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10 Things You Need to Get out of Your Garage Before Winter

When fall chores are done and cars are ready for winter, don't forget to take care of what's in your garage, too. Bringing garage items indoors for the winter will protect what you'll want to use next spring, whether it's a favorite flowerpot, a stereo for listening to fall football or your favorite shade of moss green paint.

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productsAfrica Studio/shutterstock

Cleaners and Sprays

Bring liquid products, such as protectant for polishing your cars’ interiors, bug repellent, sunscreen and liquid plant fertilizer, inside until spring to prevent freezing, which can damage containers or product quality. Keep them in a covered, labeled tote to catch any drips and so you can easily return them to the garage in the spring. Store it away from heat sources, such as a water heater.

51 brilliant ways to organize your garage.

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spray paint Pavlo Burdyak/shutterstock

Paint and Solvents

Round up spray paint and cans of paint to bring indoors from the garage. Frozen paint can separate and curdle in freezing temperatures, rendering it useless when you need it. If you have paint, fertilizer, solvents or cleaners that you no longer use, plan a drop-off to your county’s household hazardous waste site. We have curated a list of things you should not store in your garage.

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freezerCreative Lab/shutterstock


Just as summer’s sizzling temperatures can cause a spare fridge or freezer in the garage to work overtime keeping beverages and food cool, winter adds another burden in trying to keep appliances and their contents from freezing. Find space indoors, if you’re able, to conserve energy and help appliances last longer. Of course, heating your garage is always an option, too.

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Electronics Geo-grafika/shutterstock


Bring that radio, stereo or speakers indoors to keep them safe and functioning. If the garage is home to unused computers, gaming equipment or other electronics, it’s time to donate or safely recycle them, before they are damaged or outdated, or turn into an ongoing clutter paint point.

Garage security tips.

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Get rid of clutter that can cause a tripping or falling hazard on floors about to get slippery with winter slush and ice. (Here are some great garage storage products to help.) If space is tight, at least rotate winter items—ice melt, shovels, ice scrapers—to the front, and stash summer items toward the back or on the highest shelves.

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If you’ve kept overflow food items in your garage due to bulk purchases or lack of space in the house, bring it indoors. Freezing compromises canned food and dry goods. Some items, such as bags of dog food, may invite rodents and other critters to a winter feast. To help find space inside: Some ideas to create more kitchen storage space.

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camping: AnastasiaPetropavlovskaya/shutterstock

Fabrics and Rags

Remove any picnic blankets, tents, sleeping bags, cleaning rags, patio tablecloths, paper towels or other soft materials that may draw rodents seeking warm bedding in your garage for the winter. If you don’t have room for everything indoors, at least make sure you have tight-sealing tubs that can protect camping gear, especially, from critters, exhaust fumes, moisture and odors.

Garage remodel tips.

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chairsROMAN DZIUBALO/shutterstock


Freeze-thaw cycles and moisture can damage and crack wood furniture. It helps to add a layer of protective wax or polish to the wood and to wrap the pieces in a double layer of protective plastic sheeting, especially if there’s padded upholstery, which is especially vulnerable to rodents. Ideally, you’ll find them a place indoors. If space is an issue, consider a short-term climate-controlled storage unit rental.

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Sports Equipment and Shoes

A favorite baseball glove may wind up as mouse food if left in the garage over winter. Fluctuating temperatures and moisture can also deliver a beating to leather and sporting goods. Bring boots, cleats, basketballs, soccer balls and more indoors. Store in a mesh sack or dedicated storage bins—there are lots of great sports equipment storage ideas out there.

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PotDanny Smythe/shutterstock

Pots and Plants

Pots filled with dirt may contain moisture that can crack pottery or plastic when it freezes. Be sure to bring in pots and any garden bulbs, such as dahlias or gladiolas, so they’re alive and well for spring. Store bulbs in a cool—but not freezing—and dry place.

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Lisa Meyers McClintick
Lisa Meyers McClintick is an award-winning Minnesota-based freelancer specializing in travel across the Upper Midwest and to national parks across the United States. She has been a longtime contributor to USA Today, Midwest Living magazine, and the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and also has written for Minnesota Monthly, and AAA publications. Her specialties include watching wildlife and birding, harvest travel, hands-on art and history, gardens and wildflowers, quirky small towns and scenic outdoors. She's a member of Society of American Travel Writers and Midwest Travel Journalists Association, which named her the 2019 Travel Writer of the Year. She's also an award-winning photographer and teaches workshops on memoir and creative writing, photography, travel, and creating sketchbooks and journals.