How a Garage Remodel Helps You Find Your Home Comfort Zone

Audi R8 inside a remodelled garage in a home

Home comfort is everything.

That’s one thing we’ve all been reminded of this year as “the new normal” has led to us all having an abundance of at-home time.

Anything that improves our comfort level at home during this stressful and challenging time is especially important and valuable.

Spending most of the day inside your living space the past few months has likely made you appreciate the things about it that help make it truly feel like “home sweet home”.

All of this extra time at home has probably also highlighted some of the ways that your house can be improved to serve your family’s needs better.

If you’re undecided on which area(s) of your home to upgrade, why not focus on the garage? It’s often an area of the home that gets overlooked when makeover projects are being considered when it actually should be a remodeling priority.

Now is the best time to invest in your home comfort

There is never a bad time to invest in your home’s functionality.

If you really think about it, however, there has never been a better time to invest in a home improvement project than right now for two reasons.

First, low-interest rates make financing a home improvement project more cost-effective at the moment.

And second, home comfort should be a priority right now because, for the foreseeable future, many of us may not be able to return to our workplaces and schools. Unfortunately, social activities like traveling, going to sports events, attending parties, and eating out at restaurants are also restricted or completely off-limits as well.

That means the majority of our day will continue to be spent at home, so why not look for ways to make your living space the ultra-comfortable sanctuary it should be?

The home improvement market is booming

More homeowners have recognized the financial and philosophical practicality of upgrading their homes this year to improve their quality of life.

A new Bank of America survey found that despite the economic downturn, more than 70% of the 1,054 homeowners who responded had started a renovation project this year and planned to do more home upgrades next year.

The story is the same in Canada, which has seen high demand for building materials and contractors with no shortage of work as homeowners make upgrades to their living spaces.

Before the pandemic, just under half of homeowners (48%) had a renovation planned in the next two years, according to TD Bank’s recent Home Equity Trend Watch survey. A third of those homeowners were planning to spend more than $50,000 on their upgrades.

Here’s how a garage remodel can help you get closer to finding your comfort zone at home.

Does your garage help or hinder your home comfort level?

Ask yourself: how does my garage make me and my family feel?

Is the garage contributing to your level of home comfort or is it detracting from your overall enjoyment of where you live?

Can you function in your garage or is it overrun with clutter? Is the décor in your garage visually appealing or is it woefully outdated? Perhaps the garage has never had its interior finished and things like exposed insulation, framing studs, rickety DIY storage systems, and dull grey flooring make you cringe every time you enter the room.

If you’re like most homeowners, there’s room for improvement in this space. Consider these statistics:

  • Only 11% of homeowners are satisfied with their garage and don’t want to improve it. (Wall Street Journal survey)
  • 24% of homeowners are embarrassed to leave their garage doors open. (Impulse Research survey)
  • A 2-car garage in an average-sized house accounts for approximately 13-15% of the home’s overall square footage.

Instead of having a sizable part of your house not being fully utilized, an eyesore, and upgrades to the room something that never gets checked off your home improvement to-do list, make right now the time when your garage finally gets transformed.

Turn your garage into an extension of your living space. Make it a meaningful room in your home that is tailored to fit your lifestyle and reflect your aesthetic taste, while providing an optimal level of functionality.

“Garage living” is all about improving home comfort

Some of our clients wonder why we’re called Garage Living. Our name actually has everything to do with home comfort.

“Garage living” is a philosophy. Garage living is about bringing your dream garage concept to life and creating a luxurious, welcoming space that is customized to enhance your home’s comfort.

The modern garage has evolved well beyond the role of the dark and drab utilitarian space that it has inhabited for the last century.

Any garage can – and should – multi-task in order to maximize the room’s functionality. And it can look stylish while doing so!

Better organization in your home spaces means more comfort

It’s impossible to enjoy your garage when the room’s functionality has been restricted due to clutter. An overstuffed garage is harder to clean, too, so you’re even less inclined to spend some of your free time in such a dusty, dirty space.

messy garage with clutter

Before: cluttered and unfinished garage

Messy garages are an all-too-common problem, as these statistics show:

  • 25% of homeowners with 2-car garages don’t park in them at all, largely due to clutter. (U.S. Dept. of Energy study)
  • The garage was named the most cluttered space in the houses of those who participated in a home organization study conducted by faucet maker Moen.
  • 50% of homeowners named the garage as the most disorganized area of their house. (National Association of Professional Organizers survey)
  • “Removing junk” ranked as the top answer from homeowners who were asked how they could get more enjoyment out of their garage. (Wall Street Journal survey)

Clearly, enjoying your garage more starts by getting rid of the clutter that not only makes any room less functional but is also a well-known source of stress in our lives.

After: organized and tidy garage with plenty of storage.

To get your garage where it needs to be in terms of better organization, set two goals for yourself that are simple, yet highly effective ways to keep a space tidier. First, make sure anything being stored in the garage has some degree of practical functionality. Second, give anything that meets that standard a proper home.

If your garage feels like it’s too small to handle your storage needs, using better storage systems and working with a garage design professional will certainly help.

The best garage organization solutions

3-car garage with cabinetry and two car lifts

The best way to maximize your garage’s storage space is to make more efficient use of the garage’s wall and vertical space, which are two areas that commonly don’t get utilized to their full storage potential. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Slatwall storage involves hanging PVC panels on the walls to create space to hang tools, bikes, ladders, power cords, and more to keep your floor clutter-free and make items easy to locate and keep organized.
  2. Overhead racks add useful out-of-the-way storage space for bulky, infrequently used items that can eat up a lot your flooring square footage (which can make parking more difficult).
  3. Speaking of garage parking, you can create more home parking space by installing one or more car lifts to accommodate all of your family’s vehicles.

Another popular storage solution for the garage are cabinet systems that give you even more storage versatility.

Decor upgrades make garages feel more comfortable

3 people discussing garage decor

Getting your garage to the point where it’s organized is great, but having a less cluttered space really draws your focus to the room’s decor.

In most garages, that’s not a good thing.

Considering the garage is the home’s main entry and exit point for about half of the people who own a house, it’s odd that more thought isn’t given to the room’s interior décor.

By making some changes to surround yourself in the garage with appealing colors and other stylish design elements, you’ll appreciate the enhanced level of comfort you feel as a result.

