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

garage junk cleaning paint cans

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

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

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

Why do we let junk take over our garages?

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

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

What’s wrong with this picture?

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

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

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

Follow this one rule with your garage junk cleaning project

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

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

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

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

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

garage before makeover with clutter

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

beautiful garage with parked red Ferrari

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

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

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

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

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

1. Old paint

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

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

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

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

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

2. Worn out and outgrown sports equipment

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Old cardboard

garage junk cleaning cardboard TV box

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

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

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

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

4. Old books, magazines, and paper items

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

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

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

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

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

5. Old tires

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

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

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

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

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

6. Broken and rusty tools

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

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

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

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

7. Exercise equipment that is never used

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

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

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

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

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

8. Leftover building materials

scrap wood garage junk stored on wall

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

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

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

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

9. Hazardous waste

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

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

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

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

10. Old appliances, electronics, and outdated media

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11. Old furniture

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

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

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

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

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

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

12. Clothes that have been in long-term storage

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

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

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

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

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

13. Old and broken lawn and garden supplies

unwound green hose

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

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

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

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

14. Old kids toys

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

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

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

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

15. Any remaining items

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

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

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

Take the next step after your garage junk cleaning project

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

Now take the next step.

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

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

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

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4 Good Reasons for Organizing the Garage While You’re Self-Isolating

organizing the garage

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

disorganized garage

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

organized garage with hanging items

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.

Schedule a free design consultation with us.

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17 Essential Goals Savvy Homeowners Have on Their Garage Wish List

garage wish list, parked blue car

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.

items hanging on garage wall

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
silver car parked in garage

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.

man wiping up oil spill

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
  • floor drainage
  • 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
  • improved WiFi

11. High quality garage storage solutions

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.

empty and organized garage

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.

suv parked in garage at night

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.

All it takes is a few seconds to schedule your free design consultation with us.

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7 Garage Organization Projects to Take on This Spring

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 

garage organization projects, wheelbarrow and garden tools

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:

  • yard tools
  • small hand tools
  • bikes and sports equipment
  • ladders
  • power cords

3. Utilize your overhead space

garage organization projects, woman removing bin from storage rack

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

garage organization projects, storage cabinets

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

garage organization projects, 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

garage organization projects, parked white car

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.

To make your garage floor stand out and protect its surface, invest in a high-quality polyaspartic floor coating. And if you’ve recently had a new floor coating applied, give it a good sweep and wash this spring to refresh your floor surface’s appearance.

7. Add the perfect finishing touches

garage organization projects, man using tire rack

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:

  • have a garage heater installed
  • upgrade your garage lighting
  • add garage wall bumpers to protect vehicles from scratches and dents
  • replace your garage doors to boost curb appeal
  • add a wall-mounted tire rack for storing seasonal tires

Get your garage organized this spring

If you’re feeling the inspiration to take on some of these garage organization projects this spring, there’s no better place to get expert help than Garage Living.

We’ve transformed thousands of garages across North America since 2005. Our experienced team of designers and installers will ensure that your garage makeover is done to your complete satisfaction.

Schedule a free design consultation with us to get your spring garage makeover started. 

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Garage Cleanup Tips: 9 Things to Get Rid of Now

You open your garage doors to start your garage cleanup project and immediately feel a sense of dread at the daunting task ahead.

As you stare at the stacks of clutter that have accumulated over the years, you wonder where to even start.

24% of homeowners are embarrassed to even open their garage doors, according to an Impulse Research survey. If you’re in this group, we have some tips that can help!

Tidy 3-car garage with cabinets, tire rack, blue Maseratti.

Get rid of these 9 things during your garage cleanup

When you’re worried about what the neighbors will think about your clutter-filled garage, that’s a sure sign it’s time to take some drastic cleanup action.

Keeping useless clutter at the expense of being able to park inside your garage doesn’t make any sense.

A garage cleanup can be a big undertaking but is well worth it to reclaim your garage space once again to be used more meaningfully for parking and efficient storage.

Start your garage cleanup by getting rid of these nine common items that are responsible for much of the clutter found in garages.

1. Old sports and fitness equipment

old sports equipment and bikes in garage

At one point or another, you or someone else in your family went on a health kick that involved buying some fitness equipment.

Maybe that enthusiasm has faded or perhaps it belonged to one of your kids who has moved out. The bottom line is that the equipment is just sitting unused in your garage, taking up valuable space that a vehicle could be parked in.

Whether it’s an old weightlifting bench and set of weights, an ancient NordicTrack machine from the 70s, a rusty exercise bike, or a broken treadmill, get rid of them.

The same goes for old bikes and old baseball, hockey, football, and golf equipment.

Donate or sell the equipment if it is still functional. Otherwise, add the equipment to your garage cleanup “junk” pile.

