Most people — 74 percent — wish their garages were better organized, while 34 percent don’t even know what they store in their garage. Garages can easily become the default storage place for the odds and ends that seem to accumulate at home no matter how hard you try to stay organized.
It’s easy to toss items that are too dirty or too big to keep indoors straight into your garage, but do you stop and think before you store items in your garage? No matter how cluttered or organized your garage, some things just do not belong there.
Take a look at the belongings you keep in your garage to make sure it’s all safe for garage storage. You can use this helpful guide to learn what not to store in your garage.
Things You Shouldn’t Store in Your Garage
Garages serve as excellent storage space because they offer shelter from the elements and plenty of space that is out of the way of your day-to-day living. But, it’s important to remember garages are still subject to extreme heat and extreme cold. Not everything you may need to store can be safely kept in your garage.
If you are wondering what to store in your garage, keep these nine items off of your list.
1. Hazardous Materials
People want to avoid keeping dangerous materials in their homes, so storing them in the garage seems like a natural fit. However, before you decide to store something potentially flammable or toxic, stop and think about the risks.
For example, propane tanks are a common household item — maybe you have one for your summer barbecues. These tanks can leak in your garage, and a single spark can cause the propane to ignite. A fire in your garage could easily spread to your home, especially if it’s attached to the house.
Rather than risking your property and your family, stick to storing your propane tanks either outdoors or in a space with plenty of distance from your house, such as a garden shed. The tanks are durable and can withstand the wind and rain.
2. Important Documents
Over the years, we seem to collect an enormous amount of important documents. From tax records and bank statements to old photographs and school projects, it can be hard to figure out where to keep it all.
Before you stick boxes full of documents in the garage, ask yourself how important they are. In the garage, they are exposed to changing temperatures, potential leaks and the possibility of pests. The next time you go to pull out an important record or treasured photograph, you don’t want to find that it has been warped by humidity, ruined by flooding or nibbled away at by insects of mice.
Instead, find space for your important papers inside. Invest in some filing cabinets or place your boxes full of paper in an indoor closet.
3. Leftover Paint
Extreme temperatures are likely to affect the consistency of paint. If your garage is not temperature-controlled, extremely hot or cold days could cause those opened cans of paint to become either too thick or too runny. It is possible for extreme temperatures to ruin even unopened cans of paint. So, all of that money you spent on the perfect shade of paint for your home improvement project will go to waste.
If you are in the middle of a painting project and you need somewhere to check your paint, you can carefully seal the cans and store them inside in a closet or the basement. Somewhere cool and dry is the ideal environment. When you’re done with your project, instead of storing cans of paint you are unlikely to use ever again, safely dispose of them.
4. Wooden Furniture
When it comes to wooden furniture, extreme temperatures are, once again, a big issue in garages. As the seasons change and the temperatures fluctuate, the wood can warp and even crack. The possibility of humidity in the garage only compounds the problem.
If you have a table or chair you keep meaning to restore and put to use when you get time, store it somewhere that is dry and temperature-controlled. Keep in a spare bedroom or the basement until you are ready to start the project. If you leave it in the garage, you may find your furniture is only fit to be pulled out to the curb and trashed.
Clothing is another one of those belongings that piles up over the years. There are those outfits we swear will come back into style, clothes we can’t bear to part with even though we will never wear them again and hand-me-downs we save for our kids, nieces and nephews.
No matter what you’re saving all your clothing for, it can be hard to find the space. But, in the garage, those clothes can quickly become unusable. Critters like mice and raccoons might find their way into your garage and be delighted by the comfy nest those old coats provide. Or, humidity in the garage can turn those tightly packed bundles into a mildewy mess.
Consider donating clothing you will never use again — take pictures of your favorite pieces beforehand so you can remember them forever without them taking up room in your house. Or, find a suitable space to keep them inside your home. You can invest in some storage containers or make use of empty suitcases. Vacuum-sealed bags are also handy storage tools for clothing and linens.
Old TVs, computers, keyboards, DVD players, VHS players and gaming consoles can easily stack up. Whenever we upgrade to the newer model, we are left with something we might need or want to use again in the future.
Bulky electronics might be tough to store inside, so we turn to the garage. Those old electronics may seem incredibly durable, but they likely won’t withstand the humidity and temperature changes of your garage.
If you’re saving old electronics for a future project or to give to someone else, keep them inside. If you do not want to throw that old TV away because it still works, consider donating or selling it instead of letting it get older and older as it sits in your garage.
Canned food is full of non-perishable options, but the conditions in your garage increase the risk of those foods going bad before their expiration date. Temperatures over 85 degrees can make the food go bad, while extreme cold temperatures could freeze the food. The humidity typically found in garages could also make the cans on the food rust. If you are planning to eat the food in the future, keep it inside. If you have too many cans to store, consider donating them to your local food bank.
