A short time ago, we told you that there are certain things you should never store in your garage. Now we’re going to tell you the ten things you should avoid storing in your basement.
We know that the millions of toys your kids have racked up over the years is taking up valuable space in the main part of your house, but if you want to hang on to those toys (who knows they may become collector’s items some day), you should avoid storing them in your basement. Toys, especially plush toys, can’t withstand the moisture typically found in basements. “They all need dry, moderate temperatures for proper storage, and dampness from humidity or water leakage is a problem for everything,” Carolyn Forte, director of Good Housekeeping’s home appliances and cleaning products, said in an article published by Good Housekeeping. “It ruins items and promotes mold growth.”
Firewood is perfectly fine when left outside. After all, there’s a reason why wood (a.k.a. trees) is outside to begin with. And, for those of you who feel as though you’re doing yourself a favor by storing that extra firewood in your basement so you won’t have to go outside and brave the elements just to get it and bring it back inside, you’re actually not doing yourself any favors at all. In fact, you’re making things a bit harder on yourself. You know those higher humidity levels associated with basements? Well, they make it hard for your firewood to dry out, and that makes the wood useless–at least until it’s able to dry out, that is. With that said, it’s best to keep your firewood outdoors, away from your home or any other structures. And, put a tarp on top of it to keep the rain off. Make sure the tarp doesn’t cover the sides so air can flow through and allow the wood to dry.
If you don’t want to end up with a big ball of wax, you’ll need to find some place other than your basement to store your candles. This is especially true during the warmer months when the heat and humidity in your basement could cause the candles to melt. Instead, store them in a closet or other temperature-controlled space.
DID YOU KNOW?
Most homeowners insurance policies don’t cover damage to items caused by temperature fluctuations. That’s according to Jim Taylor, head of claims compliance, quality and customer experience at Farmers Insurance.
7. Anything Flammable or Hazardous
Propane tanks, paint, gasoline, kerosene, turpentine, garden chemicals and cleaning products should be stored outside, away from your home or garage. Storing these items near gas related-sources (furnaces, dryers, fireplaces, stoves/ovens, water heaters), which we often do, is asking for trouble, as there is a risk of fire or possibly an explosion, especially when it comes to propane tanks. A fire or explosion can mean damage to your property, and worst of all, injury to yourself and/or your loved ones.
-Store propane tanks outside on a flat, stable surface FAR away from open flames.
-Take any leftover hazardous or toxic chemicals to a nearby hazardous waste collection site.
There are two reasons why you shouldn’t store your books in your basement. One: the heat and humidity can cause them to become discolored and stained, and can cause mold to grow on them as well. Two: storing books in your basement is an open invitation to bugs–specifically silverfish. “Silverfish are insects that thrive in dark, damp environments such as basements and crawl spaces and the bugs love to feast on starchy substances, such as the glue that binds books,” Reader’s Digest wrote in an article published on its website.
5. Wood Furniture
Wood furniture can mold, mildew, warp, expand and crack in the basement. Keep in mind that upholstered furniture can mold in high humidity as well, plus it can harbor odors. But, if you absolutely must store your furniture in the basement, follow these tips to keep them looking good for as long as possible:
-Store your furniture on planks, cinder blocks or anything else that can keep it elevated. This will help keep your items safe in the event of flooding.
–Cover your furniture to keep it from becoming soiled and/or scratched.
4. Important Documents
Birth certificates, passports, medical records, marriage licenses, diplomas, family photos, magazines, newspaper clippings, artwork, paintings and any other documents you cherish do not belong in the basement, where they could not only get damaged by water and humidity, but could also fall into the wrong hands. Instead, keep all your important documents inside your home in a dry, safe place–perhaps in plastic containers on a closet shelf, or in a wall safe, floor safe, or a safe deposit box.
Unless you’re planning on throwing away your old computers and other electronic gadgets, don’t store them in the basement. Temperature fluctuations can ruin the components. Instead, store unused electronics on a shelf in a closet inside your home, or consider donating them to a thrift shop or some local organization that accepts donations of that sort. You could also choose to recycle them, or perhaps even sell them online. Lots of people are willing to pay top dollar for outdated electronics.
2. Natural Fabrics
Because of the high humidity levels typically found in basements, you’ll want to keep your cotton, linen, silk and wool fabrics out of there. As the Smithsonian’s Museum Conservation Institute points out, cotton and linen fabrics can begin growing mold at 80 percent humidity, and wool and silk fabrics can begin growing mold at 92 percent humidity. You should also avoid storing fur and leather in the basement as well.
TIP: Store your clothes in plastic containers, in sealed plastic bags, in boxes under your bed, or in a linen closet.
1. Some Food
Non-perishables and certain root vegetables are perfect for storing in your basement–other foods not so much. Anything that’s perishable should not be kept in the basement because it could attract insects and mildew, and cause the food to rot. But, if you absolutely must store your perishables there, Sean Meredith of SM Inspection Services in Indianapolis recommends packing them in airtight plastic bags, then putting those bags in airtight canisters.
TIP: Be careful when storing canned goods in your basement as well. Temperature fluctuations could cause the food to spoil.
Now that you know what you shouldn’t store in your basement, you might want to hustle down there real quick and get any of the things on this list you may have stored there out of there. Thanks for reading!