6 Items You Should Never Store in Your Garage
Experts say it can be dangerous to keep certain things in the garage.
Storing things in your garage probably seems like a practical solution, but you have to be more careful than you might think. It's not a temperature-controlled area like the rest of your home, so items can get damaged quite easily. And having too much clutter might warrant some unwelcome visitors of the pest variety—and no one wants that.
"A good rule of thumb is to keep items in the garage that can withstand its conditions," says Aaron Traub, owner and lead organizer at My Professional Organizer Dallas, who adds that it's best to store things here that you need to be easily accessible yet don't want in your main living areas.
To find out more specifics about what you should never store in your garage, keep reading to hear from Traub and other experts.
Books and important paperwork
Books and important paperwork should never be stored in the garage. "The dampness and fluctuations in temperature can permanently damage the paper," says Raquel Kehler, an interior designer at RoomCrush.
Papers can get damp, leading to mold and disintegration, and Traub adds that essential documents may even become unreadable.
Chantelle Hartman Malarkey, interior designer and hosting aesthetic expert, mentions that photos could also fade in the garage—and like paper they could get moldy or discolored.
If you don't have suitable indoor shelving for such items, Kehler suggests storing your books in boxes in a temperature-stable environment, such as a storage room or closet inside your home.
Unless it's a special case where your garage is climate controlled, it's best to avoid leaving furniture there. Wooden furniture, specifically, should always stay indoors.
"Fluctuations in temperature and humidity can be particularly harmful to wood, causing swelling, warping, and cracking," says Willow Wright, owner of Urban Redeux. "Plus, these issues can lead to permanent damage, negatively impacting the furniture's appearance and structural integrity."
Sebastian Jania, owner of Ontario Property Buyers, says storing gasoline or propane tanks in your garage can result in spontaneous combustions. Any sparks, whether they come from your car, a lighter, or something else, can result in significant fire damage.
Locking these materials up is ideal, Aaron Cash, co-founder and president at Garage Living Franchise Systems, tells Best Life. A shed with adequate venting is the right choice for any extra tanks.
Some paint is flammable, so for the same reasons as propane tanks, it's dangerous to keep it in the garage.
"Taking old hazardous materials like paint to your local recycling or disposal depot will remove potential poisoning and fire hazards from your garage," says Cash.
Temperatures in garages fluctuate a lot, which can alter the paint formulas, affecting its quality, Kelly adds. You should keep it in a room that has a consistent temperature and no direct sunlight.
Rugs or carpets
When people renovate their homes, they often roll up rugs or extra carpeting and move them to the garage for the time being. And while they might be out of the way, storing them in there is a terrible idea.
Floss Kelly, co-founder of TileCloud, says rugs can easily become cozy homes for insects and mice, especially when rolled up. In addition to pests, the carpet fibers absorb moisture and odor, so it's likely they'll be ruined by the time you bring them back inside.
Instead, Kelly advises putting them in a cool, well-ventilated space like a closet or using a rug storage bag.
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Food or compost of any kind
Nothing brings critters in quite like the idea of food. While food stored safely in an outdoor freezer might be okay, compost or food scraps should not be left out in the open.
"Compost or food is going to attract various rodents especially as it continues to rot and break down," says Jania. "It would be recommended to have an outdoor compost bin that can safely be stored in more of a garden area rather than a garage to keep rodents where they belong."
Food safety also comes into play, as certain items will spoil in extreme heat or cold. "You don't want to get sick on bad food,' says Malarkey.