How to make your garage look amazing with a garage remodel

Garages often have a mishmash of storage systems that don’t create an aesthetically cohesive appearance. Garage Living’s storage systems are designed to not just help you stay organized, but to create a professional, high-end look in the garage that stands out.

Wall storage

Our slatwall panels, for example, add a more finished look to the garage’s interior and come in seven colors, which gives you some flexibility to compliment the garage’s other features aesthetically.

We also offer over 40 types of hanging accessories to handle a wide range of storage needs. This eliminates the need to use additional wall hanging systems and products from various manufacturers that can detract from the clean, unified look of the room.

Garage cabinetry

Garage cabinetry also provides this dual benefit of functionality and a garage décor upgrade. For example, high-quality cabinets like our GL Custom Steel system add a touch of class and style to any garage.

Garage flooring

An important component of your garage’s visual upgrades has to include the floor. A stained, scuffed, cracked, and dull-looking grey floor surface simply won’t cut it in any garage where feeling comfort is your goal. Have a durable polyaspartic Floortex™ floor coating applied that adds visual interest to the floor surface and complements the rest of your garage’s décor.

Interior design

New drywall, fresh paint, and lighting upgrades are additional garage makeover ideas to consider. You could also transform the look and feel of the garage by making changes to allow more sunlight in, which is an effective way to boost your mood organically. This could be done by having garage doors with glass panels added, installing a skylight, adding a side window or two, or enlarging the garage’s existing side windows.

Designer Series garage themes

To simplify the process of putting together the décor for your garage, we recommend taking a look at our Designer Series. It includes seven themes of pre-chosen color palettes and materials that create an attractive, unique look for garages.

Patriot Designer Series garage

The blue/grey/white combo of the Harbor or Patriot themes features a soothing color scheme that might be perfect for a garage you anticipate spending a lot of quiet time in. Maybe the bolder Performance theme aligns more with your aesthetic taste or perhaps you’d prefer the more understated, minimalist black and grey blend the Carbon theme offers.

Why not make the garage your go-to home comfort spot?

Once you’ve got your garage’s organization and decor issues resolved, the room becomes a much more viable area in your home to turn to as a space to relax and enjoy.

There’s no reason the garage can’t become one of the go-to comfort spots in the home for anybody in your family.

Have your garage designed to create space for lounging with a good book or podcast, exercising, or working away on a hobby project. Our cabinet systems are tailor-made for garage workshops!

3 men watching F1 race in garage socializing

With the right makeover touches, a garage can even be used as a social space when visitors come over. Incorporate a TV into the cabinet system to enjoy sporting events with your friends on the weekend, add a ping pong table, or use the garage as a hosting space for a poker night.

There are a wide range of possibilities for using your garage as an extension of your living space, which boosts your well-being and happiness.

And don’t just stop with the recommendations we’ve listed so far. Here are a few more ideas to make your garage more comfortable:

  • Install climate control systems to extend the amount of time you’re able to use the garage when the weather cools down or heats up.
  • Add insulation or upgrade the garage’s existing insulation to improve both your home’s energy efficiency and the efficiency of the garage’s climate control systems.
  • Boost your home’s WiFi reception so any smart devices being used in the garage have a reliable network connection.

Your comfort zone is at home

Make your living space the best it can be by redefining your garage and making it part of your home remodel plans. A flooring project can be installed in just 1-2 days and a full garage transformation can be completed in as little as 3-5 days.

You’ll reap the benefits of having a garage that ups your home comfort level by looking nicer and accommodating your family’s needs better.

Bring us your dream garage ideas and Garage Living will work with you to create a one-of-a-kind, beautiful space.

Schedule a free design consultation with us today.

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4 Effective Garage Gym Workouts to Lose Weight

garage gym workouts

If you place a high priority on living a healthy lifestyle, you likely work out every day or several times a week.

For any fitness enthusiast, what could be more convenient than having a fully functional exercise space right inside your home?

The garage is an ideal area of the home to use for your regular workouts. Modern garage makeovers are capable of creating a multipurpose home space that looks stylish and is much more comfortable to spend time in.

Garage gym workouts and using the room as a workshop or for crafting projects are just a few ways garages can be utilized beyond their traditional usage as a storage and parking space.

We talked to Lisa Pineda, who owns and operates fitness studio Body Zone Fitness in Coquitlam, British Columbia. She recently had her garage remodeled into a space that could accommodate her fitness routine and family’s storage needs.

Lisa shares her thoughts on how the garage makeover has benefited her family, as well as four detailed garage gym workouts you can use to get your heart pumping.

This personal trainer loves using her garage gym

Lisa in garage gymGarage Living Vancouver helped Lisa, a personal trainer and Health Coach who specializes in women’s and prenatal fitness, with her garage transformation.

“Having limited storage options in our home, three active children in competitive sports year-round, and myself wanting a space to work out in, I needed something created to solve all of those problems that were a pain point in our old home”, says Lisa.

Garage Living applied a Floortex™ floor coating to the basic concrete flooring. Lisa loves the aesthetic upgrade and clean surface the floor coating provides, as well as the fact the textured surface makes the floor less slippery during her garage gym workouts.

Slatwall was also installed, adding plenty of hanging storage space for tools, ladders, her kids’ backpacks and sports gear, and Lisa’s exercise equipment.

“I love being able to see what I have access to when working out. It allows my creative side to come alive when training clients and making programs for them. I have utilized my slatwall to display as much of my equipment as possible, including using hooks for my resistance bands and loops. I place my programs, water, and music on the shelf and my weights, yoga mat, and foam roller in the hanging baskets. The easier it is to find these items, the faster my workout flows”, says Lisa.

“Having my garage organized and designed to fit the needs of my family has reduced our stress and daily anxiety, simply knowing that our things have a proper storage place”, she continues. “We created a proper storage system for our recycling and garbage. And, of course, a little space for me to get my sweat on without stepping on toys, crayons, or dolls.”

Try these 4 garage gym workout routines

Lisa lent us her fitness expertise and created four garage gym workout videos that you can use when exercising at home.

These videos show that expensive exercise machines are not required to get a productive workout. Lisa (with some help from her daughter in the kickboxing video) is using nothing more than loop bands, light dumbbells, and a yoga mat.

Take things at a pace that is comfortable for you and let’s start burning some calories!

Stretch workout

Overview: Lisa shares a variety of effective stretching exercises that can be used when warming up and cooling down for your garage gym workouts.

