How Should You Store Certain Sensitive Or Hazardous Items During A Move?

If you're in the process of selling your home and moving to a new city, you may be confounded by the logistics of financing a new home while selling an old home all with enough time to move your belongings in between. Often, the easiest solution is to rent a small apartment and store your furniture and other large household belongings in a storage unit while you wait for the settlement of your home sale and spend time searching for the perfect home.

While this can provide a great benefit for households facing real estate timing issues, there are certain household items that may not be suitable for a storage unit. Read on to learn more about the items most self-storage companies restrict, as well as some items you may be safer storing in a safety deposit box or in your own home. 

What items are banned by most self-storage units?

Most self-storage units are climate controlled and can be a great way to temporarily and safely store heirloom furniture, large electronics, appliances, books, and a variety of other household items. If you're planning to store valuable or expensive items, you may want to invest in a self-storage unit in a manned complex that provides greater security measures than most self-service units, but the risk of theft or damage remains low in all units.

However, you won't be permitted to store the entire contents of your household in a single self-storage unit. There are a number of potentially hazardous materials (like oil, paint, gasoline, fireworks, tires, and lighter fluid) that are prohibited from storage in self-storage units. And while some self-storage units will permit you to store small engines (like chainsaws or rototillers) or even motorcycles or riding lawnmowers, there are strict requirements on the oil draining and proper storage of these items as not to cause damage to the unit or inconvenience to the neighboring tenants.

If you're planning to store a number of lawn implements and ATVs, you may be better off renting both a self-storage unit and a garage stall that will allow you to safely and conveniently house your outdoor items.

What items may be best stored in a more secure location? 

While it's perfectly legal to store jewelry, mementos, and other valuable items in a self-storage unit, there are certain items over which you'll want to exercise a bit more control than you'll have in an off-site unit. Anything so valuable or memorable that it couldn't possibly be replaced by an insurance check should be kept in a bank's safety deposit box so that its security can be constantly ensured.

If you keep confidential information in files at home (like patient or insurance information for those in the healthcare fields, or client files for those in the legal field), you'll want to avoid potential liability for breaching this information by keeping it in a more secure location under your control, like your rental home. While your home likely has an equally small chance of being burgled as your storage unit, you're less likely to face charges of negligence if you can show you made an effort to exercise control over the records. 

You also don't want to use a self-storage unit (even a climate-controlled one) to house a valuable wine or cigar collection. You have little control over what is being stored in the neighboring units, and you could find that the conditions in your unit cause your wine to lose quality or your cigars to take on an unpleasant taste. Storing these fine items in facilities designed specifically for them (like a storage unit that offers wine rental space) is your best bet to maintain quality during your move.