The countdown to spring is on — and that means we’re clearing out our houses of winter clutter. We’ll be scouring our homes from top to bottom and clearing out every nook and cranny. Inevitably, what we don’t throw out, we’ll want to store until fall and some of it will end up in the garage. But there are some things that don’t belong there. Here are 6 things you should not store in the garage.
Books, Paper Files, Photo Albums There are many reasons not to store anything made of paper in the garage. Unless you have climate control in your garage, the fluctuating temperatures and moisture levels can wilt your precious papers. In addition to environmental conditions, pests are another factor to protect your goods from. Termites and silverfish live on paper and they have easy access to the garage anytime the door is open and through cracks when the door is closed. When it comes to paper goods, if it’s worth keeping, it’s worth keeping indoors.
Food and Fridge Keeping an extra refrigerator stocked with food in the garage is only efficient in the fall and winter — during spring and summer when the temperatures are high, your refrigerator has to work hard to keep your perishables cold and preserved. If you do have a refrigerator in the garage, you might be storing canned goods as well which are also affected by extreme temperatures. To keep food efficiently safe, keep it in the kitchen.
Paint Storing Paint in the garage seems logical — that’s where you put lots of your home improvement tools and materials — but it’s not very good for your paint. Water-based paint can freeze and when it thaws, it’s useless. In heat, it deteriorates quickly. If you are certain you’ll use it again, it’s best stored in a spot in the house where you can control the temperature. If you don’t know if you’ll use it, it’s best to dispose of it by letting it dry out completely and then tossing it in the garbage.
Propane By definition, propane is a fire hazard — we use it to heat up our grills — so you want to be careful with where you store it. With a hot environment, there’s a risk that the relief valve can open and let out the propane unexpectedly making it dangerous if it’s in an enclosed space and, according to the National Fire Protection Agency, it’s against fire safety code. Propane tanks should always be stored outside.
Electronics Dust, moisture and extreme temperatures don’t mix with electronics. Any one of those things can damage something with wires. If it’s something you want to keep, keep it inside. If you plan on donating it, take it to the donation center immediately.
Cloth or Fabric If you’re planning to donate clothes or extra bedding, try taking it to the thrift store sooner rather than later. Fabric likes to absorb moisture and retain it which makes it an excellent breeding ground for mildew. Pests also love to eat natural fibers which create unsightly holes in clothes. In wetter months or moist climates, keeping fabric in the garage for too long may make it useless once it gets to the donation center.