Kickboxing workout

Overview: this kickboxing exercise combines cardiovascular drills and the use of martial arts techniques for a vigorous full-body workout. Light dumbbells can be used for more effective results but are not essential.

Loop band workout

Overview: this fitness routine involves three groups of exercises that utilize loop bands (also known as resistance bands) and light dumbbells.

AMRAP workout

Overview: Lisa’s AMRAP (as many reps/rounds as possible) routine involves a series of exercises that includes pike jumps, burpees, and lower ab lifts.

5 benefits of having a home garage gym

According to a Statistic Brain survey of 5,313 American gym members, 63% of gym memberships are never used. A third of gym members would not have gotten a membership if they had known how infrequently they would go to their gym. And 82% of gym members visit the gym less than once a week.

The time required to commute to the local gym is undoubtedly a big factor in why people rarely see a good return on investment with their gym membership.

Having an at-home fitness space eliminates the hassle of having to travel to a public gym for your workouts. Here are five other benefits of a garage gym:

  1. You can work out anytime without being confined to a public gym’s operating hours.
  2. A garage gym can be set up just the way you like, including how you want to store and organize things and how you want the décor to look.
  3. You can save the cost of a gym membership (which averages about $700 for a year).
  4. There’s no waiting around to use any exercise equipment!
  5. Because only you and your family are using the workout space, there are no health or hygiene concerns (such as other people’s sweat being left on equipment, having to use a public shower, and being exposed to any contagious and infectious viruses).

Create your own garage gym workout space

wall storage in garage gym

This garage gym is set up to keep the homeowner’s exercise equipment organized and easy to find.

Setting up a home gym in the garage is possible regardless of your garage’s size. One of Garage Living’s clients placed a higher priority on using his single-car garage as a fitness space than for parking a vehicle. We transformed the garage into an organized, well-equipped gym that he and his wife use for working out year-round (shown in the above photo).

Like this client, Lisa, and many others, Garage Living can remodel your garage so you can use it as a workout space, for parking, organized home storage, and so much more.

Schedule a free consultation with us to start planning your own home garage gym design.

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Garage Junk Cleaning: 15 Items to Toss That You Won’t Miss at All

garage junk cleaning paint cans

Starting a long-delayed garage junk cleaning project is the most meaningful step you can make towards reclaiming your garage’s functionality.

Cluttered garages severely limit the usefulness of this vital room in your home. Instead of using the garage for parking vehicles, efficient storage, and for things like working out or as a home workshop, stacked piles of unused junk rule the roost.

Essentially, a space that is capable of serving your family in many different ways becomes completely one-dimensional.

Why do we let junk take over our garages?

It’s a wonder that so many homeowners allow a collection of things that have little or no worth or significance (the literal definition of junk) dictate how they can use their garages.

There are millions of garages across the U.S. and Canada that are each clogged with junk that is maybe worth a few hundred dollars. Meanwhile, vehicles worth tens of thousands of dollars are left parked in driveways where they’re much less secure and exposed to the elements.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Messy garages make a quarter of homeowners embarrassed to leave their garage doors open, according to an Impulse Research survey. A Garage Living poll with 1,500 North American respondents found that 20% of homeowners were unable to park in their garage.

Maybe you’re considering a modestly budgeted makeover project that updates your garage’s décor and improves its storage efficiency. Perhaps a more elaborate remodel that results in a swanky luxury garage is what you’re planning.

In either case, the first step in transforming your space is to get that garage junk cleaning project in motion.

Follow this one rule with your garage junk cleaning project

When you start your garage junk cleaning project, figuring out what you need to get rid of should be obvious in many cases. That broken VCR, filthy old couch, and rusty garden tools, for example, are no-brainers.

But if you’re on the fence about whether or not to toss or donate anything, follow this one decluttering rule: have I used this item in the past one or two years?

Most organization professionals adhere to the “one year rule” with decluttering, as in get rid of anything that hasn’t been touched in the past year.

That may not work best for everything that gets stored in the garage, however. If you give yourself some leeway and stretch that out a bit to two years, the answer should be even clearer about what items actually get used and are truly worth keeping.

Finally dealing with your clutter and junk can pave the way towards creating a beautiful room in your home that goes well beyond what you ever thought was possible with a garage. Just look at the before and after garage makeover photos below for proof!

garage before makeover with clutter

Prior to its makeover, this unfinished garage had floor clutter and lacked effective storage and organization systems.

beautiful garage with parked red Ferrari

After the makeover, this clean, stylish, and tidy garage looks like a completely different room.

Get “all hands on deck” with your garage cleaning project

Get the whole family involved with your junk cleaning project. After all, they surely helped contribute to the accumulation of clutter in the room. They’ll benefit when the garage is in better organizational shape, too.

If you have the space in your garage or if the weather allows for organizing things in your driveway, establish a junk and clutter staging area where you can group the things you’ll be throwing out or donating.

As you proceed, you should find that these 15 common types of garage junk and clutter will make up the bulk of what you’ll be getting rid of.

1. Old paint

Most garages that would be considered cluttered probably have some unused, partially used, or empty paint cans stored in them.

Unless your garage is climate-controlled, paint won’t keep very well when stored there over long periods. Temperature fluctuations will alter the consistency of stored paint, separate the colors, and cause the paint to dry out. Here’s how to tell if your stored paint is still usable.

Saving a can of leftover paint for touchups after a painting project is a good idea, but only if the paint is stored in optimal temperature conditions. Use your basement for storing any leftover paint you expect to use in the future.

Otherwise, take your old paint cans to your local hazardous waste disposal facility. Some municipalities will allow empty paint cans that only have residual dried paint to be included in curbside recycling collections.

If you have paint that is still usable, some schools, community organizations, and larger nonprofit organizations like Habitat for Humanity may accept it as a donation.

2. Worn out and outgrown sports equipment

Garages are filled with lots of worn-out sports equipment that may not have been touched in years. If you have kids who participate in organized sports (or used to), you also know quickly they can outgrow their athletic gear.

Like so many of the things you’ll come across during your garage junk cleaning project, that old sports equipment just never got dealt with and thrown out or donated. Now is the time to change that.

