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I'd like to find a place to store stuff while I'm out adventuring, without spending 5000 on a house (at least, until I can afford that...). Where can I safely store items without worrying about them disappearing?

There are two possible places that come to mind, Gerdur's house (to which I have the key and was told I could stay), and the small bedroom given to me at the College of Winterhold (which I was told was mine, despite seeing J'zaro sitting in it later). Can I store items safely in either of these places?

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Some of the chests in Gerdurs house are safe. uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim_talk:Hod_and_Gerdur%27s_House –  Ids Jul 16 '12 at 15:41
    
sidenote: J'zaro will give you a small quest and should then return to his own room –  Zommuter Jun 3 '13 at 16:21

11 Answers 11

Your best bet is to get a house. If you need additional space now, maybe try storing the items in your horse or companion, or try out those two locations you mentioned with something inexpensive. See if it disappears.

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Well, the thing I'm worried about is, NPCs are smart. I might be wrong, but I'm guessing they'd favor taking something more expensive over something cheap that I'd use to test out the container's security. I guess I could spawn an expensive item to test it out though. –  Doug Nov 12 '11 at 9:53
    
@Doug Usually NPCs take whatever they can and judge it on relative value; if you drop an iron sword and a steel sword, they will take the steel sword first. –  The Communist Duck Nov 12 '11 at 10:30
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Interesting. Well, I tested out the containers in my Winterhold College bedroom, and they seem to be safe. –  Doug Nov 12 '11 at 21:39
    
@Doug Do add that as an answer! (You can answer your own question; that's OK here.) –  SevenSidedDie Nov 13 '11 at 17:34
    
Eish, I've stashed some stuff in the chest inside the Companions hall. I shall move that later! –  DavidYell Nov 14 '11 at 13:30

You remember getting the house key at the start of the game? Hob and Gerdur's house in Riverwood is your safe house until you actually purchase your own. I always store my stuff in the barrel beside the bed and nothing has ever gone missing.

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For how many days? Containers reset every 30 in-game days. –  SevenSidedDie Nov 14 '11 at 16:20

I stored in the chest in that house for 29 hours and I just lost thousands in reserve gold and even more in items.

I would say buy a house and store there, and never put all your eggs in one basket

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The Skyrim manual states:

WARNING! Do not leave things in containers you do not own! They may not be there when you come back for them. Buying a house is one way of owning containers.

I, and Doug, have also stored items in the room assigned to you at Winterhold College and it appears safe.

EDIT: As stated in the comments below, the Winterhold College room is not safe. It just seemed safe to me at the time when the game was very new.

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The manual for TES games always says that, because it's true of most containers. Nevertheless, there are always lots of safe containers due to quest script needs, non-respawning treasure chests, and so on. –  SevenSidedDie Nov 14 '11 at 16:18
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I had my items disappear from a barrel in the Companions hall, and from my room in the College, for what its worth. –  user14329 Nov 14 '11 at 21:13
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I've also had stuff disappear from my room in Winterhold. –  Raven Dreamer Nov 14 '11 at 21:47
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Hmm, then I apparently need to go grab my stuff... –  benregn Nov 15 '11 at 13:52
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I have to downvote. Aside from the other commenters, the poster of this question here also mentioned that his items stored in the Winterhold College dorm room disappear. –  galacticninja Nov 26 '12 at 7:57
up vote 25 down vote accepted

Places you can safely store your items include any houses you buy, your companion(s), and your horse.

Places considered to be owned by you (and therefore contain safe containers) are (spoiler warning):

  • Arch-Mage Quarters (after you become Arch-Mage)
  • The Dawnstar Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary (After you've finished the Dark Brotherhood quest line)

I have personally stored items in my apprentice quarters in the College of Winterhold without problems, however others have had stuff go missing from there, so be careful.

Other containers may not be safe. Given what some other answers have said, Gerder's house does not seem like a safe place for long-term storage.

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What part of the room were you using to store stuff in the College? The stuff I put in the chests there right after joining have vanished. –  Raven Dreamer Nov 15 '11 at 4:28
    
I threw heaps of stuff in the wardrobe in my assigned room in the apprentice hall for long periods of time, none of it ever went missing. Although maybe I was just lucky? –  Doug Nov 15 '11 at 4:34
    
@Doug How can I store stuff in my horse? only with mods, like this question's answers said ? –  Michel Jul 4 at 2:11
    
I threw in 2K weight worth of stuff after I became arch mage seems that the chest in front of the bed in the arch mage quarters have no limits. –  Kim Minseo Sep 14 at 14:00

Don't tell anyone, but if you just dump stuff on the ground in cities, I'm pretty sure it's safe. You don't have to use chests at all!

I dumped this armour I had that I couldn't be bothered selling just outside Blue Hall (The Solitude Jarl's house) and 10 hours of game play later it's still there.

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You might get arrested for littering (seriously) if someone sees you I think –  Joe the Person Jul 16 '12 at 18:13
    
I can confirm this. I tend to trow items I do not use or need under the bridge right as you enter the main Winterhold area. They are still there, even after countless hours of play. You can get guards to react by dumping items near them, but to avoid this, dump it in areas where you rarely see guards, if ever. –  Sharain Jul 22 at 13:22

Basically, i like the aesthetic sort of play.. I like mining things and stacking the ingots on a table, or the floor. I Thought of a cool thing to do, find somewhere that is secret, like that place in the first town in the inn, and just leave stuff on the table in there, and its been about 40 hours real time since i left 50 gold bars there, nothing vanished. it would seem that NPCs lack the ability to pick up things that they see. Even in POHs i am too cautious to leave things in chests after playing oblivion. Another thing you could do is climb mountains and find moonstone ore, its quite expensive to sell, and before you know it youre rich.

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I'm pretty sure the APPRENTICE quarters (in the Hall of Attainment) in the College of Winterhold is safe. However there is also a room in the Hall of Countenance that shows the bed as unowned - this is NOT a safe place to store anything, so don't get confused.

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lot of people say that this is NOT safe. –  Ids Nov 26 '12 at 10:41

In addition to player-owned houses, there are some locations that do not respawn - and thus are safe for long-term storage.

One such location is the Abandoned House in Markarth. This is an especially useful location as you do not need to purchase it (therefore you don't need to have a sum of gold on hand). To gain access to this location you only need to begin the The House of Horrors quest - you need not finish it.

This can all be done very early in the game (by taking a cart from Whiterun to Markarth), making it a great storage location.

To more specifically answer your question: Neither Gerdur's House nor the College of Winterhold are safe places. If you follow the links from your question, you'll see that they both have a respawn time of 10 days.

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The wardrobe in your bedroom in the College of Winterhold is definitely safe. I always use it and never had any kind of problem. Don't bother about J'zaro, he never takes your stuff. An interesting alternative is Anise's Cabin. You can safely store your items in the cupboard in the basement and it has an alchemy lab, an arcane enchanter and a bed. You may also be useful to take a look at this article about containers in Skyrim.

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From the UESP Wiki, "Containers - Safe Containers":

Containers may be safe for one of two reasons. Some container types are set to be non-respawning — containers of that type will never respawn, no matter where the container is found. Other containers are safe because of their location — some locations, in particular the player's houses, are identified as non-respawning locations. All containers in these safe locations (even common Barrels and Sacks) can safely be used for storage.

The ff. are safe containers for storage:

  • Child's Chest - a part of child's bedroom [Hearthfire DLC]. It will be empty if you haven't adopted any children. Your children may collect various things and store them in their chest. Their older weapons, clothes and dolls will be kept in it too, if you give them a new one. Your children will restock it every few days. However, the original contents in it won't disappear.
  • Coffin - found in Halls of the Dead and Vampire Dungeons
  • Cupboard - common furniture in houses
  • Dresser
  • End Table - most frequently seen in houses
  • Pot
  • Riekling Hut [Dragonborn DLC]
  • Strongbox
  • Wardrobe

From the UESP wiki's "Containers - Safe Locations" article:

Safe locations are places that never respawn. Therefore, every container in the location (even a common barrel or sack) is safe for storage. The primary example of a safe location is a player-owned house, but a large number of other places are also non-respawning. Unless noted otherwise on the place page, only the interior areas of these locations are safe — i.e., only regions that are entered through a door that triggers a loading screen, and have their own map, separate from the exterior map.

In a few instances, there may be quest-related changes to the location (as noted on the individual place page), but otherwise the game does not modify the contents of a safe location.

The following are safe locations for storage (from the UESP Wiki):

These are places that never respawn, and therefore none of the containers automatically reset. Any quest-related changes to the location are noted on the place page. Note that individual containers in other locations may also be safe for storage.

  • Abandoned House
  • Angarvunde
  • Angi's Camp
  • Anise's Cabin
  • Arkngthamz
  • Avanchnzel
  • Blind Cliff Cave
  • Breezehome
  • Broken Oar Grotto
  • Bthardamz
  • Calcelmo's Laboratory, Understone Keep
  • Calcelmo's Tower, Understone Keep
  • Cracked Tusk Keep
  • Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary
  • Darklight Tower
  • Dawnstar Sanctuary
  • Dimhollow Crypt
  • Dustman's Cairn
  • Dwemer Museum, Understone Keep
  • Forebears' Holdout
  • Froki's Shack
  • Frostmere Crypt
  • Geirmund's Hall
  • Glenmoril Coven
  • Goldenglow Estate
  • Harmugstahl
  • Helgen
  • Helgen Keep
  • Heljarchen Hall
  • Hillgrund's Tomb
  • Hjerim
  • Honeyside
  • Inner Sanctum (Vale)
  • Irkngthand
  • Ironbind Barrow
  • Japhet's Folly
  • The Karthspire
  • The Katariah
  • Korvanjund
  • Labyrinthian
  • Lakeview Manor
  • The Midden
  • Mistwatch
  • Mzulft
  • Nightcaller Temple
  • Nightingale Hall
  • Nilheim
  • Northwatch Keep
  • Potema's Catacombs
  • Proudspire Manor
  • The Ragged Flagon
  • Ragnvald
  • Rannveig's Fast
  • Reachcliff Cave
  • Reachwater Rock
  • Ruunvald Excavation
  • Saarthal
  • Sea Cave
  • Sinderion's Field Laboratory
  • Snow Veil Sanctum
  • Southfringe Sanctum
  • Statue to Meridia
  • Stillborn Cave
  • Tower of Mzark
  • Ustengrav
  • Valthume
  • Vlindrel Hall
  • Windstad Manor
  • Wreck of the Icerunner
  • Yngol Barrow
  • Yngvild
  • Ysgramor's Tomb
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