Other types of food, like pet food or bird seed, may seem like they belong in the garage, but you run the risk of attracting pests. Both insects and rodents would love to dive into that puppy chow or bird feeder food. Instead of leaving your garage vulnerable to invasion, store those types of foods inside in air-tight containers or a location further from the house, like your garden shed.
Wine is sensitive to temperature. Extreme heat and cold can cause wine corks to contract and expand, which leaves the wine inside the bottle exposed to contamination. That bottle of white or red you were saving for a rainy day could easily become undrinkable if you store it in your garage.
Instead of risking your beloved vintages, store your bottles inside in the refrigerator or pantry. If you’re looking for more long-term storage options, consider investing in a wine rack or wine refrigerator for indoors.
A second refrigerator may seem like the answer to all your food overflow, but it will come with a price. If you decide to plug in a fridge in the garage, it will struggle with the fluctuating temperatures. On hot days, your fridge is going to need more power to maintain its cool temperature. You will likely see the result in your monthly electric bill. If you want to save on your energy costs, leave the fridge inside.
Things You Can Store in Your Garage
So, what is safe to store in your garage? These four items can easily fit in your garage and withstand extreme temperatures with no risk of damage to your belongings or your home.
It may seem obvious, but many of us forget that garages were primarily designed to keep our cars out of the elements. Once you clear the clutter, especially those things you shouldn’t store in your garage, you may find you suddenly have space to pull your car (or even two!) into your garage. Storing your car in your garage helps protect it from harsh weather. Plus, it is a big plus to avoid the rush out on the driveway if it is raining or snowing. A car is often one of our most significant assets. You can breathe a sigh of relief knowing it safely stored in your garage.
2. Outdoor Gear
If you enjoy spending time in the great outdoors, you probably have a ton of equipment. Most of your camping gear, like your tent, can be safely stored in your garage. But, consider storing your sleeping bags indoors. Like clothes, these are vulnerable to moisture and pests looking for a place to nest. Other durable outdoor gear like bikes, fishing gear and coolers will be right at home in the garage.
3. Gardening Tools
If you do not have a gardening shed, your garage is the best place to keep all your gardening tools. You can find shelves and racks to keep your rakes, shovels, trowels, watering cans and fertilizer organized.
4. Seasonal Items
The garage is a great place to keep items you do not use all year round. For example, the pile of Christmas and Halloween decorations you put up for a few weeks every year does not have to take up space indoors. If you have a fake tree and ornaments, you can safely store them in your garage. Likewise, you can tuck those spooky skeletons and goblins away in the garage until October rolls around again.
If you have plastic or metal deck furniture, you can store it in the garage, too. However, consider alternate storage options for wooden deck furniture or furniture with cloth cushions.
The Benefits of a New Garage Door
No matter what you store in your garage, you want to make sure it’s protected. A new garage door is an investment that keeps your belongings safe. Other benefits include:
- Durability: Home maintenance takes dedication. Some things are worth repairing, while others make more sense to replace. If you find yourself regularly spending money to fix your garage door, it could be time to invest in a new one. When you get a new garage door, you can select one designed for durability. You can trust the door will last for years, and you will save money on expensive and frequent repairs.
- Energy Efficiency: Old garage doors tend to have gaps that allow airflow in and out of the garage. This allows for greater temperature fluctuation, which can put stress on your home’s heating and cooling systems. A new door will provide better insulation and keep a more regular temperature in your garage. In addition to helping your energy efficiency, it also helps protects the belongings you keep in your garage from temperature extremes.
- Smoother Operation: Old garage doors can make quite the racket. You might worry that your neighborhoods down the block will be able to hear the rattling of the door every time it goes up or down. A new garage door will operate smoothly and quietly. Plus, you won’t have to worry about the door stopping halfway through its journey up or down. A new garage door means living without the fear of dealing with a garage door that won’t close all the way when you’re running late for work.
- Increased Home Value: You might not think about your garage door often, but it is a big part of your home’s appearance. Investing in a new one can have a positive impact on your home’s value, whether or not you’re thinking of selling in the near future. A new door can make your home more attractive, while a properly working door is going to be an important consideration when determining value.
About Oregon City Garage Door
If you are looking to safeguard the items you store in your garage with a new garage door, we are here to help. Oregon City Garage Door serves the Portland metro area and several surrounding areas, including Oregon City, West Linn, Lake Oswego, Oak Grove, Wilsonville, Tigard, Tualatin, Beaverton, Mulino, Canby, Milwaukie, Estacada, Damascus, Boring, Clackamas, Happy Valley and Gladstone.
Some of our most notable products and services are:
- Northwest Door
- Amarr garage doors
- Wayne Dalton garage doors
- LiftMaster openers
- Garage door installation
- Garage door repair
- Emergency garage door service
We help our clients choose the right garage door for their home and provide free installation estimates. If you want to upgrade your garage door, we have a variety of styles and colors to fit your tastes and the character of your home. Call us at (503) 632-3070 or send us a message online to get started.