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A storage unit can seem like a place to store anything you can’t fit in your home or business. However, storing certain items isn’t allowed by the Self Storage Association UK (or SSA for short) for safety and security reasons.

What are the items you cannot store?

Here’s a list of items you should not be storing in your self-storage facility:

Food or perishable goods

a bag of groceries on a stoolUnless securely packed so they are protected from and do not attract vermin (e.g. canned), it’s better to store food or perishable goods elsewhere. This is one of the most frequently overlooked safety rules when using self-storage! Food, including pet food, should never be kept in a storage unit. Just think about it – you leave food in an enclosed space for a long time, it will rot and its smell will attract insects and rodents alike. In turn, those little intruders will probably damage the rest of your stored items by chewing on them and even nesting in them. Want bigger problems? Infestation is quite possible for the entire self-storage facility. And if miraculously no rodents enter your unit for the food, mould and bacteria will appear from the rotting food.

Any live (or dead) creatures

cat on a sofa under a blanketLeaving a live animal, for example, your poor pet, in a self-storage unit is not only against the public storage restrictions, but it is against the law. Don’t ever do it! If you’re leaving and you can’t take your animal friend with you, leave them with a family member, a friend you can trust, hire a pet sitter or leave your animal friend with pet caring professionals. No dead animals allowed either.

Combustible or flammable substances

flame on a black backgroundItems such as gas, paint, petrol, oil, cleaning solvents or compressed gases can pose a risk to your stored items as well as the facility itself. Anything that is highly flammable doesn’t belong in self-storage.


a cactus in a potPlants need sunlight (and water) to live, in a storage unit they wouldn’t survive as well as possibly attracting bugs and pests. If you can’t take care of your plants, don’t put them in storage, give them away or plant them outside if they can survive outdoor weather.

Firearms, explosives, weapons or ammunition

two rows of ammunitionAs per the Firearms Rules 1998, these items require to be stored in a location where people without a certificate to handle them cannot access them.

Hazardous substances

chemicals in jarsChemicals, radioactive materials, biological agents, toxic waste, propane tanks, asbestos, etc. are all potentially hazardous substances that cannot be stored in self-storage as they pose a risk to the facility.

Items that are wet, emit fumes, or odours

scented candlesMany people don’t consider this one but it’s very good advice not to store anything that has a strong smell or scent (e.g. scented candles) or is damp. Strong scents can easily attract pests, insects, rodents or vermin to investigate the source of the overwhelming odours. Trust us, you don’t want any living things crawling or flying around in your rental unit as that will cause issues in no time. Also, any items that are wet or damp will start producing mould, mildew and spread bacteria in your self-storage unit, and that will likely damage some, most or all of your prized possessions placed in temporary storage. First and foremost, make sure that every single item you plan to store in there is perfectly dry before you pack it up and leave it in your storage unit.

Currency, deeds and securities

Four, £20 banknotesA safe deposit box in a bank is a much better place to store items like these. While our storage units have CCTV and are safe and secure, we would recommend storing these items somewhere with a higher level of security.

The above list may feel prohibitive but it has been put together on the back of years of experience from the SSA’s extensive membership and is there for everyone’s protection and safety. After all, you can’t just ignore the rules of the road if you hire a car, so you can’t ignore the rules of the storage operator if you hire a storage room.

Self-storage is there for general household or business goods on the whole and so if you have anything particular to store it is probably best to ask the storage operator in advance.


a closeup of a car tyreTyres that are left in self-storage units for long periods of time require disposal which can be expensive for the storage operators if the tyres get left behind. For this reason, tyres are generally not permitted in storage.

Illegal items, substances or goods

Illegally obtained items such as illicit (counterfeit/smuggled) tobacco or alcohol and unlicensed or unsafe goods (such as toys, electrical goods, medicines, aerosols, cosmetics, fireworks) should not be stored in self-storage.

And Finally

You may be wondering whether you can live or work from your storage room. The simple answer in both cases is no. You cannot work from your storage unit as it is not an office and if you get caught sleeping in your self-storage room then it is likely the police will be called straight away.

Using self-storage can really be a lifesaver, but you need to be sensible and considerate not only for your things but for other customers who use the store and the store operator as well! When used properly, self-storage can be a real asset in your life and give you the freedom to do the things you want.

Find out more on how Metro Storage can help you store your things and help out by contacting us.