Donating used sports gear that is still in good shape is a win-win-win because:

  • a charity will benefit
  • it helps parents who can’t afford to buy expensive brand new athletic gear for their kids
  • a recycled piece of sports gear means one less item in your local landfill

For the sports equipment and other items your family uses for outdoor activities that you are keeping such as bikes, skateboards, and pool toys, consider a practical storage solution like slatwall.

Slatwall panels maximize your garage’s storage space by making better use of your garage walls for hanging storage. Instead of just having a few permanently anchored hooks, nails, or hangers, a slatwall system allows for a variety of hanging accessories to be moved around as your storage needs change.

3. Old cardboard

garage junk cleaning cardboard TV box

Another staple found in messy garages is old cardboard. Maybe it’s old boxes from Amazon orders or electronics purchases. Some people hold onto moving boxes for years.

The photo above shows a box from a recent TV purchase that was being kept in a garage. The homeowner was holding onto the box in case there were any issues with the TV and it needed to be repaired while still under warranty. While that is a good idea, the box would be better off stored in better conditions indoors for a year.

And if you’re not planning to move within the next few years, there is no reason to keep moving boxes. Even if the cardboard boxes being kept in your garage are all broken down and flattened, there are a few reasons to break this bad habit of keeping cardboard around:

  • the space taken up by cardboard that is being held onto “just in case” could be put to better use
  • pests are attracted to cardboard, particularly the glue used on the boxes
  • moisture and cold temperatures cause cardboard to deteriorate over time
  • all of that cardboard collects dust and contributes to a dirtier garage with poor air quality
  • a stack of discarded cardboard is just one more thing you have to navigate around or move when cleaning the garage

4. Old books, magazines, and paper items

Like cardboard, any paper-based items being stored in the garage such as books, newspapers, magazines, photos, board games, and documents like old invoices and tax returns become a magnet for rodents and insects.

Keeping these things stored in airtight plastic storage bins to keep out pests and moisture will help, but it’s generally not a good idea to store any paper-related products in the garage for a long time. In addition to the aforementioned reasons, all of that paper becomes a potential fire hazard as well.

And how many of these things are you ever realistically going to read again? Old documents and tax returns have little use to you after a few years. Old newspapers and magazines will be filled with outdated news and information that you can find online anyway.

Let’s face it, those old books you never got around to reading will probably stay unread, especially if they have been sitting in a dusty, moisture-prone environment for years. Photos that are important to you should not be stored in the garage under any circumstances.

Do yourself a favor and lighten your garage’s storage load by donating the books and filling up your recycling bin every week until all of that paper clutter has vanished.

5. Old tires

stack of old tires in garageOld car, truck, and bike tires usually end up in the corner of a garage on the floor. You can’t just toss them in the garbage anymore, as tires can be recycled into many different things. Here are some examples:

  • rubberized asphalt
  • steel goods
  • rubber mulch
  • carpeting
  • tire-derived fuel

Your local waste recycling center should be able to take your old tires. Another option is to bring them to a tire retailer, who will charge you a small recycling fee.

If you’re keeping old tires stored in the garage for use later, be mindful that they do have a “best before” date. The rubber in tires degrades over time, which is known as tire dry rot or sidewall cracking.

In most cases, if the tires are more than 10 years old (which is about the maximum service life for most vehicle tires), get rid of them.

6. Broken and rusty tools

Broken power tools, rusty garden tools, rakes with missing tines, a rusty hammer or screwdriver…the list of old tools that exist only to take up space in your garage can go on and on.

By now, you’ve probably replaced most of your broken or well-worn tools with something newer. Keeping those old tools around only makes your garage more disorganized because they’re one more thing you have occupying space.

For example, take a rusty old shovel that has been hanging on your garage wall that is rarely or no longer used. Simply getting rid of it doesn’t just create more space for storing something in the future.

It makes it easier to rearrange your storage wall if necessary and also gives you one less thing to scan the wall for when looking for a specific item. The latter may sound like a minor thing, but instantly being able to find a tool in the garage when you need it can add up to hours saved over the course of a couple of years.

7. Exercise equipment that is never used

The garage is an ideal home fitness space if you’re working out regularly. However, if your garage is storing exercise equipment that hasn’t been used in years, that valuable floor space that could be put to better use.

Over a number of years, moisture in the garage can take a toll on different types of fitness machines and equipment. Weight benches, metal weights, and metal parts on exercise machines may rust.

Temperature fluctuations will put extra stress on the plastic and metal in exercise equipment, causing it to expand and contract. A simple lack of use often leads to performance issues with anything that has a lot of moving parts like a treadmill.

At the very least, all of these factors will contribute to any unused exercise equipment being stored in the garage having a shorter life.

If regular workouts just aren’t in your foreseeable future, clear out that equipment to create more useful garage storage space.

8. Leftover building materials

scrap wood garage junk stored on wall

Keeping a few extra pieces of scrap wood around for a home repair or some extra paver stones to replaced damaged stones can come in handy and save you a trip to the home improvement store.

The problem with a lot of garages is that they end up becoming a storage space for far more leftover building material products than will ever get used. They are often stored haphazardly, such as the scrap wood pictured above.

Boxes of ceramic tiles that get moved or have items stored on top of them will end up with damaged tile pieces. The dampness and temperature changes in garages won’t treat any leftover hardwood flooring you have stored there kindly. And remember, cardboard packaging for building materials stored in the garage for lengthy periods is susceptible to the issues already mentioned.

Whether it’s leftovers from a remodel or a hobby project whose progress hit the proverbial brick wall, this garage junk cleaning time is a great opportunity to toss a lot of those old building material products you’ll never use.

9. Hazardous waste

It’s estimated that the average garage contains approximately 100 pounds of hazardous waste.

In addition to old paint, the average garage houses all sorts of hazardous products that accumulate over time like stains, varnishes, caulking tubes, car cleaning and maintenance products, lawn and garden fertilizers, and general household cleaners.

Some of these items have expiry dates and those that don’t typically have a shelf life of only a few years. Keeping chemicals and hazardous products stored for long periods in environments where temperature conditions aren’t optimal shortens their shelf life and makes them less effective when used.

All of these things that have limited or no use aren’t just taking up space, they are also an ingestion and flammable hazard.

10. Old appliances, electronics, and outdated media

Outdated media and the devices to play them on may be stored in your garage. Now is the time to finally ditch all of those obsolete electronics and media that just can’t compete with today’s smart devices and streaming technology.

