7 Proven Garage Improvement Strategies to Utilize in 2018

With the New Year’s celebrations and holiday season for many of us now over, our attention turns to the traditional New Year’s resolution.

A lot of us view New Year’s resolutions as a pain. Others welcome the opportunity and challenge to better themselves by using the new year as a motivator for personal growth and improvement.

Getting in shape, eating better, learning a new skill, and volunteering more are all popular New Year’s resolutions. Getting your home organized is another big one. So why not start with the garage? It’s commonly the most disorganized room in homes.

Garage improvement strategies that are proven to work

Why focus on your garage over other disorganized areas of your home? Well, your garage takes up a sizeable portion of your home’s overall square footage. Therefore, you’re unable to get as much value from your garage space if you’re not using it to its full potential.

Your garage should be used for parking vehicles, not storing clutter. Consider that the majority of homeowners now use the garage as the primary entry and exit point to their house. Why not clear the clutter so you can park inside easier? You also wouldn’t have to look at stacks of junk you’ll never use on a daily basis.

Don’t settle for the status quo of having a garage that lacks visual appeal and is too messy to function properly. It should be viewed as an extension of your living space that’s as comfortable, useful, and aesthetically pleasing as any other part of your home.

These seven proven garage improvement strategies can help you keep your 2018 New Year’s resolution of finally getting your garage in order.

garage improvement strategies makeover

Getting your cluttered garage in order is easier when you use these garage improvement strategies.

1. Declutter first

Decluttering, the first of our garage improvement strategies, is simple, but can be time-consuming. Clearing out all that unnecessary junk will make it easier to evaluate your garage space and determine what type of storage systems and improvements it will really need.

Garage clutter doesn’t just clog up your floor and limit the space’s functionality, it also:

  • attracts dust and limits airflow (which lowers the air quality in the room)
  • poses a fire hazard
  • attracts pests (like mice and insects) who like to create nests in anything with paper or fabric

Once you’ve tossed, donated, or sold whichever items comprised all of your clutter, you’ll have a clearer sense of what you own. Now we have to find somewhere to store all of it besides the garage floor!

2. Maximize your garage storage space

It’s almost impossible to store items like garden tools and sports equipment on your garage floor and not have the space look disorganized. Loose items on your garage floor are also a tripping hazard.

Without a proper garage organization system in place (or a few of them), finding items when you need them also becomes difficult. But where’s the best place to put those garage organization systems so they’re the most effective?

The solution is to turn to areas of your garage with underused storage space – the walls and overhead.

Adding slatwall panels to your garage walls will open your storage possibilities for anything in your garage that’s hangable. Items like power cords, tools, bikes, and ladders can be hung with all sorts of versatile slatwall accessories, which helps you maintain an organized garage space.

For heavier items, overhead storage racks that utilize your garage’s vertical space are the way to go. Whether you’re storing tires, large storage bins, out-of-season items, or anything else that’s bulky, look for heavy-duty racks that can safely support a lot of weight.

Garage cabinetry is another solution for creating more storage space in the garage. Be sure to do your homework, however. Choose a well-made cabinet system that’s built to last and fits your needs, like GL Custom Steel cabinets.

garage improvement strategies overhead rack

Add overhead storage racks to your garage’s underused vertical space to keep bulky items off your garage floor.

3. Upgrade the garage floor

If you decide to follow just one of these garage improvement strategies, make it a floor upgrade. An attractive garage floor has a bigger impact on the space than you might think.

This type of upgrade is done by applying a floor coating to protect the concrete and provide a clean, consistent look for your garage floor. We recommend Floortex™ polyaspartic floor coatings, which are superior to epoxy floor coatings.

A polyaspartic floor coating offers much better durability and resistance to impacts and abrasions than epoxy coatings. It’s also more resistant to automotive fluids, salt stains, household chemicals, and tire markings. It goes without saying that all of those attributes are incredibly beneficial in a garage space.

Floor coatings that use decorative flakes in their application process, as Floortex™ does, also add a stylish aesthetic to a garage.

4. Boost your curb appeal

Our garage improvement strategies have focussed on your garage interior so far. What about the exterior? Considering the significant profile your garage doors have on your home’s exterior, it makes sense to evaluate them, too.

Older garage doors that are warped, cracked, or have a faded paint job significantly detract from your curb appeal. They also lack the much better insulation features and overall build quality of modern garage doors.

