Storage Container Restrictions for Long-Term Storage

storage container restrictions

Shipping containers are tough and can store many things. Whether you need to use one for moving or long-term storage, you can fit a lot of stuff into one container. However, there are some materials that you should not place in a shipping container for storage. The reason for these storage container restrictions is not only for your own safety, but also the safety of your belongings, the other containers being stored, and the entire storage facility. Here is a guide to the materials you should avoid putting in your storage container:

Items that are Restricted from Storage Containers


It’s important to avoid placing any perishables in your storage container. This includes any food materials that spoil quickly. It also includes food that seems like it would keep for quite a while, like dry pet food. The reason for this is that you (and the storage facility) don’t want any pests around. Mice, bugs, mold, and bacteria can wreak havoc on all sorts of materials once they infest an area. Perishables include:

  • Plants and fresh produce
  • Meat/animal remains
  • Frozen or refrigerated foods
  • Unsealed food containers

Also, if you decide to keep an old refrigerator in storage, make sure that it is completely cleaned out. Even small amounts of food residue can cause problems.


It may seem like common sense to keep explosives out of your storage unit, but this category includes some other common materials that you may have considered safe. Don’t store fireworks, ammunition, or firearms in your storage unit. These items can cause large amounts of damage to your container and the surrounding area if they go off. If you are uncomfortable keeping such materials in your home, you can contact a local gun shop or shooting range. Sometimes these places have storage options for this kind of item.

Hazardous Materials

Hazardous materials are the biggest group of items that shouldn’t go in your storage container, and it can be hard to keep track of all of them. These materials are all dangerous in one way or another. Some are corrosive and could damage nearby materials. Others are poisonous and can harm people who enter the area after a spill. This list is not comprehensive, so make sure that you check on any potential hazardous material if you are unsure whether or not you can store it.

  • Acids
  • Aerosols
  • Ammonia
  • Asbestos
  • Batteries
  • Bleach
  • Car Batteries
  • Charcoal/Charcoal lighter
  • Chemistry sets
  • Cleaning solvents
  • Compressed gas
  • Darkroom chemicals
  • Fertilizers
  • Gasoline
  • Grease
  • Kerosene
  • Lamp oils
  • Matches
  • Motor oil
  • Nail polish/Nail polish remover
  • Narcotics
  • Paint
  • Paint thinner
  • Pesticides
  • Poisons
  • Propane tanks
  • Radioactive materials
  • Swimming pool chemicals
  • Sterno fuel

Although scented and wet items are not banned from storage containers, you should be wary of including them with your stuff. Strong scents can attract pests just like perishables. Wet or damp items will facilitate the growth of mold and mildew among all of your stuff.

Illegal Materials

It should go without saying that you shouldn’t store illegal materials in your storage unit. This category includes stolen property, illegal drugs, and unregistered vehicles. If you want to store vehicles in your storage unit, there are some precautions you need to take. Keep your vehicle registration current for any cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats, or RVs that you have stored. Unfortunately, you can’t store your friend or family member’s registered vehicle, so they must be in your name. If you don’t own an item, don’t store it in your container. Also, remove any hazardous materials from the vehicle, such as oil and gasoline.


Long-term storage is for items, not people. You are not allowed to let anyone stay in your storage container for any amount of time. It’s illegal for people to live in them or work out of them for any amount of time. They are not made to be inhabitable. The exception to this is if you use a shipping container as a building material for your house, but this is not the case in a long-term storage facility!

Keep these storage container restrictions in mind next time you go to fill your shipping container for moving or storage. You should find that most of your household goods can be stored, as long as you are aware of the limitations. If you want more information on how to avoid other storage unit mistakes, check out Porta-Stor’s blog here!