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.

See also:

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.

See also:

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.

See also:

9 Reasons You Should Avoid Renting Self Storage Units

The Storage Wars TV series has now run for 10 seasons comprised of well over 200 episodes. Regional spinoff versions of the show, along with other copycat shows that focus on the world of self storage units, are also in production.

One would think there couldn’t possibly be enough junk-related source material to fuel all of this entertainment. The shocking statistics involving the usage of self storage units tells another story, however.

self storage units cloudy sky green doors

1 in 10 households rent self storage units

Survey results released by the Self Storage Association show that self storage units are rented by 1 in 10 U.S. households. To put that in perspective, only 1 in 17 American households used self storage units in 1995.

There are currently an estimated 58,000 self storage units in the U.S. The Orlando Sentinel reports that this is more than the country’s number of McDonald’s, Subways, and Starbucks combined.

In Canada, which has around one tenth of America’s population, there are 3,000 self storage units. The rest of the world outside of those two countries only has a total of 10,000 self storage units.

With such heavy usage of off-site storage, it’s no wonder there are so many TV shows that deal with the topic. Clearly, North Americans are purchasing far more than they need and living beyond their means.

One of the end results of this is clutter and, by extension, finding enough storage space for all the things we own.

The financial hole only gets deeper when homeowners end up turning to self storage units as a perceived solution. In truth, there are many reasons to avoid using off-site storage facilities and here are nine of them.

1. Self storage units are too expensive

Self storage units come in sizes that most commonly range from 5′ x 5′ to 20′ x 20′. The most popular size for rental units is 10′ x 10′, which around 16% of American renters choose.

Aside from how big the space you need to rent is, factors like the storage facility’s location and whether or not you choose extra features like climate control will affect your monthly rental cost. Hidden costs also need to be factored in (more on that below).

Consumer Reports estimates that on average, a 10′ x 10′ self storage unit will cost you almost $2,000 per year to rent in the U.S. That cost rises dramatically when the self storage facility is in a large city. The same storage unit can end up costing $2,500 in Los Angeles and jumps to a whopping $3,700 in New York City.

In downtown Toronto, a 10′ x 10′ storage unit will currently cost you $325 to rent for four weeks. That works out to $200 more annually then you’ll pay for the same sized unit in The Big Apple (not counting the exchange rate).

Considering that the Self Storage Association’s stats show that more than half of those renting will keep their unit for a year or more, the costs can add up significantly. And, of course, you’ll have nothing tangible to show for your expenses when you end your rental agreement.

 2. Hidden costs and extra services or features

On top of the storage unit’s basic monthly rental fee, hidden costs and services can increase what you originally expected to pay.

Some costs, like a storage unit setup fee and mandatory monthly insurance fees, have been known to be hidden in your rental contract’s fine print.

Then there’s the extra services and features the self storage facility will try to upsell to you to increase their profit margin. This can include paying extra for more secure locks or a better location for your storage unit that’s closer to the facility’s access points.

The bottom line is that you should expect to pay more for renting a self storage unit than the price you’ll get off their website.

3. The inconvenience of accessing your self storage unit

Clearly, any items being kept in a self storage unit aren’t exactly everyday use items for you. Even still, you’ve held onto them for a reason.

When you do you need to gain access to your unit, you’ll need to go to the trouble of making a trip to the storage facility. Depending on its location, that can be time-consuming.

On top of that, you’re at the mercy of the storage facility’s hours when it comes to getting into your storage unit. Many self storage locations aren’t open 24 hours or accessible on major holidays.

4. The worry of maintenance, theft, and damage

Even with a locked storage unit, you’re putting a lot of faith in complete strangers to safeguard the belongings you’ve stored. Here are some factors you’ll need to consider:

  • Is there security personnel on the premises around the clock?
  • How properly vetted and trained are the security personnel?
  • Is there 24 hour video surveillance?
  • How secure are the premises (including lighting, heights of gates, and crime rates in the area)?
  • Does the facility have a proper sprinkler and fire alarm system?
  • How clean and well-maintained is the facility?
  • Does the climate control work properly to prevent mold, mildew, and pest problems?
  • In the event of theft or damage to your belongings, how much insurance protection do you have?