It’s never been easier to customize your garage doors to complement your home’s exterior décor than it is nowadays. Whether you want a classic look with steel or wood garage doors, or the modern aesthetic of full view aluminum garage doors are more to your liking, there’s a door choice to be found that will boost your curb appeal.

5. Push the limits of your garage’s functionality

Any of the above garage improvement strategies will make a huge difference with how your garage looks and functions. You can push things even further, however.

If you don’t have a garage door opener, or your current opener has seen better days, now’s the time to upgrade. Modern garage door openers are quieter and more reliable than the models of the past. Many models also have nifty, convenient features like MyQ Technology that lets you monitor and control your garage door from anywhere via a smartphone.

Another way to make your garage more useful is to increase the amount of space you have to park. There’s plenty of great reasons for parking inside a garage and a car lift enables you to do so.

garage improvement strategies fitness garage

Combine your getting-in-shape and garage improvement New Year’s resolutions by creating a garage fitness space that incorporates slatwall storage.

6. Create a multi-purpose garage space

Expanding on the idea of enhancing your garage’s functionality, you can also create a multi-purpose space that lets you use the garage for more than parking and storage.

When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, getting in shape has to be one of the most commonly broken ones. Everyone knows someone (or is someone) who wasted money on a barely used gym membership.

For most of us, exercising is a chore. Having to drive to a gym to do it just gives you one more reason not to go. Take care of two New Year’s resolutions at once by creating a garage fitness room as part of 2018’s garage improvement strategies.

You can work out conveniently on your own schedule…and won’t need to wonder if those sweaty exercise machines have been properly cleaned.

Other multi-purpose uses for your garage are to use it for crafting or as a workshop. The garage gives you some privacy and lets you tinker away to your heart’s content. Garage cabinetry can be incorporated into your workshop design to help you get the most out of it.

7. Maintain your transformed garage space

Once your garage space has been transformed, you need to make an effort to maintain it. Yes, keeping it organized will be easier with some of suggested storage and organization systems in these garage improvement strategies.

But you’ll reap the biggest benefits from the garage improvements you’ve made by still decluttering and cleaning regularly. Every two or three months should suffice for your garage cleaning needs. A more thorough cleaning (including washing your garage floor) should be done at least once a year.

Be the envy of your neighbors with these garage improvements

Getting your garage in order is an attainable, worthwhile New Year’s resolution to make. Follow these garage improvement strategies and lean on the trusted professionals at Garage Living to accomplish your New Year’s organization goals.

Find out more about how we can help with your garage improvement project. Our experts can suggest additional ways to upgrade your garage space, such as improving your garage lighting.

Schedule your free in-home design consultation to get on the right track to a more organized and visually appealing garage space in 2018.

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Considering A Garage Expansion? Rethink Your Storage Systems First

Are you locked in a never-ending battle against the slow creep of clutter in your garage? It can get exhausting and frustrating constantly trying to make room to park one car, let alone two.

Even if you’re able to park one or more vehicles in your garage, perhaps you’re barely able to get out of them because space is so tight. Garages are multi-purpose buildings, which often makes them overcrowded with clutter.

You’re not alone with this dilemma. A SpareFoot survey of more than 1,000 Americans found that almost half of them said they were unable to park in the garage.

Another study by the National Association of Professional Organizers found that 50% of the homeowners they polled named the garage as the most disorganized area of their house.

Is a garage expansion the solution?

When the problem gets to be too much for you, your initial inclination might be to undergo a garage expansion. But is this the best solution?

For some homeowners, it may be the best plan of action. Take someone with a single car garage as an example. He has a growing family and two everyday use vehicles.

He’s also an auto enthusiast who would like to buy a classic car or two that he wants to do maintenance on in a garage workshop. That’s a lot of needs for such a small garage space, so a garage expansion would make sense for him.

For most homeowners, however, they can dramatically upgrade their garage’s functionality simply by improving the organization and storage systems used within the space.

garage expansion cluttered garage

A garage expansion might seem like the right solution for a small and cluttered garage, but it’s more sensible to simply make better use of the space.

The drawbacks of doing a garage expansion

A full-blown garage expansion may give you more space, but there are drawbacks to getting one, including:

  • the high cost
  • the complicated logistics
  • losing yard space
  • the noise and mess your family and neighbors will have to endure
  • the length of time it can take to complete a garage expansion

Look at improving your garage storage systems first

Instead of making the big commitment to undergo a costly and lengthy garage expansion process, first re-evaulate your existing garage space.

