Shop Pre-built
Design Your Own

​What NOT to Store in an Outdoor Shed​ or Garage

by Dakota Storage Buildings, on September 15, 2022

Find out what not to store in an outdoor shed

Avoid Disaster By Keeping These Items Away From Storage Sheds

Storage sheds and garages are fantastic resources for keeping your items organized yet out of sight. A backyard storage shed can be an attractive addition to your outdoor decor and increase your storage capacity by hundreds of square feet. There are tons of things that are perfect for storing in your outdoor shed or garage: ATVs, snowmobiles, motorcycles, and large items that don’t fit in the house. We don’t often think about what not to store in a shed, but it’s knowledge worth acquiring! Here are the top 8 things you should not be storing in a shed or garage.

Can I Store Food in a Shed or Garage?

Food, whether it’s perishable or not, should not be stored in a garage or shed. Fluctuations in temperature can cause food to spoil faster, and storing your food in outdoor-adjacent places can attract pests and rodents.

This goes for any food you’re going to feed any member of your family, furry and feathered friends included. Pet food and seed should be stored indoors, not in a garage or shed.

According to, canned foods have a reduced shelf life in a room above 70°F. Most food degrades at 95°F. Furthermore, if your canned products freeze throughout the winter, they may be thawed, but the nutrition quality and taste may suffer.

Utah State University recommends against letting home-sealed cans or jars freeze.

“Freezing changes food textures, and leads to rust, bursting cans, and broken seals that may let in harmful bacteria,” they write. “Always store metal cans off of the floor, especially bare concrete. Moisture can wick up to cans and encourage rusting.”

Obviously, if you have a temperature-controlled solution, like the beloved Midwestern staple of a garage freezer, this advice may not be necessary. There are also ways to insulate a shed or garage to make the space more temperature-stable. But if your shed is not altered specifically to be temperature stable, keep any food items in your pantry.

Do not store FOOD in your shed or garage

Can I Keep Musical Instruments in My Garage?

Depending on the material, musical instruments can be harmed by heat or moisture. Wood, for example, is greatly influenced by both. Brass instruments can rust when exposed to moisture or humidity, therefore keep humidity management in mind when storing them. Sheds are not appropriate for keeping any musical instruments that you want to preserve in good condition.

According to, excessive humidity can weaken glue connections and soften the wood, exposing the instrument to irreversible deformation. The neck becomes prone to bending, which can result in diminished neck projection, elevated strings, and fingerboard depression. It is critical to keep equipment in a regulated environment that does not change by the weather.

Do not store MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS in your shed or garage

Is it Safe to Store Artwork in My Shed?

Because artwork is sensitive to both heat and moisture, it requires temperature and humidity management. Expansion and contraction can cause warping, while moisture can lead to mold growth. High heat and sun exposure can cause discoloration. Furthermore, variations in temperature and humidity can cause paint to flake and fracture, as well as the canvas to expand and compress. Keep artwork in a stable and regulated atmosphere for long-term storage.

Do you want to properly preserve your artwork? In their article "How to Pack Your Artwork for Long-Term Storage," provides excellent recommendations.

Do not store ARTWORK in your shed or garage

Are Electronics Safe When Kept in a Garage?

Electronics such as microwaves, phones, laptops, and so on, like food, instruments, and art, can be harmed by excessive heat. Don't let the excessive heat or cold destroy the DVD players, record players (and records! ), televisions, and computers you've been intending to gift to charity. They won't help anyone in such a case. Furthermore, if pests get into your shed, they may harm this equipment by gnawing through wires.

According to, batteries and ink cartridges should be removed before you store your electronics as well. Any electronics should be protected from temperature fluctuations, direct sunlight, and moisture.

Do not store ELECTRONICS in your shed or garage

Can I Keep My Things in Cardboard Boxes in the Shed?

If you're planning to keep your possessions outside in a shed, don't put them in cardboard boxes. This includes seasonal décor (yes, your Christmas decorations, too! ), outgrown apparel, and keepsakes. Insects, vermin, mold, and water or moisture damage are always a risk when storing items in cardboard boxes. Choose waterproof, pest-proof plastic containers over cardboard, especially if you want to keep garments in a shed.

Large plastic storage tubs often go on sale around the holidays, so you can even have Halloween-colored tubs for your Halloween decorations and red and green storage solutions for your Christmas ornaments.

Download Free Storage Items List

Do not store CARDBOARD in your shed or garage

Will My Photos Keep in the Garage?

Moisture and high temperatures can cause beloved photographs to clump together and even mold to develop. For climate and humidity management, a closet within your home is a preferable option.

Trust us, it is really unpleasant to discover your precious memories are stuck together and ruined because they got wet.

According to, you should properly store your images by keeping them in a dark, well-ventilated, temperature-controlled environment that is below 75°F and humidity-free. High temperatures can interfere with the chemicals used in picture processing, resulting in discoloration.

Do not store PHOTOS in your shed or garage

Can I Keep Important Documents in My Shed?

Important documents such as social security cards, passports, birth and marriage certificates, and other difficult-to-replace paperwork that might be destroyed by moisture should be placed in a waterproof and fireproof safe, you may have been instructed. It is far safer to keep that safe in your home office or bedroom than in your backyard shed. Sure, it's "out of the way," but it's also more susceptible.

Even with security systems, robust locks, and outdoor lighting, a criminal may still break into your shed. The last thing you want is for them to come upon a safe, which will scream: THE REAL VALUABLES ARE IN HERE!

Do not store IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS in your shed or garage

Can Paint Go Bad in a Garage?

Paint, refinishing solvents, and stain that are stored in a shed or garage frequently deteriorate. Outdoor storage buildings, such as sheds or garages, can be troublesome because they can get too chilly in the winter, too hot in the summer, and may have moisture issues.

Extreme temperatures may wreak havoc on the remaining paint. Some paints split, leaving a curdled, useless mess behind. Keep in mind that paint cans left on a cement floor and exposed to moisture can soon corrode through. A better location to keep paint is on a shelf in your basement.

Do not to PAINT in your shed or garage

Note: SOME of These Items CAN BE Stored in Your Shed or Garage IF...

If you choose to add shed insulation, humidity control, and an apparatus to regulate temperature, you can make your outside shed or garage a satisfactory place to store almost anything (except important, legal, or personal documents!).

High-quality shed insulation and a thermostat can stabilize the temperature in your shed and, often, the humidity. If more humidity control is needed, bringing in a small dehumidifier might do the trick.

So, what can you store in a normal, non-insulated, non-temperature controlled shed or garage? A lot. This post covered what you definitely should not store, but there's so much that you can store. Doing so frees up space in your house, makes access to lawn & garden tools and equipment more convenient, and protects all your outdoor recreation items — like bikes — from the elements.

For quick reference, here's our list of items that can absolutely be stored in your shed.

Download Free Shed Buying Workbook

More organization, storage, and related tips.

More articles:

Topics:Storage Ideas & Organization Tips

Subscribe to Updates


What goes into finding your best-fit shed?