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Christmas Tree in a BoxRenting a storage unit can free up space in your home and provide peace of mind that your belongings are safe and sound. You are hardly alone in seeking an out of the way place to store your stuff.  The number and size of storage facilities continues to grow year after year.  If you recently rented a unit or are considering doing so, you are probably asking what things you can — or should — store in it.

The first question is easily answered by the leasing agent at your storage facility.  When you sign your rental agreement, it will clearly state what is prohibited in their units and they can answer any questions you have about requirements for storing things like vehicles or business stock.

Looking around your house at your stuff, you’re likely to still wonder “should I store it?”

Things You Shouldn’t Store

The best way to approach your belongings is in broad categories.  There are certain categories of items that you probably should NOT store — even if they aren’t specifically prohibited by your facility.

  1. Perishable food — A storage unit is not a remote pantry.  Nor is it a good place to store your pets’ food.  The reason for this is two-fold: spoilage and pests.  Leaving perishable items in your unit is just invited bugs and rodents to invade not just your space, but those of your storage neighbors.  And you really don’t want to open the unit in a month and be greeted by the smell of rotted food.
  2. Valuables — Lots of people rent storage space for their collectible items and heirlooms that they inherited from family.  Unless you are purchasing a huge insurance policy, you probably want to keep your highest-valued possessions at home or in a safe, including cash, coins, jewelry and appraised artwork. Compare the value of any item against your insurance to determine if it would covered in the case of theft or weather-related damage.
  3. firecrackersFlammable items — This should be self-explanatory.  Fireworks, propane tanks, other flammable liquids all fall into this category.  Even in a climate-controlled unit, these items pose too great a risk to your belongings and to the facility itself.
  4. Illegal items — Just don’t even think about it.
  5. Irreplaceable things — This covers things that aren’t valuable to anyone but you.  While the risk of fire or theft may be small, do you really want to lose the only surviving picture of your great-grandparents or the blanket you used to bring your firstborn home from the hospital?

Things You Should Store

Rest assured, there are still plenty of things you should put in a storage unit to keep them out of the way of your daily life. Here are just a few of the categories of items that can go in your storage unit.

  1. Seasonal items — This includes holiday decorations, seasonal clothing, and even things like garden supplies or snow shovels in the off-season.
  2. Kitchen items — From spare appliances to dishes and cookware, you can store extra kitchenware in a storage unit.  Take care when storing both large and small appliances to follow packing guidelines to ensure safe storage.
  3. Furniture — Furniture of all sizes and shapes can be place in your storage unit.  Be careful to clean and wrap upholstery to protect it and also wrap and pad any glass or mirrored items.
  4. Toys — Most toys can be stored safely once your child outgrows them or if there are just too many of them at home.  Use airtight containers, especially for stuffed or fabric toys, and you can rotate toys in and out of the playroom as needed.
  5. Electronics — If you have a climate-controlled unit, feel free to store anything from extra computers to televisions, game units, and anything else.  You will want to take care to tabulate the value of your electronics against your insurance policy, but there should be no problem storing a few items along with your other belongings.

There are lots of other things that you can store, but this should help you get an idea of what should — and shouldn’t — go in your unit.

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