which could adversely affect some of the items being stored. 

On the other hand, climate-controlled storage units offer a space where the temperature is regulated; often they range between approximately 50 to 80 degrees. This option will add roughly 15%-20% to your monthly cost, but is great for belongings that need more protection and care. Often, these units are only available in an enclosed storage facility where the unit walls are not exposed to the outdoors. Because of this placement, you may need to use elevators to access your storage unit as opposed to being able to pull your vehicle right up to the door. 

What items should you store in a climate-controlled storage unit? 

Certain belongings, whether they’re valuable, delicate, or require special care, should be placed in a unit where the temperature is more controlled. Here’s a list of items that you might want to consider placing in a more regulated environment:


If you are storing pieces that you want to use in the future, or furniture made of leather or wood that you want to preserve, it could be smart to avoid units where the temperature fluctuates. In a traditional self storage unit, cold weather might create cracks, and hot weather might induce warping and fading. 

Two movers load a piece of wrapped furniture into the back of a van filled with other cardboard boxes.


You might have some beautiful clothes that take up space in your closet but only get worn on special occasions or during certain seasons. Placing coats, furs, gowns, suits, and vintage pieces in a climate-controlled space can help ensure the longevity of these garments. 

Musical Instruments and Equipment

Placing guitars, pianos, amps, and other musical equipment in storage requires a safe space that doesn’t experience a big swing in temperature. It’s a good choice to store them in a climate-controlled space to ensure these expensive items remain in optimal condition.


TVs, Blu-ray players, stereos, video game consoles, and other electronics should be stored in a stable temperature environment to avoid damage to the hardware. 

Rent a Storage Unit From The Storage Manager

Whether you’re planning on storing items for a few months while relocating to a new home or for a few years as you raise children and rotate items in and out of the house, a Storage Manager-powered facility can be a helpful resource to declutter your space and keep your items secure. 

Make sure to take proper precautions when choosing what type of space to store your belongings to ensure that your items will remain in good condition. Many of our storage facilities feature climate-controlled storage units and traditional drive-up storage units in a wide variety of unit sizes, giving you many options for finding the right storage space for your needs. 

Get started today! Locate your nearest facility powered by The Storage Manager to rent or reserve a unit.

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