While using your garage as extra storage space can be helpful, fluctuating temperatures, dampness, and pests and insects limit what can safely be stored here. Many homeowners will turn their garage into an onsite storage unit as they continue to accumulate things over the years, but allowing this space to become a catchall for clutter can create a safety hazard or damage those family heirlooms being kept there.
Homeowners should first take an inventory of what is being stored in their garage and consider donating items that will no longer be used. While downsizing your belongings, consider that the following items should never be stored in the garage.
Leftover color won’t be available for touch-ups very long if subjected to high heat in summer or falling temperatures in the winter. Plus, cans kept on cement floors will rust faster than those stored on a shelf. The cans should be stored in a cool spot, away from freezing temperatures. Storing them upside down will create a tight seal around the lid.
Extra propane tanks ensure you are well prepared for a summer of cookouts. However, keep propane tanks for your gas grill outside, in a well-ventilated area to prevent the risk of igniting the fumes when you start your car.
- Linens, Paper Goods, and Cardboard
Mice and other pests love to make nests from a collection of fabric or paper, including that pile of cardboard boxes from your recent move. Keep paper cups and plates in your pantry instead, store linens in plastic bins and discard your recyclables often.
The fridge controls the temperature of your food, but when the temperatures outside get too high or too low, it has to work harder to keep your food cool. If it’s in the garage, you’ll notice it on your energy bill.
- Food and Alcohol
Canned and boxed food should be kept in a cool, dry space since temperature fluctuations can cause items to spoil, moisture can cause cans to rust, and pests and insects will be drawn to non-perishable items. Temperature fluctuations can also change the taste of your beer and wine—and not for the better!
- Important Documents and Photographs
Moisture can severely damage your passports, birth and marriage certificates, and other difficult-to-replace papers. Likewise, moisture and extreme temperatures can cause photos to stick together and mold. Store these items on the main level or upstairs of your home in a home office or bedroom closet. Consider keeping legal documents, banking information, and other important papers in a fireproof box.
- Wooden Furniture
Fluctuating garage temperatures cause wood to expand and contract, which will damage wooden furniture. Throwing a cloth over the items will not protect it from this type of damage. Keep it in good condition in the house or in a climate-controlled storage unit.
Think smart when it comes to using your garage as an extra storage space. Keep your home and personal belongings safe by properly storing items in the correct place. For more home tips, be sure to follow our blog.