Have you ever used an appliance like the oven, dishwasher or microwave as extra storage or a temporary hiding spot? One of our past reader surveys says quite a few of you do. Leaving clothes inside the dishwasher, however, can sometimes be a slippery slope leading to a soapy wet wardrobe. To evade disaster, consider these tips for employing appliances as extra storage safely.
If you're forgetful, store "safe" items only. Extra cookie sheets will do just fine left in the oven during pre-heating. Plastic cutting boards will not. Forgetful types should stick to storing only the kind of home goods that can handle the heat in an oven (or water, in the dishwasher). Don't forget about the plastic handles on cookware, either.
For temporary storage, create a reminder. If you're only temporarily storing an item in an appliance overnight or for a few days, creating a reminder notice on your phone or your computer (or even a sticky-note) will help prevent "oh my gosh!" moments.
Guest-proof against accidents. Guests—whether they're staying for a week or an hour—might not know about the shoes in the oven when they reach in to heat up a frozen pizza. There are three ways to avoid a literal meltdown: tell them, leave a kind note taped over the knobs, or invest in baby-proofing products like stove knob covers. The latter can also keep forgetful small-space owners from causing their own accidents.
For long-term storage, cut everything off. Those who eat out around the clock or always hand-wash their dishes can afford to totally turn conventional storage on its head. But when the dishwasher is permanently replacing a closet or cabinet, take extra precautions to keep stored stuff safe. Unplug power, detach the water supply, and avoid any careless accidents.