When compared to the large ordeal a major garage expansion can become, it quickly becomes evident that a garage makeover can be a much more practical option than a garage expansion.

4 ways to maximize garage storage space

The solution to your crowded garage woes is to maximize your storage space with effective storage systems. The reason so many garages are disorganized is that they waste storage space by not utilizing certain areas of it better. Here are four ways to fix that:

  • have slatwall panels installed
  • add overhead storage racks
  • increase your garage’s parking space with a car lift
  • include garage cabinetry in your makeover plans

Let’s break down each garage storage system one-by-one to show you their benefits.

1. Slatwall storage

If you’re dealing with a messy garage space, take a look at your garage walls. How effectively are they being used to store yard tools, sports equipment, and so many other items that commonly clutter your garage floor?

Adding slatwall panels that are custom-fit to your garage space can make a huge difference when it comes to keeping your garage tidy. Anything hangable that weighs up to 50 lbs can be stored on the panels using a wide range of slatwall accessories.

2. Overhead storage racks

Another area of the garage that offers plenty of untapped storage potential is your ceiling space. Having overhead storage racks installed gives you extra storage room for bulkier items that can take up valuable garage floor space.

Needless to say, be sure any overhead storage racks you choose are right for the job. They need to be able to hold a lot of weight and be safely secured.

3. Car lifts

Creating more room for parking is one of the main reasons someone would consider a garage expansion. An easier and less costly solution is to add a 4 post car lift instead.

Whereas a garage expansion adds space by typically expanding to the sides or to the front or back, a car lift creates parking space by thinking vertically. And no garage walls need to be knocked down.

The car lift allows vehicles to be raised up so another vehicle can be parked beneath it. You can add one of more car lifts in your garage to effectively double your parking space for every car lift added.

4. Garage cabinetry

The extra space that the three above garage storage systems create can allow you to add other garage improvement solutions, such as garage cabinetry.

Garage storage cabinets are an additional effective way to keep your garage organized and can be used to increase the space’s functionality as a garage workshop.

garage expansion organized garage

The same garage space from the first photo is now more functional and clutter-free after the addition of slatwall storage. A new floor coating and improved lighting are also part of this garage makeover.

Can I do a garage expansion or makeover myself?

Unless you have extensive experience in garage building or makeovers, taking on these types of projects yourself isn’t recommended.

For safety reasons alone, a garage expansion or makeover should be left to a trusted garage professional. A company like Garage Living has the expertise, proper safety certifications, and design expertise to produce the highest quality results.

A Zillow survey found that almost 40% of homeowners who had done a DIY project regretted taking it on. Sometimes a botched DIY home improvement project can actually end up costing you more than if you’d just hired a professional in the first place.

Rethink that planned garage expansion

Creating a more spacious, organized, and beautiful garage space is possible without going through the ordeal of a garage expansion. View our garage makeovers gallery to view many examples (like the pictures shown above) of how you can avoid a garage expansion simply by using your space smarter.

All of these storage system additions don’t just make your garage more functional, they also modernize your garage’s appearance and give it a nicer, more finished look.

Before undergoing a garage expansion project, let the experts at Garage Living help you rethink your current garage setup. Schedule your free in-home design consultation with us to start your garage makeover process.

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7 Smart Strategies to Eliminate Your Garage Visual Clutter

Do you ever wonder why even relatively clean and organized areas of your home can still seem like they’re too cluttered?

The reason is probably “visual clutter”. Naturally, regular clutter will make any space look disorganized. Visual clutter, on the other hand, can stem from having poorly thought-out arrangements and locations for your storage and organization systems (or a lack of them).

Bad decisions with your décor can also contribute to visual clutter and garage visual clutter is no different. It can leave a generally off-putting vibe that your garage is just not looking its best.

Why should you eliminate garage visual clutter?

Here are some examples of visual clutter in the home:

  • a fridge front that’s overloaded with photos, memos, notes, and lists
  • having too many photos or pictures hung on your wall (mismatching frames also add to the visual clutter)
  • piles of magazines kept on a coffee table
  • an excess of cleaning supplies or auto fluid containers left on your garage floor

Just as it does in the rest of your home, garage visual clutter adds to your stress level. It also detracts from your enjoyment of the space, in addition to the fact it limits your functionality within it.

