Find out how you can make the most of the storage you pay for with a greater understanding of what can’t be stored.
Self storage has become increasingly popular among domestic users, providing a flexible and convenient solution for storing belongings that may not fit or be needed in their current living spaces. Whether it’s during a move, renovation, or simply to declutter, self storage offers a valuable space-saving option.
However, it’s essential to be aware that not everything can be stored in these facilities. Understanding the restrictions and limitations is crucial to ensure the safety, legality, and efficient utilisation of self storage. By being knowledgeable about what can’t be stored, individuals can make the most of their self storage experience and avoid potential complications or issues down the line.
What is Self Storage?
Self storage refers to a service provided by companies that offer individuals and businesses a secure and accessible space to store their belongings. It typically involves renting a storage unit or locker in a specialised facility where customers can store items they don’t have room for in their homes or offices. Self storage facilities provide a convenient solution for temporary or long-term storage needs, allowing customers to access their belongings at their convenience.
Who Uses Self Storage?
Self storage caters to a wide range of users with diverse needs. The following groups commonly utilise self storage:
Individuals and households: Individuals often use self storage when they lack sufficient space at home, during relocation, downsizing, decluttering, or for storing seasonal items like sports equipment, holiday decorations, or furniture.
Businesses and entrepreneurs: Small businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs leverage self storage as an affordable alternative to renting office or warehouse space. It can serve as a secure location for inventory, equipment, files, documents, and archived records.
Students: Self storage can be valuable for students during summer breaks or when studying abroad. It allows them to store their belongings securely and conveniently, providing peace of mind while they are away.
Travellers: People embarking on extended trips or moving abroad may find self storage useful for keeping their possessions safe during their absence.
Different Types of Self Storage in the UK
In the United Kingdom, there are various types of self storage facilities available, catering to different storage needs:
Traditional Self Storage: This is the most common type of self storage, featuring individual units or lockers of various sizes within a secure facility. Users can access their units during designated hours and store a wide range of items.
Container Storage: Container storage involves using shipping containers as storage units. These containers are typically located in a secured outdoor area. They offer a larger storage capacity and can accommodate bulkier items or larger quantities of goods.
Mobile Storage: Mobile storage providers deliver storage containers directly to the customer’s location, allowing them to pack their belongings at their own pace. Once packed, the provider transports the container to a secure facility for storage.
Specialised Storage: Some self storage facilities specialise in storing specific items, such as vehicles, wine collections, or sensitive documents. These facilities provide additional security measures and specialized storage conditions to meet the specific requirements of the stored items.
What Can’t Be Stored In Self Storage?
While self storage offers numerous benefits, it is important to note that there are certain restrictions on what can be stored due to safety, legal, and ethical reasons. Self storage facilities typically have guidelines and regulations regarding prohibited items. Here are some common items that generally cannot be stored in self storage:
Hazardous Materials: Self storage facilities prohibit storing hazardous materials or substances that are flammable, explosive, toxic, or pose a risk to health and safety. Examples include gasoline, propane tanks, chemicals, fertilisers, paint thinner, asbestos, and biological waste.
Perishable Items: Storing perishable items is generally not allowed in self storage units due to the potential for spoilage and the associated odors and pests they may attract. This includes food items, plants, and live animals.
Illegal Items: It is strictly prohibited to store illegal items or substances in self storage units. This includes illicit drugs, stolen goods, counterfeit items, and any materials or items that are prohibited by law.
Firearms and Ammunition: Most self storage facilities prohibit the storage of firearms, ammunition, and other weapons. This is to prevent the risk of theft, unauthorised access, and potential harm.
Valuables and Irreplaceable Items: While self storage units provide security measures, it is generally advised not to store highly valuable or irreplaceable items such as cash, jewelry, original artwork, important documents (e.g., wills, passports, birth certificates), or family heirlooms. These items are better kept in more secure locations, like a safe deposit box or a personal safe.
Radioactive Materials: Self storage facilities do not permit the storage of radioactive materials or items that emit radiation. These substances require specialised handling and storage protocols to ensure safety.