We hate to sound like a broken record (pun intended), but because vinyl records, CDs, cassettes, and VHS tapes all have paper packaging and liner notes, you know by now how they’ll fare with long-term garage storage.

Being kept in a storage space with moisture and changing temperatures will often cause playback issues with these different types of media, too.

Old VCRs, DVD players, CD players, cassette decks, computers and peripheral devices, turntables, receivers, TVs, and maybe even an ancient 8-track tape player should be brought to your local electronics recycling facility or donated if they still work.

Some charities may take donations of your old media, depending on the format. Well-preserved vinyl records, which have seen a revival in the past decade or so, will certainly generate the most interest.

Get rid of any old appliances like a fridge or window air conditioning unit that don’t work. Small appliances that never got used and ended up in the garage should also be joining your junk exodus.

Maybe you bought something like a juicer or slow cooker and simply never got around to using them (you wouldn’t be the first), or you received them as a gift. If they are still clean, in their original packaging, and actually work, a charity will certainly take them off your hands.

11. Old furniture

Deal with any discarded furniture you come across while garage junk cleaning. Things like an old sofa, bookcase, tables, and chairs are taking up more space than they should.

It could be that you planned to reupholster or restain one of your old furniture pieces and were unable to find the time to do so.

Unfortunately, soft furnishings that weren’t properly covered will have years of dust, dirt, grime, and absorbed car fumes for you to contend with if you wanted to salvage them.

Wood furniture (meaning most furniture) also attracts those darn pests and will warp in damp environments where there are significant temperature changes.

This is one reason repurposing old kitchen cabinets and bookcases for garage storage isn’t a good idea. Aside from the fact that were meant for a heated living space, these storage systems also look out of place in a garage and detract from the room’s appearance. A much better solution is to invest in a proper garage storage cabinet system.

Don’t forget to toss out any pieces of old patio furniture that have seen better days, especially if you have replaced the pieces with newer models.

12. Clothes that have been in long-term storage

Another way to create more space in the garage is to remove any boxes or plastic storage bins that contain clothes or any textile products.

Moisture and pests are the two main enemies of textiles that are stored in a garage space for long periods. Exhaust fumes and dust will cause additional problems if clothing hasn’t been stored in airtight containers.

In general, try to avoid storing any textiles in the garage. Keep your extra clothes and seasonal clothes stored somewhere in your home that is climate-controlled and safe from pests.

Some organizing professionals even recommend storing your more fragile fabric holiday decorations in a space other than the garage.

And if you have a bunch of boxes or storage bins filled with clothes in the garage, ask yourself – how much of this stuff does my family really need? Take this cleaning time to figure out which clothing items can be donated.

13. Old and broken lawn and garden supplies

unwound green hose

Lawn and garden supplies that break, get worn out, or just don’t work very well anymore can likely be found scattered throughout any cluttered garage.

Round up that split or leaky garden hose, cracked hose reel, old sprinkler, ripped or orphaned gardening gloves, and those unreliable watering accessories and just toss them out.

Do the same with any ceramic, clay, and plastic pots that are damaged and no longer useful. Look for plastic planter trays and paper fiber pots you’ve accumulated over the years as well.

Depending on where you live, some of your old plastic gardening products can simply be added to your recycling bins.

14. Old kids toys

Sports equipment and clothes for kids have a fairly short life because they outgrow these things so quickly. They’ll outgrow their toys, too, or eventually lose interest in them as they age.

If you never got around to donating your kids’ old toys or passing them down to a family member, neighbor, or co-worker, it’s probably the basement or garage where they ended up.

Do what you can to give kids toys that are in still good shape and safe to play with another home.

Unfortunately, broken toys will have to end up in a landfill since most of the plastics used in them is too difficult to recycle.

15. Any remaining items

We have now covered most of what you will dealing with when undertaking a garage junk cleaning project. But because garages are so large and typically a home’s go-to spot for dumping things, there may be even more items you encounter while cleaning up.

Here are some additional things to look for when decluttering the garage:

  • items you never got around to fixing and likely never will
  • boxes or plastic storage bins with broken holiday decorations
  • old luggage
  • old strollers, toddler car seats, and baby accessories
  • camping equipment that is damaged or never used
  • firewood (which should not be stored in the garage)

Take the next step after your garage junk cleaning project

Congratulations! By getting rid of this junk, you’ve taken that all-important first step towards reclaiming your garage’s functionality.

Now take the next step.

Garage Living can transform your unfinished, outdated garage into an attractive and modern extension of your living space.

We’ll also outfit your garage with durable, high-quality storage systems that make it easier to keep the garage organized and running efficiently on a daily basis.

Schedule a free design consultation with us to start taking full advantage of what your garage can do for your home and family.

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The Garage Living Care Guide

The Garage Living Care Guide was created as a handy reference for Garage Living clients who have had their garage transformed with one of our makeovers.

Proper care and maintenance will ensure anyone who has had a garage makeover done will enjoy years of benefits from their upgrades. This guide will assist you with tips for taking care of your Garage Living Floortex® floor coating, cabinetry, and slatwall organizers.

Read this guide thoroughly and refer to the Levels Of Cleaning section towards the end of this blog post to gauge which cleaning products and methods will provide you with the best results.

Immediate Floortex™ floor coating care

After your Floortex® floor coating has been applied, this 3-step timeline will guide you through how to proceed in the following days:

1. 12-24 hours after coating*: Garage doors must remain open a minimum of three inches for the next 12-24 hours, ensuring the bottom of the garage door does not touch the wet/curing floor coating. Please do not walk on the garage floor for at least 12-24 hours after the coating has been applied.

2. 24-48 hours after coating*: Light objects such as garbage bins and recycling bins can be returned to the garage after 24-48 hours.

3. 4-7 days after coating*: For optimal curing time, allow 4-7 days for cars, SUVs, trucks, trailers, motorcycles, and heavier items such as toolboxes to return into the garage.

*Cure times will vary based on climate and weather conditions at the time of application. To confirm these times, please speak to your local design consultant or install technician.

Ongoing Floortex™ floor coating maintenance

Garage Living’s environmentally friendly Floortex® floor coating is incredibly easy to keep clean, regardless of where you live or the weather conditions you drive in each day.

