You Can’t Live in a Storage Unit and Other Restrictions

Posted July 1, 2022 in Self Storage Tips

Packed storage unit with the light on.

When first introduced to the world of self-storage, it can feel overwhelming trying to keep track of all of the rules and regulations on what you can keep in your new unit. If you need a refresher on what items are prohibited from being stashed in self-storage or are doing research before renting your first unit, this article from Premium Spaces can help. Continue reading for answers to commonly asked storage questions about the restrictions in place for your storage unit.

Can you live in a storage unit?

Person pushing a cart stacked with suitcases and boxes through a self-storage facility.

If you’ve ever wondered if it’s possible to live in a storage unit, you aren’t alone: This is one of the most popular questions people ask in our industry. And while it may seem like it is possible to do so, living in a storage unit is actually illegal nationwide due to the danger it poses.

One of the biggest reasons for this is the fact that storage facilities are subject to a different set of building codes than residential homes and apartments. Because people aren’t meant to live in storage units, they typically do not have the safety requirements that are mandatory in your home, such as fire alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and multiple entry and exit points that allow you to easily leave the building in case of an emergency. Most storage units only have one heavy door and no windows, which means your options for escape are incredibly limited in the case of a natural hazard such as a fire, tornado, or flash flood.

You also have to factor in that storage units are typically not equipped with running water, and many do not have heat or air conditioning as well. Without these key features, living in a storage unit can be very dangerous when there are extreme temperatures outside, as the inside of the unit can become overly hot or cold and pose health risks to the inhabitants. Because of all of these factors, living in a storage unit is not an option for humans or animals.

Can you store cleaning supplies and other chemicals in a storage unit?

Storing cleaning supplies and other chemicals in a storage unit can quickly become a health risk, which is why people are not allowed to store them inside. If improperly stored, these chemicals can leak and cause major issues, including fire risks. There are also many chemicals that emit fumes that can become deadly when mixed together. Because of this, any chemical or material that is poisonous or toxic cannot be stored in a self-storage unit, including:

  • Chlorine bleach
  • Ammonia
  • Acetone (a common component of nail polish remover)
  • Turpentine
  • Paint
  • Paint thinner
  • Kerosene
  • Fertilizer

[H2] Can you grow plants in a storage unit?

Storing any living being in a storage unit is not a good idea, and this includes plants as well. Plants require sunlight and natural air in order to survive, and putting them in a storage unit will deprive them of both. Plants cause humidity levels to rise due to the moisture they emit into the air, which can cause mold to grow and spread to your belongings. Plants are also a source of food for many insects and other pests, which means having those herbs hang out in your storage unit for even a day can lead to an infestation across the entire storage facility. 

Can I store food in a storage unit?

Just like plants, biodegradable materials are also prohibited in storage units, including food. Perishable food items can spoil and rot quickly, especially in warm or humid conditions, which causes dangerous mold to grow in your storage unit. The smell can also attract pests, including mice and rats, leading to the destruction of your belongings and a pest outbreak across the storage facility. In short,  we prefer you keep all your perishable foods and pet food in your home or business. 

Can I store ammunition in a storage unit?

While empty weapons can sometimes be stored in a storage unit if the company policy allows it, ammunition can never be stored with it. Ammo of any kind is considered an explosive, making it dangerous to store in a room that is not monitored and may become overheated due to unregulated internal temperatures. You also run the risk of ruining your ammunition if it is stored in highly humid conditions, making a secured safe in your home the best place to keep it.

What Not To Store in a Storage Unit

A couple using a cart to take storage boxes to storage unit.

Aside from the items and materials listed above, there are several other items that you should never place in self-storage. These include:

  • Propane and other flammable items. Pressurized gases such as propane and spray paint are highly flammable and should never be placed in a storage unit. These items pose a great risk to the property as a whole and should not be stored inside tight, sealed spaces.
  • Stolen or illegal property. This one may be a given, but it’s still worth mentioning: Storing stolen or illegal property in a storage unit is against the law. 
  • Unregistered vehicles. In order to store a vehicle in your storage unit, it must be registered under your name. Even if you unregister the vehicle because you aren’t using it, having an unregistered vehicle on public property is illegal.
  • Wet items. Storing wet items in a storage unit is always a recipe for disaster, as the dark, enclosed space won’t allow the item to properly dry. Without proper air circulation in the storage unit, the wet item will most likely begin to grow mold and cause fungal spores to spread to your other belongings in the unit. Make sure everything is properly dried out before placing it in storage. 

Find Answers to Your Storage Questions at Premium Spaces

Failure to adhere to the restrictions detailed in your contract can lead to your lease being terminated or even paying a fine, and we don’t want that. We want to create a safe, convenient storage experience for everyone, but if you still have questions about what you can and can’t store, please give your local Premium Spaces location a call. Our friendly storage experts are more than happy to help you determine what you can store at our facilities.

Now that you have more clarification on what you can put in your storage unit, rent or reserve your storage unit today. We have space for you in South Carolina, Texas, and Louisiana