Your home garage provides room for parking vehicles and organized storage. Some people use it as a hobby space or a home gym.
A home garage should be able to do all of these things. Does yours?
Unfortunately, excess clutter in many unfinished garages makes this impossible. If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to improve your home in some way, start with transforming your garage.
According to a Wall Street Journal survey, only 11% of homeowners don’t want to improve their garage in some way. Owning a home with an organized garage is something most homeowners want. They just never get around to making it happen.
Begin the new year by getting organized, starting with your garage. Here are several ways to transform your garage into a usable space that you can be proud of.
Get rid of the junk
If your garage is filled with junk, you might be among the 24% of homeowners who are embarrassed to leave their garage doors open, according to an Impulse Research survey.
A cluttered and unfinished garage is a common sight in many homes.
Why do we let the valuable space in our garage fill up with worthless junk? Most of us would prefer to park our vehicles in the garage instead of the driveway.
Clutter multiplies quickly. Before long, it is out of control. Try following the “one year rule” when you tidy up your garage. If something hasn’t been used in the last year, do you really need it?
Get rid of the junk in your garage. It will free up floor space and make it easier to keep things tidy.
Upgrade your garage floor
If you still have a dusty, unfinished garage floor, it’s time for an upgrade. An attractive, finished garage floor has a huge impact on transforming your garage.
A garage floor coating will protect your floor and make it much easier to clean. It will also increase the value of your garage. Without getting too technical, your main choices are epoxy or polyaspartic.
A polyaspartic floor coating, like Garage Living’s Floortex™ floor coating system, provides the best protection. It can be applied in less than a day, even during the cold winter months.
Garage Living’s Floortex™ floor coating system can be applied during cold winter months.
Without adequate protection, your garage floor will begin to crack, crumble, and wear away over time. Pitting is one example of how the surface degrades, as many small indentations start to show on the floor. Spalling (where the surface crumbles or flakes away) is another example.
Floortex™ floor coatings are engineered to keep your floor looking like new, for years to come.
Garage cabinetry helps prevents clutter
Not everything has to hang from the walls in your garage. Adding cabinets is a great way to store:
trash and recycling bins
a shop vac or compressor
valuables or dangerous chemicals you want locked up
Custom cabinet systems are worth the extra cost. Compared to off-the-shelf cabinets from big-box stores, they provide a more precise fit in your garage and look nicer. The higher-quality materials and craftsmanship they’re made with also provide smoother functionality and longer life.
Another overlooked reason to use cabinetry in the garage is your stored items are kept hidden. Eliminating visual clutter preserves the orderly appearance of a garage.
Use the garage walls for storage
Garage walls are commonly used for hanging storage, but not to their full potential.
Maximize the storage space in your garage by using slatwall panels. They are precisely cut to fit your garage’s dimensions (including cutouts for wall switches, outlets, central vac tubing, etc).
The horizontal groove design and the slatwall accessories make it a breeze to organize your things. As your storage needs change, you can move your hooks and shelves around with ease.
Customize your wall storage with over 40 slatwall accessories.
Slatwall panels aren’t just for better functionality, either. They give an unfinished garage a clean and polished look. Choose from eight colors to match your cabinetry or flooring.
And with the more than 40 types of hanging accessories Garage Living carries, you won’t have any issues finding the perfect specialized accessory to satisfy most of your wall hanging requirements.
Overhead storage for seasonal items
Not only are most garage walls underutilized, so are their ceiling spaces. You only have to look up in most garages to discover more storage space.
Storage bins in heavy-duty overhead storage racks are a great way to hide clutter.
Overhead storage racks help to keep your garage floor clutter-free. Their durable construction lets you store heavy items. They are also adjustable and come in different lengths.
Here are a few items that are perfect for garage overhead storage:
storage bins (great for hiding clutter)
Double your parking space with a car lift
If space is at a premium in your garage, it may be difficult to park more than one vehicle. Off-site vehicle storage might seem like your only option, but that can be expensive in the long run.
Consider investing in a 4 post car lift that enables you to double your parking space.
Car collectors will love the convenience of having vehicles nearby and ready to drive.
Car lifts are also useful for storing cars that are only driven during certain times of the year. With an attachment, your lift can also store:
boats and jet skis
other bulky seasonal items
And if you like to work on your vehicle, a car lift is the best way to get underneath it easily.
Hire an experienced garage remodel company
Creating a nicer garage interior with more usable space is worth the time and expense. To achieve this goal, who you choose to do your garage makeover will be the single biggest decision you’ll make with the project.
A Garage Living installer applying slatwall panels to a garage wall.
Over the past decade-and-a-half, Garage Living has completed thousands of makeover projects across the U.S. and Canada. The professional, high-end look of the transformed garages pictured here and on our website are the result of all of that experience and because of the high-quality products we use.
Bring us your design ideas. We’ll work together and within your budget to make your garage a destination that gives you enjoyment every time you drive into it.
Love your garage space!
Don’t be embarrassed about your garage. Be proud of having an organized garage with more usable space that also looks great.
Don’t forget that an open garage impacts your curb appeal. Neighbors and passersby notice a garage interior that’s messy, unfinished, and has décor that’s outdated. This is a big reason 52% of homeowners want to own a garage their neighbors envy, according to a Thompson’s Company study.
Starting a long-delayed garage junk cleaning project is the most meaningful step you can make towards reclaiming your garage’s functionality.
Cluttered garages severely limit the usefulness of this vital room in your home. Instead of using the garage for parking vehicles, efficient storage, and for things like working out or as a home workshop, stacked piles of unused junk rule the roost.
Essentially, a space that is capable of serving your family in many different ways becomes completely one-dimensional.
Why do we let junk take over our garages?