From slush to mud, you can keep your beautiful floor looking like new year after year following these three simple steps:

1. Sweep to remove dirt and sand. Car tires and footwear typically track in debris, but you can easily remove the dirt and sand simply by sweeping or using a leaf blower. Over time, however, the dirt may accumulate and cause floor stains. When this occurs, move on to the next step.

2. Wash + rinse your floor using water or a gentle yet effective neutral cleaner, which is safe for a Floortex® floor coating and leaves a beautiful shine. A mild neutral cleaner won’t harm plants or grass and is both biodegradable and phosphate-free. After applying this effective cleaner, rinse with a garden hose and scrub with a Garage Living squeegee brush.

3. Squeegee to remove residue and dry the flooring surface. Just like with windows, squeegees are a great tool to dry and remove residue from garage floors.

Cabinetry and slatwall care

Cabinetry care: Garage Living cabinetry can be dusted and cleaned with a clean, dry soft cloth or a light duster. Use water on powder-coated cabinetry or a neutral cleaner for grease, grime, and dirt build-up. For stainless steel doors, use a stainless steel cleaner to remove fingerprints and dirt. Wipe in the direction of the natural metal grain using a clean, soft cloth and buff with a soft, clean cloth for a streak-free shine.

Countertop care: Refer to the Levels Of Cleaning section below to select the right product for the best results. For your butcher block countertop, do not soak the countertop with water or it may crack and warp over time. For your stainless steel countertop, clean, polish, and protect it with a stainless steel cleaner.

Slatwall care: Brush the slatwall crevices with a clean white cloth or light duster brush. Window cleaner can be used on your slatwall. For a wet spill, use a dry cloth. For a dry spill, use a damp cloth. Follow with a paper towel, which allows you to dry and buff the surface of the slatwall.

Levels Of Cleaning

Dust: Remove surface dust by wiping or brushing. Use a clean white cleaning rag or a duster with fibers that can trap and remove dust in any crevices. Ideal for Garage Living cabinetry, slatwall organizers, and countertops.

Squeegee: To clean the garage floor surface, use a broom, leaf blower, or a Garage Living squeegee. There are two Garage Living squeegees available, which both have a 60-inch long wooden handle. Ask about our 30-inch wide squeegee or the 22-inch wide squeegee with a brush edge.

Water: For dried spills, use water to dampen a white cleaning cloth to re-emulsify and remove spills. Ideal for Garage Living cabinetry, slatwall organizers, and countertops.

Mild soapy water: Fill a bucket with warm water and a few drops of mild dish detergent. Wet a clean white cloth, wring out the excess water, and wipe the surface. Dry immediately with a paper towel and buff the surface. Ideal for Garage Living cabinetry, slatwall organizers, and countertops.

Neutral cleaner: Neutral cleaners combine powerful cleaning performance with naturally derived biodegradable plant-based ingredients, no harsh chemical fumes, or residue. Read the manufacturer’s labels thoroughly. Test on small inconspicuous areas first. Repeat if necessary for desired results. Perfect for light stains such as grease, oil, grime, dirt, soil, and grass. Ideal for Garage Living cabinetry, slatwall organizers, countertops, and Floortex™ floor coating.

Stainless steel cleaner: Cleaners such as Weiman® Stainless Steel Cleaner and Polish cleans, polishes, and protects stainless steel surfaces like Garage Living cabinetry and stainless steel sinks. Wipe in the direction of the natural metal grain using a clean, soft cloth to remove watermarks and fingerprints. Buff with a soft, clean cloth to shine. Read the manufacturer’s labels thoroughly. Test on small inconspicuous areas first. Repeat if necessary for desired results.

Grease Magnet by CLR: A fast-acting powerful cleaner formulated to quickly clean stubborn stains such as tire marks, grease, stubborn oil, and tar. Read the manufacturer’s labels thoroughly. Test on small inconspicuous areas first. Repeat if necessary for desired results. Caution: Do not use the regular CLR product, which may damage surfaces. Ideal for Floortex™ floor coating.

Other: Call your Garage Living representative if any area you’re trying to clean is presenting a challenge.

Download Care Guide

Download a copy of the Garage Living Care Guide in PDF format (5.3 MB).

Download Garage Living Care Guide

20 Pro Tips to Fulfill Your Resolution for a Nicer Garage Interior in 2020

Garages provide room for parking, storage, function as the main access point in and out of the home, and can be used as a hobby space.

Or at least they should be able to do all of these things.

Unfortunately, excess clutter sitting in many garages limits their functionality and makes this part of the home (which is already overlooked when it comes to making décor upgrades) look visually unappealing. 

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to improve your home in some way, why not focus on transforming your garage’s interior look from drab to fab?

blue car surrounded by tidy garage interior

20 steps to a nicer garage interior

Owning a home with a nicer garage interior is something most homeowners want, but too few take action upon to make happen.

Only 11% of homeowners don’t want to improve their garage in some way, according to a Wall Street Journal survey.

Junk-filled garage interiors with cracked and stained floors, unfinished walls and ceilings, and virtually no sense of décor are why a quarter of homeowners in an Impulse Research survey feel embarrassed leaving their garage doors open.

Get 2020 off to a productive start by turning your garage into a part of your home that’s as functional, comfortable, and attractive as the rest of your living space.

Here are 20 pro tips that will create a nicer garage interior in any home.

1. Toss the junk

The best justification for getting your garage organized is this:

Why is junk that’s covered in dust and barely (or never) used taking storage priority in your garage over your expensive vehicles that are being used daily?

It’s a simple fact that having a nicer garage interior doesn’t happen unless the junk that’s been accumulating over many years in the space is eliminated. Follow the “one year rule” that can be applied to any space being tidied up, whether it’s a closet, workspace, or junk drawer: if you haven’t used an item for a year or more, do you really need it? 

Tossing your junk to free up floor space and also make the garage easier to clean automatically makes the room more aesthetically appealing. But that’s just the first step. Now it’s time to really transform the garage into a home showpiece!

2. Put your makeover project in the hands of a pro

Do you want to know what the single biggest decision you can make is when planning how to achieve your goal of a nicer garage interior? It’s who you choose to do your garage makeover project. 

Successfully and efficiently executing a plan for a garage remodel requires years of expertise. Over the past decade-and-a-half, Garage Living has completed thousands of makeover projects across the U.S. and Canada.

The professional, high-end look of the garages pictured here and on our website are the result of all that experience and because of the high-quality products we use. 

