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10 Items You Shouldn’t Keep in a Secured Self Storage Unit

Secured Self Storage

You’re running out of space at home, and a secured self-storage unit seems like the perfect solution. But before you start packing up all your stuff, there are some important things to know. Certain items just don’t belong in storage units. They could get damaged, become hazardous, or violate the facility’s rules.

In this article, we’ll cover the top 10 items to avoid storing, no matter how convenient it might seem. From perishable foods to hazardous materials and everything in between, you’ll learn what not to store so you can keep your stored items safe and sound.

1. Perishable Foods

Storing perishable food items in a self-storage unit is strongly inadvisable. These units lack refrigeration and climate control, creating an environment where perishables will quickly spoil, rot, and potentially cause serious issues.

Perishable foods are defined as any items that require refrigeration or freezing to prevent them from degrading rapidly. This includes meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, eggs, fresh fruits, and vegetables. Even shelf-stable items like bread, chips, and crackers can become stale and inedible if stored for extended periods.

The risks of keeping perishables in storage are significant. As food decays, it releases unpleasant odors that permeate the unit and can spread to neighboring units. These smells attract pests like insects and rodents that will infiltrate the space. Spills and leaks from rotting food create unsanitary conditions and can damage other stored belongings.

2. Hazardous Materials

You might have some hazardous materials lying around your home, like gasoline for your lawn mower or strong cleaning supplies. But you can’t just toss those into a storage unit. Hazardous materials are a big no-no when it comes to self-storage.

So, what exactly counts as a hazardous material? Basically, anything that’s flammable, explosive, corrosive, or toxic. We’re talking things like:

  • Propane tanks
  • Fireworks
  • Ammunition
  • Pesticides
  • Paint thinners
  • Certain types of batteries

Storing these kinds of items in a storage unit is just asking for trouble. They could easily catch fire or leak, putting your belongings – and the whole facility – at serious risk.

Plus, most facilities have strict storage unit restrictions against hazardous materials. If they catch you trying to sneak something dangerous in, you could get hit with some hefty fines or even get kicked out altogether.

3. Living Things

This one should be a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised – living things absolutely cannot be stored in a self-storage unit. That means no plants, pets, or people.

Even if you have the greenest thumb around, storing live plants is a terrible idea. Without any sunlight or water, they’ll just wither away and die a sad, shriveled death. Not a great fate for your beloved ficus tree.

As for pets, keeping an animal locked up in a storage unit is just plain cruel. They need space to move around, access to food and water, and plenty of fresh air. Leaving a pet in a cramped, stuffy unit is neglectful and could even get you charged with animal cruelty.

Moreover, storage facilities aren’t designed to be human habitats – they lack things like bathrooms, climate control, and fire exits that homes have.

4. Valuables

You’ve got some seriously valuable stuff – maybe a fancy watch inherited from your grandpa, or an original painting from a famous artist. As tempting as it might be to stash those prized possessions in a storage unit, that’s actually a really bad call.

Storage units just aren’t secure enough to protect your most valuable, irreplaceable items. Even though the facility might have gated access and security cameras, there’s still a risk of break-ins or theft. And losing something like antique jewelry would be devastating.

Since storage units aren’t climate-controlled environments, your valuables could get damaged by extreme temperatures, humidity, or moisture over time.

If you absolutely must store some valuable items temporarily, look into getting an insurance policy that covers goods kept in self-storage. But for your most prized possessions, it’s better to keep them in a secure location at home or consider renting a bank safety deposit box.

6. Wet Items

Before loading up your storage unit, take a careful look at your belongings. If any items are damp or wet, it’s crucial to dry them out completely. Storing wet or moisture-laden goods can lead to severe, costly damage down the line.

Mold and mildew thrive in damp, humid environments with little air circulation – exactly the conditions found inside a typical storage unit. Putting away wet clothes, upholstered furniture, documents, or books provides the perfect breeding ground for fungal growth. Within weeks, your belongings could be covered in unsightly (and unhealthy) mold and mildew.

