Understanding what not to store versus what you can store

A few years ago, a funny thing happened. A television network decided to make a “reality TV” show about people who bid on abandoned storage units and the goodies they come across. The show, to many people’s surprise, gained a massive following, and even spawned some spin offs.

In a way, the show’s popularity is understandable. Everyone loves to see what kind of hidden treasures might be found at the snap of a padlock. It’s a sort of collective fantasy to stumble across a valuable work of art at a flea market or find thousands of dollars tucked between the pages of a book we buy for a nickel.

In the show, when the storage rental unit sold to the highest bidder, what happened most often was that the new owners had to wade through a lot of garbage. The show was supposed to be about finding treasures, but what it also exposed were the crazy and shocking things that people put in storage units. The show’s characters found everything from pricey artwork to comic book collections, to, horrifyingly, a corpse wrapped in cellophane (that incident gladly never made it on the air).

So, all this begs the question: What should you store and what should you not store in a rental storage unit?

Since you can store almost much anything and everything in a storage unit, it might be easier to identify what you shouldn’t store. Since that list is much shorter, we’ve compiled here for you below.

1. Anything flammable or combustible

This includes gasoline, compressed gas, propane tanks, kerosene, lamp and motor oil, acid, grease, corrosives, fertilizers, paint, cleaners or chemicals. If you are storing gas powered tools or vehicles, you should drain the tank before putting it away for the season. Rounding out this list are fireworks and explosive “toys” of that nature.

2. Toxic materials

Should be obvious but still worth mentioning. Any material that could be deemed toxic should not be stored in the confines of a storage rental unit. This includes things like asbestos or any materials containing asbestos. Also included in this category are things like toxic or biological medical waste — this type of substance should be immediately disposed of properly. Radioactive materials can be lumped into this category as well, including radioactive equipment.

3. Stolen materials

If something is illegally obtained and that the police might be looking for, you should not be storing it in a rental storage facility. In fact, you should not have it at all. One way to easily avoid this problem is to not steal or purchase stolen goods.

4. Perishable food

Things that are sealed and nonperishable are fine for storage units, however, any fresh food or product with an expiry date has no place in a rental storage unit. In the same vein, please avoid storing pet food and animal products in a storage unit. For example don’t dry out beef jerky in a storage container. You know that smell that suddenly happens if you don’t take you kitchen garbage out in time, this is what will happen in the confined, dark space of a storage rental unit. Not only will the smell be horrendous, mould will grow and the unit will have to be dealt with at a great cost.

5. Yourself

Storage units are not makeshift apartments. While we understand that the housing market in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland has very low vacancy, we do not allow people to take up residence in a storage unit. Not in any case, ever. It is dangerous for that person and the other people using the facilities.

Aside from this list, you are pretty much free to store whatever you want. If you are unsure if something is allowed in a storage unit, just ask. Believe us, we’ve seen it all.

And if you are interested in getting a storage unit for your things in a convenient location, we provide state of the art solutions for the storage needs of our many customers from New Westminster, Delta, Burnaby, Richmond, Coquitlam, Surrey and Vancouver. Give us a call today for our rates.