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.
What room in homes would you think is commonly the most cluttered?
According to a recent home organization study done by Moen, it’s the garage. Numerous other home organization studies and surveys also find this to be the case.
In a National Association of Professional Organizers survey, 50% of respondents said the garage was their home’s most disorganized area.
Among 1,500 homeowners who recently participated in a Garage Living survey, 20% said they were unable to park in their garage.
So why does this happen?
Garage storage mistakes (and how to avoid making them)
It typically comes down to five main reasons that garages become cluttered and less functional:
simple garage storage mistakes
a garage space is too small
garages being treated as a home’s go-to overflow storage space
a reluctance to part with our belongings
we tend to buy more than we actually need
In this blog post, we’re going to highlight nine common garage storage mistakes and how you can avoid making them.
Fixing even just a few of these issues will produce immediately noticeable results and enable you to start making better use of your garage again.
One of the more common garage storage mistakes is leaving bikes on the floor. Doing this takes up garage floor space and poses a safety hazard.
Leaning or freestanding bikes with their kickstands engaged also puts them at risk of damage from vehicles entering and exiting the garage. It doesn’t take much for a car or truck weighing a few thousand pounds to damage a bike’s gears, frame, tires, or wheel rims.
It’s smarter to hang your bikes on the garage walls, which saves floor space, stores them securely, and protects them from damage.
Add slatwall panels to your walls and hang the bikes with sturdy hooks that allow bikes to be stored horizontally or vertically. You can also add hanging accessories to keep all your cycling gear and accessories organized in one area.
If you own a large garage where having enough floor space is a non-issue, a grid bike rack is another option for holding multiple bikes safely.
2. Yard tools
Yard tools are responsible for another one of the most frequently made garage storage mistakes.
Are your yard tools stored leaning against a wall, on the floor, in a low-quality tool caddy, or hanging on rusty hooks or nails? If so, a slatwall storage system is a better way to keep everything organized and easy to find.
And you might not think of them as tools, but your step ladder or extension ladder are, indeed, considered tools. Instead of unsafely leaning your ladders against the garage wall, get them up off the floor and hang them vertically or horizontally on the wall.
An additional benefit of slatwall is that it gives your garage’s interior a more finished, modern look.
You may use your garage as a workshop, meaning most of your hand and power tools are stored in the space. A garage cabinet system is perfect for keeping your tool collection organized.
Slatwall provides versatile storage that can hold ladders, yard tools, hose reels, sports equipment, and much more.
3. Sports equipment
If you or other members of your family are physically active, sports equipment and gear stored in the garage can become a struggle to keep organized. The more kids you have participating in organized sports, the worse the problem gets.
It goes without saying that rolling objects like balls, skateboards, and scooters pose a major safety hazard to anyone using your garage and don’t belong on the floor.
Once again, off-the-floor storage using slatwall is the best way to go in order to fix the problem. Any good slatwall system should present you with a number of hook, rack, basket, bin, and shelving hanging accessory options to serve your storage needs.
Garage Living carries slatwall accessories that range from:
ball racks that adjust to hold balls of various sizes
specialized racks for holding golf, hockey, tennis, and fishing equipment
deep mesh baskets for general sports equipment storage (or for gardening, cleaning, and automotive supplies)
4. Anything inside an old garage fridge or freezer
You know that 30-year-old garage fridge that serves as your beer cooler or a place for storing extra household food items? It’s probably time to send it off to the appliance graveyard.
Older appliances are notoriously poor performers when it comes to energy efficiency, especially fridges and chest freezers. How inefficient are they?
It’s estimated that a fridge manufactured before 1990 could potentially be costing you between $250-300 a year to run in a garage. To get a better idea of what your specific fridge might be costing you to operate, use this Energy Star calculator.
We recommend giving that garage fridge relic the boot. However, if you absolutely, positively must run a fridge or freezer in the garage, consider upgrading to a new energy efficient model.
Even better, get a durable refrigeration appliance that’s specifically meant to be used in environments like the garage that experience widely fluctuating temperature shifts.
Garden hoses are another item that belong anywhere but on the ground when they’re not in use. They should be stored on a wall-mounted rack or reel or a portable reel cart.
That keeps them safely and tidily stored, as well as untangled. If your home’s outdoor water connection is in the garage or just outside the garage, storing your hoses indoors on an easy-to-use reel can be more convenient, too.
