When considering the utilization of a residential shed for storage, you need to ensure that the stored items neither compromise the safety of the environment nor pose any health hazards.
It’s important to remember that what you store in your shed can potentially harm your family, pets, and even first responders like firefighters in case of an emergency.
In this comprehensive guide, we delve into what can and cannot be safely stored in your shed, taking information from firefighter association websites, state hazardous handling sources, and insights from shed storage experts.
Items You CAN Safely Store in a Shed
- Garden Tools
- Reason: These are non-flammable and generally safe unless they’re sharp. Make sure tools are organized to avoid accidents.
- Lawnmowers & Other Outdoor Equipment
- Reason: They are designed for outdoor conditions and can be safely stored if the gas tank is empty or near-empty.
- Bicycles & Sports Equipment
- Reason: Non-flammable and pose no immediate threats. Ensure they are stored securely to prevent falling.
- Seasonal Decorations
- Reason: As long as they aren’t electronic or battery-operated, most decorations are safe in a shed.
- Canned Paints & Sealants
- Reason: While they can be flammable, when stored in their original, tightly-sealed containers, they’re generally safe.
Items You SHOULD NOT Store in a Shed
In hot conditions, some items are risky to store outside. Storing things like propane tanks, batteries, or spray paints in places exceeding 120? is dangerous due to explosion risks. Even if it’s cooler outside, enclosed spaces can trap heat. Unsure of your shed’s temperature? Use a thermometer. If uncertain, better to keep it outside.
- Gas Cylinders & Propane Tanks
- According to the Fire Fighter Association, these can leak or explode under certain conditions. Store them outside (under the cover) and away from structures.
- Hazardous Chemicals & Pesticides
- As per state hazardous handling guidelines, many chemicals release toxic fumes, which can accumulate. They can also leak and contaminate the ground.
- Old Electronics & Batteries
- Batteries, especially lithium-ion, can leak or even explode under certain conditions. Old electronics can contain hazardous materials.
- Food Items
- They can attract pests, rodents, and other unwanted guests.
- Flammable Liquids Outside Their Original Containers
- Improper storage of flammable liquids can increase the risk of spills, evaporation, and combustion.
- Explosive or Reactive Chemicals
- These can react under certain conditions, causing explosions or releasing toxic gases.
Tips for Safe Shed Storage
- Always check product labels for storage recommendations.
- Store items off the ground on shelving to protect from flooding.
- Ensure your shed has proper ventilation to prevent the accumulation of toxic or flammable fumes.
- Install smoke detectors in sheds for added safety.
- Periodically check stored items for signs of leakage, rust, or degradation.
Guard Your Belongings from Pests in Sheds
Items like pet food and seeds can lure pests, which might damage stored goods and infest your shed.
Rodents pose health risks, as their droppings can spread diseases. Since sheds typically aren’t pest-proof, store tempting items inside your home to avoid attracting these critters.
Your residential shed is an invaluable space for storage, but safety must always come first. By following guidelines from trusted sources and using common sense, you can utilize your shed space effectively without compromising on safety.
Always prioritize the well-being of your family, pets, and the environment when selecting items for shed storage.