The most common reason we hear, while homeowners are considering a new garage, is for “additional storage.” While the car is the most obvious item being stored, many homeowners are not certain what else is suitable for this specific space.

Being as this is an extremely multipurposed space, there are many ways to utilize a garage efficiently and safely while avoiding these common mistakes.

  1. Refrigerator and Freezer Chest – An additional refrigerator or freezer chest is always helpful, however, the space it is stored in is important, such as a climate-controlled While the extra footage in the garage seems ideal, the extreme midwestern climate shifts can be problematic overtime. The excess condensation may also prove problematic if the space is not properly ventilated.
  2. Photographs, Scrapbooks, and Paper Documents – Other items at risk in a non-climate-controlled space would be old photos or paper products. Aside from the excess moisture exposure, items such as these also pose a fire hazard to the structure. Any important memorabilia and documents are encouraged to be stored in air-tight containers, if not digitized, within the heated living space.
  3. Propane Tanks, Paint, and Hazardous Materials – Most commonly stored in the garage, these flammable items are extremely dangerous to the space. Back up propane tanks and additional paint kept for the purpose of touch ups, are often stored without proper safety precautions, or ventilation. If items such as propane tanks must be stored within the garage, ensure that the valve is shut off and kept away from fire hazards. Storing partially used paint in the garage can pose long-term issues. As the temperature within the structure changes, the color and consistency will eventually be affected. It is encouraged that homeowners find a local disposal facility to remove all unused and unnecessary chemicals from the garage safely and responsibly.
  4. Food and Alcohol – Canned or jarred, storing food in the garage is never suggested. It goes without saying that unwelcome critters and pests is a good reason to avoid storing any type of perishable in the garage. Further, extreme temperature changes can shorten the shelf life of those items as well as compromise alcohol, if not stored in a dry and climate-controlled space in the home. For example, wine requires a dark environment with stable humidity levels, which a garage does not often provide.
  5. Clothing and Furniture – With the exhaust from cars being stored and odors from garbage/lawn clippings; linens and furniture should never be stored in the garage, regardless of the container or bag in which they are stored. Between the temperature and humidity changes, exhaust fumes from the cars, and any critters who attempt to make a home in that space, these items are at risk of being damaged and/or ruined entirely. The integrity of any furniture stored in this space will be jeopardized as well. Furniture can warp or be damaged by water; therefore, the garage is not an idea location to store furniture of any kind.

What then is safe to store? Miscellaneous athletic materials, yard or exterior holiday decorations, and tools can be stored, and organized, safely within your new structure. For more information, or for a FREE consultation and estimate, contact Heartland Garage Builders at or 224-326-2698.