What Not to Store in a Shed (And What Can Be Stored)

You’ll agree with me when I say it’s hard to decide what you can store in a shed. So much can go wrong, but you don’t have space!

Are you unsure what items you should store outdoor? Are you afraid an item may become damaged?

Today, I’ll give you some helpful advice on which items are safe and which items are a bad idea to store outside.

Three Factors You Should Consider

  • Temperature
    Extreme temperatures can damage a variety of items. High heat can do as little as melt candle wax or as much as making an expensive item unusable.
  • Moisture
    From mildew to rendering fuel useless, moisture and condensation is a definite factor. Always take humidity into consideration when deciding how to store your items. Make sure that your shed is ventilated properly.
  • Pests/Animals
    We keep our belongings indoors for a reason, right? Of course! We want to protect them from the critters that will destroy them.
    Outdoor storage isn’t built to keep them out, so bear this in mind when deciding to store anything.

What Not to Store in a Shed

What Not To Store In A Shed

1. Canned Food

Why? There are several reasons why canned foods aren’t suitable for outdoor storage. Let’s take a look:

  • Rust
    Any food container that contains metal – yes, even the lid – is subject to harmful rust. Rust will cause holes in the container and make the food spoil.
  • Corrosion
    The food itself will interact with the metal container. This is especially true for acidic foods like tomatoes.
    This not only affects the taste and texture but the nutritional value, as well.
  • Temperature
    Even canned food is not safe in a shed. Outbuildings are prone to extreme temperatures. Anything 100 degrees Fahrenheit and above will spoil your food.
    If canned food freezes and the can swell, the USDA suggests throwing it out. It could contain bacteria that causes paralysis, in some cases.
    It could be possible that it is only the expansion of the contents due to freezing, too. It’s not worth the risk, so it’s best to toss it.

2. Food

It’s a smart financial decision to buy food in bulk. Large families save a lot of money doing it. But beware:

Storing food in a building that isn’t climate controlled will be a waste of money. The extreme temperatures of an outdoor building will spoil most foods before you have a chance to enjoy them.

Don’t risk it. Keep your food in a safe, refrigerated area indoors – far away from hungry animals, as well.

3. Paints and Glues

Paints and glues, when subjected to radical temperatures, will break down. Once frozen, any paint or adhesives will become lumpy gobs unfit for use.

4. Photos

Humidity and high temperatures will cause photos to stick together. They could also develop mold. Your shed is the perfect environment to destroy family memories.

5. Important Documents

Again, humidity is not a friend of paper. Storing important documents in a shed could result in moldy or illegible paperwork. Best to keep them in the house.

6. Pet Food

When storing any kind of edibles, you run the risk of not only spoiling it but also attracting animals. When storing bags of dog or cat food, make sure you use an airtight container.

7. Clothing and Bedding

Mothballs exist for a reason. Insects can ruin your clothes! Not to mention, they may wind up smelling musty after prolonged storage.

So, what to do? Try storing them in an airtight container along with cedar.

8. Refrigerators and Other Household Appliances

This one seems odd, doesn’t it? But it’s true.

Storing your household appliances in an outdoor building can subject it to moisture. This will result in rusted components and cause your appliance to fail.

9. Wooden Furniture

Have you ever set your ice-cold water on your living room table without a coaster? It left a discolored mark, didn’t it?

The same will happen to your wooden furniture, but on a much larger scale, if stored in a damp outbuilding.

10. Leather Furniture

This one seems iffy, but it is definitely not suited for the outdoor life. As with wood, leather suffers discoloration when exposed to moisture.

Not only that, but it can develop mold, too!

11. Special Collections

  • Stamps
    Stamps will curl and start to stick if subjected to humidity. This will depreciate the value of the stamp collection and render it useless.
  • Wine
    When kept at inconsistent temperatures, wine can take on a metallic taste. You should always store wine somewhere dark and cool.
    In fact, 55 degrees Fahrenheit seems to be an ideal temperature for storage. Today did an article about the different temperatures for different wines.
  • Coins
    Coins exposed to humidity, moisture, or extreme temperatures can trigger the oxidation process. This can ruin an otherwise excellent coin collection.
    Keep them somewhere climate controlled!
  • Comics
    Paper, as I’ve mentioned before, does not like moisture. Monitoring and adjusting humidity levels is integral to preserving your collection.

12. Musical Instruments

  • Percussion
    No! No! No! A piano has over fifteen thousand glued components. Those are all going to fall apart once it gets a taste of humidity.
    Not to mention the rusted strings!
    Under no circumstances should you store a piano anywhere that is not insulated.
  • Brass
    Rubber, felt, and cork are all materials found in brass instruments. And they all break down faster in uncontrolled climate conditions.
    In fact, corrosion and bacterial growth become a compounded problem. Better safe than sorry. Keep them inside.
  • Strings
    As I’ve already mentioned with the piano – rust. But, aside from that, humidity poses another threat:
    According to TheStrad.com, it can cause swollen pegs and decreased neck projection. Too much humidity can outright destroy the guitar.
    Don’t risk it!
  • Woodwind
    Woodwinds are temperamental little beasts. They need a humidity level between forty percent and fifty-five percent. They won’t maintain their condition otherwise.
    Less than forty percent humidity results in the instrument drying out and cracking. More than fifty-five percent and the woodwind swells up and even develops mold.

13. Artwork

You should keep your artwork in diameter tubes when storing them.

But not in an outdoor building.

No, artwork needs a steady humidity of around fifty percent. The temperature must remain between seventy or seventy-five degrees at all times.

14. Electronics

Plasma televisions, in particular, requires temperature control. The screens will go bad if under the duress of wild temperature mood swings.

And, of course, our friend “rust” is going to completely decimate the internal wiring, too. Over time, the humidity will cause a buildup of condensation akin to direct water damage.

It’s not worth it. Store it in your house or use a climate-controlled unit.

15. Business Documents and Inventory

Paper. Hates. Humidity.

Discolored, faded, and even dissolved paperwork are home to the outbuilding. Don’t do it.

What You Can Store In A Shed

“Geez!” you’re saying, “well, what can I store in my shed?”

Glad you asked! Here are some great items that will store well:

1. Gasoline

Gasoline won’t freeze like other liquids. The freezing point of gasoline is -100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Wow! Good luck getting that to freeze!

2. Propane Tanks

Propane is another fuel that is not ill-affected by extreme temperatures. Its freezing temperature is -44 degrees Fahrenheit. A garden shed should not become this cold.

But be aware: If your propane tank sits on cold concrete, it may reach this temperature. It’s best to store it on a shelf.

Another way to keep propane from freezing is to make sure to keep it full. Propane is less likely to freeze if its vapor pressure is high. This prevents condensation buildup that can contaminate the fuel.

3. Lawn Tools and Equipment

The best things to store in a shed are lawn-related items. Lawn mowers, chainsaws, wheelbarrows and garden hoses are great examples.

Why? Because most items used outdoors are already built for moisture and extreme temperatures.

4. Lawn and Garden Chemicals

This one is a case-by-case basis. You’ll need to check for the best temperature to store the individual product. Some can tolerate freezing; others cannot.

Sometimes, the container displays the appropriate storage temperature. Take a look before deciding if it’s an outbuilding item or not.

5. Power Tools (Except Batteries)

Power tools withstand both extreme temperatures (don’t blowtorch them, though) and humidity. The only component you will need to store separate are the batteries.

Why? Because batteries will, at best, fail after exposure to extreme heat. At worst, they can explode!

6. Outdoor Furniture

Manufacturer’s design outdoor furniture to repel water and resist mold.

7. Outdoor Toys and Recreational Items

Inflatable pools, tennis rackets, and so on are fine to store in an outdoor building. They’re made for the kinds of fluctuating temperatures you find in an outbuilding.

Also, dry and well-ventilated shed is a good place to store your bikes.

8. Seasonal Decor

You know the wreaths you hang on your front door? They’ll fair as well in the shed as they did on your front porch. No need to worry!


There are several items that are suitable to store in your shed. It’s all a matter of being smart about it.

If you have to store something, make sure that you take the right steps to protect it.

Remember that water, humidity, and critters post significant damage to your items. As long as you take appropriate precautions, you should have nothing to worry about.

Things To Remember

– DON’T store electronics

– DON’T store musical instruments

– DO store clothes (but be careful)

– DO store photos (but be careful)

– DO store lawn equipment, chemicals, and tools.

If this helped you or if you have any questions, please comment below! We’re more than happy to clarify anything we’ve discussed. We’re also happy to answer any questions we didn’t go over!

6 thoughts on “What Not to Store in a Shed (And What Can Be Stored)”

    • DVDs can withstand relative humidity between 10 to 90 percent and temperature from 14 to 73 degrees Fahrenheit, but the room temperature is the ideal temperature for DVDs.

  1. Curious if you have help solve a long standing battle that my husband and I have. We are a Boy Scout family so do go on outings at least once a month. We have LOTS of camping gear from sleeping bags, to dry bags. We do in the desert so it gets hot. What camping items are ok to store in the garage, and what should definitely stay inside?

    I won’t say which one of us believes what. But I am tired of arguing about it.


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