Most homeowners use the garage as the main entry and exit point for their home. Therefore, if you have garage visual clutter, it’s almost impossible to avoid. And if you use your garage as a workspace, workout area, or hobby area, garage visual clutter can also limit your productivity during time spent in the space.

Work on eliminating your garage visual clutter to create a more streamlined, aesthetically pleasing garage environment. Use these seven strategies to guide you.

garage visual clutter

A clean, empty garage floor that doesn’t show any sign of visual clutter.

1. Get your garage floor cleared

Your garage floor can be a clutter magnet, so getting it cleared and keeping it that way will have a huge impact on minimizing or eliminating garage visual clutter.

Remember, your garage’s most important purpose is for parking vehicles. Floor clutter only makes that more difficult, in addition to detracting from your garage’s appearance.

A clear garage floor also allows you to enter and exit vehicles easier and foot traffic can travel without any obstructions or tripping hazards. To get things off your floor, look to your garage’s underused wall and vertical space to create more storage room.

Slatwall panels allow everything from bikes to power cords to garden tools to sports equipment to be hung on your walls, as opposed to being left on your floor.

Our various specialty storage racks include tire racks and heavy-duty overhead storage racks. These are great for storing the bulkier and heavier items in your garage that can take up a lot of valuable floor space.

Many of these bulkier items are for seasonal use or are infrequently used, so it makes even more sense to store them elsewhere so they’re not always in your way.

2. Eliminate conflicting design elements

Conflicting patterns and colors in your garage can contribute to garage visual clutter. With the addition of slatwall panels, your garage interior will have a more finished, organized appearance that’s easier on the eyes.

That sleek and clean look can be achieved even if you have light switches, conduit pipe, receptacles, and other wall obstructions. These can all be accounted for by our installers when they’re cutting the panels. Color-matched screws and trim for ends, corners, and any gaps between panels make up the finishing touches that help create the consistent look.

You’ll also minimize garage visual clutter by choosing colors for your garage upgrades that effectively complement each other. Your garage’s interior visuals can really pop when the right colors of both garage cabinets and slatwall are matched with the perfect flooring color.

3. Create a singular focal point

One way to reduce garage visual clutter is to create a singular focal point within the space. This means that when you enter your garage, your eyes should be drawn to one main wall.

Garage cabinetry can be a great anchor to help you achieve this goal. Garage Living carries a variety of cabinet styles and colors to match your design tastes and establish a showpiece focal point in your garage.

For example, the GL NEOS Elite cabinet system has a thoroughly modern look that features a seamless wall-to-wall presentation. The sleek, stylish look of the cabinets will instantly become the focus of your attention and functions as an effective countermeasure against the ugliness of visual clutter.

visual clutter hidden supplies

Hiding your supplies behind storage cabinet doors maintains an organized appearance within your garage space.

4. Keep supplies and other belongings hidden

Along with improving your garage’s look, there are obvious functional benefits to adding garage cabinetry. First, they’ll help you keep many of your belongings better organized.

They also enable you to keep supplies and other belongings hidden and out of sight, which reduces your garage visual clutter. Tall cabinets, upper cabinetry, lower cabinetry, and drawers work wonders to obscure many of the items kept in your garage.

By having the ability to store items behind doors and in cabinet drawers, you’ll no longer have a constant reminder of everything your garage contains. That makes for a neater, more inviting-looking space.

5. Keep similar items together to reduce garage visual clutter

It’s always a good organizing practice to keep similar items stored together, whether you’re cleaning up a bedroom, a home office, or a garage. One reason to do this is to make it easy to find specific items without wasting much time.

The other reason to group like items together is because it simply looks neater and creates a more cohesive look. Think of how displays in stores are designed. The consistent, uniform look of many similar or identical products on display can be a real eye-catcher.

Some larger items in your garage can’t be hidden behind cabinetry doors, but you can still store them in a neatly organized manner on your slatwall.

There are many types of slatwall accessory hooks, shelves, racks, baskets, and bins available for hanging your belongings. That means you can configure your slatwall’s storage layout just about any way you’d like. Keep items like rakes, tools, or a multitude of other things grouped together, easy to find, and looking satisfyingly orderly.

garage visual clutter slatwall

Group similar items together on slatwall panels to avoid garage visual clutter.

