We all know moving to a new home can be an overwhelming task, and sometimes the use of a storage unit can be helpful both before and after the move.

A storage unit can allow you get organized before moving day. It can help you sell your home faster by keeping clutter at bay while you’re in the selling process. And it can hold those items you don’t have room for – or no longer want – until you can find the time to donate or sell them.

But, there are things you should keep in mind before you store just anything in the unit. While your lease should be the first thing you reference for the gritty details on what exactly is and isn’t allowed, here’s what not to store in a storage unit:

Dangerous chemicals

While you might not think there is much harm in storing your extra cleaning supplies or gas barbeque in the unit, flammable and explosive substances can ignite quite easily in an enclosed unit, putting the entire facility at risk. If you do have to store an item that uses gas – always drain the gas first. Similar rules apply to things like ammunition, fireworks, and toxic chemicals.

Antiques & high value items

This one is obvious, but if you have an irreplaceable item you really love and do not want to risk damaging, you shouldn’t take the risk of placing it in a storage unit. The extreme temperatures of the unit could destroy your grandmother’s china or your old photo albums. If you have no other option but to store them, be sure to invest in a temperature controlled unit.

Perishables

Anything perishable should not be stored in a storage unit, unless you want to risk inviting pests into your unit. Canned food is safe, but all other food items should not be left inside as they will quickly spoil and could destroy other items you have in the unit – while leaving a nasty smell. Same goes for plants, medicine, supplements, and anything else with an expiration date.

Electronics

The lack of air circulation means temperatures can get incredibly hot or incredibly cold – either of which could permanently damage your computer or television. While you can store a large appliance like a refrigerator, keep in mind that you cannot plug it in, as doing so could create a short circuit or malfunction.

Broken or project vehicles

While you are free to store a working car in the unit so long as you can prove it is operable, there is a clause in most leases that does not allow for vehicles that are not in good working condition. This came about due to many people abandoning their vehicle in the unit, leaving the owners to cover the expensive moving costs to dispose of it.

Yourself

Yes, believe it or not – “can you live in a storage unit” is a question Google receives far too often. While some may see this as a way to cut costs for a short time, it is unquestionably not safe to live in a storage unit. Beyond the lack of space – the lack of temperature control, lack of windows, and lack of plumbing just isn’t conducive to healthy living. And if you get caught, you will be in violation of your lease agreement.