2. Broken and old tools

During your garage cleanup, decide which of your tools are in good enough shape to keep.

Rusty garden shovels, rakes with missing tines, plastic snow shovels that are cracked, a rusty hammer, a leaky and cracked garden hose…the list of old tools in your garage that you never use can go on and on.

By now, you’ve probably replaced your old tools with something newer. Keeping those old tools around only makes your garage more disorganized.

They also give you more things to look through when you’re searching for a specific item.

3. Old children’s toys

old children's toys in garage

When kids inevitably lose interest in their toys and want the next trendy thing, their old toys tend to end up in the garage.

Obviously, donating them to a charity should be your first course of action if the toys are gently used and in good condition. As with any donations, the charity of your choice should be able to give you a tax receipt.

For broken toys or toys that are simply no longer usable, your only option is to throw them in the garbage. Unfortunately, the materials in most plastic toys are too difficult to recycle.

4. Old paints and chemicals

All of those half-used paint cans and partially used containers of different solvents and cleaning products in your garage aren’t just a flammable or ingestion hazard.

They’re also probably unusable if they’ve been sitting there for any length of time. Temperature changes will alter their consistency and effectiveness.

Round them all up, take them to your local hazardous waste disposal facility, and make your garage a little safer (and emptier).

5. Old tires

Old, useless tires are another garage clutter staple.

Whether it’s old tires from your bicycles or vehicles, you’ll likely need to dispose of them at a proper tire recycling facility. In most parts of the U.S. and Canada, old tires can’t just be discarded in a landfill.

Here are just a few things your recycled tires can be used to make:

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

If you’re thinking about selling any of your old tires or using them eventually, keep in mind that they do have a shelf life.

Even if they still have a deep tread, the tire rubber will degrade over time (known as tire dry rot or sidewall cracking). Most vehicle tire manufacturers suggest a maximum service life of 7-10 years for their products.

6. Broken patio furniture

Your garage cleanup effort might uncover some old broken patio furniture that got buried by the rest of your garage clutter over the years.

It’s probably rusty, cracked, and faded, so the only reasonable thing to do is to toss it. Chances are, your old patio furniture will be tough to recycle or be worth donating.

7. Old building materials

If you live in a house for long enough, you’re sure to accumulate some building materials and supplies left over from one or more of your home improvement projects.

Maybe it’s half a bundle of roofing shingles, some broken patio stones, or extra interlocking stones from the driveway you redid.

Perhaps some of your garage floor space is being taken up by leftover building supplies you’ll never use, such as half a box of roofing nails or a partially used pail of driveway sealer that’s so old its contents are as rock solid as the driveway it was used on.

Any materials or supplies that can still be used could be donated to a worthwhile charity like Habitat For Humanity. They may be able to use some of your donations to help in their efforts to build housing for the less fortunate.

8. Old appliances

In garages overrun with clutter, you’re virtually guaranteed to find large or small appliances needlessly taking up space.

The garage is where small appliances like a slow cooker that’s been used once or an old coffee maker that still works go to die. If they’ve been stored in boxes or storage bins, give them new life by donating them.

A broken old stove, fridge, or washing machine might have been sitting in your garage for years because you just didn’t feel like dealing with disposing of them.

Now that you’re in full-on garage cleanup mode, now is the time to finally give this garage junk the heave-ho. If a charity won’t take your old appliances, look for a local business that can pick up your appliances and save you the hassle of getting rid of them.

Here’s another reason to get rid of your old larger appliances – they’re perfect breeding grounds for pests like mice.

9. Old bundles of newspapers and magazines

Walk through most neglected garages that have become a home’s catch-all space and there’s probably a bundle or two (or three, or four) of old magazines or newspapers in there somewhere.

But if you haven’t looked at any of those saved magazines or newspapers in the past 5-10 years, chances are you never will.

On top of the fact they’re probably dirty, dusty, and yellowed due to temperature fluctuations and exposure to moisture, here are a few more reasons to recycle them:

  • any information in them is probably outdated
  • they’re a fire hazard
  • information in the reading materials can easily be found online
  • stacked clutter is a tipping hazard

While you’re at it, recycle any old books you’ve had sitting in the garage for a long time. Let’s face it, you’re also likely never going to read them and they also won’t be in the best shape after years of garage storage.

Get your garage cleanup project started

Once your garage cleanup project is finished, you’ll want to ensure your tidy garage stays that way.

Consider adding PVC slatwall panels to your garage. This is a great way to get things off the floor and onto the walls to maximize your garage storage space.

PVC slatwall garage storage in 2 car garage

A garage makeover professional can also make other aesthetic upgrades to your space, such as adding new garage flooring. Your previously messy garage can truly become an organized, visually appealing extension of your living space.

Schedule a free design consultation to find out how our garage storage solutions can keep your space well-organized. We can also tell you about our junk removal services.

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