15 Things You Should Never Store in Your Garage

Updated: May 28, 2024

To keep your home safe and pest-free and your belongings in good shape, don’t ever store these items in your garage.

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seal pet food
Family Handyman

Pet Food

If you’re in the process of organizing your garage, there are a few things that you’ll want to leave out of that space.

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

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dirty paint rags

Oily Rags

Never store oil-soaked rags in your garage. Spontaneous combustion can occur when oily rags are stored where the internal heat that is generated isn’t allowed to escape, which can lead to a devastating fire in your home.

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You want to save your favorite 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 these bugs love to feast on starchy substances, such as the glue that binds books.

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Zhukova Valentyna/Shutterstock


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 your house. Use a firewood rack to store your fuel, and keep it at least 20 feet away from the house — that includes the garage — and only bring in as much as is necessary.

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sleeping bag
Mark Herreid/Shutterstock

Sleeping Bags

Fluctuating temperatures and humidity are not ideal conditions for storing fabric. It can get moldy, and rodents love to chew it. It’s tempting to stash sleeping bags with other non-fabric camping supplies in the garage, but don’t do it! Store sleeping bags, clothes and other fabric items inside your house. Here are a few tips to wash your sleeping bag.

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Frozen paint chunks
Family Handyman


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. But if your paint happens to freeze during the winter, it’s not necessarily ruined.

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Your child’s favorite toys — especially stuffed animals and other plush toys — should be kept in the garage. Dust mites, other insects and even mice may have their way with the toys if given the chance. The best place for storing toys is in the house, but if you must store toys in the garage, make sure they are in airtight containers.

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propane tank

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. Keep them outside, in an area that won’t be subject to extremely high temperatures.

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Ari N/Shutterstock

Old Computers

Humidity and temperature fluctuations 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 memories
SUSAN LEGGETT/Shutterstock

Printed Photographs

Printed photos (especially those that don’t have digital copies) should never be stored in the garage. Heat, cold and humidity will quickly ruin those cherished memories. The best way to store photos is in acid-free boxes or albums somewhere inside where they’re not susceptible to fluctuations in temperature and humidity.

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Nancy Catherine Walker/Shutterstock

Important Papers and Files

Home office storage shouldn’t include the garage, especially for things like medical records, passports and birth certificates. The same goes for photos as they could be damaged by water and excess moisture in the air. If you need to keep some paper items in the garage, store them in an airtight plastic container.

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cabinet wine rack


Fluctuating temperatures and humidity can actually alter the taste of wine. Those belong on a wine rack, which can also make for a lovely addition to your kitchen.

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Koldunov Alexey/Shutterstock

Old Clothing

Consider storing your old clothing — whether your favorite dresses, winter coats or sweaters — someplace other than the garage. Clothes attract moths, and fur and leather don’t hold up well when stored in damp areas. Keep clothing in sealed plastic bags and store in another area of the home.

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Foxys Forest Manufacture/Shutterstock

Canned Food

Contrary to what you may think, canned foods are not spoil-proof and should be stored at temperatures between 50 and 70 degrees. 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. Planning to buy a refrigerator? Determine whether adding a freezer in a garage is the right garage upgrade for you.

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Rugs and Carpeting

Rolled up rugs and carpeting make great homes for insects and mice, so consider storing them in a spot other than your garage. The rug and carpet fibers will also absorb moisture and odor, which may ruin them if left for long periods.