6. Use legible, consistent-looking labels

Using labels in your garage is a good idea, as it helps to locate infrequently used items quicker. One of the best examples of this would be bins of holiday decorations, which are ideal for storing in an overhead rack.

Perhaps your garage cabinetry, like the GL Custom Steel cabinet system, has an option to include utility drawers with organizing bins. They’re very useful for keeping small screws, nails, and other small bits of hardware organized, with the help of labels.

When making labels to identify your things, take the time to create labels that are legible and consistent-looking. If you’re using a marker, print neatly, make the writing easy to read from a distance, and stick with the same color.

If you’re able to, use a handheld label maker or print your labels on the computer. They’ll look nicer and create the desired consistent, uniform appearance that doesn’t produce garage visual clutter.

7. Don’t forget the visual clutter of parking in your driveway

You might not have considered it, but parking your vehicles all the time in your driveway is another type of visual clutter for your home’s exterior. That negatively impacts your home’s curb appeal.

And when you consider that our vehicles sit parked 95% of the time, that’s even more reason to take the time to make space in your garage for parking vehicles.

Create a more inviting space by eliminating garage visual clutter

Eliminating your garage visual clutter will transform your space into a more inviting area of your home that you won’t dread entering any longer. Every time you return home, you’ll appreciate having a clean, clutter-free garage that’s more manageable.

Garage Living can bring your dream garage to life and also show you some ideas and solutions that will even improve upon your original vision. Book your free in-home consultation with us today and take that first exciting step towards creating your dream garage space.

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5 Important Factors to Consider When Buying Garage Cabinets

If floor clutter is limiting your garage’s functionality, one of the most effective solutions to get your space organized is by adding garage cabinets.

But there are so many brands and types of garage cabinets available. For starters, you’ll need to know that they come in these two types:

  • Custom-fit – the cabinets can be built to custom depths, widths, and heights and more specialty options are available
  • Modular – a cabinet system built from pre-made standalone units that are mixed and matched

How do you make the right choice to fit your needs? There are a few important factors to consider when deciding what type of garage cabinets you should buy.

Before taking the next step and speaking with a trusted garage professional about your storage cabinet choices, get familiar with the basic facts about garage cabinets and what you should look for. Consider these five important factors to help you make the best decision.

garage cabinets custom steel

1. What’s your budget for buying garage cabinets?

Obviously, you’ll need to work within your available budget to determine what type and quality of garage cabinets you’ll buy. Just remember that age-old saying – “you get what you pay for”.

Buying an inexpensive garage cabinet system from a big box store may be quite tempting if your budget is limited. Just be aware that many of these cabinet systems compromise significantly on the quality of the cabinets’ construction materials. Typically, they’ll be made from plastic or inferior quality steel to achieve that cheap price.

Cheaper garage cabinets can leave a lot to be desired when it comes to functionality and durability. Do you really want to be replacing your garage cabinet system in just a few years when it starts falling apart? At that point, you’ll know that it pays to spend a little more to get a higher quality product that lasts longer.

Expanding your budget for new garage cabinetry will open up a wider range of higher quality options. The construction materials and craftsmanship will be at a higher grade and they’ll likely look better (don’t underestimate the value of garage cabinet aesthetics).

Cheaper garage cabinet systems also don’t offer the chance for customization. You’ll have limited choices for colors, styles, and extra custom features, like adding a countertop to the top of your base cabinets to create a workbench.

2. Garage cabinet usage

Knowing how your garage cabinets will be used within your space will be a major factor in what type of cabinet system you end up buying.

For example, take a homeowner who’s looking for a general purpose cabinet system that’s primarily needed for extra storage space. Higher-end garage cabinets, such as our custom-fit GL Custom Steel cabinets, probably aren’t the right fit for their needs.

Perhaps either the modular GL Signature or GL Premium cabinet systems will work better for them. They still deliver exceptional quality, but do come with fewer custom options.

The amount of space you have to work with will also be a factor when making your cabinet choice. If your garage layout has unconventional angles or wall obstructions, a custom-fit system will be easier to fit within the space.

And if your garage space is limited, something like the shallow depth option available with the GL Signature line might be ideal. This can allow you to comfortably get in and out of your vehicles with enough space.

