When you own a home, outside of the closets, there are likely two main places where you can store your possessions: your garage and your basement. However, certain items will do better in one location over the other. Read on to learn about what to store in your garage and what is best to store in your basement.

What to Store in the Garage

In general, the items you should store in your garage have a common theme: they are all items that are used outdoors.

Car supplies – If you have a car, truck, or other vehicle, it likely spends a lot of time either in the garage or parked nearby. Therefore, it is only logical to store items for your vehicle, such as wiper fluid and extra tires, in your garage. The garage is also a good place for things you often transport in or on your car, such as a roof rack or camping gear.

Yard and gardening toolsTools and equipment like shovels, hoses, outdoor extension cords, lawnmowers, and flowerpots can all be stored in the garage. Bags of soil and ice melt also make good candidates for garage storage.

Outdoor toys – Any product for outdoor entertainment can withstand the elements, so it can be stored in the garage when not in use. This includes bicycles, patio furniture, children’s toys, and pool accessories.

Infrequently used items – If you have an attic, you may already store infrequently used items there, but if you don’t, the garage can be a great place to keep them out of sight. Just remember that delicate items may be ruined in Canada’s extreme temperatures.

What Not to Store in the Garage

The items you should not store in the garage fall into three main categories: dangerous materials, things that will attract pests, and delicate objects.

Hazardous materials – Anything flammable or otherwise hazardous should be approached with caution. For example, propane tanks can leak and ignite and should be stored outside in a well-ventilated area.

Items that attract pests or vermin – Don’t tempt animals and insects by storing items in your garage that they can make a meal out of or a home in. This includes actual food, including pet food and wild bird seed. Even if it is packed in a storage container, it is not necessarily safe.

Fragile or valuable items – Even if your garage is insulated, it is still more exposed to the elements than the rest of your home. As a general rule, don’t store anything in your garage that you wouldn’t keep in the trunk of your car.

What to Store in the Basement

In general, the items you store in the basement have a common theme: they are all items you use indoors.

Plastic furniture – While any furniture could be stored in the basement, there is always a risk of water damage, with certain materials being more susceptible to damage than others. Plastic furniture is the safest to keep below ground.

Kitchen Supplies – Often, homeowners keep a pantry in the basement with extra food and drinks. You could also store those countertop kitchen appliances in the pantry that you only pull out a handful of times each year and don’t need to always have available.

Toys – If you have children, they likely have toys they are either too young or too old for that are being stored. The basement is the ideal location to have them nearby to switch them out when needed.

What Not to Store in the Basement

The items you should not store in the basement are anything that could be susceptible to water damage.

Photos and paper documents – Anything paper that is important, either practically or sentimentally, should not be stored in the basement. It only takes one incident of water damage for them to be ruined. Basements are also often damp, creating additional opportunities for damage.

Wood furniture – Wood naturally absorbs water, causing it to swell, weaken, fall apart, or form mould. The humid environment of a basement could cause it to deteriorate more quickly than in other areas of the house.

The garage is probably the best place to store your belongings if you run out of space in your closets. It is an even better choice if it is insulated. Whether you are storing items in the garage or the basement, installing a few shelves and using storage bins can go a long way in increasing storage space in your home.