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What Items Should I Avoid Storing in My Garage?

What Items Should I Avoid Storing in My Garage?

More often than not, garages go beyond a simple spot to park the car, serving as a great storage space for all extra household items. However, there are certain things that should never be stored in a garage, whether it's a custom garage or not.

For instance, never store items that can be damaged by fluctuating or extreme temperatures, which is especially true for those harsh Minnesota winters. Additionally, you don't want to store items that are hazardous to the health of your household. With those rules in mind, check out this list of items to keep out of your garage, at all costs:

  • Food
  • Wine
  • Books
  • Artwork and Photos
  • Paint
  • Propane Tanks
  • Firewood
  • Electronics
  • Clothing
  • Important Documents

Take a closer look below at why it's imperative that the above items be stored away from your garage.


Food

Shopping in bulk is a cost-effective solution for any household; however, your garage is not an ideal space to stash the leftover bulk. For one thing, as The Spruce points out, food attracts rodents and other pests, who can easily chew through the packaging.

Additionally, exposure to fluctuating heat and humidity can quickly spoil your groceries and even rust canned food. The same rule applies to pet food as well.

Instead, store bulk food in an unused closet or cupboard inside your house. Even better, stash this food away in airtight containers away from direct sunlight.

Food Shelving

Wine

Have bulk wine waiting to be consumed? Well, it's best to not store that wine in the garage. Why? Fluctuating temperatures cause the alcohol to expand and contract, leading to oxidation, which is essentially the death of your wine.

Additionally, these extreme changes in temperature can also develop "off" flavors in your wine, significantly altering the taste of it, which your wine club will more than likely detect.

Instead, store bulk wine in a wine cabinet or, better yet, a wine refrigerator within your house.

Books

Saving you childhood books for your kids or grandkids? Or, are you an avid reader with a book collection that rivals any library worth its salt? Either way, keeping books in the garage isn't the best idea.

Silverfish, which are insects that thrive in damp, dark environments, love feasting on starchy substances, such as the glue binding in books. Since these insects frequently live in garages and basements, storing your books in the garage is essentially offering an open buffet to these little buggers.

Phtographs

Artwork and Photos

While you may not be an art dealer, you probably still have a few pieces of art laying around for one reason or another. If so, it's best to not keep those paintings or pictures in your garage. For one thing, fluctuating temperatures can cause art to discolor and canvases to loosen. Additionally, wooden frames may warp from constantly expanding and shrinking due to temperature changes.

Similarly to artwork, photos can also discolor if stored in the garage for too long. The photos can also warp or stick to the frame due to the temperature changes. Since photos are memories of the past, it would be a shame to lose those cherished memories from improper storage.

Instead, store artwork in a cool, dark room. Also, keep photos inside acid-free, plastic storage bins and store them in a temperature-controlled environment.

Paint

Paint may be the most common item people tend to store in their garages. However, it's also one of the items on the list to avoid storing there. Why? Extreme heat and cold can alter paint formulas and rust paint cans, as Good Housekeeping points out.

While paint freezing during the winter probably won't ruin it, the changes in temperature can cause off-colors and undesirable results, making it more difficult to use the paint when the time comes.

When storing leftover paint, be sure to check the paint can label for its recommended storage temperature. Typically, paint is best stored indoors, in a basement or closet & out of reach from children.

Paint Cans

Propane Tanks

Propane tanks are generally safe. However, if they manage to leak in an enclosed space, like your garage, just one small spark could ignite the tank and result in a fire. These cylinders are best stored outside, away from the house, on a flat surface where they won't be subjected to extremely high temperatures.

Firewood

Firewood is an essential item for those cold Minnesota winter months. Who doesn't love a roaring fire during a snowstorm? While you may want to keep bulk firewood on hand, just in case, it's best to avoid storing it in your garage. Firewood is a magnet for pests that will happily infest your house if given the opportunity. Additionally, since firewood is a fuel for flames, it also posses as a potential fire hazard.

Instead, Bob Vila recommends storing firewood about 20 feet away from your house and garage on an "elevated rack and covered with a tarp." When the time comes to build a fire, only bring in a necessary amount to get the job done.

Firewood

Electronics

Most electronics cannot stand up to the outside elements. Since your garage is essentially an outdoor space, storing electronics, such as old computers, can easily damage the devices. Humidity and fluctuating temperatures can destroy batteries and ruin circuit boards. Additionally, the electronics will collect dust and dirt, which can ultimately scratch the screens and block charging ports.

Instead, it's best to store electronics in a climate-controlled room or consider donating any unused equipment to people in need.

Clothing

Storing clothing in a garage is a surefire way to ruin the items. Clothing is a magnet for bugs and moths, who will nest in the fabric and destroy it. Additionally, temperature fluctuations can cause mildew and mold to grow on your clothing, which is specifically the case for fur and leather.

You definitely don't want to ruin your clothing, especially those delicate items such as a wedding dress or graduation gown. Instead of keeping them in the garage, store these items and other clothing somewhere that is temperature-controlled.

Clothing

Important Documents

Never store important documents, including passports, birth certificates, and medical records in your garage. These documents are often difficult to replace and can easily become damaged by moisture and temperature fluctuations.

Also, since garages are easier to break into than an actual house, keeping these documents in there makes them vulnerable to thieves. Additionally, if a fire ever breaks out inside your garage, those papers would only fuel the flames.

Instead, keep these documents safe in a fireproof box inside a home office or bedroom. If you don't have such a box, then make sure to store them in an airtight plastic container where moisture cannot get in.


Conclusion

You garage can be a great place for storage. However, there are some items that should not be stored in that particular location, including food, wine, books, artwork, paint, propane tanks, firewood, electronics, clothing, and important documents. Most of these items are vulnerable to extreme temperature fluctuations, such as those seen in the winter months in Minnesota. At the same, some also pose a safety hazard. Keep your items and home safe by thoroughly reviewing the above list before storing anything in your garage.

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