Are you looking to create a garage space that lets you park vehicles and use it as a heavy-duty workshop? In that case, something like the more rugged GL Hayley or GL NEOS Elite cabinet systems are a more practical choice.

garage cabinets Hayley

Rugged GL Hayley cabinets are ideal for a task-oriented garage space.

3. What’s being stored in your garage cabinets?

What you’ll be storing in your garage cabinets will also play a role in your buying decision. Certain items are more suited to being stored in a specific type of cabinet, so you’ll need to choose accordingly.

For example, choosing a cabinet system that gives you an option for locks on the doors and drawers might be wise if:

  • you want to keep expensive hand and power tools secure
  • your garage has a lot of sharp tools you want to keep your kids safe from
  • there are a lot of chemicals and hazardous materials kept in your garage

The weight of items you’re storing also needs to be taken into consideration. If you’re storing heavy power tools or car parts, a flimsy cabinet system made from plastic just won’t cut it. You’ll need something sturdier, like a garage cabinet system made from 18-gauge or even stronger 16-gauge steel.

Maybe you plan to use your garage cabinets for storing longer items, such as a coveralls, or you want to keep your large collection of cleaning supplies all in one cabinet. If so, your cabinet system design will include one or more tall locker cabinets.

For those who have a lot of tools to store, an ample number of tool drawers to keep everything organized will be a priority for their cabinet system. Bins for storing all those easy-to-lose screws, nuts, and bolts would also be a smart addition.

4. How important are construction materials, durability, and looks to you?

The types of materials used in your cabinet system’s construction will be the biggest factor that determines how long it lasts. Construction materials and craftsmanship will also affect how your cabinet system functions. For instance, how smoothly do the cabinet doors and drawers open and close?

Don’t skimp on the quality of materials that were used to build your cabinets. Steel is your best option, but be wary of where that steel is from. Foreign-made steel is commonly heavily recycled, rusts quicker, and isn’t as resilient as the higher quality North American-manufactured steel Garage Living uses in all of our garage cabinets.

The harsh demands of a garage environment should also be taken into consideration with your garage cabinets. This includes changes in temperature, moisture, and everyday wear and tear.

To prolong the life of your cabinetry, look for models with a powder coated finish. Powder coating involves the application of multiple coatings of a dry powder to the surface of the cabinets. This helps protect against scuffs, scratches, and rust.

If you’re seeking a high-end look for your garage to complement your luxury vehicles and that sleek new Floortex™ floor coating, the look of your cabinets will no doubt be important to you.

The showroom-quality looks of a GL Custom Steel or GL NEOS Elite cabinet system fit this specific need. They elevate the aesthetics of your garage and transform it into stylish, comfortable extension of your home.

garage cabinets

The GL NEOS Elite cabinet system provides showroom quality looks.

5. Customization with your garage cabinets

If creating a personalized garage space ranks high on your list of priorities when it comes to a garage makeover, custom cabinets are a must. The ability to customize your garage cabinets gives you significant flexibility to truly create a dream cabinet system.

Custom-fit cabinetry also makes the most of your available space. Underutilized corners can become more useful with the addition of custom cabinetry. If you have a free wall in your garage that’s unfinished, have a seamless wall-to-wall cabinet system designed. That can take care of your storage needs and provide a more finished look for your garage interior.

Custom cabinetry can also be designed to best accommodate the manner in which you’ll be using your garage cabinets. If you’re a hobbyist, the upper and lower cabinets around your heavily used countertop area can be designed to store your most frequently used tools and items. That way, they’re always conveniently close at hand.

Here are just a few of the specialty options that can be included with custom garage cabinets:

  • numerous color options
  • sink units
  • power bars with USB charging ports
  • backsplash
  • pot lighting and valance lighting
  • TV cabinet enclosure
  • utility drawers with organizing bins
  • a dedicated space for hiding garbage and recycling bins

Learn more about how garage cabinets will improve your space

When used with our other effective garage storage and organizations solutions like slatwall panels and specialty storage racks, you’ll be thrilled with how much easier it is to keep your garage organized with a high quality cabinet system.

Schedule a free in-home consultation with us so one of our design experts can evaluate your garage space and guide you through the process of choosing the right garage cabinets.

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Garage Storage Advice: 9 Items That Shouldn’t Be Kept in Your Garage

When you’re looking for extra storage space in your home, the garage is one of the more logical choices because of its size.

