Many homeowners look upon their garage as a kind of catch-all for storing just about anything. Some things end up there because someone was in a hurry and didn’t have time to find a better place. Other things wind up there because the closet was full or they were considered too dangerous to store in the kitchen, basement or attic. And still others wind up there by mistake. Below are 7 things you should never store in your garage.
- House Paint - We’re not the first to advise against storing house paint in the garage and we won’t be the last either because many people continue to use the garage as their preferred house paint storage unit. But what’s wrong with storing paint in the garage? Is it going to explode or some such thing? (No) Will it give rise to a race of mutant squirrel zombies? (Probably not but we’ll have to check). What it will do is separate and become unusable if it’s subjected to extreme cold for a prolonged period of time. So storing it in the garage for a year or two is essentially like throwing it out; but in slow motion.
- Canned Food - Most folks think there’s nothing wrong with putting a few boxes of spare canned goods in the garage. After all, canned goods are pretty much impervious to spoilage, right? Actually no. Canned goods can spoil if they’re stored at more than 85 degree Fahrenheit (a temperature many garages exceed during the summer) or if they’re stored in an excessively humid environment (which describes many garages in both summer and winter). Most food experts recommend storing canned goods in a cool dry place.
- Old Family Photos - In the days before all of the world’s digital photos were stored on either Google’s or Apple’s servers there were things called printed photos. Most families still have boxes of these photos that document various important moments in the life and times of the family. Typically some of these photos find their way into albums while those that don’t make the album cut are put back in the box to await nostalgia jags in the future. Sometimes these boxes find their way into the garage which is an enormous mistake. Leaving them to commiserate with the car will inevitably lead to their ruin as they fade or become stuck to one another.
- A Second Refrigerator - Everyone knows someone who either had or has a garage fridge. But most who do wind up spending exorbitant amounts to keep their beer fridge up and running because a refrigerator operates best between 50 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything above or below that (as happens all the time in the garage) causes the fridge to have to work overtime to maintain a stable temperature and this causes electric bills to spike. Working the fridge so hard is also going to significantly shorten its life. If you must have a spare fridge for your brewskis put it in the basement instead.
- Electronic Devices Televisions, DVD players, PCs, boom boxes, printers and more often wind up in the garage when new models are bought. The thinking is that at some point someone in the family will find a use for this now obsolete technology. And that could happen except that storing these devices in the garage pretty much seals their doom. Sensitive electronics do not react at all well to being stored in a space that typically gets either freezing cold or brutally hot, like the garage. Nor do they like spaces that get really humid, like the garage.
- Propane - Propane tanks should never, under any circumstances, be stored in any part of the house, including the garage. Even a tiny leak in a propane tank can generate enough fumes in an enclosed space to present the very real possibility of an explosion. And all it would take to set off the conflagration is starting the car or maybe talking on your cell phone. Always store propane tanks outdoors, preferably in a locked, secure storage shed with plenty of ventilation.
- Firewood - While it might seem like the ultimate in convenience to store firewood in the garage for those cold winter nights the fact is that where there is firewood there are pests. By storing firewood into the garage you’re also asking for centipedes, pill bugs, spiders, carpenter ants and termites in your house. When it comes to firewood it should always be kept outside away from the house on an elevated rack or platform, covered with a tarp.
The garage was not designed to be a storage unit. Don’t store anything there until you first determine whether or not it will be able to withstand the often extreme environment of the garage. Not many things will be able to.