The garage is truly one of the most versatile rooms in the home. Behind your garage door is a huge space, with room for your vehicles, your hobbies, and your storage. Every homeowner uses their garage differently. For some, the garage exists just to park their cars. Others practice woodworking, auto repair, or some other hobby in the garage. Many families use their garage for storage, filling the huge room with different possessions. It is this last group that we’ll be addressing today, as we look at what items you shouldn’t store in your garage.
You see, the garage door is an excellent way to keep people out of your garage, but depending on the construction of your home and your choice of residential garage door, it might not be as good at keeping the elements away from your valuable possessions. Since the garage is typically less insulated than the rest of your home (and usually not heated or cooled) the goods stored there are vulnerable to all the problems of storing things outside, albeit to a lesser degree. But if you want to protect your stuff, there are certain things that you should never store in the garage, no matter how much insulation your garage door may have!
Most people have a few spare cans of paint lying around their garage, closed up for use at some later time. Keeping these cans in the garage can have some unfortunate unintended consequences. Firstly, if the paint isn’t kept in climate-controlled conditions, it may “go bad” as the color changes considerably. Also, paint cans have a tendency to rust when stored, and can leave unsightly circles of rust etched into the concrete floor that many garages boast.
- Animal’s Food
The garage seems like an obvious place to keep any sort of animal’s food that you use outside. If you have a bird feeder, outdoor cats, or dogs that are fed outside, having to lug their food outside every time you want to feed them does seem like a pain. The trade off you’re making with keeping the food in the garage, however, might be more of a pain in the long-term. When you store food in the garage you are inviting different pests and nuisance animals into your home, since they have a full buffet waiting for them. Rats, mice, and birds might all want to live inside your garage now, since there is a buffet waiting for them. To avoid this, just store the food inside and bring it out for feeding in a smaller dish.
- Seasonal Clothing
So maybe you have too much clothing – who doesn’t! If you have shelves and racks full of your seasonal wardrobe options, it can seem tempting to store them in your garage. After all, that is mostly unused space, and you won’t need to use these clothes until the season changes. The problem, however, with storing your clothes in the garage is that you might not want to wear them once you retrieve them! Your car or cars come and go through your residential garage door constantly, and each time that they do, they are tracking micro-dust and dirt particles into your garage. Over time, everything you have stored will become a little bit dirty, and clothing will become positively musty, acquiring a foul smell and getting too dirty to wear. Additionally, the fabrics might look like tempting bedding for bugs or vermin that happen to get inside your garage, and you will not want to wear a sweater that has holes nibbled in it by the rat that’s been living there for the past eight months!
- Wood Furniture
There are three main enemies to your home – moisture, cold, and heat. These three things will destroy anything put in front of them, and that goes double for any valuable or expensive possessions of yours. Wood furniture that isn’t meant for outdoor use will suffer if exposed to the swing of cold and hot temperatures found in the garage. If the temperature swings too far in either direction, the wood can deform and the furniture can be ruined. Stick to only storing properly treated outdoor furniture in the garage, or pieces that you don’t mind warping.
- Spare Refrigerator
Now, we know what you’re thinking – where else am I going to put my spare refrigerator if not in the garage? This tip is a little more lenient than some others in our list, because keeping your refrigerator or freezer in your garage won’t make it operate less effectively or spoil the food. The only reason you wouldn’t want to put your spare fridge or freezer in the garage is the cost! Since the garage isn’t climate controlled, it can be much more expensive to run a fridge when the internal temperature has to be controlled relative to the temperature of the room. If you don’t mind paying the extra cost, there’s no need to move your spare fridge at all!
- Canned Food
Like the other points on this list, temperature swings are a big problem for some canned foods. If your canned food freezes during the Winter chill then thaws back out into Spring, you might find that it loses all of its flavor. Extreme temperatures can cause the cans to warp or pop open, ruining the contents. It is far wiser to keep the cans stored in your pantry, and not store any food outside!
For homeowners that use their garage as storage, stowing away crates full of old books might seem tempting. There are two primary problems with this treatment, and both have to do with how delicate books can be. Within your garage door, your garage can easily get dank and humid. As the humidity rises, your books are increasingly at risk of bowing, curling, or warping. The spines can even snap separate of the pages! This tip also applies to any other paper products, like receipts, old paperwork, or magazines.
- Propane Tanks
Propane tanks are one big problem. Although safety systems allows homeowners to own propane tanks without any major concerns, you want to keep these tanks as far away from your home as possible. There’s a saying about propane safety – “Never carry a tank through a doorway” – and there’s some truth to that even if it’s a garage doorway! Even the slightest leak or puncture can result in a huge problem for your entire home. To keep your home from burning down, do not store propane in the garage.
This last one should come as no surprise to most of our readers, but we’re sure that some of you have an old DVD player or Playstation sitting unused out in the garage! For the same reasons are other valuable goods can be destroyed, electronics are at risk anytime that they are stored in the garage. These devices are designed to be kept inside. To ensure the safety and continued operation of any of your electronics, keep them away from the heat and cold that permeate most garages.
We hope that you learned something from this list about protecting your possessions from the problems of the garage. Not every homeowner has space elsewhere to store their goods, so sometimes you might have to leave things in the garage anyways! The best thing to do then is to make your garage as well-insulated as possible, and the first step on that road is an insulated garage door! If you want to make the upgrade today, contact A Plus Garage Doors so we can help you begin this home improvement journey!