Unfortunately, not everything is suited to being stored in your garage space. Think twice about where your overflow house storage ends up, otherwise you may be faced with damaged items and potential safety issues.

Fluctuating garage temperatures and moisture levels pose the biggest threat to the safekeeping of certain household items in this area of the home.

Even if you live in a southern climate that doesn’t experience extreme temperature shifts, high humidity levels can make some items stored in the garage vulnerable to damage.

Use this garage storage advice to keep your belongings safe

Unless your garage is reliably climate-controlled, you’ll want to follow the garage storage advice listed here to keep your belongings and home safe.

Going through your garage to separate items that shouldn’t be stored there will give you a great opportunity to declutter, as many of the items on our list are things you can probably part with.

Don’t let the convenience of having space in your garage for storage override the fact that when it comes to some of your belongings, it’s more sensible to store them elsewhere. Ensure the nine items below aren’t being stored within your garage space.

1. A fridge or freezer

If you have a second fridge or chest freezer running in your garage, you might want to consider putting it in a climate-controlled location.

Extreme heat or cold environments can cause these appliances to work overtime to keep their contents at the right temperature. And even with newer energy-efficient appliances, you might notice the extra costs on your hydro bills.

And if the fridge or freezer in your garage is really old, your wallet will definitely feel the effects of running it. It’s estimated that a fridge manufactured before 1990 could cost you between $250-300 a year to operate in your garage. Use this Energy Star calculator to get an estimate on the cost of running your old garage fridge.

That fridge or freezer running in your garage can also add to the moisture levels within the space and contribute to how much condensation your garage has. If your garage lacks proper ventilation, this issue is only compounded.

garage storage advice photos

2. Old photos, paper, and cardboard

The second thing our garage storage advice recommends you store elsewhere are any paper-based products and items. The changing temperatures and moisture levels that all garages experience are particularly unkind to these items.

Exposure to fluctuating temperatures and moisture will cause your photos to curl, stick together, dry out, and become discolored. They’re better off being digitized or stored in conditions that are cool, dark, and dry, such as in a closet.

Old newspapers, books, magazines, vinyl album jackets, and papers (like old tax returns and bills) will also show the negative effects of being stored in the garage in less time than you’d think. Artwork and important documents should also be stored in your heated living space.

Aside from the fact that all of these paper-based products aren’t going to fare well when stored in the garage, there’s three other important reasons they shouldn’t be stored there:

  • they’re a fire hazard
  • household pests (like mice and insects) enjoy using paper-based products for making nests
  • mold may form on them in certain conditions

3. Propane tanks

Propane tanks are one of the most common items stored in garages that actually have no business being kept there. Barbecue propane tanks and propane tanks used with welding tools are highly combustible and need to be properly stored.

Even if the tank’s valve is shut off, it still poses an ignition and fire hazard that can cause catastrophic damage. Consider that the tank may have a leak you can’t detect.

Propane tanks that aren’t properly stored in your garage could also ignite if they come in contact with a vehicle being parked. Sparks from a grinding tool being used in your garage workshop could also cause a propane tank to ignite.

The chances of a propane tank being stored in the garage are also high because none of us enjoy running out of propane halfway through an outdoor cooking session. That full backup tank many homeowners keep for their barbecue eliminates any chance of a spoiled meal due to the propane being all used up.

Just heed this garage storage advice and make sure your propane tanks are being safely stored somewhere besides the garage. Here’s five key guidelines you should be adhering to:

  • always double check to make sure a tank’s valve is closed when it’s not in use
  • store propane tanks in a secure and ventilated area (like a shed)
  • always keep propane tanks as far away from any potential spark sources as possible
  • ensure propane tanks are stored away from your house
  • store propane tanks on a flat surface

4. Food

It’s strongly advised that canned food and dry packaged foods be kept somewhere besides the garage. Exposure to humidity and both hot and cold temperatures will significantly shorten the shelf life of these items.

High temperatures can cause canned goods to spoil or become rancid. Canned foods that freeze and then thaw out (a process that will occur repeatedly over the course of a winter) will also become inedible over time.

Always keep your food stored in a dry, climate-controlled environment, preferably in a kitchen pantry or cupboard. And if you have so much food that you need to store some of it in the garage, it’s probably time to adjust your shopping list. That money saved from buying in bulk will just be wasted if you end up throwing out too much of what you buy.

garage storage advice wine bottles

5. Wine

Believe it or not, some homeowners don’t know that it’s a downright terrible idea to store wine in the garage. It tends to be one of those things that someone does just once before realizing the error of their ways.

