Never Store These 15 Things in Your Garage (Or You'll Pay the Price)

Improper storage in your garage could cost you more than you think.
Updated May 8, 2024
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man carrying a box in a garage

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Is your garage turning into a catch-all for odds and ends?

While it's tempting to stash anything and everything in your garage, it's important to consider how well certain items withstand changing temperatures, moisture, and pests.

Here's a list of items that might be better off stored elsewhere to help you avoid wasting money on replacements down the road.

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lial88/Adobe brush dipped in a jar with paint

You may want to store paint in an out-of-the-way place like a garage if you don’t want it to cause much damage due to drips and spills.

However, paint can be sensitive to temperature fluctuations and you may end up with paint you can’t use and will have to replace if you need it for touch-ups and other issues.


Mikhailov Studio/Adobe kitchen table full with non-perishable foods

If you have a tight kitchen without much storage or a big pantry, it can be tough to find space for everything.

But avoid storing food in the garage. Containers that aren’t properly sealed can attract pests and other animals, and canned foods can be damaged by temperature changes.


nys/Adobe stack of clothes

You may have clothes you want to switch out from summer to winter, or you may not have the closet space to store long dresses or big coats.

Fabric stored in a garage can be more susceptible to mold and mildew due to heat and moisture than inside your home, so storing it outside could lead to costly cleaning bills or the need to spend money on new clothes.

If you still want to store clothes there, consider getting vacuum-seal bags to protect and store them in weather-proof containers.

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caftor/Adobe stack of books lying on table

Moisture can damage papers in the garage, including old books you may be holding on to or just don’t have room for inside.

Try to keep books stored in a dry area if you’re concerned about them getting ruined, or consider selling them to make money or donating them for others to read and enjoy.


VK Studio/Adobe man carries heap of wood

Firewood is great to have on hand during the winter months, and you may want to store it in your garage to protect it from rain and snow.

Firewood can also attract pests that may spread to the rest of your home if you leave it in your garage too long.

It could also make it hard to dry out, as storing wood outside allows for air circulation to dry the wood out compared to inside a garage.


Gorodenkoff/Adobe artist works on abstract oil painting

You may have a painting or a poster you can’t part with just yet, but there’s no free wall space to hang it up.

Find a good place to store it that isn’t your garage. The outside moisture and temperature changes could damage it enough that it may need costly repairs to restore it.


Igor Normann/Adobe whiskey poured on ice in glass

You may think storing liquor outside is safe as it likely won’t go bad.

However, liquor can be sensitive to heat changes, causing it to taste different. So, store it inside instead of getting stuck with a bill to replace your whiskey or bourbon.


Yon/Adobe printed pictures of holidays

Photographs may be relics of the past, but you probably still want to hold on to them if you can find storage space.

Garage storage could be a costly option, though, as mold, mildew, and other moisture could lead to costly restoration issues if you want to keep them.

Sleeping bags

New Africa/Adobe backpack and sleeping bag

You may be surprised that some outdoor camping gear shouldn’t be stored outside in your garage.

However, sleeping bags could have similar issues to clothes, as their fabric is susceptible to mold and mildew.

You may also have to buy a new one if you take your camping gear out for the summer and find pests and animals that have used it as a warm place to stay for the winter.

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Pet food

Jiri Hera/Adobe dry kibble food

Like human food, pet food can have issues with being outside in your garage.

You’ll want to store pet food in air-tight containers that don’t attract other animals, so finding an indoor storage solution may be better.

Toys Many colorful toys collection on desk

Toys can be fun for your kids but also take up a lot of space, so you may think storing some in the garage could be a good option.

But temperature issues can toys to break down more easily like the plastics in some items and you could get mold and mildew issues if they aren’t stored in an area free of moisture.

Old electronics

Pixel-Shot/Adobe different modern devices

You may have an old computer or tablet that is taking up space somewhere, and you need to move it.

Old electronics can break down when outside instead of a moisture-free area or temperature-controlled setting.

Instead, consider recycling them if you no longer use them or finding a trade-in program to get credit for your electronics.


ChiccoDodiFC/Adobe persian rugs and kilim

You may have a rug that you don’t have space for just yet, or you may be waiting to get new flooring to bring it out.

But rugs, like fabric, can be sensitive to the moisture in a garage, and rolled-up rugs are great places for mold and mildew to grow.

Wood furniture

mavoimages/Adobe furniture designer sanding

Wood furniture can be beautiful inside, but you may not have the space for it.

Unfortunately, it can be exposed to elements outside in your garage that can cause it to break down and rot or attract pests, so you may want to find another option.

Important papers

JohnKwan/Adobe Social Security and retirement income

You may think important papers are safer in the garage than somewhere obvious inside your house, or perhaps you don’t have the space to store them inside.

However, important papers can have the same issues as books and photographs, with moisture and mildew causing issues.

Bottom line

rh2010/Adobe handywoman searching working tools

By following these tips, you can keep your belongings safe and easily accessible. Remember to declutter your garage regularly and consider selling items you no longer need.

This will not only free up space but also help you make extra money on the side.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and

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