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15 Things You Should Never Store in Your Garage

If you want to keep your home pest-free and your belongings in good condition, never store these items in your garage.

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seal pet foodPhoto: FamilyHandyman.com

Pet Food

Storing pet food in your garage is basically like inviting pests into your home for a delicious snack. But if you must keep pet food in the garage (or even when it’s inside your house), be sure that it is inside a tightly sealed plastic or metal container. Rodents can easily chew through paper or cardboard packaging.

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dirty paint ragsPhoto: FamilyHandyman.com

Oily Rags

An oil-soaked rag is something you should never store in your garage. Spontaneous combustion (and a devastating fire) can occur when oily rags are stored where the internal heat that is generated isn’t allowed to escape.

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gardening books _117426448_23Photo: gfdunt/Shutterstock

Books

You want to save your favourite books from childhood to give to your kids or grandkids someday, but storing them in the garage isn’t the best solution. Silverfish are insects that thrive in dark, damp environments such as garages, basements and crawl spaces and the bugs love to feast on starchy substances, such as the glue that binds books.

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firewood Photo: Zhukova Valentyna/Shutterstock

Firewood

While firewood may be an important year-round staple in your home or backyard, it’s also a magnet for pests that will happily make the jump into the house. Be sure to store firewood at least 6 metres (20 feet) away from the house—that includes the garage—and only bring in as much as is necessary.

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sleeping bagPhoto: Mark Herreid/Shutterstock

Sleeping Bags

It’s tempting to stash sleeping bags with other camping supplies in the garage, but you’ll regret it. Fluctuating temperatures and humidity are not ideal conditions for storing fabric. It can get moldy, and makes an ideal nest for rodents. Instead, store sleeping bags and other fabric items inside your house.

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frozen paintPhoto: FamilyHandyman.com

Paint

Extreme heat and extreme cold can alter paint formulas. So if the temperature in your garage is a rollercoaster throughout the year, it’s not an ideal place for storing your leftover paint. Check the paint can label for recommended storage temperatures.

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toysPhoto: Makistock/Shutterstock

Toys

Your child’s favourite toys—especially stuffed animals and other plush toys—should be stored in an area other than the garage. Dust mites, other insects and even mice will trash these childhood treasures if given the chance. If you must store toys in the garage, make sure they are secured in airtight containers.

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propane tankPhoto: Shutterstock

Propane Tanks

A propane tank is usually safe, but if it happens to leak in an enclosed space such as your garage, any small spark—even starting your car—can cause a fire. Make it a point to never store propane tanks in your garage.

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shutterstock_605370098 old computer laptopPhoto: Ari N/Shutterstock

Old Computers

Humidity and extreme temperatures can cause computers and other electronics to short out. Always store electronics inside your home.

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restore old print photos photographs polaroids memoriesPhoto: SUSAN LEGGETT/Shutterstock

Printed Photographs

Printed photos (especially those that don’t have digital copies) should never be stored in the garage. Extreme heat, cold and humidity will quickly ruin those cherished memories.

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passportPhoto: Nancy Catherine Walker/Shutterstock

Important Papers and Files

Don’t risk keeping those important papers such as medical records, passports and birth certificates in your garage, where they could be damaged by humidity. If you need to keep some paper items in the garage, be sure to store them in an air-tight plastic container.

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cabinet wine rackPhoto: FamilyHandyman.com

Wine

Fluctuating temperatures and humidity can actually alter the taste of wine.

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clothesPhoto: Koldunov Alexey/Shutterstock

Old Clothing

Consider storing your old clothing—whether your favourite dresses, winter coats or sweaters—some place other than the garage. Clothes are prone to moth infestations, while fur and leather can be damaged by dampness and high humidity. Keep clothing in sealed plastic bags and store indoors.

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shutterstock_778717681Photo: Foxys Forest Manufacture/Shutterstock

Canned Food

Contrary to popular belief, even canned foods can spoil. With that in mind, keep them stored at temperatures between 10 and 21 degrees Celsius. Humidity in a garage can also cause cans and metal lids on glass jars to rust, potentially causing a chemical reaction with the food inside. In addition, food attracts pests, which you don’t want anywhere near your home!

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rugPhoto: Zmaj88/Shutterstock

Rugs and Carpeting

Rolled up rugs and carpeting make great homes for insects and mice, so you can add them to the list of things you should never store in your garage. The rug and carpet fibres will also absorb moisture and odour, which may ruin them if left for long periods.

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Originally Published on The Family Handyman