When you’re scoping out a new place to live, the storage spaces are probably one of your top considerations.
Does the home feature walk-in closets or tiny closets? How large is the hallway coat closet?
The garage, attic, shed, basement and closets are typical home storage options, but each of those choices comes with their own drawbacks. Read on to learn more about the potential hazards lurking in your home storage spaces and how to protect your belongings when using them.
Garages are spacious and convenient, but burglars also target these spaces.
Reinforce your garage’s security if you use this as a storage space. If your garage has a lot of windows, consider installing an alarm. Don’t leave any expensive tools, furniture or appliances in the garage.
Finally, make sure that the storage in your garage doesn’t block your ingress or egress.
“Always keep the garage pathways clear,” said Lauren Bowling, a home-improvement blogger at L Bee and the Money Tree.
“It’s easiest to pile things near the doors, but you’ll want to keep those pathways clear … in case there’s a fire,” Bowling said.
Basements are also large and convenient storage spaces.
Unfortunately, many basements run the risk of water-table drainage, moisture seepage and flooding issues.
If your basement is in a flood-prone area or if you live in an older home, your items are under threat from water mishaps like floods, broken sump-pumps or cracked moisture barriers.
“If you place anything in the basement, put it on shelves,” said Bowling. “Water can get into the basement and the flooding can ruin your belongings. Shelves are a must.”
Store your items on a raised platform so that any flooding won’t cause immediate damage. In addition, keep your items in waterproof containers. You don’t want to deal with sopping wet cardboard and ruined mementos.
An attic is a great storage option, but be careful when choosing what items you store there. Your attic will experience extreme temperature changes, particularly high heat.
“When it’s 90 degrees outside, your attic can reach temperatures above 130 degrees,” said William Sisk, founder of Sunflower Solar, a residential solar panel installation company based in Colorado. “It also fluctuates between daytime and nighttime temperatures, especially in dry climates.”
Avoid storing any wax items (such as holiday decorations), since these will most likely melt from the summer heat. Glass items like snow globes are best stored in interior closets where the temperature fluctuations won’t cause your item to crack.
Moisture control isn’t just important for basements. Frequently check your roof for failing shingles or leaky spots that could let moisture into your attic and cause mold spores to multiply into your home, damaging both your home’s structure and any stored items.
Unless your attic features a permanent stairwell to access the space, don’t store items that you need on a regular basis. Carrying big, heavy boxes up and down foldaway stairs is dangerous.
Attics are also the easiest point of entry for animals to get into your home. At least once a year, check the eaves of your house to make sure that no pests have clawed or chewed their way through.
It’s tempting to use a shed for storage, since it’s out-of-sight and away from the main home. But sheds are frequently subject to pests, rodents, humidity, mold and burglars. They are the most vulnerable storage option for any homeowner.
Only store items in sheds that were specifically designed for continuous outdoor use. A shed is an ideal space for your garden hose, rake, or leaf blower. It’s not a place to store your grandmother’s heirloom dresser.
If you’re looking for storage options outside of your home, search SelfStorage.com for facilities near you.