Many people use their garage as handy storage space for items that don't get everyday use. And while recreational equipment and tools are perfectly suited for the garage, there are some items that should be kept inside. Keep reading to learn what not to store in the garage. You may just learn about some common household garage items that you should take indoors—right away.
1. Fresh Food
You may think the garage is an acceptable place to store food like bread, bananas, and other pantry staples, but leaving these foods out in the garage is like sending out an invitation for all the pests around to come for a feast. Keep these foods indoors in sealed containers!
2. Pet Food
Pests don't discriminate between human food and pet food, so leaving your Kibbles 'n Bits in the garage will cause the same problem as fresh food. Pet food should also be stored in a sealed container in the house.
Many people have fridges overflowing with food, so they think a backup fridge in the garage will be the perfect solution. But before you go out and buy a second fridge, know what you're getting into. A fridge in the garage will have to work extra hard to control the temperature in cold or warm seasons, majorly running up your energy bill.
Do you have extra DVD players, televisions, or computers? Keeping them in the garage can render them useless, since extreme heat or cold could permanently damage them. Instead, store them inside or donate them if you don't need them anymore.
Some families use the garage to store off-season clothing or clothes their kids have grown out of, but this comes with a risk. Clothes stored in the garage are susceptible to dust mites and other insects, and you might discover holes in them when you take them out to wear again.
6. Propane Tanks
If you're into grilling, it's smart to have an extra propane tank on hand in case you run out while cooking up dinner. But propane tanks can leak and catch fire, so it's safest to store them outdoors in a ventilated space.
Whether you have piles of family scrapbooks or a small collection of antique photos, keep them in the house where they'll be less at risk of damage. Storing these items in the garage leaves them exposed to extreme temperatures and humidity, which could ruin the photos forever.
8. Important Documents
Like photographs, important documents can be damaged when left out in an environment that isn't temperature-controlled. Keep items like passports, birth certificates, and other valuables in a designated spot inside the house.
9. Canned Food
It's true, even canned food shouldn't be stored in the garage. As with other types of food, canned food will last longer and be less likely to spoil if kept at a temperature between 50 and 70 degrees, so store your beans and corn in the pantry with your other foods.
10. Rugs and Extra Carpet
If you've ever replaced your carpet or rugs, you may be tempted to store the old ones in the garage. But this will be an invitation to mice to cozy up in the warmth of a new home. The rugs and carpets can also soak up moisture and odors from the garage, doing permanent damage.
Though some people might think of the garage as a great alternative to a wine cellar, storing wine in this environment can actually alter the taste. Store wine in a place where it won't be exposed to humidity or fluctuation in temperature.
Smart parents like to rotate their kids' toys or put away the toys they've grown out of, but these toys should be stored in the house or a temperature-controlled storage space. Mice and insects could chew on the toys, contaminating or damaging them for good.
Do you keep paint around for quick wall touch-ups? If so, make sure you store the can of paint in a safe spot in the house. If you leave your paint in the garage, extreme temperatures could alter the formula, turning it into a sticky, gloppy mess.
Firewood is great to have around when you want a cozy winter fire, but make sure to keep your stash at least 20 feet from your house. Otherwise, pests might be attracted to the firewood and then eventually make their way into the house.
15. Wood Furniture
Furniture can warp in the heat, so if you have valuable pieces of wood chairs, tables, or dressers, store them in the house or in a temperature-controlled storage space.
What Should Not Be Stored in a Garage?
If you’re like most Americans, your garage is your go-to place to store belongings that don’t fit into closets or cupboards in the house. You probably use it to store gym equipment, outdoor gear, seasonal decor, and more. But as you can see in the above list, there are certain items that are best left in the house—because if you store them in the garage, they could be damaged or completely ruined over time. So what should not be stored in the garage?
Avoid storing perishable goods like fresh food and pet food in the garage. Pests and critters could come looking for a meal and easily contaminate them.
Electronics like TVs, DVD players, and computers shouldn’t be stored in the garage either. (The lack of temperature control could ruin them for good.)
Avoid storing clothes, toys, rugs, and important documents in the garage, too, since all of these belongings could be damaged by pests or extreme heat or cold.
What Is Safe to Store in a Garage?
You now have a much better idea of what not to store in the garage. But you still want to take advantage of the storage space out there—so what is safe to store in the garage?
Thankfully, there are still many items you can safely store in the garage, freeing up storage in your home and giving you easy access to tools and equipment you may need while working in the garage. Here are some ideas of things you can keep in the garage without worrying about them getting damaged:
Car equipment and accessories (wiper fluid, spare tires, roof racks)
Outdoor gear (tents, tarps, backpacks, etc)
Gardening tools (rakes, shovels, pots)
Lawn care tools (lawnmowers and more)
Outdoor toys (bikes, slides, pool accessories)
Seasonal decor (Christmas trees, outdoor lights, ornaments)
Coolers and summer accessories
Gym equipment (weights, workout machines)
Sports equipment (balls, bats, gloves, shoes)
How Do You Store Chemicals in a Garage?
Do you have bleach and other cleaning supplies you want to store outside the house? While it’s important to keep hazardous chemicals out of reach of children, it can still be just as dangerous to store them in the garage. Some chemicals are sensitive to temperature changes, and in any case, there are areas in the garage where pets or kids could still reach them.
So how do you store chemicals in a garage safely? Here are some tips:
Store chemicals in high, secure shelving. Keep in mind that some children may be tempted to climb shelving, so you should make sure the chemicals are out of sight and won’t fall off the shelves.
Store chemicals in their original containers. Most chemicals come with warning labels and instructions for use—and for good reason. Though it may be tempting to store chemicals in other reusable bottles, keep them in the original container to avoid mix-ups or unintended use.
Consider locking up your chemicals. If you have children or pets, it’s wise to consider a chemical storage cabinet with a lock. These cabinets could save lives and allow you to store chemicals within accessible reach.
Label your chemicals. If you do have chemicals stored in a blank or clear bottle, make sure to label it clearly and properly. You may think you’ll remember what it is, but it’s best to play it safe and always know what you have on hand.
Can Appliances Be Stored in the Garage?
Many homeowners choose to stash refrigerators, microwaves, or other appliances in the garage for a time when they might want to use them again. But can appliances really be stored in the garage?
No—we advise against storing any appliances in the garage, since they can become damaged in a number of ways. Because most garages do not have climate control, appliances stored in the garage could soon be unusable, damaged by extreme heat or cold. Appliances can also be damaged by tools or other items falling on them in the garage, or from moving cars or people.
It's Time to Take These Household Garage Items Inside
Do you have any of these things in your household garage? If so, it's time to bring them indoors. Set aside time this weekend to reorganize your garage space. It will be well worth the effort!