It also makes them less prone to kinking and cracking from being stored outside in the sun, which extends the hose’s life.
Among the millions of garages in American and Canadian homes sits a ton of junk taking up valuable space. Much of that junk and clutter will probably never find any sort of meaningful use again.
We’re talking about odds-and-ends like:
an old kitchen appliance that got replaced many years ago
a long-forgotten treadmill or weight bench that’s covered in a thick layer of dust
boxes of items you meant to donate and never got around to getting rid of
old, dried-out paint cans and partially used cleaning product containers you forgot you had
half-used containers of automotive fluids for vehicles you no longer even own
Essentially, many cluttered garages’ main function is being a home’s junk storage space. That’s a pretty big garage storage mistake to be making.
A few years ago, the Self Storage Association released a stat that found approximately 9% of Americans rent storage space, even though 65% of them have a garage.
Your garage shouldn’t be a mere holding space for things you’ll never use. It should be treated as an important extension of your living space.
Create more storage space in the garage by clearing out things like old paint cans and other junk you’ll never use again.
7. Bulky items left on the floor
Storing out-of-season and rarely used bulky items like large storage bins on the floor is a very common occurrence in garages.
Unfortunately, they eat up a lot of prime floor real estate. The best solution is to get them (once again) up in the air, where there’s plenty of unused storage space available.
You’ll need a sturdy overhead racking system that’s well-anchored to your ceiling and walls. Once it’s in place, you’ll love how much floor space will open up with all of those bulky things out of the way.
Be sure to label any storage bins in order to make specific items easier to locate.
8. Items that aren’t suited to a garage environment
Certain things aren’t ideal for long-term storage in a garage. For example, your precious family photos should be stored in a dark place that’s cool and dry to keep them well-preserved.
The same goes for any paper-based items like books, financial and medical records, and other important documents. None of these things do well when stored in environments that lack climate control and tend to be damp.
Here are five other things that should be stored in an area other than your garage:
clothes and any other textile products
canned and dry food
various types of media (such as vinyl records, CDs, DVDs, and VHS tapes)
9. Extra vehicles parked in the driveway
If your family has several drivers and there’s a lack of garage parking space for everyone’s vehicles, there’s no other option but to have the extra vehicles parked outside. Or is there?
In fact, there’s a way to optimize your garage’s storage so everyone’s vehicles can be parked indoors – add a car lift (or multiple lifts).
Not maximizing a garage’s full storage capabilities certainly counts as a storage mistake and most garages underutilize their overhead space.
The elevated storage a car lift provides can effectively double the amount of parking spots your garage has available. A 1-car garage can accommodate a second vehicle, a 2-car garage can hold 4 cars, and so on.
If you have a classic car that’s rarely driven but you’re unwilling to part with it, a car lift is ideal for getting it off the garage floor and freeing up some space, whether it’s for parking or other uses.
We’ll help you avoid some of these garage storage mistakes
A garage with smart storage systems greatly reduces the likelihood of falling into bad organization habits with some of the garage storage mistakes listed here.
Instead, they’ll save you time by allowing you to find things with much more ease. You’ll also spend less time needing to clean the garage up.
Any room in your home that’s a chronic mess just isn’t a room you enjoy using or spending time in. If that describes your garage, we can change that and enable you to reclaim it for parking and functional storage.
Schedule your complimentary design consultation with us. One of our creative design consultants will show you how to maximize the storage and design potential of your garage.
With the holiday season winding down, it’s time to start thinking about your post-holiday season pack-up.
The hustle and bustle of the holiday season can be draining, which makes it easier to take a few shortcuts by packing things away quickly and storing them anywhere.
Sure, that gets the job over with faster, but it only makes the task of finding and unpacking all of your disorganized holiday decorations more time-consuming next year.
Have a smart holiday decoration storage plan
By putting a little extra thought into how and where your holiday decorations will be stored, you can save yourself from some future headaches.
Garages are ideal for a lot of your holiday decoration storage needs, whether you’re storing decorations for Christmas, Halloween, birthday parties, or holidays like the Fourth of July or Canada Day.
The garage has to be used the right way when storing your holiday decorations, however, in order to maintain the functionality of the space.
