There’s the clutter that comes from the kids and their activities. There’s the clutter from the Holiday decorations you never quite got back where they belong. There’s the clutter from your woodworking project. But, there are 4 kinds of clutter that can be dangerous in your garage. If they exist in your garage, get to work and clean this clutter up.
1. Combustible Chemicals. Garage fires are some of the most dangerous fires that can happen. Think about everything in your garage and how much of it will fuel flames – or even explode. If your garage is cluttered with things like fertilizer (yes, it has the same ingredients as a bomb), paint thinner, pesticides and, the main offender because it’s so common, gasoline, it’s time to go to work. First, identify the combustibles. Next, organize them. Make sure they are properly stored in their original containers or a safety container made to hold the product. Now, label them so you know what is what. Dispose of those you don’t need properly. Finally, make sure you have a Class B/C extinguisher that will work on grease, gasoline, oil and other flammable liquids. Plus, it will work on energized electrical equipment or cords. Finally, take the propane tanks out of the garage. It simply doesn’t belong there.
2. Chemical Clutter. This list can be a long one – everything from the bug spray to the weed killer. That’s not to mention pool chemicals, automotive fluids and much more. Many – probably most – of the chemicals you store in your garage are dangerous. Worse you may have kept that last bit of paint in a food container or an old jar – not a safe container. Remember, chemicals can eat through and erode a material. If not sealed, they can emit harmful fumes. That sweet antifreeze tastes good to a dog or a child, but it can be fatal. These chemicals should be stored in approved containers – check for the UL or ASTM seal for a metal or red plastic gasoline container. Store them all away from sunlight and off the floor in a locked cabinet. If you have an appliance with a pilot light in your garage, don’t even consider keeping or using gasoline in the garage.
3. Flammable Floor Coverings. These can become clutter. You put out a little rug to wipe your feet or you use the garage for a gathering (after you’ve cleaned it!) and put down a rug. There’s the piece of cardboard from when the car was leaking oil. Don’t forget the tarp you threw over the car. All are simply too flammable when they catch a drip of a flammable liquid. Stick with disposable, fire-retardant tarps and put some sawdust on the floor if there are any drips or spills.
4. Food. That bag of dog food … the potato chips for the weekend party … the extra cereal, if it comes in a bag or a box if can be dinner to pests you’d rather keep out of the garage. Mice will find a nice warm home – probably with plenty of hiding spots –and a cafeteria. Mice can carry disease and they can destroy things from your grandmother’s quilt to some of your Holiday decorations. Keep food in pest-proof containers that can’t be chewed or breached. Keep the garage for your family – not a family of rodents.
Be careful. Take care of what you store in your garage and take care of your garage. That door is huge and heavy and it goes up and down and up and down several times a day. Did you know a garage door can actually fall? Or, that the springs can snap and if they’re not contained do great damage? They can even injure or kill. So, while you’re making your garage safe don’t forget the phone. Call a licensed garage door maintenance, repair and replacement company – and schedule that yearly maintenance. You can get rid of the clutter but it takes a garage technician that’s a pro to give your garage door a complete safety check. So, the phone call is part of the safety routine.