Using a self storage unit doesn’t just mean placing your trust in the facility’s employees to keep your stored items safe. You also have no idea what the neighboring units have inside them. It could include everything from drugs to firearms to stolen merchandise to dangerous chemicals.

5. You don’t need most of what’s in your self storage unit

Self storage units can admittedly be useful in certain short-term situations. Perhaps you’re supposed to move but your newly built home isn’t quite ready yet, or the home you’re buying from someone hit an unexpected snag before the deal closed.

Or perhaps you need to travel overseas for an extended period of time and need somewhere to keep your things until you return. If you’re downsizing or going through a divorce, a self storage unit can help you store a bunch of extra belongings until you can figure out what to do with them.

However, the truth is that most self storage units are being used because a homeowner just hasn’t taken the time to properly declutter and let go of things they don’t need.

Anything that has true sentimental value that’s worthy of holding onto should probably be kept close, not stored in a remote location.

6. Self storage units hold you back from decluttering

Because your clutter has been stored in an off-site location, there’s a much greater chance you just won’t bother dealing with it. Out of sight, out of mind, as they say.

Before you know it, years will have passed and the junk in your storage unit will just collect more dust, while your bank account will be emptier.

And if you’ve had to resort to renting a self storage unit then it’s likely your home is being filled up with even more clutter. That makes your home less functional. Clutter is also a noted contributor to stress.

7. Others can make use of what you don’t need

“One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.”

You can use the thinking behind this well-known quote and apply it to your own situation to help you get rid of your junk and clutter.

This can include selling items you don’t need to local secondhand stores or online through sites like eBay and Craigslist.

Charities will also welcome donations of some of your items, particularly furniture. Furniture Bank in Canada and the U.S. can pick up your old furniture and make sure it gets to those in need.

For any useless clutter you have that can’t be donated or sold, spend a weekend getting it out of your home or storage unit. Rent a truck, enlist some help, and toss the items at your local dump or recycling facility.

8. Self storage units leave a big environmental footprint

If you’re environmentally conscious, consider the size of the environmental footprint left by storage facilities.

The Self Storage Association says that all of the storage units in America take up 2.3 billion square feet of space. The hydro costs for climate control and lighting for that much space must be staggering.

It puts a needless and wasteful burden on our resources, especially when you consider so much of the contents of self storage units is just junk.

self storage units slatwall

Add better storage and organization systems to your home (like slatwall panels) instead of wasting money on a self storage unit rental.

9. You’re better off upgrading your home’s storage and organization systems

It should be obvious that self storage units simply aren’t a financially viable storage solution. The thousands of dollars you’ll spend over many years for off-site storage could be invested in better storage and organization systems for your home.

That’s something the estimated 65% of homeowners who have garages – yet still rent self storage units – have failed to discover.

While the garage may be a clutter hotspot, there are storage solutions available for this space that can minimize the amount of clutter in your home.

Garage Living knows that your garage walls and vertical space are typically not used to their full potential. We can remedy that in the following ways:

The bottom line: renting self storage units is a bad idea

Renting a self storage unit on a long-term basis just doesn’t make much sense. Take the time to declutter and re-evaluate the effectiveness of the storage systems in your garage and elsewhere in your home.

For help with turning your garage into a more functional space, schedule a free in-home consultation with one of our design experts.

See also:

13 Fall Garage Storage Tips and Ideas to Get Your Space Winter-Ready

fall garage storage

As the days get shorter and winter approaches, the yearly ritual of preparing your home for the dreaded colder weather is now underway.

Homeowners will change furnace filters, cover up air conditioners, rake a never-ending amount of leaves, clear out gutters, and plant bulbs for spring, to name just a few of many necessary fall tasks.

Of course, storing items used during the spring and summer will also require your attention. Naturally, your garage will be the primary storage space for these seasonal items. Can it accommodate your fall garage storage requirements?

