August 28, 2020 | 4 minute read

5 Things You Should Never Put in a Storage Unit


Bunches of kids toys are ready to storage in a self storage

There’s a kind of fascination that comes with other people’s storage units — people are always curious if they contain a treasure that’s been forgotten or abandoned. In fact, there’s a whole reality show universe based on the concept of discovering other people’s junk and selling it for profit.

It is always intriguing to think about what is stored inside personal storage units because it does range from basic garbage to highly valuable goods. It’s that window into other people’s private lives that gets people excited — most of us have a bit of that curiosity.

Usually what is being stored is kind of middle of the road — old files or furniture or seasonal sporting gear. Nothing too exciting. While most of it is pretty harmless, there are times we come across items that absolutely should not be stored in a storage locker.

Despite popular belief that anything goes when it comes to a storage unit, there are actually plenty of things that shouldn’t be kept in self-storage. So we’ve come up with a list of:

The Top 5 Things You Should Never Put in a Storage Unit

1. Toxic materials

You might be surprised that people would attempt to store toxic materials in a self storage unit, but they do.

Any material deemed toxic should not be stored in the confines of a storage rental unit. This includes anything in the category of biological medical waste. Instead of in a storage unit, this type of substance should be immediately disposed of properly at a registered facility and not in the landfill either. Radioactive equipment and materials also fall into this category. Toxic materials also include asbestos or anything containing asbestos.

It’s worth repeating, should you find yourself in possession of toxic materials, find a facility that responsibly disposes of them before they cause harm.

2. Anything flammable or combustable

Flammable materials include acid, grease, fertilizers, paint, cleaners, corrosives, chemicals, gasoline, kerosene, lamp and motor oil, compressed gas, and propane tanks. You might that that since you’re storing your barbecue that a propane tank should be fine, too, but stop right there and take it elsewhere. Other explosives include fireworks and firecrackers.

Also, if you are storing any kind of gas powered tools or vehicles, first drain the tank before locking them away.

3. Perishable food

Things that are sealed (that is having never been opened) and nonperishable items (that flat of canned soup and case of extra cat food you found on sale) are fine to store in a  storage unit. But anything that is fresh, opened, or has an expiry date is a strict NO. Do not store.

Also, avoid storing food-related items unless they are in clean and sterilized condition — things like a barbecue or a smoker. And don’t use the storage locker to make food like dehydrating meat for beef jerky (you’d be surprised). Rotting food is not only horrible to encounter, but it also attracts rodents and bugs and should be avoided at all costs.

4. Stolen or illegal goods

We’re not going to ask questions about why you have stolen goods, but those goods certainly shouldn’t be stored in a self-storage unit. Even if you only suspect that the goods are stolen (that deal you got on that motorcycle seemed a little too good to be true for a reason), you should make sure that your possessions are legit and legally procured.

5. Yourself or someone you know

We know it’s tough out there for many people, and  a lot of people have few options these days. But storage units are not to be used to sleep in or for temporary housing or shelter. There are no exceptions to this whatsoever, not even for a night or two.

Other than that people are generally able to store whatever they want in storage lockers. We do recommend that people don’t store incredibly valuable things in their unit — just in case something goes wrong.

And the same is true on the other end of the spectrum, storing junk that should either be recycled or onto the landfill is not really with your time and effort — but that’s up to you. The only problem with this kind of junk is that it’s easy to abandon so it’s better to do the responsible things and just dispose of it properly yourself

But as long as it is safe, legal, clean, non-perishable, non-toxic and non-combustible, it’s really up to your discretion.

Please feel free to contact Nationwide self-storage if you require a self-storage unit in the downtown Vancouver area!