Bring us your design ideas and we’ll work together within your budget to make your garage a destination you’ll enjoy driving into every time you return home.

3. A showroom-quality floor creates a nicer garage interior

An attractive garage floor has a much bigger impact on how the space looks than you might think. Until the past 10-15 years, a garage floor was seen as a grey and featureless utilitarian surface.

Modern floor coatings that are professionally applied have been a game-changer for garage aesthetics, however.

High-quality products like Floortex™ polyaspartic floor coatings add a clean, consistent look to a garage’s floor surface and can be customized with designer colors that produce a showroom quality appearance.

If you live in a colder climate, you don’t have to worry about delaying your garage makeover project until the spring or summer in order to have the floor done. One of the many advantages that polyaspartic coatings have over epoxy floor coatings is that they can be applied year-round, in virtually any type of temperature.

closeup of blue car on garage floor

4. Eliminate floor clutter

Okay, so you’ve tossed all of that junk that was hindering your ability to do much in your garage. That’s only half the battle when it comes to having a clutter-free garage, though. 

For all of the yard tools, hand tools, automotive supplies, and other things you need to store, establish a set-in-stone rule that the garage floor is off-limits for any storage. 

That may go against the conventional wisdom you’ve lived with your whole life, as well as how most people use their garages. But unless you have a very small single-car garage space, there’s room to store everything in your garage and not have a single stored item aside from your vehicles touching the floor. Really. Just keep reading to find out how to make this happen. 

And with an empty garage floor, you won’t need to worry about causing damage to items left on the floor or your vehicle when driving in and out of the garage. You’ll have ample space to comfortably park and get in and out of your car or truck. 

Besides, if you’ve invested in getting a shiny new garage floor coating applied, why would you want to cover it up with clutter anyway?

5. Use the garage walls for more storage

A garage can have the latest and most stylish décor, but that won’t mean anything if there aren’t proper storage systems in place so the room stays tidy.

Using high-quality storage systems to keep tools, sports equipment, and other items off the floor goes hand in hand with establishing and maintaining a nicer garage interior.

Garage walls are commonly used for hanging storage, but not to their full ability. Slatwall panels that are precisely cut to fit your garage’s dimensions (including cutouts for wall switches, outlets, central vac tubing, etc.) will add a wealth of storage space, making floor clutter a distant memory.

They’re not just functional, either. Our PVC slatwall panels give an unfinished garage a clean and finished look, which is a lot more desirable than having exposed studs or unpainted drywall that’s scuffed and dirty.

6. Use hanging storage that’s more versatile

It’s nice to have the wall hanging space you need to store your things. It’s even nicer to be able to change your wall’s storage layout with ease to accommodate your ever-changing storage needs when seasons change or new tools need a home.

The horizontal groove design of slatwall panels and slatwall hanging accessories makes it a breeze to rearrange how your things are hung up, especially when compared to cheaper pegboard panels and hanging accessories.

And with the more than 40 types of hanging accessories Garage Living carries, you won’t have any issues finding the perfect specialized accessory to satisfy most of your wall hanging requirements. 

hanging organized tools ensure a nicer garage interior

7. See all that empty ceiling space? Use it!

Not only are most garage walls underutilized, so are their ceiling spaces. You only have to look upwards in most garages to discover unused space that can be converted into valuable storage.

Adding overhead ceiling racks further enables you to keep the garage floor clutter-free, particularly because they can store items that are bulky and heavy.

Here are just a few items that are tailor-made for ceiling rack storage:

  • out-of-season patio furniture 
  • camping and sports equipment
  • plastic storage bins
  • off-season tire sets (wall-mounted tire racks are another option)

8. Cabinets keep things tidy and hidden

Not everything has to hang from the walls. Adding cabinets to your garage is a great way to store smaller items, trash and recycling bins, a shop vac or compressor, and valuables or dangerous chemicals you want locked up. 

Custom cabinet systems are worth the extra cost. Compared to off-the-shelf cabinets from big box stores, they provide a more precise fit in your garage, look nicer, and use higher quality materials for smoother functionality and a longer life.

Another overlooked reason to use more cabinetry storage in the garage is your stored items are kept hidden. Eliminating visual clutter preserves the orderly appearance of a garage.

silver garage cabinet system

9. Create storage zones so things are easy to find

One of the most frustrating things about trying to function in a disorganized garage is the amount of time that gets wasted looking for things.

Setting up storage zones with your storage systems that groups like items together is a practical time-saver that removes the guesswork with locating a specific tool or accessory when they’re needed. 

Of course, the system only works if things are actually put back in the right place, but that becomes easier to do if everything has a dedicated home that is easily accessible.

For items that don’t need to be moved due to a change in season, use labels to mark their permanent homes. That makes it even harder for anyone using the garage to not put something back where it belongs!

10. Protect the garage floor

A good floor coating doesn’t merely contribute to a nicer garage interior look, it also provides much-needed protection for a garage’s concrete floor.

All of that wear and tear on a garage floor from cars coming and going, foot traffic, dirt and dust buildup, water, road salt, and spills or leaks from damaging chemicals takes a toll. 

Without adequate surface protection, the floor will slowly begin to crack, crumble, and wear away over time, producing dust-like fine particles that make the garage dirtier.

Pitting is one example of how the surface degrades, as many small indentations start to show on the floor. Spalling (where the surface crumbles or flakes away) is another example.

Floortex™ floor coatings are engineered to keep a garage floor looking pristine for many years. Their structural durability includes providing much better resistance to impacts and abrasions than epoxy coatings. The occurrence of permanent markings caused by hot tires is also minimized.

garage floor spill being cleaned up

11. Repaint for a nicer garage interior

A garage’s wall and ceiling colors have a big effect on the room’s lighting conditions. That’s no small consideration in an area where you’ll be parking vehicles, searching for items, or using tools.

For parts of the garage that aren’t covered by slatwall or a cabinet system, a fresh coat of lighter paint will reflect light better and can do wonders to make the room brighter and more welcoming. Keep in mind, however, that a lighter shade will also make dirt and grime more evident.

If a lighter shade is preferred, a semi-gloss paint is a wise choice. Semi-gloss paint makes dirt less evident and is better for cleaning without showing any wear.

Neutral colors like grey, beige, or tan will be easier to clean and maintain than a white shade. They also offer more design flexibility. Speaking of design flexibility…

12. Bring out the best in your garage’s décor

One of the best reasons to work with a company like Garage Living is we know how to bring out the best in your garage’s décor.

