For many of us Americans, the basement or garage can become a catchall for miscellaneous junk, seasonal items, and, quite frankly, things we tend to forget about. About 25% of us can't even fit our cars into our garage. While we might fit a lot of Christmas decorations, old clothes, and photo albums in places where we hardly ever go, there are some things you shouldn't keep in a basement or garage. This is adapted from a recent MSN Money magazine and I wanted to add my own take on the subject. You are seven things you should probably never keep in your basement or garage.
#1. Propane tanks.
Just about all of us have an extra propane tank for our barbecue lying around but it's not a good idea to leave it in an enclosed place. If the tank were to leak and it's near the car, a furnace, or electrical panel, it could be disastrous. If a fire breaks out, and electrical current happens, or a leak that could affect the health of people in the house, it could be fatal. It's best to keep them outdoors, on a flat, stable surface.
I'm mainly talking about natural fabrics here. We usually store our seasonal items in the off-season but the basement or garage is not the best place. Humidity levels are higher in a basement and because it's underground, it doesn't get heated and cooled like the rest of the house. Cotton and linen fabrics can be given a growing mold at 80% humidity and wool and silk will begin to grow mold at 92% humidity. It's best to keep them in a linen closet or even the attic.
The same with fabric, wood furniture can warp in humid conditions. Upholstered furniture can mold, and it's a perfect place for rodents and other pests to take up residence in. If you don't care what happens to the furniture, it's best to donate it otherwise, keep it inside if possible.
#4. Photo albums.
This also goes for important papers and documents such as passports, birth certificates, marriage license, and medical records. It's best to store these in a dry, central location in your home. If you store these in a garage, burglars and other criminals could have access to them and due to the humidity, they could be damaged by mold, mildew, or chewed on by rodents.
#5. Extra firewood.
Unless you have a wood-burning stove downstairs, it's best to keep the majority of wood outside. You don't want rodents, insects, and spiders making their home inside of your home and because homes are typically more humid, it won't do the wood any good either to be in such a humid, wet environment. A tarp on top of an outdoor woodpile is the best way to store your firewood.
#6. A refrigerator.
You might think that the garage is the best place to store an additional or extra refrigerator but it's actually the basement that would be the better option. Basements, although cooler than the rest of the house, do not have to deal with the extreme temperatures the garage might experience. But, there is actually a refrigerator garage kit specifically designed to maintain the proper temperature for a refrigerator in the garage.
Especially around the Pacific Northwest, our temperature fluctuations from season to season can be great and it will have on the fact on items such as wine, candles, and electronics. Homeowners insurance policies usually do not cover damage to items from temperature fluctuation so it's important to keep wine, candles and other items in a temperature controlled environment.
Take the seven tips to maintain all of your items in your home, basement or garage at the perfect temperature for safety and damage free storage.
Additional Tips for Homeowners: