To start off the upcoming New Year, Olympus Insurance is presenting our latest Homeowner Insights series on Home Safety. Last article, we covered how to perform a basic home safety audit. This week, we’re asking, “What are you storing in your garage?”
Garages are often considered the primary storage place for many household things, but not all items can or should be kept there. Here are some common items you might have in your garage that might be posing a risk to your home’s safety.
Items to store somewhere besides your garage:
Fabric is particularly vulnerable to moisture, mold, insects, and even chemical fumes. Clothing, linens, curtains, and fabric intended for sewing or crafts can also turn into nests for spiders and vermin.
Nearly 10% of burglaries include access through the garage, meaning valuables kept there can be easy targets. Temperature changes and humidity can also mean items stored in the garage are more easily damaged.
Wooden furniture can warp or attract pests that will chew it to pieces. Fabric upholstery can mold, mildew, and rot. Consider selling or donating furniture you don’t use, or repurposing it for use in a new way.
Oil based paint can separate in high temperatures, and latex can harden. Avoid storing paint in areas that aren’t climate-controlled, and make sure all lids are secure as paint fumes can be toxic and some paints are highly flammable. Store metal paint cans on wood or plastic shelving, not concrete.
5. Fuel and chemicals
All flammable substances, such as gas, oil, or other fuel, should be kept in a shed outside the house to reduce fire risk, and stored in approved fuel containers. Any cleaning chemicals should also be tightly capped and stored elsewhere to prevent fumes and container rupture from heat.
The fluctuating temperatures in a garage can make even canned food spoil faster, and bags of food can attract rodents and other animals.
Items that can safely be stored in your garage:
Now that we’ve gone over what not to keep in your garage, here’s what you can safely keep there for convenience.
Gardening tools and supplies
Spades, shovels, rakes, potting soil, and even pots and lawn decorations can be put in your garage for safekeeping if you don’t have a shed.
Balls, bats, nets, and other equipment can be safely stored in the off season – just make sure they are kept in rodent proof containers to avoid leather or wood being chewed up.
Pool cleaning equipment, toys, and furniture can be stored in the garage in between uses, reducing clutter and leaving less loose items outside during hurricane season.
Lawn care equipment and power tools
As long as any power cords are safely rolled up and wrapped to protect them from vermin teeth, you can store all kinds of tools in the garage. Make sure gas and oil caps are secured.
Various items can be put in storage bins to protect them from pests and humidity, then kept in your garage. Heavy plastic with a tight seal will deter most insects and smaller pests.
Cars, trucks, and ATVs
You can always store vehicles in a garage, of course. Just don’t leave items in an unused vehicle that you wouldn’t leave lying out in the garage itself.
Knowing what you can and can’t store in your garage makes your home a safer place. Next week, we’ll cover ways to help prevent your home electronics from power surges.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not form a part of, replace, change or amend any terms, conditions, provisions or language within your Olympus Insurance policy. We encourage you to read your entire policy.