It’s a wonder that so many homeowners allow a collection of things that have little or no worth or significance (the literal definition of junk) dictate how they can use their garages.
There are millions of garages across the U.S. and Canada that are each clogged with junk that is maybe worth a few hundred dollars. Meanwhile, vehicles worth tens of thousands of dollars are left parked in driveways where they’re much less secure and exposed to the elements.
What’s wrong with this picture?
Messy garages make a quarter of homeowners embarrassed to leave their garage doors open, according to an Impulse Research survey. A Garage Living poll with 1,500 North American respondents found that 20% of homeowners were unable to park in their garage.
Maybe you’re considering a modestly budgeted makeover project that updates your garage’s décor and improves its storage efficiency. Perhaps a more elaborate remodel that results in a swanky luxury garage is what you’re planning.
In either case, the first step in transforming your space is to get that garage junk cleaning project in motion.
Follow this one rule with your garage junk cleaning project
When you start your garage junk cleaning project, figuring out what you need to get rid of should be obvious in many cases. That broken VCR, filthy old couch, and rusty garden tools, for example, are no-brainers.
But if you’re on the fence about whether or not to toss or donate anything, follow this one decluttering rule: have I used this item in the past one or two years?
Most organization professionals adhere to the “one year rule” with decluttering, as in get rid of anything that hasn’t been touched in the past year.
That may not work best for everything that gets stored in the garage, however. If you give yourself some leeway and stretch that out a bit to two years, the answer should be even clearer about what items actually get used and are truly worth keeping.
Finally dealing with your clutter and junk can pave the way towards creating a beautiful room in your home that goes well beyond what you ever thought was possible with a garage. Just look at the before and after garage makeover photos below for proof!
Prior to its makeover, this unfinished garage had floor clutter and lacked effective storage and organization systems.
After the makeover, this clean, stylish, and tidy garage looks like a completely different room.
Get “all hands on deck” with your garage cleaning project
Get the whole family involved with your junk cleaning project. After all, they surely helped contribute to the accumulation of clutter in the room. They’ll benefit when the garage is in better organizational shape, too.
If you have the space in your garage or if the weather allows for organizing things in your driveway, establish a junk and clutter staging area where you can group the things you’ll be throwing out or donating.
As you proceed, you should find that these 15 common types of garage junk and clutter will make up the bulk of what you’ll be getting rid of.
1. Old paint
Most garages that would be considered cluttered probably have some unused, partially used, or empty paint cans stored in them.
Unless your garage is climate-controlled, paint won’t keep very well when stored there over long periods. Temperature fluctuations will alter the consistency of stored paint, separate the colors, and cause the paint to dry out. Here’s how to tell if your stored paint is still usable.
Saving a can of leftover paint for touchups after a painting project is a good idea, but only if the paint is stored in optimal temperature conditions. Use your basement for storing any leftover paint you expect to use in the future.
Otherwise, take your old paint cans to your local hazardous waste disposal facility. Some municipalities will allow empty paint cans that only have residual dried paint to be included in curbside recycling collections.
If you have paint that is still usable, some schools, community organizations, and larger nonprofit organizations like Habitat for Humanity may accept it as a donation.
2. Worn out and outgrown sports equipment
Garages are filled with lots of worn-out sports equipment that may not have been touched in years. If you have kids who participate in organized sports (or used to), you also know quickly they can outgrow their athletic gear.
Like so many of the things you’ll come across during your garage junk cleaning project, that old sports equipment just never got dealt with and thrown out or donated. Now is the time to change that.
Donating used sports gear that is still in good shape is a win-win-win because:
a charity will benefit
it helps parents who can’t afford to buy expensive brand new athletic gear for their kids
a recycled piece of sports gear means one less item in your local landfill
For the sports equipment and other items your family uses for outdoor activities that you are keeping such as bikes, skateboards, and pool toys, consider a practical storage solution like slatwall.
Slatwall panels maximize your garage’s storage space by making better use of your garage walls for hanging storage. Instead of just having a few permanently anchored hooks, nails, or hangers, a slatwall system allows for a variety of hanging accessories to be moved around as your storage needs change.
3. Old cardboard
Another staple found in messy garages is old cardboard. Maybe it’s old boxes from Amazon orders or electronics purchases. Some people hold onto moving boxes for years.
The photo above shows a box from a recent TV purchase that was being kept in a garage. The homeowner was holding onto the box in case there were any issues with the TV and it needed to be repaired while still under warranty. While that is a good idea, the box would be better off stored in better conditions indoors for a year.
And if you’re not planning to move within the next few years, there is no reason to keep moving boxes. Even if the cardboard boxes being kept in your garage are all broken down and flattened, there are a few reasons to break this bad habit of keeping cardboard around:
the space taken up by cardboard that is being held onto “just in case” could be put to better use
pests are attracted to cardboard, particularly the glue used on the boxes
all of that cardboard collects dust and contributes to a dirtier garage with poor air quality
a stack of discarded cardboard is just one more thing you have to navigate around or move when cleaning the garage
4. Old books, magazines, and paper items
Like cardboard, any paper-based items being stored in the garage such as books, newspapers, magazines, photos, board games, and documents like old invoices and tax returns become a magnet for rodents and insects.
Keeping these things stored in airtight plastic storage bins to keep out pests and moisture will help, but it’s generally not a good idea to store any paper-related products in the garage for a long time. In addition to the aforementioned reasons, all of that paper becomes a potential fire hazard as well.
And how many of these things are you ever realistically going to read again? Old documents and tax returns have little use to you after a few years. Old newspapers and magazines will be filled with outdated news and information that you can find online anyway.
Let’s face it, those old books you never got around to reading will probably stay unread, especially if they have been sitting in a dusty, moisture-prone environment for years. Photos that are important to you should not be stored in the garage under any circumstances.