Don’t procrastinate on fall garage storage preparations

Procrastinating on making sure your garage is winter-ready has several negative effects, including:

  • causing you to deal with your fall garage storage concerns later when temperatures in your garage are less comfortable
  • creating potential extra costs due to lower garage energy efficiency and damage to items from improper winter storage
  • the extra time that’s wasted looking for things
  • generally prohibiting you from getting the most functionality out of your garage space

Taking a proactive approach to your fall garage storage considerations will serve you well throughout the coming colder months. You’ll also notice the benefits when the warm weather returns.

These 13 fall garage storage and preparation tips and ideas will help get your space optimized for better organization and functionality this winter.

1. Get decluttering

Getting your garage organized and keeping it that way requires you to declutter regularly. As a rule, it should be your very first task when it comes to your fall garage storage preparations.

Garages are the go-to dumping ground for items that you’re reluctant to part with or just can’t find a storage spot for within your heated living space. You know, clutter.

Anyone with a well-kept garage space will undoubtedly be taking the time to declutter this area at least once a year (at minimum). The benefits of decluttering include:

  • it frees up space for indoor parking and improves garage functionality and organization
  • implementing better storage solutions such as garage cabinetry is easier
  • it makes your garage safer by eliminating tripping hazards from items left on the floor (like rakes)
  • locating items when you need them will be easier

2. Clean your garage floor

Your fall garage storage tasks should include making sure your space is clean and as free of dirt, dust, and grime as possible. Spring cleaning your garage after the messy toll that winter takes on it is essential.

You’d also be advised to take the time to clean your garage floor before the snow comes. After all, garages in colder climates will almost certainly get more use during the spring and summer months. That creates a lot of foot traffic and tracks in dirt from your yard on shoes, boots, and tools.

A Floortex™ floor coating is extremely durable and resilient, but even it requires an occasional cleaning. Luckily, that requires relatively little effort on your part.

After decluttering, give your garage floor a good sweep and thoroughly rinse off the remaining debris with a hose. Make sure any electrical outlets that might come in contact with spray from your hose are covered up.

Then remove the remaining water on your floor with a good squeegee (you can pick one up at your local Garage Living showroom). Your clean Floortex-coated floor will look just like new and be all ready for the demands of winter.

3. Turn off your outdoor water and empty and store all hoses

Before freezing temperatures become the norm, make sure your home’s outdoor water connection is shut off for the winter. Drain the lines as much as possible as well. This will greatly minimize the chance of pipes bursting during winter time, which can be an expensive repair.

Your garden hoses should also receive attention when you’re carrying out your fall garage storage preparations. Garden hoses should be kept coiled and unkinked at all times to prolong their life and prevent cracking and leaks.

Invest in a hose reel to make this easier and keep hoses off your garage floor or walkways. Garage Living carries high quality wall-mounted reels and portable hose reel carts, in addition to excellent kink-resistant garden hoses that are very durable.

Disconnect your garden hose from its water connection and make sure you’ve drained all the water from it. It’s a bad idea to leave water in hoses over the winter for a few reasons. Don’t forget to drain sprinklers and watering wands as well.

Specifically, water left in hoses that freezes can rupture the hose or cause it to crack. An undrained hose that’s left connected could also cause ice to potentially creep its way into your pipes and cause them to burst.

fall garage storage hose reels

Drain your garden hoses and make sure they’re properly stored before sub-zero temperatures arrive.

4. Make sure certain items aren’t kept in the garage

More than a few homeowners make the mistake of using their garage to store items that should be stored in their heated living space. Here are a few items that you shouldn’t be keeping in the garage:

  • paint, cleaning products, and many household chemicals (frigid temperatures affect their consistency, color, and effectiveness)
  • electronics you plan to donate (condensation can damage solder joints and cause circuit boards to rust or crack)
  • clothing or linens that aren’t in vacuum-sealed storage bags
  • propane tanks (store them in a shed or covered outdoor area)
  • paper, which attracts rodents and other pests

5. Make your garage more energy efficient

Your garage doors are the largest moving object in your home. They also account for as much as third of your home’s front exterior. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to make sure this home feature is properly outfitted to maximize your garage’s energy efficiency.

