Storage Mistakes to Avoid

Rarely used objects often end up in our favorite hideaway spots – the attic, basement or garage. But storing your stuff where it seems most convenient isn't always the best, or safest, idea. Some items are too fragile for these environments, while others could even become dangerous in unregulated conditions.

Set aside an afternoon to roll up your sleeves and implement these home storage tips to keep your home and possessions protected.

Keep Out! (Garage Edition)

For the most part, objects like garden tools or car supplies will do fine in the garage. However, fluctuating temperatures make the space off limits for anything that's too delicate, combustible or that may attract vermin.

Some common household items that don't hold up well in the garage include:

  • Photographs — Moisture, heat and pollutants from your car can cause photos to fade and crinkle over time.
  • Flammables — Sparking engines should be kept far away from potentially leaky propane tanks. Instead of putting them in an enclosed space, always store tanks outside on a flat surface.
  • Perishables — Insects and rodents can make a meal out of almost anything. This includes fabrics, paper and even firewood. Unless you have an outdoor fridge, bring any perishables, even canned and boxed items, inside.

More Than Just the Stairs: Basement and Attic Hazards

Attics and basements are bonus storage spaces in many homes, but each comes with some risk from the elements.

In the basement, Homeowners need to protect against excess moisture, mold and flooding. Keep your favorite items longer by storing them off the ground and in a sturdy container.

Attics tend to experience extreme temperature spikes, so anything sensitive that may warp or melt shouldn't be placed here. Holiday decor, clothing and luggage typically do well, but if you’re not sure about an item, it's better to err on the side of caution.

As a general rule, anything that's sentimental or financially valuable should be kept safely in the temperature-controlled parts of your home. Implement these storage rules and extend the life of your seasonal and rarely-used items like a storage professional.