Plastic storage bins are perfect for most decorations
Whether you’re storing your holiday decorations in the garage or elsewhere in your home, plastic storage bins and containers make more sense than cardboard boxes.
Plastic storage bins are sturdier, stack easier and more safely, are easier to move around, and provide superior moisture protection compared to cardboard boxes. They’re also not a fire hazard.
Some people prefer using clear plastic storage bins because it helps them to identify stored items quickly. That may sound practical, but it’s probably a better idea to use non-clear, solid color containers with labels.
Holiday ornaments and lights, especially ones you’re keeping for many years, can lose their color faster if they’re exposed to too much light when stored.
Fabric bags specifically made for storing holiday decorations should be stored indoors if possible, due to the higher moisture levels garages commonly have.
Use overhead racks for your holiday decoration storage
For the most effective use of your garage as a holiday decoration storage space, add some overhead storage racks.
Ceiling-mounted overhead racks take advantage of the vertical storage space in your garage’s upper reaches that is typically underutilized.
In addition to maximizing your garage’s storage space, overhead racks are also ideal for storing bulky items and things that are infrequently used – which describes unneeded holiday decorations pretty much perfectly!
Storage bins filled with things like tree ornaments, artificial Christmas trees, wreaths, garlands, holiday lights, and holiday lawn inflatables can be stashed up high.
Your daily routine can even run a little smoother simply by using this out-of-the-way storage space for your holiday decorations. There won’t be bulky storage bins taking up valuable garage floor space, which makes parking more difficult.
And less floor clutter means extra space for keeping tools, sports equipment, and other items you use regularly more efficiently stored and easier to access.
Bulky storage bins holding your holiday decorations are ideal for keeping in a garage’s overhead racks.
Don’t store these types of holiday decorations in the garage
While the garage is a perfect spot for many of your holiday decoration storage requirements, it’s not the best storage area for certain items unless it’s climate-controlled.
The temperature fluctuations and excess moisture found in many garage environments makes them less than ideal for storing these types of holiday decorations:
fabric-based festive decorations and adornments (examples: tablecloths, Christmas stockings and hats, tree skirts)
candles (store them somewhere cool)
very delicate glass, crystal, and antique ornaments
If you absolutely have to keep some fabric-based decorative items stored in the garage for any reason, make sure they’re sealed tightly in a plastic container. Wrapping items in acid-free paper or using silica packets to absorb moisture can help preserve the storage bin’s contents.
Another reason to avoid storing fabric-based and food-based decorations in the garage is that they can attract pests.
Label your holiday decoration storage items
Try to keep all your stored holiday decorations together in order to make everything easier to find.
Many organization experts recommend using color-coded storage containers or container lids to simplify things (such as green for Christmas decorations or orange for Halloween decorations).
And even if you’re being diligent and using color-coded containers, always be sure that everything is labelled.
Labelled containers eliminate the time-consuming guesswork that inevitably occurs when it’s time to unpack your decorations and find what you need when decorating your home next holiday season.
Additional holiday decoration storage tips
When preparing your holiday decorations for storage, here are a few final tips you might find useful:
use bubble wrap or decoration storage containers (avoid wrapping decorations in newspaper, as the ink rubs off)
fragile decorations such as bauble balls will be less prone to breaking if they’re stored in boxes with dividers or egg cartons that are kept in tightly sealed plastic containers
prevent string light tangles by using string light reels or even wrapping them around discarded wrapping paper tubes
declutter holiday decorations you haven’t used for a few years (donate any items that are still in good condition)
make a list of what broken holiday decorations need to be replaced for next year
Cardboard boxes with dividers or egg cartons can help prevent damage to your fragile decorative bauble balls and keep them organized.
Storing an artificial Christmas tree in the garage
Because of its bulkiness, an artificial Christmas tree’s go-to storage spot in most homes will probably be the garage.
Don’t leave an artificial Christmas tree uncovered in the garage because it’ll naturally gather a lot of dust over the course of a year. Why add an artificial tree cleaning to your busy holiday to-do list 11 months (or so) from now?
When storing an artificial Christmas tree in the garage, definitely ditch the cardboard box it came in and invest in a proper plastic tree storage bin. Look for a container with wheels so it’s easier to transport.