Do yourself a favor and lighten your garage’s storage load by donating the books and filling up your recycling bin every week until all of that paper clutter has vanished.
5. Old tires
Old car, truck, and bike tires usually end up in the corner of a garage on the floor. You can’t just toss them in the garbage anymore, as tires can be recycled into many different things. Here are some examples:
Your local waste recycling center should be able to take your old tires. Another option is to bring them to a tire retailer, who will charge you a small recycling fee.
If you’re keeping old tires stored in the garage for use later, be mindful that they do have a “best before” date. The rubber in tires degrades over time, which is known as tire dry rot or sidewall cracking.
In most cases, if the tires are more than 10 years old (which is about the maximum service life for most vehicle tires), get rid of them.
6. Broken and rusty tools
Broken power tools, rusty garden tools, rakes with missing tines, a rusty hammer or screwdriver…the list of old tools that exist only to take up space in your garage can go on and on.
By now, you’ve probably replaced most of your broken or well-worn tools with something newer. Keeping those old tools around only makes your garage more disorganized because they’re one more thing you have occupying space.
For example, take a rusty old shovel that has been hanging on your garage wall that is rarely or no longer used. Simply getting rid of it doesn’t just create more space for storing something in the future.
It makes it easier to rearrange your storage wall if necessary and also gives you one less thing to scan the wall for when looking for a specific item. The latter may sound like a minor thing, but instantly being able to find a tool in the garage when you need it can add up to hours saved over the course of a couple of years.
7. Exercise equipment that is never used
The garage is an ideal home fitness space if you’re working out regularly. However, if your garage is storing exercise equipment that hasn’t been used in years, that valuable floor space that could be put to better use.
Over a number of years, moisture in the garage can take a toll on different types of fitness machines and equipment. Weight benches, metal weights, and metal parts on exercise machines may rust.
Temperature fluctuations will put extra stress on the plastic and metal in exercise equipment, causing it to expand and contract. A simple lack of use often leads to performance issues with anything that has a lot of moving parts like a treadmill.
At the very least, all of these factors will contribute to any unused exercise equipment being stored in the garage having a shorter life.
If regular workouts just aren’t in your foreseeable future, clear out that equipment to create more useful garage storage space.
8. Leftover building materials
Keeping a few extra pieces of scrap wood around for a home repair or some extra paver stones to replaced damaged stones can come in handy and save you a trip to the home improvement store.
The problem with a lot of garages is that they end up becoming a storage space for far more leftover building material products than will ever get used. They are often stored haphazardly, such as the scrap wood pictured above.
Boxes of ceramic tiles that get moved or have items stored on top of them will end up with damaged tile pieces. The dampness and temperature changes in garages won’t treat any leftover hardwood flooring you have stored there kindly. And remember, cardboard packaging for building materials stored in the garage for lengthy periods is susceptible to the issues already mentioned.
Whether it’s leftovers from a remodel or a hobby project whose progress hit the proverbial brick wall, this garage junk cleaning time is a great opportunity to toss a lot of those old building material products you’ll never use.
In addition to old paint, the average garage houses all sorts of hazardous products that accumulate over time like stains, varnishes, caulking tubes, car cleaning and maintenance products, lawn and garden fertilizers, and general household cleaners.
Some of these items have expiry dates and those that don’t typically have a shelf life of only a few years. Keeping chemicals and hazardous products stored for long periods in environments where temperature conditions aren’t optimal shortens their shelf life and makes them less effective when used.
All of these things that have limited or no use aren’t just taking up space, they are also an ingestion and flammable hazard.
10. Old appliances, electronics, and outdated media
Outdated media and the devices to play them on may be stored in your garage. Now is the time to finally ditch all of those obsolete electronics and media that just can’t compete with today’s smart devices and streaming technology.
We hate to sound like a broken record (pun intended), but because vinyl records, CDs, cassettes, and VHS tapes all have paper packaging and liner notes, you know by now how they’ll fare with long-term garage storage.
Being kept in a storage space with moisture and changing temperatures will often cause playback issues with these different types of media, too.
Old VCRs, DVD players, CD players, cassette decks, computers and peripheral devices, turntables, receivers, TVs, and maybe even an ancient 8-track tape player should be brought to your local electronics recycling facility or donated if they still work.
Some charities may take donations of your old media, depending on the format. Well-preserved vinyl records, which have seen a revival in the past decade or so, will certainly generate the most interest.
Get rid of any old appliances like a fridge or window air conditioning unit that don’t work. Small appliances that never got used and ended up in the garage should also be joining your junk exodus.
Maybe you bought something like a juicer or slow cooker and simply never got around to using them (you wouldn’t be the first), or you received them as a gift. If they are still clean, in their original packaging, and actually work, a charity will certainly take them off your hands.
11. Old furniture
Deal with any discarded furniture you come across while garage junk cleaning. Things like an old sofa, bookcase, tables, and chairs are taking up more space than they should.
It could be that you planned to reupholster or restain one of your old furniture pieces and were unable to find the time to do so.
Unfortunately, soft furnishings that weren’t properly covered will have years of dust, dirt, grime, and absorbed car fumes for you to contend with if you wanted to salvage them.
Wood furniture (meaning most furniture) also attracts those darn pests and will warp in damp environments where there are significant temperature changes.
This is one reason repurposing old kitchen cabinets and bookcases for garage storage isn’t a good idea. Aside from the fact that were meant for a heated living space, these storage systems also look out of place in a garage and detract from the room’s appearance. A much better solution is to invest in a proper garage storage cabinet system.
Don’t forget to toss out any pieces of old patio furniture that have seen better days, especially if you have replaced the pieces with newer models.
12. Clothes that have been in long-term storage
Another way to create more space in the garage is to remove any boxes or plastic storage bins that contain clothes or any textile products.
Moisture and pests are the two main enemies of textiles that are stored in a garage space for long periods. Exhaust fumes and dust will cause additional problems if clothing hasn’t been stored in airtight containers.
In general, try to avoid storing any textiles in the garage. Keep your extra clothes and seasonal clothes stored somewhere in your home that is climate-controlled and safe from pests.
Some organizing professionals even recommend storing your more fragile fabric holiday decorations in a space other than the garage.
And if you have a bunch of boxes or storage bins filled with clothes in the garage, ask yourself – how much of this stuff does my family really need? Take this cleaning time to figure out which clothing items can be donated.
13. Old and broken lawn and garden supplies
Lawn and garden supplies that break, get worn out, or just don’t work very well anymore can likely be found scattered throughout any cluttered garage.
Round up that split or leaky garden hose, cracked hose reel, old sprinkler, ripped or orphaned gardening gloves, and those unreliable watering accessories and just toss them out.
Do the same with any ceramic, clay, and plastic pots that are damaged and no longer useful. Look for plastic planter trays and paper fiber pots you’ve accumulated over the years as well.
Depending on where you live, some of your old plastic gardening products can simply be added to your recycling bins.
14. Old kids toys
Sports equipment and clothes for kids have a fairly short life because they outgrow these things so quickly. They’ll outgrow their toys, too, or eventually lose interest in them as they age.
If you never got around to donating your kids’ old toys or passing them down to a family member, neighbor, or co-worker, it’s probably the basement or garage where they ended up.
Do what you can to give kids toys that are in still good shape and safe to play with another home.
Unfortunately, broken toys will have to end up in a landfill since most of the plastics used in them is too difficult to recycle.
15. Any remaining items
We have now covered most of what you will dealing with when undertaking a garage junk cleaning project. But because garages are so large and typically a home’s go-to spot for dumping things, there may be even more items you encounter while cleaning up.
Here are some additional things to look for when decluttering the garage:
items you never got around to fixing and likely never will
boxes or plastic storage bins with broken holiday decorations
old strollers, toddler car seats, and baby accessories
camping equipment that is damaged or never used
firewood (which should not be stored in the garage)
Take the next step after your garage junk cleaning project
Congratulations! By getting rid of this junk, you’ve taken that all-important first step towards reclaiming your garage’s functionality.
Now take the next step.
Garage Living can transform your unfinished, outdated garage into an attractive and modern extension of your living space.
We’ll also outfit your garage with durable, high-quality storage systems that make it easier to keep the garage organized and running efficiently on a daily basis.
This unprecedented time that has seen our way of life radically altered has been difficult for everybody.
In addition to the fear and uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic, having our daily routines turned upside down by having to self-isolate has been a major adjustment.
Many of us still have plenty of responsibilities like working full-time from home and having to temporarily home school the kids. Even with an active daily routine, chances are that being stuck indoors most of the time has given you more free time than you’ve had in years.
If you’re feeling burnt out from watching too much Netflix, why not make the best of a bad situation and put some time towards organizing the garage?
Organizing the garage is a productive use of your time
Tidying up the garage can be daunting, particularly if years of neglect has resulted in a garage that is bursting at the seams with clutter. Perhaps your vehicles have been forced to be parked outdoors permanently for more time than you’d care to admit.
How much does clutter affect our life? A report done by OfferUp (a digital selling marketplace similar to Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace) revealed some surprising stats. Their Buried: The State of Stress and Stuff survey of 1,000 Americans found that:
48% of the respondents said their homes were “at least somewhat cluttered” with things they didn’t use anymore
41% of those surveyed had not decluttered for more than a year
one in seven of the respondents admitted they had a room in their home that was unusable because it was filled with so much clutter
The garage is a logical area to prioritize for any home organization project. It is typically the most cluttered room in a house and often gets the “I’ll clean it up someday” treatment.
But as writer Gretchen Rubin eloquently put it, “Nothing is more exhausting than the task that is never started.”
Here are four reasons to dedicate some of your extra at-home time right now towards a productive task like organizing the garage.
1. It’s spring cleaning season and most garages need a cleanup
We’re a few weeks into spring now, but who says the yearly ritual of spring cleaning has to be done right when the season begins?
There is still plenty of time to start your spring cleaning projects. Getting them completed soon will mean you’ll have more time to enjoy the summer.
Get into spring cleaning mode and finally tackle that garage cleanup you’ve been avoiding for too long. With the weather warming up, homeowners in northern climates will find working in the garage a little more comfortable right now, too.
Focus more on eliminating clutter from your garage instead of just moving the clutter around so it’s more organized. Whenever someone takes on a big decluttering project, they usually find there’s a lot more junk they need to get rid of than they thought.
As with any cleanup project, seeing progress with what you’re working on is a great motivator, so start by emptying the bulkiest junk from your garage first.
This includes things like old tires, large appliances, broken patio furniture, old indoor furniture, broken exercise equipment, and building materials leftover from a previous renovation.
If you have kids, bikes and old sports equipment they’ve outgrown can go in your donation pile. Create another pile with old electronics that need to be recycled and another group for hazardous waste products to be disposed of like old paint cans.
Note that most locations that handle e-waste and hazardous material disposal are closed during the pandemic, as are most donation centers. Group together anything that you plan to get rid of and keep them in the garage until you’re able to haul things away.
As you can see from this photo he posted on Twitter, rock icon Rod Stewart certainly had plenty of old paint to get rid of when he was cleaning up his garage while in self-isolation. The all-white wardrobe he was wearing for the job probably wasn’t the best idea, however.
2. Organizing the garage gets you active and outside
In recent weeks, most of us have told someone at some point how restless we were being inside so much or how bored we were.
Getting out of the main living space you’ve been spending so much time in recently can involve spending some time organizing the garage, which gets you outside to a certain degree.
Cleaning up the garage gets you physically active. That helps to reduce stress and keeps your mind temporarily occupied with matters that aren’t as worrying as our current sobering reality.
3. Eliminating clutter is beneficial to your mental health
Just as physical activity can reduce stress, so can organizing the spaces you spend time in.
Too much clutter makes you feel like you’re not in control of your environment. This taxes your brain and makes it hard to focus on things, which naturally causes stress.
There are plenty of things that are out of our control causing stress for all of us right now. A messy garage is one part of your daily life that is more than capable of being fixed.
If you’re still struggling to find the motivation to get started, get some inspiration from our garage makeover galleries to see how organized any garage can become.
4. A tidier garage is more functional for your family
The physical and mental health benefits of organizing the garage or keeping active in any way right now are important.
But getting your garage organized allows you to reap the benefits of the full functionality a garage can provide for your family. When it’s filled with clutter, garages become little more than a junk storage room in the home.
Finding anything is a chore. Duplicate purchases get made because items go missing, which only fills your garage up more. A cluttered garage is also difficult to sweep and clean, which causes the room to smell musty.
Eliminating all of that will floor clutter will make regular cleaning easier, improve the airflow in the room and – most importantly – enable you to use your garage a lot more.
With more usable square footage and better organization, vehicles can be parked inside, where they belong. Your garage could also be outfitted to accommodate your hobbies and pastimes, such as working out or working with tools in a garage workshop.
Keep your garage organized and make it look nicer at the same time
Before long, life should return to normal and that means once again having less time to spend on tasks like decluttering the garage.
Now that your garage is hopefully tidier and easier to function in, why not keep it that way?
That uplifting feeling you get walking into your organized garage doesn’t have to disappear a few months from now when clutter starts accumulating again.
Garage Living’s storage and organization systems make it easier for you to maintain a tidy garage space. Our products and design expertise also give your garage a modern, high-end look you’ll appreciate for years to come.
Just 11% of homeowners say they’re content with their garage and wouldn’t want to improve it in some way.
That’s according to a Wall Street Journal survey. And a Peachtree Consulting survey found that over 50% of homeowners plan on reorganizing their garage within the next two years.
These numbers aren’t surprising, considering the garage is typically the most disorganized room in a house. It’s also usually the most overlooked room when considering home improvement upgrades.
So what essential ideas and goals should be on a garage wish list for anyone looking to transform this space?
17 must-have goals for your garage wish list
If you’re thinking about upgrading your garage, your garage wish list may only have a few items on it. But if you’re planning your dream garage, why not dream big?
These are some of the most common ways homeowners are looking to make improvements to their garages:
gaining more storage space
having less floor clutter
making the room look nicer
creating more parking space
adding modern features and conveniences
All of the above are huge benefits of having a garage makeover done. There are other areas that merit attention when planning a garage remodel, however.
We’ve put together a comprehensive list of 17 ways to make any garage stand out. Hopefully, you’ll get a few more ideas to make your garage wish list more complete.
With a little extra thought and the expertise of a reliable garage makeover pro, you can far exceed your original vision of how your garage looks and functions once the project is completed.
1. A garage that looks tidy and clean
The biggest pet peeve of anyone who is unhappy with their garage is that it always looks like a mess.
Having garage floor clutter might feel like one of those things in life that you just have to accept. It’s actually not difficult at all to eliminate it. All you need to do is use better storage systems (like slatwall panels) that keep things organized with less effort.
Storage systems can be set up to hang tools and accommodate all of those infrequently used things (such as bulky seasonal items) that are permanently clogging up your garage floor.
Even using more hidden storage space with cabinetry gets rid of the visual clutter that a bunch of items stored on open shelving creates in a garage.
Modern garage storage system additions and dècor upgrades have a huge impact on the appearance of garages. For example, there’s no comparison between how much cleaner a polyaspartic-coated floor looks compared to the typical garage floor, which is cracked, grimy, and dull grey.
And naturally, a clutter-free garage is that much easier to clean.
2. More garage storage space
Any garage wish list will have more storage space as a top priority.
Some homeowners resort to making their garage larger, buying a shed, or renting a self-storage unit to fulfill their storage needs. Choosing any of those options is unnecessary, however.
The main key to maximizing your garage’s storage space is actually rather simple – just choose the right storage systems and utilize the walls and ceiling areas more efficiently.
Your garage’s underused vertical space is your best friend in the battle against floor clutter. Slatwall panels are a great storage solution and can be personalized to your needs with hanging accessories that can be arranged in an endless number of configurations.
Wall-mounted and overhead storage racks for bulky things like tires, patio furniture, storage bins with holiday decorations, and other seasonal items will help to get the most out of your garage’s storage capabilities.
A more organized garage means parking vehicles will be easier, but you can even take advantage of your unused ceiling space to add a car lift for storing another vehicle.
Make no mistake – if you have years of collected junk in your garage, it’ll require a healthy investment of your time to purge your belongings down to only what’s really needed. Once that’s done, though, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying a part of your home that’s able to be a lot more functional.
A garage’s walls have a wealth of storage space just waiting to be properly utilized.
3. Looks that your neighbors will envy
When it comes to curb appeal and garages, your garage doors might seem to be the only thing that affects how neighbors, visitors, and passersby view your house’s appearance.
They’re unquestionably important, considering garage doors can account for as much as a third of a home’s front exterior.
Don’t forget about what’s behind the garage doors, however. Whenever those doors are open, your garage’s interior appearance reveals to others the standards you have for your entire home.
For many homeowners, it’s not something they’re eager to share with the rest of the world. An Impulse Research survey found that 24% of homeowners are embarrassed to leave their garage doors open.
A garage remodel not only takes care of the clutter that makes garages an eyesore, you can also create a unique, high-end look that stands out amongst the other homes in your neighborhood.
Owning a garage the neighbors wish was their own is more common than you might think. Just over half of those who participated in a study by the Thompson’s Company wanted to own a garage their neighbors envied.
4. A reliable pro to do your garage makeover
Unless you’re super handy, a major garage remodel is not exactly the kind of home improvement project you want to DIY.
It’s natural to feel a little overwhelmed about how to successfully pull off a successful garage makeover. That includes worrying about finding a contractor that can do the job right.
As with any home improvement project you’re undertaking, hiring a professional with expertise, trustworthiness, and great products will result in a completed project you’re completely happy with.
You need to work within your budget, of course, but remember that first-rate work and high quality products are worth the extra cost.
Garage Living has been specializing in garage redesigns for 15 years, with thousands of completed projects under our belt across North America. That kind of experience and our high quality of work has made us an industry leader in garage makeovers.
5. A durable, nicer-looking floor
How your garage floor looks can make or break the room’s overall appearance.
Let’s face it, any garage with a concrete floor that’s grey, stained, pitted, and cracked (which describes most garage floors, unfortunately) is fighting an uphill battle when it comes to projecting an appealing look.
Applying floor paint to an ugly garage floor is the equivalent of treating the symptom and not curing the disease, to quote the old expression.
DIY epoxy floor coating kits will produce better results than floor paint, but are still vastly inferior to polyaspartic garage floor coatings.
Here’s why a polyaspartic floor coating like Floortex™ should be on the garage wish list of anyone planning a makeover:
polyaspartic coatings provide superior protection for the concrete surface
they’re extremely durable and long-lasting
coated floors are sealed to protect from long-term damage caused by water and chemical spills
a Floortex™-coated floor is easy to clean
the shiny surface and customized colors give your garage a stylish appearance that complements your interior décor
the decorative flakes provide improved traction
Great garage makeovers start from the floor up!
6. An organized space where things are easy to find
“Garage organization” might seem like an oxymoron to those with category 5 garage catastrophes on their hands.
Messy garages end up frustratingly costing you hours of wasted time every year trying to find things. When your garage is set up with a proper organization system that simplifies how things are stored, you’ll wonder why you waited so long to correct the problem.
Establishing storage zones that keep things together by category helps, as does making your most often-used items more accessible.
For example, let’s say you live in a northern climate. From the spring until late fall, yard and gardening tools should be hung on an easy-to-access spot on the slatwall. Bikes and sports gear that are frequently used during this time of year would also be candidates for prime slatwall storage space.
When winter comes, rotate out the things stored on those wall hanging spaces and replace them with items like snow shovels and winter sports equipment.
For the most infrequently used items in the garage, put them up high and out of the way in overhead racks. Something like bulky plastic storage bins filled with Christmas decorations will literally only need to be retrieved once a year from the garage. Why let them take up floor space against the garage wall for 10 or 11 months of the year?
Hand tools often get lost because they’re small and don’t have a dedicated storage area. In addition to the aggravation of not being able to find that one tool needed for a particular job, lost tools end up getting repurchased. With a cabinet storage system, tool organization worries become a thing of the past.
When everything in your garage has a home, there’s less guesswork involved finding things. The chances that your belongings will get put back in their rightful location are also greatly improved.
7. Plenty of parking space
A garage’s main purpose is for parking vehicles, yet according to a Sparefoot survey, just under half of the 1,000 homeowners polled said they had problems parking in their garages.
A U.S. Department of Energy study found that 25% of people with 2-car garages don’t park in them at all. A third can only park one car. There’s a good chance your garage wish list includes headache-free parking as a goal.
Dealing with your clutter opens up your garage once again to accommodate vehicle parking and enjoying all the benefits that come with garage parking. Remember that your vehicles should own the space on your garage floor, not a bunch of dusty, seldom-used clutter.
And don’t settle for just enough space to barely squeeze your cars into the garage. Freeing up all of your floor space enables you to drive in and out of the garage (as well as enter and exit vehicles) comfortably.
To supplement the amount of garage parking space that’s available, consider getting a car lift. This convenient and easy-to-use product can store one car on an elevated platform, while allowing you to park another vehicle safely below it.
8. More garage functionality
In addition to parking and storage, garages are prime candidates to be used for other purposes that make them an even more functional part of your home.
Many of our clients have asked us to design garages that made room for:
a workshop outfitted with custom cabinetry
doing vehicle maintenance (which 25% of homeowners surveyed by the Wall Street Journal used their garages for)
a home gym
working on crafting projects
doing gardening tasks
Heating and air conditioning systems can be added to any garage to make the room more comfortable when the weather is hot or cold.
Because our makeovers result in the garages being so clean, modern-looking, and tidy, it’s even ideal for use as an entertainment space. You can have your buddies over to watch a sporting event on the TV that’s mounted in the garage’s cabinet system.
9. An easier to clean garage
When you think of most garages you’ve ever been in, the word “clean” is not exactly the first word that comes to mind to describe them.
You’ve heard the expression “it’s not a bug, it’s a feature”? Well, just like floor clutter, a musty smell and dirty floor don’t need to fall into that category in every garage.
That’s the old way of thinking. Modern garages that have gotten the makeover treatment look so much cleaner because their décor has gotten a refresh and they’re simply much easier spaces to maintain.
