12 Items You Should Never Put in Long-Term Storage
Storage units are a popular solution for homeowners who need extra room for their belongings or are looking for someplace to stash their stuff during a move. However, not everything you own is suitable for long-term storage. Some items are either too dangerous, too valuable, or too fragile. In order to keep your belongings as safe as possible, here is a short list of items you should never put in long-term storage.
Corrosive or Flammable Materials
Storage companies do everything they can to minimize fire risk, which is why they don’t allow combustible materials inside their units. This includes kerosene, rubbing alcohol, ammonia, cooking oils, paint thinner, matches, and fireworks.
Corrosive items such as bleach, drain cleaner, antifreeze, and batteries are also unsafe. Even small leaks can ruin your belongings. Worse, because temperatures in storage units are not tightly controlled, unexpected reactions can occur and lead to serious problems, such as fires or toxic fumes. (Most storage facilities keep their units between 65-85°F, safe enough for most household items but ideal for most chemicals.)
What’s more, if the worst happens, storing flammable or corrosive items gives insurance companies grounds to deny your claim. Not to mention that knowingly placing dangerous items in storage may lead to criminal charges. And beyond destroying your own belongings, fires and corrosive liquids can easily spread to nearby units, leaving you liable for additional damages.
If you don’t know whether an item is hazardous, check the label. If it advises you to keep the substance away from open flames or warns that it may burn your eyes, skin, or throat, then it’s unsafe to keep in storage.
Passports, birth certificates, marriage licenses, medical records, bank statements, and anything else containing personal information should be kept with you at all times. If, for whatever reason, it’s not safe to keep them at home, a safe-deposit box at a federally insured bank or credit union is your best option. Though storage facilities have strong security, anything that could be used to steal your identity requires the highest degree of protection.
Regardless of whether it’s perishable or non-perishable, putting food into a storage unit is a bad idea. It either spoils, grows mold, or spreads odors. More importantly, it draws insects and rodents that can damage your belongings and spread to neighboring storage units.
Storage units are air conditioned, but they don’t provide the cool, stable conditions necessary to store wine. Wine goes bad unless it's stored at temperatures around 55°F, which you won’t find in almost any storage facility.
Like wine, paintings need to be stored under carefully controlled conditions. Paints are surprisingly delicate. Unless they're kept between 70-75°F, they can crack or start to peel. Humidity can take a toll as well. Depending on where you live, your artwork can develop mold or a whitish haze. In some cases, spoiled paintings have even become breeding grounds for insects!
Soap, perfume, potpourri, candles, incense, air fresheners, essential oils ‒ anything that emits an odor can attract rodents. Keep scented items in your home or throw them away. Keeping them in storage puts your belongings at risk.
Cars, boats, RVs, and ATVs all require regular maintenance. Even bicycles need to be oiled and ridden once in a while. So unless you plan on taking them out and servicing them throughout the year, vehicles will break down if kept in long-term storage. In the event you do plan on storing a vehicle for the off-season, make sure it receives a complete tune up ahead of time and is kept in the unit for no more than six months.
Houseplants require water, clean air, and sunshine in order to thrive. Sadly, long-term storage doesn’t provide any of these. Even keeping plants in a storage unit for a couple of days can harm them. They belong either in your garden or a nursery.
Money and Jewelry
Long-term storage facilities have abundant security measures. However, they still aren't as secure as a bank vault. Cash, jewels, and other high-value items belong in a safe or financial institution, where they can be better protected from theft.
While there is no rule against keeping antiques or sentimental items in long-term storage, anything that cannot be replaced is probably better off in your home. Treasured items such as photo albums, childhood drawings, and old toys are often more delicate than they appear. Put them someplace you can watch over them, not a storage unit.
Weapons and Ammunition
Bullets, shells, and firearms are prohibited by most storage companies because they pose an unnecessary and unacceptable risk. Bullets contain combustible material, and storing weapons makes the unit a target for criminals who cannot legally purchase firearms.
Though it goes without saying, it bears repeating: all storage companies prohibit illegal items or unlawful substances. This includes stolen goods, illegal drugs, unregistered vehicles, and unlicensed medicines. Storage companies are obligated to report all illegal activity to the police. Anyone caught storing unlawful items will not only face criminal charges, but may be sued by their storage company as well.
Allied Storage Services
Whether you’re looking for a temporary or long-term storage solution, Allied can pack, transport, and store your property for as long as you need. Our facilities are climate-controlled, with 24-hour security ‒ making them the safest place to house your belongings until you’re ready to move them into your house. Contact us today for a free quote!