Living or Sleeping in Storage Units: Self storage units are not designed or intended for habitation. It is strictly prohibited to use them as living quarters or sleeping spaces for individuals.
Special Climate-Controlled Storage For Certain Items
While certain items may be allowed for storage in self storage units, they may not be ideally suited for standard storage conditions. Items such as electrical equipment, musical instruments, and wine often require climate-controlled storage to ensure their preservation and protection. Here’s a section elaborating on this aspect:
Electrical Equipment: Electronics, such as computers, televisions, audio equipment, and appliances, can be sensitive to extreme temperature fluctuations, humidity, and moisture. Storing them in a climate-controlled unit helps prevent damage caused by condensation, rust, and warping. Stable temperature and humidity levels can extend the lifespan and maintain the functionality of these items.
Musical Instruments: Instruments like pianos, guitars, violins, and brass or woodwind instruments can be vulnerable to changes in temperature and humidity. Extreme heat or cold, as well as fluctuations in moisture levels, can lead to warping, cracking, or damage to the instrument’s structure and sound quality. Climate-controlled storage helps maintain optimal conditions, ensuring the preservation and proper functioning of musical instruments.
Artwork and Photographs: Paintings, drawings, photographs, and other forms of artwork are susceptible to temperature, humidity, and light exposure. High humidity can cause mold, mildew, and deterioration, while excessive heat or cold can lead to warping, fading, or cracking.
Climate-controlled storage provides stable conditions to protect the integrity and value of these delicate items.
Wine: Around half of the UK population drink wine, and many now consider themselves to be amateur collectors. Wine requires specific temperature and humidity conditions for proper maturation and preservation. Fluctuations in temperature or exposure to heat can spoil the flavor, aroma, and overall quality of the wine. Climate-controlled storage with temperature and humidity control is essential for long-term wine storage, ensuring the wine’s characteristics are maintained.
Antiques and Collectibles: Antique furniture, vintage clothing, delicate fabrics, and collectible items can be adversely affected by temperature, humidity, and moisture. Climate-controlled storage helps prevent damage from fluctuations in these factors, preserving the condition, value, and aesthetics of these cherished possessions.
By opting for climate-controlled storage, you can mitigate the risks associated with extreme environmental conditions and ensure the longevity and quality of these sensitive items. Climate-controlled units maintain stable temperature and humidity levels, providing an optimal environment for the preservation of delicate and valuable belongings.
When considering storing items with specific climate requirements, it is advisable to inquire with self storage facilities about their climate control options and any additional fees or regulations that may apply. This way, you can make an informed decision and provide the best storage conditions for your temperature and humidity-sensitive possessions.
The Importance of Preparation and Packaging for Self Storage
Even if you have self storage that is appropriate for the items you want to store, it is important to take extra steps to ensure those items will be kept in the best possible condition. Proper packing and preparation will keep your items fresh, clean and protected until it is time to get them out again. When preparing and packing your things for storage it is important to:
Clean and Organise: Before storing any items, ensure they are clean and free from dirt, dust, and moisture. Clean and dry items are less likely to attract pests or develop mold during storage. Additionally, organising your belongings makes it easier to access specific items when needed.
Use Appropriate Boxes and Containers: Choose sturdy boxes and containers made of durable materials. Avoid using damaged or worn-out boxes as they may compromise the structural integrity and protection of your items. Opt for uniform-sized boxes to maximise storage space and ease stacking.
Wrap and Protect Fragile Items: Fragile items such as glassware, dishes, and delicate electronics should be individually wrapped in bubble wrap, packing paper, or foam to prevent breakage. Use appropriate cushioning materials to fill any gaps within the boxes to minimize movement and absorb shocks.
Disassemble Furniture and Large Items: If possible, disassemble large furniture items to save space and prevent damage. Keep all screws, bolts, and small components in labeled bags and securely attach them to the corresponding furniture pieces to avoid misplacement.
