Items you shouldn’t store in your garage

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A garage can be a great asset to any homeowner. If you have a car, the benefits are obvious – the garage is where you can leave it and be sure that it’s safe even when it’s not in use. But even if you don’t drive, you can use the garage for many different things. If you’re willing to make some big changes, then you can turn your garage into an office or an apartment. But if you’re just an average person looking at different self storage Seattle options, then you’ll probably just want to use the extra space for some of your less-used belongings. But there are some items you shouldn’t store in your garage, either for safety reasons or cleanliness concerns. So if you want to use your garage as storage, you should inform yourself about what you can and cannot store there first.

Items you shouldn’t store in your garage for safety reasons

A lit match.
Anything that could easily cause a fire doesn’t belong in your garage.

There are some items that you shouldn’t keep in your garage at all because they are potentially dangerous for you, your family, your belongings, and your home. It is imperative that you do not store these in your garage, or anywhere else for that matter. Doing so could easily lead to disaster.

Propane and other flammable items

While propane tanks are generally safe for almost any adult to use, they are not meant to be stored in enclosed spaces. If something happens to the tank (the valve fails or there is some sort of damage to the body), the gas inside will leak out and concentrate. Since propane gas is highly flammable even the smallest spark could start a fire. For this reason, even self storage Shoreline service providers don’t accept flammable items. You should most certainly not keep them in a garage close to your home.

Some flammable items (such as wood or gasoline) are relatively safe to keep in your garage. However, you must store them with care. Keep all gases and liquids in tightly sealed containers approved for long-term use. Make sure your firewood is away from other flammables and anything that can cause sparks. Avoid storing oils in the garage as it can permanently stain things in addition to being flammable.

Other hazardous material

In addition to flammable things, you should avoid storing hazardous items altogether. This includes weapons and ammunition (unless you have specific containers and permits for them), anything explosive, corrosive liquids (like acid and bleach), and other chemically unstable materials.

Items you shouldn’t store in your garage due to cleanliness concerns

Mold caused by items you shouldn't store in your garage
Some things that you put in your garage could lead to mold and pests.

There are certain things that are safe to keep in storage but might cause issues with hygiene and cleanliness. While you typically can store them in a garage, you shouldn’t do so long-term.

Food of any kind (but especially perishables)

Putting leftovers in a cold garage overnight after a family dinner is fine. But prolonged storage of food is never a good idea. Even if you’re looking at renting some of the finest Kenmore self storage solutions, food simply doesn’t pass the standards. It’ll go off, start smelling and grow mold. Even if it doesn’t, a garage is not clean enough to keep food in. You may be able to temporarily store nonperishables in your garage. But don’t do so for long. Even nonperishables go bad eventually and they’ll be gathering dust in the meantime.

Finally, it may be tempting to keep wine and other alcohol in a garage – after all, alcohol doesn’t go bad. It does, however, require certain conditions (including constant and stable temperatures) for optimal condition. So if you want to store alcohol long-term, get a wine cellar.

Blankets, sleeping bags, toys, and other fabrics

You probably have a lot of old blankets, sheets, sleeping bags, children’s toys, towels, and even clothes that you don’t use much (or only use seasonally). Getting them out of the house is not a bad idea. But storing them in your garage would be. Fabrics don’t respond well to conditions in the garage. Dust and dirt can stain or damage them. Furthermore, they might attract moths and other pests.

Other items you shouldn’t store in your garage

Finally, there are some things that you shouldn’t keep in a garage because they simply aren’t suited to that type of storage. If you put them in storage, you won’t be putting yourself in danger. But you’ll probably regret your decision nonetheless. So just keep them in your home instead.

Important documents

Passport on a desk.
Important documents are among items you shouldn’t store in your garage because you may need them on short notice.

You should never store important documents. Things like your passport, your IDs, credit cards, house deeds, and similar are too important to put in storage. You might need them on short notice. And while accessing your garage is certainly easier than accessing a storage unit, it’s not as convenient as just keeping all the important documents in your home office or otherwise near you.

Books, notebooks, and photographs

Paper is not exactly the most durable of materials. It yellows with age, crinkles from moisture, and fades from prolonged exposure to light. For this reason, you shouldn’t keep any important or valuable papers in storage. Things like books, notebooks, diaries, paintings, and photographs will get damaged if you leave them in your garage for too long. Preserving photographs and the like requires very specific conditions. And garages definitely don’t meet them.

Anything that’s sensitive to temperature changes

While garages stay cool most of the time, they typically don’t have any form of temperature control. So you won’t be able to maintain the same conditions in them all the time. This can pose problems when storing things that are sensitive to temperature changes. In addition to food, this includes paint, wooden furniture, electronics, and more. You should avoid storing these kinds of things in a garage lest something happens to them.

What to do with items you shouldn’t store in your garage

If you can’t store them in your garage, what are you going to do with all these things? Well, that depends. You can store some of these items in a storage facility instead. Others, particularly items you shouldn’t store in your garage out of safety concerns, are better off not storing indoors long-term. You can store propane tanks or firewood outside, for example. Yet others, such as important documents, are best kept in the home. Finally, you should consider decluttering. If all these things are just lying around and taking up space, it’s time to sift through them and get rid of some things. Throw out old and unusable items and sell or donate the rest.

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