State Farm Insurance has released a new list of items that you probably shouldn't be storing in your garage, at least for long periods of time. Some of them probably make sense, but others might come as a surprise.

Some create definite hazards to your home, others could result in the items being stored becoming ruined.  In no particular order, here they are:

  • Extra fuel-gas or propane. Gas cans? big fat no. Propane tanks? maybe, if they're contained in a storage package and are where temperatures will not become extreme.  If you must store fuel around the home, even lighter fluid for a BBQ, use a storage shed away from the home. It wasn't that long ago that home in Kennewick where the folks were trying to BBQ in the garage and it went up in flames, the fire was fueled by additional propane stored inside.
  • Paint or Home Improvement Chemicals.  While this can be a safety issue, if certain chemicals leak, it's often a money loss issue.  Latex paint and other water-based elements will freeze, rendering them useless even if they thaw out.
  • Furniture and Clothing.  This might come as a surprise, but temperature extremes can warp, distort and even break furniture. Clothing is subject to moisture and condensation from varying temps in the garage, inviting mold and insects, and rodents. If you have to store furniture, try to take it apart as much as possible and store in plastic in boxes that are no sitting directly on the floor.
  • Food of any kind.  Even if it's just pet or dog food, any kind of food invites mice, rodents, insects and other visitors. They're remarkably able to detect food, chew or pry their way into it, ruining it. Don't store any kind of food in the garage, unless it in a freezer that's in good shape and sealed well, and the freezer works.
  • Valuables, Electronics.  Even when wrapped or stored in a box, the temperature extremes in a garage can cause items to warp, and unless it's a climate controlled environment, they can be damaged. Same goes for sensitive personal records, papers and other items.

While some folks might find some of these unusual or silly, consider this. State Farm did this study because they've actually had (and so have other insurance companies) people try to make claims on such items that were stored in garage and then got 'ruined' to varying degrees.