Label and Inventory: Clearly label all boxes and containers with a detailed description of their contents. Create an inventory list or use a digital tracking system to keep track of stored items. This will help you locate specific items easily and avoid unnecessary searching.
Consider Climate-Controlled Storage: For temperature and humidity-sensitive items, opt for climate-controlled storage units. Ensure the items are adequately protected and sealed in airtight containers to maintain the desired conditions within the storage unit.
Protect Against Pests: To prevent pests, use pest-resistant packaging materials and consider using pest repellents or traps in the storage unit. Avoid storing food items or anything that may attract pests.
Maximise Space: Efficiently use the storage unit’s space by disassembling furniture, utilising vertical space with shelves or racks, and stacking boxes securely. Place frequently accessed items near the front of the unit for easier retrieval.
Consider Insurance: While self storage facilities provide security measures, it is advisable to consider obtaining insurance coverage for your stored items. This provides additional protection and peace of mind in case of unforeseen events.
By taking the time to prepare and package your items properly, you can minimise the risk of damage, deterioration, and loss during storage. Good preparation and packaging practices contribute to maintaining the condition and value of your belongings, making the storage experience more efficient and worry-free.
Remember to consult the specific guidelines and recommendations provided by your self storage facility to ensure compliance with their policies and regulations regarding preparation, packaging, and prohibited items.
The Key Is Communication
When it comes to renting a self storage unit, it’s crucial to establish effective communication with the storage provider. This ensures that you comply with their rules and regulations and have a clear understanding of the consequences of breaking those rules. Here are some important steps to follow:
First and foremost, take the time to thoroughly review the self storage facility’s policies, terms, and conditions. This information can usually be found on their website or in any documentation they provide. Pay close attention to specific guidelines and restrictions related to storage, prohibited items, access hours, and security measures. Familiarise yourself with these rules to avoid any misunderstandings later on.
Once you’ve familiarised yourself with the facility’s policies, reach out to the self storage provider directly to ask any specific questions or seek clarification. You can contact them via phone, email, or even visit the facility in person. Prepare a list of questions beforehand to ensure you gather all the necessary information. This will help you make an informed decision and avoid any surprises down the line.
One important aspect to inquire about is the list of prohibited items. Ask the self storage provider for a comprehensive list of items that are not allowed in their storage units. If you have any doubts about specific items you intend to store, seek their advice on whether those items are allowed or if they can recommend alternative storage options. It’s better to clarify these matters in advance to prevent any issues or potential violations of the facility’s rules.
If you have unique storage requirements, such as the need for climate-controlled units or additional security measures, discuss these needs with the provider. They can guide you on the availability of such options and inform you of any associated costs. This ensures that your specific storage needs are met and that you’re fully aware of any additional expenses involved.
Insurance coverage is another important aspect to consider. Inquire about the insurance options available and whether the facility provides any coverage for stored items. If they don’t offer insurance, it’s wise to consider obtaining your own storage insurance to protect your belongings. Understanding the insurance aspect will give you peace of mind and safeguard your possessions in case of any unforeseen events.
In addition to effective communication, it’s crucial to understand the consequences of breaking the rules set by the self storage provider. Clarify the facility’s policy on late payments and any associated fees. Ask about grace periods and the potential consequences of failing to make timely payments. Understanding these terms will help you avoid unnecessary penalties and the risk of losing access to your storage unit.
Lastly, discuss the facility’s access procedures and security measures. Inquire about access codes, surveillance cameras, and any security personnel on-site. Understanding these aspects will give you peace of mind about the safety of your belongings and help you adhere to the facility’s rules regarding access.
By following these steps and effectively communicating with the self storage provider, you can ensure a smooth and hassle-free storage experience while maintaining compliance with the facility’s rules and regulations.
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin
By choosing a reputable self storage provider, conducting thorough research, effectively communicating with the facility staff, and following the rules, you can ensure that your stored items are secure, well-maintained, and easily accessible whenever you need them. Taking these proactive steps not only protects your belongings but also helps foster a positive and compliant storage experience.