Make sure your garage doors are properly insulated to keep as much warm air in and as much cold air out. Modern garage doors offer much better insulation features than older models, which can help lower your heating costs.

Steel garage doors, in particular, are a popular choice for homeowners looking for garage doors that provide stylish aesthetics and effective insulating features.

Adding insulation to your garage ceiling and walls can have a major beneficial impact on your garage’s energy efficiency. This can be a big, messy job that also isn’t cheap, but it’s a smart long-term investment.

Make sure your garage doors, window frames, and any other doors have weatherstripping to eliminate drafts. Weatherstripping can peel and crack over time, so be sure to inspect it periodically. You can also eliminate drafts around window and door frames, vents, and any outlets with caulking.

Remember, improving your garage’s energy efficiency during the winter also means it’ll be more energy efficient during the rest of the year. A well-insulated attached garage should ease the burden of your air conditioner when the weather heats up.

6. Make better use of your garage’s wall space

One of the most commonly underutilized storage areas in garages are its walls. What’s the main thing that’s keeping you from using your garage for parking? Floor clutter, of course!

Reclaiming that valuable garage floor space to allow for parking will be especially appreciated when the cold weather arrives. You won’t need to brush snow off vehicles and de-ice their windows, sparing you extra exposure to any inclement weather. Vehicles will also warm up quicker.

Adding a slatwall storage system to your garage walls will make it a lot easier to maintain an organized garage. Our PVC slatwall panels also add a more clean, finished look to your garage interior.

And by making use of the more than 40 types of slatwall accessories available, you’ll be able to hang up most of your tools and belongings that are only used during spring and summer.

Everything from bikes to gardening supplies to sports and camping equipment can be hung with our speciality hooks, shelves, brackets, baskets, and bins, in an endless number of configurations. Up to 50 lbs can be supported.

And because slatwall panels give you so much extra storage space, you can find a dedicated year-round home for all your tools. There’ll be no need to switch out summer tools like rakes with snow shovels, or vice versa. This can save you many hours of time over the coming years. Seasonal transitions in your garage will be a breeze!

fall garage storage slatwall

PVC slatwall panels provide flexible storage space for all of your lawn and garden tools.

7. Test all garage alarm devices and check your fire extinguisher

Many fire departments advise you to test your smoke, carbon monoxide, and heat detectors a minimum of twice a year. Make a practice of doing so whenever the clocks go forward and go back.

Your garage should have a heat detector and carbon monoxide detector installed, so make it a habit to add testing these devices to your fall garage storage and preparation to-do list.

If your garage also contains a fire extinguisher that can be stored in colder temperatures, give it an inspection. Check that its expiry date is still good and check its pressure if there’s a pressure gauge.

If you’re not storing a fire extinguisher in your garage, store one just inside the door that enters your home from your attached garage.

What’s that, you say? Your garage doesn’t have a fire extinguisher, carbon monoxide detector, or heat detector? Investing in any or all three of these inexpensive items is a sensible idea as an extra safety measure to protect your home.

8. Prepare your equipment and tools for winter storage

A little preventative care when storing your lawn tools and equipment for the winter will extend their life. This also includes patio furniture. Come the spring time, they’ll all be ready to use right away. Take the time to declutter any tools that are barely used or worn out and no longer useful.

Lawn and garden tools like wheelbarrows, rakes, shovels, tillers, and edgers can be hosed down, which should remove most dirt. To remove stubborn caked-on soil and dirt, hose the tools down and use a light wire brush for cleaning (this can also be used to remove light rust). Make sure to dry all washed items before storing them.

Now let’s give your cutting tools a little attention. Your pruners, loppers, shears, saws, and hedge trimmer blade will likely have sap on them. Use a cutting tool cleaner (or turpentine, which is also effective) to remove any sticky residue. Also inspect the sharpness of the tools’ blades.

