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15 Items You Should Never Leave in Your Garage

Your garage can store more than your car, but keeping these items there could be downright dangerous.

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Pet food

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

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Oily rags

Never store oil-soaked rags in your garage. Spontaneous combustion (and a devastating fire) can occur when oily rags are stored where the internal heat that is generated isn’t allowed to escape. Tossing these dirty rags is one of the 10 ways you can make your home safer.

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Books

 

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 the bugs love to feast on starchy substances, such as the glue that binds books. 

Preparation of firewood for the winter. firewood background, Stacks of firewood in the forestEugene Simonenko/Shutterstock

Firewood

 

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 the house. So store firewood 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 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. 

A set of white paint brushes, a metal can with white paint on a wooden tablePaPicasso/Shutterstock

Paint

 

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. Make sure that you store it upside down, too. Rethink how you keep these household items—you're probably better off storing them upside down

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Toys

 

Your child's favorite toys—especially stuffed animals and other plush toys—should be stored in an area other than the garage. Dust mites, other insects and even mice may have their way with the toys if given the chance. If you must store toys in the garage, make sure they are secured in airtight containers. Check out these 12 awesome ideas for storing toys.

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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. So never store your propane tanks in your garage or storage unit. And here are 10 other things you should never keep in a storage unit.

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Old computers

 

Humidity and temperature ups and downs can cause computers and other electronics to short out. Always store electronics inside your home. And if it’s time to get rid of old computers, follow this advice for ways to recycle just about anything.

Stack old photos on table. Mock-up blank paper. Postcard rumpled and dirty vintage. Retro cardNana_studio/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. Instead, here are the best ways to store old print photos.

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