Garages are common storage spaces, but did you know there are some items you shouldn’t store in your garage? Fluctuating temperatures, humidity and pests can damage food, clothes, wood and other valuable items.
While there are still quite a few things suitable for that storage space, you must carefully choose what you store in your garage and how.
Garage Storage Challenges
Fluctuating temperatures, pests and space limitations are the three main reasons garages can be ill-suited to keeping certain things:
- Temperature and climate: Garage temperatures may fluctuate even with insulated doors and windows. You open your garage doors multiple times a day and may leave them open for extended periods, affecting the temperature. Garages can get very hot during summer and extremely cold during winter. Humidity also fluctuates throughout the year.
- Pests: Keeping pests out of your garage is essential. It can also be challenging. Even with a comprehensive pest control strategy, some insects can slip through cracks or sneak in when the garage door opens.
- Space limitations: Your garage’s primary function is to store and protect your car. If you put too many items in your garage, you may run out of space for your vehicle. The things you store may even damage your vehicle if they fall over.
What You Shouldn’t Store in a Garage
It’s always a good idea to check the storage instructions for anything you want to place in a garage. It’s best to keep anything sensitive to changing temperatures and humidity levels out of the garage. Try to find space for those items in your house instead.
Here is a list of 10 things that you shouldn’t store in your garage:
You should avoid storing food in a garage, including pet food, sealed food and canned goods. Temperature changes can quickly spoil food, even in unopened packages, and affect canned food’s nutritional value and texture. Humidity can cause cans and metal lids to rust, letting in harmful bacteria.
Food can also attract pests into your garage and then your house. Rodents can easily chew through paper and cardboard packaging. If storing pet food or dry groceries in your garage is your only option, make sure to secure it tightly in metal containers to prevent attracting pests.
2. Paint and Solvents
You shouldn’t store paint in the garage. Extreme heat and cold can affect paint and solvents, ruining them. Humidity can rust lids and other packaging components, which may react with the solvents.
Always check the storage instructions for paint and other solvents to ensure they are stored correctly. For example, it’s typically best to store paint upside down in a cool, dry environment.
While storing wooden furniture or firewood in your garage may seem like an easy solution, it can come with its own set of problems. Moisture can cause wood and plywood to swell and contract, leading to cracks and warped furniture. Firewood can also attract pests like spiders, termites and other insects looking for a home.
4. Toys and Collectibles
Garage storage poses several risks for toys and collectibles:
- Rodents and other pests can eat and infest stuffed toys.
- Moisture can rust metal toys, tarnish coins and cause trading cards to mold.
- Heat can melt crafting supplies and warp vinyl or plastic.
Valuable items are also vulnerable to theft. Try to find a secure place to store these items in your house. If you don’t have anywhere else to store these items, keep them in airtight metal or plastic containers to protect them from pests and the elements.
5. Propane Tanks and Oily Rags
Propane tanks can leak into your garage, and the tiniest spark can cause a fire. It’s safest to store propane tanks outside in a cool, shady area a safe distance from your house.
A pile of oily rags can spontaneously combust in a hot garage, leading to a deadly fire. Take the time to store and dispose of oily rags properly to prevent accidents.
Moisture is the biggest concern when storing electronics in a garage. Built-up moisture from humidity can cause electronics to short out and spark, damaging the electronics and potentially causing an electrical fire. Damaged electronics can also pose an electrocution risk.
7. Important Documents, Photos and Books
Heat, cold, moisture and pests can damage paper and photos. Books can curl, photos can fade and pests can use paper for their nests or as food. Store important documents, photos and books in airtight containers in a safe place in your house. If you store them in the garage, use the proper storage containers and make it a short-term solution.
Changes in temperature and humidity levels can alter the taste of alcoholic beverages and even turn wine into vinegar. Metal cans may rust if there is too much moisture, possibly changing the taste and safety of alcoholic beverages. Find a dark, cool place in your house or basement to store alcoholic beverages instead of the garage.
If you use your garage to store seasonal clothes, rugs, blankets, sleeping bags or other fabrics, you might want to reconsider. Some pests, like moths, are attracted to material and can cause significant damage before you notice them. Storing fabrics in damp, dark and warm environments can cause mold and mildew to grow. Fabrics can also pick up unpleasant odors easily.
10. Household Appliances
It can be tempting to put freezers, fridges, washing machines and tumble dryers in the garage. However, the constant changes in temperature mean fridges and freezers may need more power to keep food at a stable temperature. Extreme cold can cause moisture in washing machines and dryers to freeze.
Washing machines and tumble dryers also release heat, steam and moisture, which can cause additional problems in your garage. Garages must be well-ventilated and have proper plumbing for dryers and washing machines.
What Is Safe to Store in a Garage?
So what can you safely store in a garage? It provides safe storage for any of the following items:
- Car and bike supplies: Your garage is the perfect place to store motor oil, car tools, bike racks and other related supplies.
- Outdoor toys or furniture: Items made to handle the weather are safe to store in your garage. You may want to add hooks or bins to keep them out of the way.
- Garden and DIY tools: If you don’t have a garden shed, the garage is a great place to keep your gardening tools, including bags of soil, shovels and lawnmowers. You can also store tools like saws, toolkits and hammers in your garage.
Contact AE Door & Windows for All Your Garage Door Needs
If you plan on using your garage to store items, make sure it’s ready to keep them safe. From insulation to security, AE Door & Windows has a wide range of industry-leading products that help turn your garage into a safe and secure storage space.
Contact our teams in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky today to learn more!