Powered yard equipment needs even more care before storing them for the winter to maximize their life. Clean any grass clippings and residue from lawn mowers and grass trimmers.

For gas-powered equipment, drain all gas, oil, and other additives from the tools and dispose of the fluids properly. Consider an end-of-season tune-up for your lawn mower so you’ll have one less thing to deal with when spring comes.

9. Look up to find more fall garage storage space

Along with a garage’s walls, its vertical space is rarely used to the best of its abilities for storage. Remedy that and find more fall garage storage space by adding specialty overhead racking to store your bulkier and seasonal items.

Because these larger items have more weight, you’ll need a more heavy-duty storage solution, which our overhead racks provide. Up to 600 lbs can be supported on our adjustable racks, which are available in a variety of sizes.

Many homeowners taking care of their fall garage storage needs in colder climates will own an extra set of car tires. If you have more than one vehicle with a second set of tires, that can take up more garage floor space than you’d prefer. Try using a heavy-duty wall-mounted tire rack instead.

With these bulky items stored vertically, you’ll be amazed at how much space this can free up on your garage floor. Parking will be easier and you’ll be able to quickly locate those storage bins or totes full of holiday decorations when needed.

fall garage storage tire racks

A heavy-duty wall-mounted tire rack keeps your extra set of tires off your garage floor.

10. Store your summer car on a car lift

If you own a classic car or sports car that only gets driven for half the year due to the weather where you live, storing it during the winter can pose a problem.

Either you’ll need to use up one of your garage’s parking spots for it or you’ll need to store it in an off-site facility. Both of these can be inconvenient, but a car lift makes for a great solution.

A 4 post car lift also makes use of the underutilized ceiling space in your garage to provide you with extra storage space. Simply raise your car on the lift and keep it there until spring, while parking your everyday use vehicle below it.

A car lift can also be used (with the right attachment) for storing other seasonal items like motorcycles and riding mowers.

11. Inspect your winter tools and equipment

You won’t want to wait until after that first blizzard hits to find out your snow blower isn’t functioning properly. Be sure that your fall garage storage and preparation checklist includes snow removal equipment inspection.

Consider taking your snow blower in for a tune-up if it’s been awhile since a pro performed maintenance on it. If you’re more of the hands-on type, change the spark plug and fill it up with gas, oil, and any additives like fuel stabilizer.

The tires and pull cord should also be checked. Take proactive measures by having backups for parts that more commonly need replacing, so you’re not inconvenienced with a maintenance issue when the snow blower is really needed. This includes shear pins and extra drive belts.

12. Consider additional storage solutions like garage cabinetry

Garage cabinetry helps you maximize storage space and can be extremely valuable when it comes to finding extra fall garage storage space for all your belongings.

Garage Living has several lines of cabinet systems to fit any budget. From our GL Signature cabinets (which are great for smaller garages) to our top-of-the-line GL Custom Steel cabinets, any system you choose will drastically improve your garage’s functionality and looks.

fall garage storage cabinets

GL Custom Steel cabinets add more functionality and great aesthetics to your garage space.

13. Add a garage heater

Using your garage as workshop gives you the freedom to tinker and repair things in your own private space, without worrying about messes or noise. Cold weather limits your ability to use it comfortably, however.

Your multipurpose garage space can be more useful during the year’s more frigid months by adding heating to it. Needless to say, 24/7 garage heating during the winter can get expensive, unfortunately.

One alternative solution is to use a portable electric heater. An even better idea is to get a more effective heating solution that can be fastened to your wall, like an electric radiant infrared heater.

Garage Living’s electric radiant heaters come in 110V and 220V models that have a long power cord and a remote control. It’s meant to heat a smaller area of your garage so you’ll be able to continue using your garage for your hobbies all year-round.

Consult a pro for your fall garage storage needs

Garage Living can help with your fall garage storage preparations. Schedule your free in-home consultation to get your garage winter-ready with our smart and effective garage organization and storage solutions.

See also: