You only have so much space in your house, and when you need to store extra things, the first place you’re likely to choose is the garage. While you can store several items in your garage, there are definitely some things you shouldn’t stow away. Let’s take a closer look at what can and can’t be stored in your garage.
What Not to Store in the Garage
The items you cannot store in your garage fall into three categories, which include:
- Extra Fuel — Storing gasoline or propane tanks in your garage can be dangerous. Leaks happen, and it only takes a tiny spark to ignite the fuel and start a fire. For propane tanks, store them outside in a well-ventilated spot away from ignition sources. When it comes to gasoline, keep it in a leak-proof container and store it in a shed away from your house.
- Paint — Storing paint in the garage seems logical, but extreme temperatures can wreak havoc on the structural integrity of the compounds inside the paint. When it’s stored in hot or cold conditions, the paint can change in consistency and become unusable. Additionally, if you keep paint in your garage for a long time, it can turn hazardous and may require special disposal. Instead, store your paint in a climate-controlled room and keep it away from children and pets.
Items That Attract Pests and Rodents
- Cardboard Boxes — It’s tempting to stash those cardboard boxes from a move in your garage, but it’s not worth it. Pests such as cockroaches, spiders, and mites love corrugated cardboard boxes, leaving your garage vulnerable to an infestation. Instead of cardboard boxes, use waterproof, pest-proof plastic bins to store your items.
- Food — You shouldn’t store food for pets, birds, or humans in your garage. Pests can often detect food, even if packed in a container. You also shouldn’t store canned food in your garage. Extreme cold can freeze your cans, causing them to explode, while sweltering heat can spoil your food. Even if you have an extra refrigerator or freezer in your garage, these appliances use a lot of energy during the summer to keep your food cold.
- Clothing — Storing clothes in a garage isn’t the best idea because they can attract moths, as well as soak up fumes and dust. Keep clothes in sealed plastic bags and store them in another area inside your home.
Fragile or Valuable Items
- Wooden Furniture — Unless you have a climate-controlled garage, your wooden furniture will likely warp and crack in the garage because of the humidity and temperature swings. Try to store this type of furniture indoors or in a climate-controlled storage unit.
- Electronics — Non-controlled temperatures aren’t suitable for electronics, such as computers and gaming consoles, because moisture can get inside and damage the inner components. It’s best to keep your electronic devices indoors.
- Photos and Artwork — Extreme temperatures and excess humidity can quickly ruin those valuable paintings or cherished memories. Instead, store your photos and artwork in a closet, cabinet, or under the bed.
What to Store in the Garage
Luckily, there are plenty of things you can safely store in your garage, including:
- Yard and Gardening Tools — Items such as shovels, hoses, outdoor extension cords, lawnmowers, and bags of potting soil are suitable for storing in your garage. These items were designed for outdoor use and withstand fluctuating garage temperatures easily. Consider setting up a pegboard to hang your tools and easily access them to keep things organized.
- Plastic Storage Containers — Plastic storage bins are a much better option than cardboard boxes for storing and protecting your items because they’re more resistant to temperature swings and moisture levels.
- Sports Equipment — Most sports equipment is for outdoor use, so you easily store helmets, bats, goals, and other gear without worrying about warping or cracking.
- Car Supplies — Garages are supposed to house vehicles, so why wouldn’t they be able to store car supplies and accessories? Items such as inflators, antifreeze, windshield wiper fluids, and extra wipers can withstand the elements and are perfectly safe to keep in your garage. You can also store additional gear, such as a bike rack or roof rack, especially if you hang them from the wall or ceiling.
Knowing what you can and can’t store in your garage helps prevent an at-home catastrophe. If disaster strikes, you want to ensure you have reliable homeowners insurance to protect your family and property. Mercury Insurance provides quality coverage at an affordable price.