Image of old photo albums
Photos are just some of the things to keep out of your garage

Can’t find a place for your extra paint, old photographs, food storage, or gasoline? Find somewhere, these are 4 things to keep out of your garage.

How often do we stick things in the garage just because we can’t find a place for them inside? A garage can hold a lot of items, but some items are best kept in other areas. Here are four things to keep out of your garage.

1. Loose Files, Photos, and Documents

Sentimental people can build up quite the collection of keepsakes. Drawings from children, notes, lose files, and photos are all things we like to keep. If you want to preserve these memories, don’t keep them in the garage.

Paper products are susceptible to water damage from floods or leaks. Stacks of paper also make wonderful homes for mice and other pests.

Instead of storing papers in the garage, store them in plastic or metal bins inside. If you happen to have a locked metal filing cabinet in your garage, your important documents should be safe from floods and pests.

2. Food and Wine

Food, like paper products, attracts mice and pests when stored in the garage. Exposure to extreme heat, cold, and humidity can cause food to spoil.

Even if you plan on storing canned food like tomatoes, beans, or pears, temperatures above 70 degrees will give canned foods a shorter shelf life. Watch out for winter, too. Canned food that freezes and thaws spoils faster.

After you shop in bulk, store food in a pantry or temperature-controlled basement. Keep wine in a cabinet or refrigerator inside your home. Extremes in temperature will cause wine to expand and leak oxidation.

3. Paint

How many of us finish painting a room and then stick the leftover paint in the garage? It seems like a great place to store paint that we can later use for touch-ups.

But, oil-based paint does not last if you stick it in the garage. Extreme temperatures in the summer cause paints to go bad. Also, metal buckets will rust in high humidity or if left on the ground.

Instead, store paint in a cool, dry place in your home. Many people keep paint in a basement or closet. When selecting a spot to store your paint, just make sure it’s in a temperature-controlled, low-moisture area.

4. Hazardous Chemicals

Never keep hazardous chemicals, such as propane and gasoline, in the garage. Gasoline is unsafe to store near cars and other sources of heat. Without ventilation, fumes can leak and build up in the garage.

Similarly, you might keep your propane-fired grill outside during the summer and wheel it into the garage for the winter. But, if you keep both propane and your car in the garage, you risk igniting fumes from the propane when you start your car. Garages are also dangerous places to store hazardous chemicals because children and pets can get into them.

Where can you store these hazardous chemicals? Store propane tanks in a cool, ventilated area outside the house. Tanks should be set in an upright position away from rain gutters to avoid getting wet. If propane does get wet, it can rust and damage the controls.

You can store gasoline in a shed away from your home. Just make sure the gasoline is out of reach of children.


Don’t worry, there are still things you can keep in your garage! Obviously garages are the perfect place to park your car. In the garage, your car is away from the elements, and it is less likely that someone will break into it. You can keep woodworking supplies, tools, workout equipment, and toys in the garage, too.

But, next time you’re looking for a place to store loose paper, food, paint, and hazardous chemicals, find a place other than the garage to keep them safe.


  1. It really helped when you said that the garage must not have any hazardous chemicals in it. As you mentioned, it is dangerous for these things to be stored near the car because there might be a leak or other accidents. I will share this with my husband because he usually becomes irresponsible about keeping things. Since we will be having a metal garage constructed when we have found a contractor, this will keep us and our belongings safe when we can finally use it.

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