The design flexibility that comes with customized products allows you to complement various features in the garage interior for a cohesive, professional, and appealing look.

For example, the color chosen for the floor coating can help accentuate and complement the colors or your parked luxury vehicles or the styles of cabinets and slatwall added to the garage. 

When it comes to having a nicer garage interior, the small details matter, too. That includes things like using color-matched screws for installed slatwall panels. We’ll also work with some of our clients to create a unique look for their cabinet systems by wall-mounting them for a unique “floating” look, as opposed to having them freestanding on the floor.  

13. Gain parking space with a car lift

If space is at a premium in your garage, it gets tricky trying to fit all of your cars inside of it and store everything else.   

A costly garage expansion or paying for yearly off-site vehicle storage might seem like your only options to gain more room. Instead, consider investing in a 4 post car lift. A car lift allows you to park two vehicles in the same space, effectively doubling your parking space.

In addition to everyday use vehicles, car lifts are also useful for storing cars that are only driven during the year’s warmer months. With an attachment, car lifts can also store boats, jet skis, snowmobiles, and other bulky seasonal items.

And if you’re the hands-on type with your auto maintenance, car lifts are useful for doing work on the underside of vehicles.

silver car raised on car lift in garage

14. Upgrade your insulation and add climate control

When we refer to a “nicer garage interior”, we aren’t just referring to creating a more upscale look in the garage. Your comfort level while using the garage is important, too.

Outfitting the garage with new insulation (or adding to your existing insulation) in the walls and ceiling makes this part of your home more functional when it warms up or cools down.

Don’t forget about having insulation in your garage doors and sealing door and window frames, as well as outlets and ducts, to prevent drafts. These upgrades will reduce heat loss in the winter and also make your home more energy-efficient when the central air conditioning is running when it’s warmer.  

To boost your comfort level in your garage, you could add climate control systems like a heater or air conditioning. These systems will obviously reduce the savings from any energy-efficiency upgrades, but might be worth it for you if your garage gets more use than the average home.

15. Add some unique extras that stand out

Another way to set your garage apart from the rest of the homes on your street is to add some unique extra features that illustrate the high standards you have for your garage’s interior appearance.

One of the ways Garage Living adds visual flair to a garage is to add perimeter LED lights below the lower accent strip of installed slatwall panels (seen in the first photo below). It creates a distinct, sophisticated look and adds ambiance to the room.

Floortex™ Coated Steps are another unique feature we offer (pictured in the second photo below). This process coats the steps leading into your main living space with a Floortex™ coating that matches the rest of the garage floor. We can also do the same treatment on the base of your garage walls.

These applications provide a more consistent and seamless look for the garage’s décor and give the space a more effective seal against drafts and exterior moisture.

garage wall base and LED lighting 

steps into home with floor coating

16. Upgrade the garage doors

Okay, admittedly your garage doors would be considered an exterior feature but they have a back, right? Pulling into a beautiful garage and staring at garage doors that look outdated, scuffed, and weathered (even from the back) just shouldn’t sit right with you.

And say you’ve made your garage a more multi-functional room and have set up an area with a workbench or for working out. Those doors will be down much of the time to maintain privacy or because of colder weather. There will be no escaping their visual shortcomings then, either.

Upgrading the garage doors represents one of many ways to enjoy your garage’s interior more and gives you one of the best returns on investment of any home improvement project.

17. Improve the air quality

We’ve listed many reasons to get rid of garage clutter and improving the room’s air quality is yet another one.

Stacked cardboard boxes and plastic storage bins of junk and items like old furniture and appliances may not be getting used at all, but there are two things they do very well – collect dust and obstruct airflow.

That contributes to a musty-smelling garage that can’t be thoroughly cleaned, which means the garage’s air quality suffers. 

Once all of that clutter is removed, consider going one step further and installing some type of air exchange system to consistently keep the garage’s air fresh. 

Passive wind-powered roof turbines are one option. For a more impactful result, have an “active” air exchange system installed that’s electrically powered. 

18. Install new lighting

A cost-effective solution to make a garage interior look nicer is to simply upgrade its lighting.

Relying on a couple of 60 or 100 watt incandescent bulbs to illuminate an entire garage is so yesterday. Not only is the lighting quality poor, it’s also not energy-efficient.

Add lighting fixtures like our 4 foot LED light or pot lights for a more modern look and better illumination for the entire room.

open garage at night with parked SUV

19. Upgrade your garage tech

One way to get more out of a garage is to upgrade the room’s tech and include the same types of electronics found elsewhere in the home. After all, one of the main reasons to create a nicer garage interior is to make it a more useful extension of your living space.

A smart TV can be mounted in a cabinet system and a smart speaker is easy to move around anywhere. Charging devices and extra outlets could also be incorporated into a custom cabinet design for more convenience.

A keyless garage entry system, smart garage lighting, and a smart garage door opener that allows your garage doors to be remotely monitored and operated via a smartphone app are just a few of your many options.

Naturally, getting a strong WiFi signal in the garage will be essential to use most of your tech. Get some tips on boosting your home’s WiFi signal here.

20. Maintain your transformed garage space

Once your better-than-new garage is set up and looking pristine, the work doesn’t stop, unfortunately.

To keep it looking that way, get in the habit of decluttering and cleaning regularly. Every two or three months should suffice for your garage cleaning needs. Give it a more thorough cleaning (including washing the floor) at least once a year.

Luckily, keeping it organized will require less effort on your part if you use the storage and organization systems suggested here.

Also, be conscious of limiting all but essential new purchases of items that will be stored in the garage. Exercise more restraint during sales and don’t buy those things you might use one day, just because the price was too attractive.

This good practice will serve you well in preventing clutter from accumulating once again in the garage. 

Create a nicer garage interior with these stylish upgrades

With everything we’ve covered about what’s required to achieve a nicer garage interior, we’ll leave you with one final thought: don’t forget that an open garage impacts your curb appeal. 

Neighbors and passersby notice a garage interior that’s messy, left unfinished, and has décor that’s outdated. This is a big reason 52% of homeowners want to own a garage their neighbors envy, according to a Thompson’s Company study.

Schedule a free design consultation with us this new year to start planning a strategy to create a nicer garage interior you’ll enjoy for many years to come.

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