Humans tend to accumulate things. Furniture, old appliances, toys, clothes—all of it swells with time, and many things tend to fall into the space between "useless" and "not currently useful." We pack items into spare rooms, into attics, and into garages. But the latter area isn't a catch-all storage unit. Homeowners should be more discerning about what they put in there.

A recent post from State Farm explains why. The biggest concern, according to the insurance company, is the fact that garages are not frequently climate-controlled or sealed, which creates unpredictable temperature fluctuations as well as the potential for pests to disturb your belongings. Cans of latex paint, for example, freeze at the same temperature as water and can be ruined if left in an unheated garage during the winter. In summers, a stuffy, overheated garage can warp wood in furniture. Old upholstered items and clothes are both vulnerable to pests and rodents. (Mouse poop is never a good sweater look.)

You should also think twice about storing food in the garage. Canned goods can rust if exposed to moisture, and temperatures over 85 °F aren't good for canned food safety or quality. The food can actually spoil. (Under 75 °F is ideal.) Some people keep a refrigerator in the space, but this also presents a problem: In an overly cold or warm room, the appliance can fail to operate efficiently.

One of the most common storage items you'll see in a car park is fuel, but that doesn't mean it's a good idea. Fuel can leak and present a fire hazard, particularly if it's near a heat source like a water heater. If you have to store fuel on your property, an unattached shed is best. If you have to use the garage, opt for a leak-proof container far out of the reach of children.

So what can you safely store in your garage? Aside from gardening and landscaping tools and sports equipment, try to limit personal belongings. If you have to utilize the space, it's a good idea to store items in plastic containers rather than cardboard, which can get wet.

[h/t State Farm]