Your garage: home to all the odds and ends that don’t seem to fit anywhere else. While it’s a fine place to keep your container garden pots and rarely used snow shovels and pool toys, there are some things that can really suffer if left out in the garage’s uncontrolled environment. Check out which items you may need to find a new spot for.
If you want your leftover paint to still be usable when you pull it out to do touchups, don’t leave the cans stacked on the garage floor. The Ohio EPA says that storing cans directly on a concrete floor will cause them to rust much faster than on other surfaces. The agency also recommends always keeping paint in a dry location where temperatures will never go below freezing, ruling out the garage for most parts of the country. Keeping it on a shelf in a closet or basement is a better choice.
Whether it’s homemade preserves, pickles, or all those cans of diced tomatoes you bought on sale, don’t store your surplus in the garage. The FDA’s guide on shelf-stable food safety says that to keep things from spoiling, you should keep your goods in a cool dry place, not one that’s prone to high temperatures and moisture.
Pet Food + Birdseed
Opened bags of kibble and birdseed are an open invitation for mice and other unwelcome rodents to invade your garage. Even if the bag is sealed, mice can easily chew through the paper to get to the treats inside. You’re better off keeping dry pet food in airtight containers stored in your pantry.
Wine is finicky when it comes to storage rules. According to Purdue University’s Wine Storage Guidelines, vino should ideally stay between 50 and 60 degrees F. If it gets too hot, the vino just won’t taste right when you finally uncork it. Plus, fluctuations between warm and cool temperatures in the garage can cause corks to expand and contract, allowing air to seep inside the bottle and causing it to go bad.
Propane tanks for your grill or camp stoves should never cross your doorway—not even into the garage. If propane leaks into an unventilated area, the gas in the air could become ignited, say, when you start your car. Always keep them outdoors.
A Spare Refrigerator
According to DIY website Appliance-Repair-It.com, you should expect problems if you keep a fridge in your unheated garage. Refrigerators are designed to work best at 67 to 77 degrees F. They actually operate less efficiently at temperatures below 50 degrees F and won’t run at all below 30 degrees F. At high temperatures, your fridge will run constantly, jacking up your energy bill, and it’s guaranteed to sweat when the humidity goes up.
It may seem like a good idea to put aside old furniture for the day your kids finally move out, but in many cases, donating it is the wiser route. Wooden tables and chairs are likely to warp during hot, humid summers, and in winter you might discover that mice have made a cozy home by chewing through your old couch.