Like food, wine needs a stable storage environment to maintain its quality and prolong its lifespan. Wine stored in a space with fluctuating temperatures will oxidize due to the contraction and expansion that the conditions cause.

The composition of the wine will be compromised to the point where it won’t even be drinkable. Poor storage conditions will also affect the wine’s color.

Proper, stable humidity levels are also important when it comes to wine storage. And wine also needs to be stored in an environment where there’s minimal vibrations and noise (these can affect its aging process).

The optimal conditions for wine storage are in a dark environment that’s kept at a temperature and humidity level that are consistent. Even if you’re a casual wine collector, it makes sense to invest in proper wine storage solutions like custom wine cabinetry or a wine fridge.

6. Clothing and fabrics

Any sensible garage storage advice will tell you that clothing and anything made from fabric should be stored somewhere besides the garage. Along with outgrown or ill-fitting clothing, you’ll also commonly find these other fabric-based items in garages:

  • linens
  • blankets
  • sleeping bags
  • keepsakes like a wedding dress, prom gown, and first baby outfit
  • seasonal clothing
  • sofa and chair cushions

Once again, the humidity, heat, and cold of a garage environment won’t be kind to your garments. Fumes from engine and power equipment exhausts or improperly stored materials may damage these items. Pests also favor clothing and fabrics as a spot to build homes.

Go through any stored clothing in your garage and get rid of what you can before storing the rest in an area of your home that’s dry and cool. Make sure the area isn’t overly bright, either.

For optimal clothes storage conditions in your home, you can also keep them in vacuum-sealed bags. Acid-free storage containers and cedar wood blocks also help to preserve your stored clothing.

7. Wooden furniture

So you’ve kept that old wooden furniture stored in your garage with the intention of restoring it so it can be used again sometime later. Unfortunately, you may find out the hard way that long-term garage storage of items made from delicate woods isn’t ideal.

Temperature swings and constantly changing humidity levels will wreak havoc on stored furniture, causing the wood fibers to contract and expand. This will eventually cause the wood to split or even break, sometimes beyond the point of repair.

As we’ve recommended in several of our other garage storage advice points, wooden furniture should also be stored in an environment that’s temperature-controlled. This will keep humidity levels stable and slow down the drying-out process of woods.

You’ll protect your furniture further by cleaning it and treating it with wood furniture preservative or polish before storing it. Cover your stored furniture with a drop cloth or old blanket.

garage storage advice paint cans

8. Paint and hazardous materials

Any safety-conscious garage storage advice would be incomplete without mentioning paint and hazardous materials storage. Old, half-used paint cans, in particular, are commonly found in garages.

The truth is, most paint that’s kept in your garage will be virtually useless if it’s been stored there for a long time. Both freezing temperatures and hot temperatures will cause many types of paint to separate and curdle.

Poor storage conditions for leftover paint will affect the consistency and color of it. Old paint cans stored on a garage floor are also vulnerable to rust. If left long enough, the cans might rust right through and cause a major mess. Use your basement for storing old paint cans instead.

Even if you think your old pesticides, solvents, cleaning supplies, and half-empty containers of automotive fluids are okay if they’re stored inside high quality garage cabinetry, think again. If you no longer have any use for these hazardous materials (or your old paint), dispose of them properly at your local hazmat disposal facility.

9. Old electronic equipment

Our last bit of garage storage advice concerns your old electronic equipment. We all love our electronic devices and that can lead to your garage becoming an electronics graveyard over time.

Old TVs, receivers, radios, computer equipment, gaming consoles, appliances…the list goes on and on when it comes to the types of electronics we discard.

Most of it will be obsolete and useless, however. And items that aren’t so old will only last so long in most garage environments. Condensation, humidity, and changing temperatures can damage the circuit boards and solder joints on electronic equipment.

Get more garage storage advice from a trusted garage professional

This garage storage advice will aid you in prolonging the storage life of your belongings and keeping your home safer. Garage Living can also help with a different type of garage storage advice.

Our expertise and wide range of garage improvement solutions can help you make more effective use of your garage’s space. Book your free in-home consultation with us to get the process started.

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