Even items that seem only slightly damp carry risks. That small amount of residual moisture can cause wooden furniture to warp and metal objects to rust over time. Irreplaceable items like photo albums or important papers may become unusable if they mildew.

The best practice is to thoroughly air out and fully dry any items before carefully packing them for storage. Use fans and dehumidifiers if needed to remove all moisture. Invest in moisture-absorbing packs to place inside sealed boxes as well.

If you inadvertently store wet items, you may return to a smelly, musty unit with ruined belongings. Mold remediation is difficult and expensive. Avoid this preventable issue altogether by ensuring everything is 100% dry before it goes into your storage space.

7. Refrigerated Items

When packing up for storage, you’ll want to take a good look through your refrigerator and freezer. While it may be tempting to simply transfer all those chilled and frozen items into your storage unit, that would be an unfortunate mistake.

Once thawed, frozen items become breeding grounds for bacteria that can cause foodborne illnesses. And trying to refreeze thawed items is unsafe and can change their texture and quality.

If you have items that require refrigeration, your best option is to consume, donate, or properly dispose of them before your move. For medications that need to stay chilled, consult your pharmacist about proper long-term storage solutions.

In a pinch during a short move, you could use insulated cooler bags with ice packs to temporarily keep refrigerated items safe for transport. However, this is not a viable long-term solution inside a storage unit.

8. Irreplaceable Items

As you’re sorting through your belongings to prepare for storage, you’ll likely come across some items that hold immense sentimental value. Family heirlooms, baby books, photo albums, and other irreplaceable mementos deserve special care.

While a secured storage unit provides protection from the elements, it simply isn’t the ideal long-term environment for your most precious keepsakes. Fluctuations in temperature and humidity levels could potentially damage delicate items over time. And there’s always a small risk of fire, flood, or other unforeseen disasters at the facility.

If you must store sentimental goods temporarily, take extra precautions to preserve them properly. Use archival-quality storage materials, monitor for pests, and consider investing in a climate-controlled unit. However, the wisest choice is to keep your most valued keepsakes in your primary residence where you can appreciate them daily.

9. Anything Illegal

This one should go without saying, but it’s crucial to understand that storing any illegal items or substances in a self-storage unit is strictly prohibited. Storage facilities have very clear rules against housing illicit goods on their premises.

Now, we won’t get into listing specific examples of illegal items here. But you can be certain that we are referring to anything unlawful or contraband, be that weapons, drugs, stolen merchandise, or other criminal materials. If it’s illegal to possess, you cannot store it.

Beyond violating the storage company’s policies, storing illegal items also opens you up to serious legal consequences. Depending on the nature of the goods, you could face charges like possession of illegal substances, theft, or other criminal violations. Not worth the risk!

10. Sensitive Documents

When packing up for storage, you’ll want to be extra careful with any sensitive personal documents and records. This includes items like birth certificates, social security cards, passports, and estate paperwork. While a secure storage unit protects belongings from theft, it may not be the ideal environment for preserving important papers long-term.

The fluctuations in temperature and humidity levels inside a typical storage unit can cause documents to become brittle, discolored, or even grow mold over time. Sensitive materials like photographs, negatives, and home movies are also at risk of degrading in these conditions.

Rather than storing hard copies of your most critical records, it’s advisable to make digital backups instead. Scan documents and save files on an external hard drive or cloud storage service for safekeeping.

Protect Your Possessions with Secured Self Storage

As you can see, there are quite a few items that just don’t belong in a secured self-storage unit, no matter how convenient it might seem.

When you’re finally ready to load up your storage unit, the experts at Ideal Storage in Kingston, WA have got you covered. Our top-notch storage units come in a range of sizes to accommodate your needs.

Don’t risk ruining your belongings by storing the wrong things! Take the time to pack smart, and then head over to Ideal Storage to find the perfect storage solution right here in the Kingston area. Give us a call to reserve your unit or drop by in person at 12345 Storage Way in Kingston.