Continuing with our theme of safety for the month of June, have you ever considered the potential of your garage—not for its potential to store or keep your car in but the hazards it can post to you and your family?

It may seem like a reach but if your garage is over filling with stuff like the 25% of Americans who say their garage is too cluttered, then your garage may be filled with more hazards than you realize.

Listed below are a few ways your garage may be posing as a threat and what to do about it.

All That Clutter

With a garage overfilled with items you hardly use, trying to maneuver through your garage may be nearly impossible. The clutter of items poses a large risk for tripping, falling, or falling objects. To keep your towers of clutter from getting in your way or capsizing when one of your kids looks for that old sports mitt from last summer try these tips:

  • Separate the items into seasonal wear, holiday décor, sports, auto supplies, lawn supplies, garden supplies, etc. You can try selling some items you no longer need or want but that means holding onto it until someone is interested. You may be better off donating to a local charity—plus that means a tax break!
  • Purchase shelving, pegboards, and/or cabinets. Proper storage will be one of the best investments you will make for your garage. Store infrequently needed items (like seasonal wear and holiday décor) on the top shelves and keep frequently needed supplies in the middle. Store chemical items out of the reach of children but also in a location that will not cause damage to other belongings should the container leak.

Fire Hazards

Reduce the level of flammability in your garage and reduce the risk of a fire occurring by storing chemical cleaners, pesticides, fertilizer, gasoline, and similar combustibles in the appropriate containers, in a well-ventilated part of the garage, and out of the reach of children. Also pay attention to labels on these items and don’t store certain items near each other that may cause the other to combust.

Carbon Monoxide Buildup

Once you have cleared space in your garage and have items properly stored, you may choose to park your car inside the garage. This can be convenient, especially on extra hot days or cold mornings. Keep in mind to maintain proper ventilation of the garage while pre-warming your vehicle. A build up of carbon monoxide can and will occur if the car is running while the garage door is still down, and the exhaust fumes have nowhere to escape to. Keep the garage door up should also be best practice when running other mechanical items in your garage, not just vehicles. Select machines and generators can also cause a buildup of Carbon Monoxide if not properly ventilated.