As American consumers keep purchasing—and holding onto—more stuff, garages have continued their transformation from car housing to storage unit. A Consumer Reports survey found that almost one-third of homeowners with a garage never park even their vehicles in the space, regardless of its size, and 62 percent indicated that their garage was crowded and disorganized.
The problem is that most garages weren’t built to function as all-purpose storage units. The lack of insulation, ventilation, and/or climate control means that it’s usually not the best place to stash your stuff—including the items below.
Books, periodicals, photos, documents, and other papers
Don’t keep your magazine collection, family photos, important paperwork, or anything else primarily made of paper in your garage, as humidity and other moisture can cause damage beyond repair.
Furniture made of solid wood or particle board can warp or crack from the humidity and changes in temperature, changes, while metal furniture might start to rust.
Your garage shouldn’t double as your pantry, so find somewhere else to keep your canned and dry goods. This also applies to pet food and bird seed, which can attract outdoor pests and make it easier for them to gain access to the inside of your home.
A garage isn’t the place to store clothing—even if it’s packed away in a plastic tote with a tight lid. The humidity and dampness can result in mold growth, or mice and other pests could decide to use your old sweaters for nesting material.
Carpets and rugs
Rolling up a carpet or rug and stashing it in your garage may seem like a great way to save space inside, but it can also leave you with moldy, deteriorating floor coverings.