It's that time of year when we go through our garages and even storage sheds, and finally, toss junk we should have tossed 2-3 years ago. But some items should not be stored in either location.

   What  NOT to store in garage

Based upon advice from fire and health experts, Pemco Insurance last year published a list of yes and no items to store in the garage. Some of these will surprise you. These are the NO items:

  •  Lawnmower gas and propane tanks.  Storing flammable fuels indoors is never a good idea, fumes, etc. can come in contact with an ignition source, and boom! Store propane outdoors, if possible under a table or shaded area. Perhaps create a small 'box' for it to sit in when not being used. And, it's never a good idea to store gas anywhere, unless you have a farm tank designed for that purpose. Leaving gas cans sitting around is not a great idea!
  • Food (nonfreezer items)   Lots of us have that extra freezer in the garage. Good!  But don't store other groceries in there. Even if in sealed containers, wrappers, or boxes. Insects and rodents are very good at detecting them, and burrowing in and ruining them.  Even storing canned goods in hot weather can cause rust to build up on the lids and exteriors. They're best stored in a cool, dry place, like the pantry if you have room.
  • Documents, photos, and books.  Even in dry climates, like ours, temperature extremes cause condensation and can result in humidity that makes pages and photos stick together. Any kind of moisture in a book? Mildew.
  • Electronics.  Even properly boxed and stored, these same temperatures and moisture conditions can cause issues with sensitive electronic equipment.
  • Firewood.  This one kind of surprised us, but insect and rodent experts say storing the wood in the garage just invites pests closer to your living spaces.  Not long ago, Pemco reports a homeowner found their house infested with fleas, which were traced back to firewood stored inside the garage by the inside entrance door to the home. Store it outside, and if possible NOT up against or alongside the home.
  • Paint.  Our family knows you don't store leftover paint in the storage shed, the winter will ruin rubber-based latex, and our freezing temps will result in a big colored block of stain or paint in the can in the spring. But even in a garage, the temperature extremes cause the same effect, it just takes longer. Better to store smaller quart cans of touch-up indoors if you're done with the project.
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Just a few things to remember when storing leftover stuff.  Keep it safe, cooler (but not cold), and dry.


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