It starts with the elimination of floor clutter and all of that useless stuff that hasn’t been touched in years. Getting rid of that junk has a direct impact on the garage’s cleanliness in these ways:
there are fewer things for dust to collect on
less clutter reduces the likelihood of pest problems
an empty garage floor without obstacles is easier to sweep and give a deeper cleaning
the garage’s airflow improves
People that own houses are a lot more conscious about the air quality in their homes these days. That’s why an increasing number of homeowners have added ventilation system upgrades to improve the exchange of air in their garages.
Have you ever tried to clean an old sheet of drywall? Good luck. PVC slatwall panels, on the other hand, can be easily wiped down with a damp cloth.
How about spills on the garage floor? Previously, they’d be difficult to clean because the floor surface might not be intact or spills that weren’t dealt with quickly would set into the unprotected concrete.
One of the nice features of a Floortex™ floor coating is that it not only provides great flooring protection, you can also easily clean up spills involving most household and automotive fluids.
Bonus Floortex™ features: The topcoat seal minimizes the amount of dust and debris produced on a concrete floor from wear and tear. The decorative flake design also makes dust and dirt less visible.
Floor coatings create less dust than bare concrete floors and are easy to maintain.
10. More convenient garage features
Quality of life improvements in the form of more modern, convenient features should be on every garage wish list.
We’ve already mentioned adding climate control systems and a TV to the garage. That’s just for starters. Here are some additional ideas:
keyless garage entry
smart home tech products
outlets for charging mobile devices
extra electrical outlets (including higher voltage outlets for power tools or a car lift)
a sink for cleaning up
more vertical space by raising your garage door’s opening height with a high lift conversion
There are a lot of cheap products for the garage out there that don’t stand the test of time.
Thin pegboard wall panels with unimpressive load-bearing capabilities that chip easily and flimsy storage cabinets that quickly rust and start to buckle immediately come to mind.
Then there’s the DIY shelving or repurposed kitchen cupboards that are found in a lot of garages. You can do better than this!
Invest in higher quality storage solutions for your garage and you won’t be replacing those storage systems for a good long while.
Garage Living’s slatwall panels have an industrial rigid cellular PVC construction with a 5/8″ thickness and load capacity of 300 lbs per panel.
Cheap garage cabinet systems don’t last because they commonly use lower gauge steel manufactured overseas. These steels are less sturdy and rust quicker than higher grade steels made in the U.S. and Canada.
All five lines of our cabinet systems are constructed with high quality materials, including powder-coated finishes to protect against rusting. Our heavy-duty overhead storage racks are also powder-coated to prolong the life of the product.
12. Garage décor and storage system customization
Anyone planning a garage wish list has a specific vision for how they want their garage to look. They want it to reflect their style and have all the features and functionality they’ll ever need.
Satisfying these requirements doesn’t happen with off-the-shelf storage systems and products found in big box stores. The professional handling the makeover needs to have the ability to customize your garage design.
Having a variety of colors and styles to choose from for the flooring, slatwall, cabinets, and garage doors are an obvious must-have.
Look beyond these obvious décor-related considerations for more ways to make a garage space unique.
Can the cabinet system you have in mind be customized to accommodate things you want to hide in the garage like a central vac system or electrical panel?
If the colors you want for certain parts of your project aren’t among the standard offerings available from your garage makeover pro, can they come up with a custom color that meets your needs?
How about creating a more seamless look between your garage floor and walls by adding a coated application to the wall base and steps into your living space?
Garage Living can do all of these custom features and much more. Just ask us. One of our teams even created an indoor basketball court in a large garage!
13. Better garage lighting
What good is having a beautiful new garage interior if it’s difficult to see?
Upgraded lighting is a cost-effective (and just plain effective) way to improve the appearance and comfort level of a garage.
LED light fixtures or pot lights will significantly improve your lighting coverage and be more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs. Undercabinet lighting in cabinet systems provides useful task lighting.
How about adding some perimeter LED lights below the lower strip of your slatwall panels to boost the room’s ambiance and create a distinct look?
Lighting upgrades don’t just help to show off your makeover – parking becomes easier, finding things is less of a chore, and it makes the garage safer to navigate in.
New pot lights and LED light strips below the slatwall panels make this garage a brighter space with more ambiance. A security camera mounted in the back corner of the garage on the right provides peace of mind and will deter burglars.
14. Improved garage and car security
The best car theft prevention measure you can take is to park any vehicles you own in the garage. Garage parking also protects against weather-related damage and other potential problems, such as body damage from tree sap.
If you’re using an ancient garage door opener, consider upgrading to a newer model that’s more reliable, secure, quieter, and energy efficient.
Many modern garage door openers come with high-tech features like enabling remote garage door access via a smartphone app. This allows you to control and monitor your garage door when you’re away from home. You can use the feature to let delivery drivers drop off packages inside the garage instead of risking having them stolen by a “porch pirate”, as is becoming commonplace nowadays.
A garage security system with one or two low profile cameras protects one of your home’s more vulnerable access points and deters burglars, without detracting from the room’s appearance. It’s a smart investment that ensures your valuables stay safe and provides you with some peace of mind.
15. A safer garage
So far, we’ve explained how reducing tripping hazards with less floor clutter, better lighting, and more secure storage systems makes your garage safer.
A polyaspartic coating’s smooth floor surface is another way to make a garage safer, with better traction and no worries of walking on a damaged, uneven surface.
Don’t just stop there!
Locks can be added to a cabinet system’s drawers and doors. That not only protects valuable tools, it keeps kids safe from hazardous items in the garage.
Smoke alarms should be replaced every ten years. Ideally, they should be tested monthly or, at the very least, once per season. Having a fire extinguisher close to the garage is another good idea.
Having backup emergency lighting in the garage is another safety measure worth considering.
16. Better energy efficiency
Better energy efficiency in the garage isn’t just good for the planet, it’s also good for your wallet (well, not initially, but in the long run).
