Your garage houses more than just your car. Over the years, it’s accumulated boxes of family home videos, old trophies, and timeless photos. It’s also become your go-to storage area for pet supplies, camping equipment, sports memorabilia, seemingly countless boxes of tools, and maybe even a ping-pong table.
But of all the things you keep in your garage, how many of them are actually useful? Valuable? Worth keeping? Would they help you in an emergency?
Rather than tell you how to clean out your garage and what to get rid of (only you can determine that), we’ve put together a list of essentials you should keep in your garage in the event an emergency does strike. Whether a massive snowstorm keeps you and your family shut in for weeks or a zombie apocalypse actually comes to fruition, the following 16 things will make you extra thankful for your garage.
Food and Water
- Canned Food
When you’re stocking up on canned foods, opt for things that don’t require heating or refrigeration. Canned fruits, vegetables, soups, and stews will come in handy in the event of a power outage.
Don’t forget to buy a manual can opener to keep with your emergency food supply-few things would be more discouraging than not being able to open cans of food when you really need them.
In addition to canned goods, you should keep a stockpile of snacks on hand. Look for non-perishable items like cereal, granola bars, dried fruit, and crackers that have long shelf lives.
- Baby Food and Formula
Even if you don’t have an infant now, you might when a disaster strikes.
- Potable Water
Wondering how much water you need to keep in your garage? Experts recommend at least one gallon for each member of your family for three days. So, if there are four people in your family, you should have at least 12 gallons of sealed water on hand at all times.
- Fully Stocked First Aid Kit
One of those small, portable first aid kits you keep in your car might not be sufficient during an emergency. Look for first aid kits that contain Band-Aids, wrap bandages, alcohol prep pads, iodine, and painkillers.
- Solar-Powered Lanterns
Candles can create dangerous house fires, so keep a few solar-powered lanterns on hand instead. Solarpowered lanterns come equipped with detachable solar panels, allowing you to charge them during the day when you don’t need them.
You probably already have several flashlights lying around the house, but do you know if their batteries are fresh? Do their bulbs work? In addition to making sure you have 4-5 flashlights on hand, be sure to buy a few packages of batteries and replacement bulbs.
- Sanitary Supplies
Cleanliness can go a long way in keeping your emotions intact during an emergency, so keep sanitary supplies such as toilet paper, napkins, tissue packs, wet wipes, face wipes, trash bags, buckets, and feminine hygiene products in your garage.
These will allow you and your family members to signal for help, if necessary.
Your dryer may show no signs of slowing down any time soon, but in the event of a lengthy power outage, you’ll have to wash and dry your clothes by hand. Clothespins not only allow you to hang-dry your clothesthey can also help you keep food fresh.
- Extra Blankets and Clothing
Because you never know how long you might be out of power or without access to a store, it’s wise to keep a few extra sets of clothes on hand for each of your family members. Additionally, be sure to keep several extra blankets in your garage in the event of a winter emergency.
- Sewing Kit
A basic sewing kit with scissors, needles, thread, buttons, and safety pins would come in handy if a coat button fell off or a pants zipper broke during a winter snowstorm.
- Toothpaste and Toothbrushes
These items are self-explanatory. Toothbrushes will keep both you and your mouth happy and healthy. They can also double as floor scrubbers and stain removers in the event of an emergency.
- Sand Bags
These will help keep flood waters out of your home if heavy rain strikes. You can also use the sand to give your driveway more traction during rainy and snowy weather.
- Shovels and Snow Shovels
Regardless of where in Utah you live, you probably already have a snow shovel on hand. It’s wise to stock up on 3-4 of them, however, just in case one shovel isn’t enough. You’ll also want to keep one or two metal shovels in your garage, as they can serve many purposes during a disaster.
- Rock Salt
Utah residents rely on rock salt during the winter-you’ll rely on it even more if you need to melt large piles of snow, break up thick sheets of ice, or pull a vehicle out of a snow drift.
Keep a 50-pound bag in your garage. Once opened, pour the rock salt in a bucket with a lid to prevent moisture from contaminating it.
Do yourself (and your garage) a favor and stock up on the items in this list. To be sure your garage is ready for a disaster, have a garage door specialist perform an inspection and make any necessary repairs as soon as possible.