Where should or shouldn't you store things in your home !!

Dated: November 24 2022

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Real Estate 101
Market Trends
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Home Improvements and Design

Where You Should (and Shouldn’t) Store Things in Your Home

The changeover to fall and winter is often a little melancholy in Canada as we bid adieu to the fair weather months and hunker down for winter. The storage battle is sometimes a challenge, particularly if you’ve added something like new outdoor furniture,or if you have leftovers from a summer renovation project. 

The garage, basement, and attic are all go-to seasonal storage solutions—we know this. In the crunch to get everything put away, it’s tempting to simply stick it where it fits. That could be, unfortunately, a setup for disappointment. 

The garage, basement, and attic are three distinct environments and the things they store best aren’t always interchangeable. To help you make sure everything in storage survives the winter, check out our recommendations below!

Tips for organizing your garage, with Dos and Don'ts
Image via Giphy

The garage

In your neighbourhood, there may exist a garage or two that have never actually stored cars. Like flat surfaces inside a house, empty garages seem to invite random storage. 

Obvious contenders for storage space in the garage are anything car-related, from antifreeze and oil to bike racks and camping gear you’ll load up again in the spring. When there’s no shed, lawn and garden tools are another logical garage resident. Storing outdoor items is okay, as long as they can withstand cold temperatures and variable humidity. You’ll also need to be sure any appliances or machinery are stored according to the manufacturer. Some items may need to be stored with topped-up fluid levels while others, like a pressure washer, should be completely drained before being stored away.

Inflammables top the list of things to keep in a garage, both for the fire risk and the potential for hazardous fumes. While the garage is the best place to store gasoline, it must be stored in a suitable container, like the ubiquitous red plastic gas can. 

Don��t store anything that might attract animals or insects. It’s virtually impossible to seal a garage, so pet food and birdseed are fair game. Anything that’s potential bedding, things like paper, books, bedding, or sleeping bags are at risk in a garage.

Basement Storage: Dos and Don'ts
Image via Giphy


Basements are a bit of a storage game of chance. A finished, well-sealed, and dehumidified space may be no different than anywhere else in your home in terms of storage risk. 

The unfinished basement or utility room, however, is a different matter. Dampness and mould might be the biggest hazards here. Temperature swings can cause problems and the risks of sewer backups or a failed sump pump are a real issue in some parts of the country, particularly older and rural neighbourhoods. 

Family memories like photos and school crafts are often most vulnerable to damage in high-humidity locations. If you’ve sorted through the things you want to keep, treat them as the precious heirlooms they are and store them somewhere more suitable. 

Your basement probably isn’t the insect magnet to rival your garage, but it’s often a gathering place for centipedes, spiders, and silverfish. Keep clothes out of the basement if you’re aware of these pests

With a heating vent and/or dehumidifier, the rules for basements change; however,  it’s still a good idea to keep things off the floor in case of flooding. Consider containers with tight-fitting lids and add silica gel packs and lavender sachets to further protect stored items. 

Attic Storage & Safety Tips
Image via Giphy

The attic

Contemporary engineered roof trusses and vaulted ceilings reduce the potential for attic storage for some, but in older neighbourhoods, the upper levels are still a seasonal solution used by many. 

It’s not, however, always a good storage location for Canadian homes, and that’s not because of potential damage to your stored goods. The attic has an important function in keeping your home warm and it requires insulation. 

Since heat rises, preventing the transfer of warm air into the attic space means you’re heating less of your house. While it’s true that you could still store seasonal items over the insulation, you’re introducing them into a less hospitable environment. Warmer house means a colder attic. 

While you might still have success storing things that can handle temperature and humidity extremes, there are some things that should never venture all the way upstairs. Avoid storing leather goods in the attic, as it can stain from humidity or crack in dry temperatures. If you have spare fire extinguishers lying around, keep those out of the attic as well. Extreme heat can reduce the lifespan and efficacy of the extinguisher—not a risk worth taking. 

Flammables and toxins are also at the top of the list of exclusions. Fumes from these are an issue, and with a potential for flames above your smoke detectors, a fire can gain a serious foothold without warning. Similarly, roof leaks can be active for some time before a wet spot on the ceiling alerts you, so anything in a cardboard box is vulnerable. Also, attics are yet another place prone to pests. 

Organizing Your Home's Storage Space
Image via Giphy

If you’re not able to store things in your home—maybe you live in a condo or apartment, or you’ve already maxed out your storage options—storage units and facilities could also be a good way to go. When it comes to what belongs in a storage unit, it falls in line with many of the things you would store in your garage. Tools, seasonal items, patio furniture, or even summer or winter tires could be good options for your out-of-home storage. 

However, when it comes to what you can’t store in these places might be more important. Avoid putting things like sentimental items, flammable items, food (for people or for pets), anything still wet or damp as it could grow mold and mildew, scented items, or things you’ll need on a frequent basis. The company you rent from will likely have a list of things you can and cannot store in their units, so it’s best to consult with them if you’re unsure of what to bring.

Image via Gif Globe

If you need to purge , consider a yard sale. A thorough declutter will increase the availability of quality storage space. The same holds true for things you’ve been hanging onto long past their best before dates. Look up your local hazardous waste disposal sites and get rid of those past-their-prime paints and unidentified chemicals. You’ll not only make more room, you have a head start on next year’s spring cleaning. 

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Bill Morris

I work by referral. I service my clients to ensure they are completely satisfied. I look after them before, during and after the sale. If you want to make sure your clients family or friends are looke....

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Where should or shouldn't you store things in your home !!

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