Storage units can be a temporary fix during a move or help keep your clutter — holiday decorations, out-of-season clothes, sporting equipment, and so on — to a minimum. But there are some items that shouldn’t be kept in this kind of space. While a storage unit might seem similar to a garage or basement, there are important differences in storing your stuff.
The obvious: hazardous, flammable, or combustible materials
Hazardous, flammable, or combustible materials shouldn’t be kept in a storage unit, as they can damage the building the unit is in–not to mention posing a serious safety hazard for people working in the facility. Propane tanks, tiki torches with fluid in them, fireworks, and ammunition should all be stored someplace else. Most storage companies will provide you with a list of what’s not allowed there, so make sure to take a look before you break the rules.
Don’t store any food, either
Food is another thing best kept at home. Since your storage unit is often in a larger facility with other units and might not be frequented by humans, pests like mice and rats can get into your unit. Even if your food is well sealed, it can cause damage to your containers and other items inside. Storage buildings don’t do pest inspection and eradication like an apartment building or other occupied building might, so if there’s an infestation, it can go months without being noticed and dealt with.
It’s not a good place to hide cash or valuables
High-value items like jewellery, artwork, or cash are all difficult to trace, and shouldn’t be left in an unattended storage building. Even with security measures, the chances of recovering items like that, once they’ve been taken, are slim. Also, since there are often limits to insurance payments on a storage unit, you might not even get compensated in case of a loss. It’s better to keep valuables in a safety deposit box.
Don’t store titles, deeds, or bills of sale
It’s not a good idea to keep important paperwork in a storage unit. If these items go missing and there’s no record of them being there, it can be hard to prove that they were in your possession in the first place or get a replacement. Paper items are also susceptible to damage from moisture, so keeping them in a place that isn’t climate controlled could lead to disaster. Paperwork like titles, deeds, and bills of sale should be kept in a fireproof box or in a safety deposit box.
Clothing, bedding, or other items that are wet or damp shouldn’t be stored in a storage unit. Such items include camping and outdoor gear, sports equipment, tarps, and drop cloths. They run the risk of never drying out if they’re kept in a small, unventilated space, so they can cause mould and mildew growth. Since most insurance policies won’t cover damage from mould and mildew, you won’t be able to file a claim for these items or anything else in the unit in case there’s water damage. It’s better to double-check to make sure everything is thoroughly dried out before it goes into the unit.
You can’t store tires in a storage unit
Tires are commonly banned from storage units because they provide excellent fuel for a fire and they’re also expensive to dispose of if they’re left behind. It’s ok to have tires on a properly registered and insured vehicle in your unit, but you shouldn’t keep any extras in there, as they’re likely against the rules.
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