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8 Things You’ll Regret Leaving in Your Garage This Winter

Double check and make sure not to accidentally leave these items in your chilly garage!

Exterior of detached house during winter time

Keep these things out of your garage during the cold season

The garage tends to be a catch-all place to store items that don’t really have a home or spot inside your house. That’s usually OK, but the changes in temperature in your garage could damage some of your stuff, which is why you shouldn’t leave these things in your garage this winter. Also, make sure you don’t store these things in your car during the winter, either.

Paint and brush on the Pine wooden background with copy space

Paint or wood stain

Since paint and wood stain separates or solidifies during freezing temperatures, you shouldn’t keep either in your garage during the winter, according to Vineta Jackson, a home improvement and DIY expert. “Even a heated garage can cause problems if the cans are along uninsulated exterior walls,” Jackson says. Paint is one of the few things, however, that you should store upside down.

Two home use propane tanks stored outside against building wall with a gravel foreground. Horizontal.
Noel V. Baebler/Shutterstock

Propane tanks

Never store propane tanks indoors, and that includes your garage. If a tank springs a leak, the spaces may fill with gas and potentially explode, according to Jackson. Instead, consider storing it under the deck stairs, hidden from sight, so it still has plenty of airflow to disperse any leaking gas, Jackson says. Propane tanks are one of the things you should never store in your garage, no matter the time of year.


Off-season clothes

So many people keep off-season clothes in the garage, but it’s definitely something you will regret leaving there in the winter. Moisture from melting snow off your car can seep into cardboard boxes and ruin them and your clothes, Jackson says. “If your closets are truly overflowing, store your extra outfits in plastic bins and keep them off the concrete floor and on storage shelves,” Jackson says. A seasonal clothing switch won’t stress you out if you know how to store off-season clothes.

Pile of printed photographs in disorder on a photo album with pictures.
Valentina Perfilyeva/Shutterstock

Printed photographs

Keep the photos you cherish in mint condition, and store them indoors. This is especially true if you don’t have digital copies. If you do leave printed pictures in the garage during the winter, the cold can quickly ruin their quality. Since your garage isn’t an option, note these tips to keep antique photos looking their best.

Firewood for the winter, stacks of firewood, pile of firewood.
Martin Baliga/Shutterstock


No matter how much firewood you buy, it’s a waste if the logs freeze in the garage, according to Stephany Smith, a home improvement expert at Bob’s Handyman Services. And that’s not the only reason you’ll regret storing firewood in the garage during the winter. “Keep in mind that wood is a natural material, and some pests can make their homes in the log piles,” Smith says. “If you bring insects, like termites, ants, or beetles, together with the wood indoors, they can migrate to your wood furniture and cause damage.” The safest storage option is to elevate covered firewood on metal racks at least two inches above the floor, Smith advises.

Pile of used Electronic Waste on white background, Reuse and Recycle concept, Top view

Old electronics

Cold weather is one of the biggest enemies of your old-school PC, spare parts, radio, appliances, and old cameras, too. Smith says not to store these things in an unheated garage because extreme temperatures and rising dampness could cause parts of your gadget to rust, crack, or short later on. So opt for re-selling, upcycling, or donating them.

Close-up Of Person Hand Applying Silicone Sealant With Silicone Gun On Window

Caulking or wall patching compounds

Any type of caulking or wall patching compounds needs to go from your garage before the winter. According to Lou Manfredini, a national Ace Hardware spokesperson, leaving these things in your garage is something you’ll absolutely regret. Both could freeze, and if they do, they become unusable—even if they eventually thaw out, Manfredini says.

Aluminum cans of food
Jon Schulte/Shutterstock

Canned food and pet food

Canned foods keep at temperatures between 50 and 70 degrees, anything less than that could be a problem. And pet food in paper or cardboard packaging attracts rodents looking for a warm place to hang out.

Emily DiNuzzo
Emily DiNuzzo is a former staff writer at Reader’s Digest. There’s a 90% chance Emily is drinking tea right now, but when she’s not writing about food and health with a cuppa by her side, you can find her lifting at the gym, listening to murder mystery podcasts and liking one too many astrology memes.