If you’re in between homes or if you’re downsizing, you don’t have room in your new place for all your stuff. But you will need your belongings in the future, so you don’t want to give them away or sell them. In that case, your best option is to rent a storage unit.

A storage unit is a great solution for most of your household items. However, there are certain items that may sustain damage—or cause damage—if placed in a storage unit.

Things You Can’t Store

You should keep or give away the following items rather than placing them in a storage unit.


Food can attract animals and insects to your storage unit. These pests can chew your food and other belongings and cause significant damage. Food also increases the risk of bacteria and mold to grow in your storage unit. Avoid storing food that’s in boxes or bags, including pet food. You can store canned food, but keep the expiration date in mind.

Dangerous Items

Avoid storing anything that can explode, catch fire, or spread harmful chemicals, including:

  • Fireworks
  • Paint
  • Household cleaners
  • Gasoline and motor oil
  • Propane
  • Kerosene
  • Fertilizer
  • Guns and ammunition
  • Space heaters

While these items may seem harmless, they could accidentally spill, open, or catch on fire, causing harm to the belongings in your storage unit and neighboring storage units. Most storage facilities do not allow these items in their units.

Plants and Animals

Living things cannot and should not survive in a storage unit. If you can’t take your pets and plants with you, give them to a good home.

Things You Can Store

The following items can be placed in a storage unit, but you need to be careful to store them in the right way.

Medicine and Medical Products

You can store your medicine in a storage unit as long as it does not contain radioactive materials. Keep in mind that aspirin and other medicines can break down with heat and moisture. It’s best to store medicine in a climate-controlled storage unit.


Like medicine, electronics are best preserved when stored in a climate-controlled unit. However, you should remove batteries first because the batteries could corrode and damage other items.


Furniture also does best in climate-controlled units. Climate control prevents furniture from expanding, contracting, or growing mold. To prevent your furniture from getting wet, put it on top of concrete blocks or planks. To prevent your furniture from getting scratched, cover it with a furniture pad or moving blanket. Don’t cover it with plastic because plastic can attract moisture.

Paper and Books

Keep your books, business files, and paperwork in a climate-controlled unit as well. Otherwise, they could become wet and moldy. Consider storing them in a filing cabinet. You should keep important documents you can’t misplace, like social security cards and passports, in a safe at home.


Your appliances should be fine in a storage unit. To prevent mold growth, clean out kitchen appliances before storing them. Also, leave refrigerator and oven doors slightly open.


You can store cars, boats, and motorcycles in a vehicle storage facility. If it’s an outdoor storage unit, place a weatherproof cover over your vehicle to prevent damage from wind, rain, and dust.

There are a few steps you should take before storing a vehicle. First, change your vehicle’s oil. Otherwise, contaminants from your old oil could damage the engine. Also, inflate your tires to the recommended tire pressure. If your car sits still for months, the tires can develop flat spots.

Finally, consider driving your car around every couple of weeks while it’s in storage. This step can ensure the battery stays charged, the engine’s parts stay lubricated, and the air conditioner’s air stays fresh.


If you have seasonal clothing you won’t need, feel free to keep it in a storage unit. Make sure your clothing is dry so it doesn’t attract mold. Keep your clothing in secure boxes.

Valuables and Antiques

You can certainly keep your valuables in a storage unit, but make sure it is climate-controlled to prevent damage. Also, make sure there is adequate security to protect your items from theft. Along with a secure lock on your storage unit, the facility itself should have a coded access gate. You might also benefit from 24/7 monitoring, whether from security guards or cameras.

Toys, Knick Knacks, Decorations, and Miscellaneous Belongings

You can store most items without a problem. A storage unit is a great place to keep all the things you don’t have room for. Make sure to follow all the storage facility’s rules and regulations.

Look for a storage unit facility that offers units of many different sizes so you can find the right one for your needs. Call Midwest Moving to learn more about our affordable storage options.