You don’t have to break the bank by adding a fancy solar panel system to power your garage. Simply upgrading the room’s wall and ceiling insulation will make a big difference in the energy efficiency of the entire home.
Insulated garage doors with a bottom seal minimizes the transfer of warm and cold air in and out of the garage. Door insulation also limits the transfer of noise between the outdoors and the garage.
If your garage still has old single pane windows, upgrading to energy-saving windows is worth a look.
To reduce drafts, use weatherstripping around window frames. Apply sealants or foam insulation around wall outlets and light fixtures, pipe inlets, and air ducts for additional draft protection.
Maybe the access door into your living space could use an update. Besides replacing it with a more energy efficient door, you could add weatherstripping around the frame and make sure the door sweep is doing its job to keep drafts out.
17. Upgrades that add value to your home
Anyone putting together a garage wish list and having a pro transform their garage not only wants to improve their home, they want to add value to it, too.
Cosmetic and functional upgrades for the garage do just that. If your family and neighbors are ultra-impressed with how your new garage looks, imagine how prospective homebuyers will view it in the future.
Messy, unattractive garages with insufficient storage can be dealbreakers for buyers. A Braun Research survey of realtors found that garages ranked higher as a desirable storage space for homebuyers than basements or attics.
An attractive, organized garage that stands out from the pack is a feather in your cap down the road when it comes time to sell your home and set an asking price.
Year after year when you look at lists that tell you which home improvement projects deliver the best return on investment, adding new garage doors is consistently rated as one of the best.
Garage upgrades add value to your home and create a space you’ll love driving into – every time!
Transform your garage wish list into your dream garage
Wouldn’t it be nice for a garage to be a space you actually look forward to driving into every time, not a part of the home that makes you cringe whenever you look at it?
We specialize in making garages home showpieces that truly feel like a desired destination and an enjoyable extension of your living space. You too can experience the feeling of luxury the moment you arrive home.
Show us your garage wish list and we’ll begin the collaborative process that will lead to a beautiful garage that you’ll cherish for years to come.
With spring finally here, many homeowners will be turning their attention to organizing what is commonly a house’s messiest room – the garage.
How common? Well, exactly half of those polled by the National Association of Professional Organizers named the garage as their most disorganized home space.
That’s not a surprise, considering the garage has traditionally been a dumping ground for odds and ends that usually end up becoming annoying clutter.
7 garage organization projects to transform your space
Getting garage organization projects started can admittedly be difficult.
Sorting through years of clutter is a daunting task, but it’s worth it for the benefits that come with having a tidy, clean, aesthetically pleasing garage space that actually feels comfortable to enter.
If you’re tired of having a disorganized garage you can never find anything in and are never able to use for parking, make some meaningful changes this spring.
Get one or more of the following garage organization projects rolling to optimize your garage’s functionality. Here are seven ways to accomplish your goal of owning a garage space you can be proud of.
1. Discard the clutter and organize everything else
A thorough garage decluttering can take some time, especially if you’ve been putting off the task for a few years. Set aside at least a full day and, more ideally, the entire weekend.
Keep focussing on that end goal of a tidy, functional garage space that will make your day-to-day routine easier.
The best approach is to empty the entire contents of your garage and then start evaluating what is worth keeping. Toss, recycle, or donate all of the junk that’s overstayed its welcome.
When you’ve eliminated the unnecessary clutter, group the items you’re keeping together in order to stay organized and get a better understanding of how much storage space you actually require.
2. Maximize your garage wall storage
Now that you’ve streamlined your garage’s inventory, it’s time to give your belongings a proper home with the best garage storage systems.
When it comes to maximizing your storage space, keeping things accessible, and providing flexibility when it comes to your changing storage needs, you can’t do better than a slatwall storage system.
Slatwall panels with hanging accessories are effective for keeping your garage floor clutter-free. They’re perfect for hanging things like:
small hand tools
bikes and sports equipment
3. Utilize your overhead space
Slatwall makes great use of your garage’s underused wall space, but that’s not the only part of your garage that could be better utilized.
You’ll find an ample amount of storage space in your garage’s upper reaches, just waiting to accept those bulky items that are clogging up your floor.
Have your garage makeover professional install some heavy-duty overhead racks in order to maximize your garage’s storage space even more.
4. Stay organized with garage cabinetry
Not everything being kept in your garage is suited to being hung on slatwall panels or stored in overhead racking. That’s where garage cabinetry comes in.
Garage cabinet systems provide a practical alternative to keeping things stored on wall-mounted shelving or standup racks. Cabinet storage keeps dust and grime off your belongings, hidden from view, and allows for valuables and hazardous materials to be locked up.
And if you want to create a garage workshop, you can take your setup’s functionality capabilities to the next level with a cabinet system. It also doesn’t hurt that cabinetry modernizes a garage’s décor.
5. Double your parking space with a car lift
One of the main goals of these garage organization projects is to free up space so you can use your garage for parking. And we’re talking about parking comfortably in the garage, not just being able to barely squeeze one or two of your vehicles indoors.
If you’re adding one or more of the aforementioned storage systems, you’re well on your way to being able to do that. But here’s another garage parking solution you may not have considered – a car lift.
Car lifts essentially double your parking space by allowing you to park one vehicle underneath another raised vehicle.
6. Transform your garage floor
A clean garage with stylish décor only makes an organized garage space look that much better. Therefore, don’t overlook the importance of making sure your garage floor adds to the look of the room.
A visually unappealing gray garage floor that’s cracked and stained will detract from the appearance of even the most immaculately organized garage.
The last of our ideas for spring garage organization projects involves adding the right finishing touches to further upgrade your garage’s appearance and add even more functionality. Here are some suggestions: