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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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10 Answers 10

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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. Commented Nov 15, 2011 at 4:28
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    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
    Commented Nov 15, 2011 at 4:34
  • @Doug How can I store stuff in my horse? only with mods, like this question's answers said ?
    – Michel
    Commented Jul 4, 2014 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
    Commented Sep 14, 2014 at 14:00
  • @RavenDreamer had items disappear from the chests in the college room, but Doug had no problems storing stuff in the wardrobe there. The difference is explained by the Safe Containers page of the UESP Wiki (quoted in another answer). Certain types of containers, including dressers and wardrobes, never respawn, so their contents are never deleted. But chests do respawn. So while the room itself isn't safe for storage, the dresser and wardrobe in the room are safe for storage.
    – rmunn
    Commented Mar 14, 2015 at 17:19
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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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  • 4
    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. Commented Nov 14, 2011 at 16:18
  • 7
    I had my items disappear from a barrel in the Companions hall, and from my room in the College, for what its worth.
    – user14329
    Commented Nov 14, 2011 at 21:13
  • 3
    I've also had stuff disappear from my room in Winterhold. Commented Nov 14, 2011 at 21:47
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    Hmm, then I apparently need to go grab my stuff...
    – benregn
    Commented Nov 15, 2011 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. Commented Nov 26, 2012 at 7:57
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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 following are safe containers for storage:

Container DLC Description
Child's Chest Hearthfire A part of a child's bedroom. It will be empty if you haven't adopted any children. Your children may collect various things and store them in their chests. 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 In addition to being a safe container, the Pot can be picked up and moved (although not between zones or while fast-traveling). This can permit you to place a safe container at any outdoor location or move weight beyond your carry limit.
Hollowed Stump Creation Club found in the Solitude Sewers.
Riekling Hut Dragonborn
Sack (Not to be confused with Large Sack or Small Sack.) Sacks are very common containers used in homes, shops, and dungeons to store food..
Strongbox Note: The Unofficial Skyrim Patch changes some containers strictly named Strong Box to be respawning; see Bugs for details.
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
Abandoned Lodge
The Aetherium Forge
Altar of Thrond
Angarvunde
Angi's Camp
Anise's Cabin
Arkngthamz
Ashfallow Citadel
Avanchnzel
Breezehome
Broken Oar Grotto
Bthardamz
Bujold's Retreat
Calcelmo's Laboratory, Understone Keep
Calcelmo's Tower, Understone Keep
Cracked Tusk Keep
Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary
Darklight Tower
Dawnstar Sanctuary
Dead Man's Dread
Dimhollow Crypt
Dustman's Cairn
Dwemer Museum, Understone Keep
Eldergleam Sanctuary
Folgunthur
Forebears' Holdout
Froki's Shack
Frossel
Frostmere Crypt
Frostmoon Crag
Geirmund's Hall
Glenmoril Coven
Goldenglow Estate
Gyldenhul Barrow
Harmugstahl
Helgen
Helgen Keep
Heljarchen Hall
Hendraheim
Highpoint Tower
Hillgrund's Tomb
Hjerim
Honeyside
Inner Sanctum (Vale)
Irkngthand
Ironbind Barrow
Japhet's Folly
Kagrumez
The Karthspire
The Katariah
Kilkreath Ruins
Kolbjorn Barrow
Korvanjund
Labyrinthian
Lakeview Manor
The Midden
Mistwatch
Myrwatch
Mzulft
Nchardak
Nchuanthumz
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
Severin Manor
Shadowfoot Sanctum
Sinderion's Field Laboratory
Snow Veil Sanctum
Southfringe Sanctum
Stillborn Cave
Temple Ancestral Tomb
Temple of Miraak
Tower of Mzark
Tundra Homestead
Ustengrav
Vahlok's Tomb
Valthume
Vlindrel Hall
White Ridge Barrow
Windstad Manor
Wreck of the Icerunner
Yngol Barrow
Yngvild
Ysgramor's Tomb
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  • I believe UESP's list of always-safe containers is incomplete, but it probably makes no difference, because the only example I can think of are the storage chests found in player houses (which are not the same object as other treasure chests found in e.g. dungeons), but player houses are all non-respawning anyway. In principle, a mod could place such a chest elsewhere in the world (or you could use placeatme at the console), and it would be safe storage.
    – Kevin
    Commented Jul 16 at 17:47
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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
    Commented Nov 12, 2011 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. Commented Nov 12, 2011 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
    Commented Nov 12, 2011 at 21:39
  • @Doug Do add that as an answer! (You can answer your own question; that's OK here.) Commented Nov 13, 2011 at 17:34
  • Eish, I've stashed some stuff in the chest inside the Companions hall. I shall move that later!
    – Neon1024
    Commented Nov 14, 2011 at 13:30
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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 Commented Jul 16, 2012 at 18:13
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    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
    Commented Jul 22, 2014 at 13:22
  • This works great for a handful of items but can slow down your load time for the city if you have too many items lying around (especially on console)
    – Wayne
    Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 21:36
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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 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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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. Commented Nov 14, 2011 at 16:20
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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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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
    Commented Nov 26, 2012 at 10:41

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