Self-storage has been around since 1958, when the first U.S. facility opened in Fort Lauderdale, FL. However, this time we cannot claim an American invention. Would you believe the Chinese had communal storage facilities 4,000 years ago? They used them to store rice and grain, and we are confident they imposed hygiene rules over what citizens could put there.
In a similar fashion there have to be some rules attached to what goes into self-storage. These protect the interests of fellow users in other units, and make it easier to clear the unit out if a customer defaults. Here’s an easy-going list of what should not go into a self-storage unit. If unsure, always ask the manager first. Remember, they have the final say, for health and safety’s sake.
- Nothing that’s inherently dangerous should go into self-storage. That’s because a client may leave it there for a long time without visiting and checking it. This includes flammable materials such as gasoline, bottled gas, and lamp oil. And also corrosive materials, ammunition, explosives etc.
- While clients may store vehicles in self-storage units subject to size, these may not contain any of the goods mentioned in this list, including gas in the fuel tank. Furthermore, they must be in running condition with current licenses and insurance. Remember, it is the client’s responsibility to insure the goods they leave in storage.
- Illegal items should not go into self-storage either. Here we think of narcotic substances, stolen or smuggled goods, embargoed materials, contraband, unlicensed firearms, and anything against the assigned copyrights of others.
- Similarly, self-storage clients should not do anything that goes against food-safety laws. There are regulations controlling the storage of plants and animals for consumption, whether alive or dead. There is no way to meet these in confined, locked space. Moreover, for safety reasons plug-in refrigerators and freezers do not belong there. However, canned foods are permitted within sell-by dates.
- While this may seem unnecessary to some, to even state, self-storage is not a suitable place to keep people, animals, or pets. It is neither hygienic nor safe. In fact, using it this way would be against the law, and inhumane. Besides, plants soon wither and die in the absence of sunlight and water.
- Self-storage units are not a dumping ground for derelict goods, and old scrap. Storage of old tires is usually limited to a set of four. In the event of breach, the facility owner may prevent the removal of any other item until the situation corrects. Remember, if the client abandons the storage, the facility owner has to pay to take the junk away.
While these rules may seem strict, they are the self-storage norm across the board. Self-storage is a wonderful temporary repository of items of value in transit, or not in current use. It is the perfect way to sort storage problems at the office or at home. To work, it needs to work for all the clients who use it.