Tree storage bags are also popular, although they’re less suited for a garage environment. Also note that white artificial trees or trees with those snow dusting treatments are prone to yellowing and shorter lifespans if temperature and humidity storage conditions aren’t optimal.
While this garage is clean and organized, that poor artificial Christmas tree could really use a proper storage container.
Get organized to start the new year
If you have a New Year’s resolution that includes tidying up your home, start by storing your holiday decorations in an organized manner and somewhere that’s out of your way.
We can help you create more storage space for your holiday decorations and anything else you need to store in the garage, in addition to making the space look much nicer.
Garages are meant to be one of the home’s most functional spaces.
And it’s because garages are so active that they also require diligence and effort in order to keep them as safe as possible.
Things are constantly getting moved in garages, work is getting done inside of them, vehicles are regularly coming and going…the list goes on and on in terms of the safety considerations this busy space requires.
How a garage is designed and put together also brings up other safety considerations that warrants some attention from any homeowner.
13 garage safety tips for a safer home
Take the time to thoroughly assess how safe your garage is for you and your family by going through our list of 13 garage safety tips.
These garage safety tips are even more important to follow if you have children. Take the time to educate your kids on any safety hazards that may exist in your own garage.
See how your garage and how you use it measures up to our list of recommendations.
1. Lock up hazardous materials
All garages contain many different types of hazardous material products that need to be stored responsibly. Fertilizers, pesticides, gasoline, cleaning products, pool cleaning supplies, car maintenance fluids, and paints and solvents are just a few examples.
Store any hazardous chemicals and materials in an appropriately safe spot, either up high and out of the reach of your kids and pets or in locked garage cabinets.
A locked shed with adequate venting might also be ideal for certain items, like bags of fertilizer or extra propane tanks. Makes sure to read the storage instructions on each product.
Keep hazardous materials like car cleaning products and antifreeze containers locked up in the garage.
2. Store power tools safely
An unsupervised child might feel the urge to try out that big, noisy power tool they see mom or dad occasionally using in the garage.
Eliminate any safety concerns by making sure any power tools kept in the garage are properly stored so your kids can’t access them.
Garage storage cabinets with locks are the ideal solution and also help keep your expensive power tools more secure from theft.
For larger power tools that can’t be locked in a cabinet like, say, a stationary band saw or a bigger portable table saw, make sure their safety locking mechanisms work properly.
For an extra level of safety protection, you could also disconnect the stationary tools from their power supply when you’re not using them.
3. Keep sharp tools safely stored
In addition to ensuring safe, secure storage of your power tools, take the same care to make sure any sharp yard tools or hand tools are stored safely.
After a long day of yard work, it’s easy to get a little careless and just lean your tools or a ladder against the garage wall, or just stash them in a corner.
But rakes, shovels, pruners, and many other types of yard tools with sharp edges become garage safety hazards when they aren’t safely put away.
Invest in a proper storage system that allows all of your yard tools to be stored in a safe, organized manner.
A slatwall storage system works best for this purpose and keeps your garage floor clear (and therefore safer) by creating hanging space on your garage walls. Sharp hand tools can be stored in locked or upper garage cabinets.
4. Maintain a safe garage workspace
If you have a garage workshop, you’ll need to pay even more attention to how safe you’re leaving your garage.
In addition to following the aforementioned garage safety tips related to storage of your tools and hazardous materials, clean up your garage work area when you’re finished for the day.
Sweep up any spills, sawdust, and debris on your garage floor to prevent anyone from slipping. And properly dispose of any oily rags that may have been used during your work session.
Always use the appropriate eye, face, mask, and hand safety protection when working. And it’s also smart to keep a first-aid kit close at hand.
5. Inspect your garage doors and opener
Considering a garage door is a home’s largest moving object, it only makes sense to give it some close attention when you’re evaluating how safe your garage is.
Here a few garage safety tips for your garage doors:
periodically inspect your garage door springs and cables for excessive wear
keep garage door opener remotes out of the reach of children
know where the emergency release handle for your doors is and how to use it
check that your garage door photo eye sensors are properly aligned, clean, and unobstructed
test the auto-reverse safety feature on your garage doors and opener monthly
6. Deal with your garage clutter
Garage clutter doesn’t only make it difficult to find things and prevent you from parking your vehicles in the garage. All that junk also poses several safety hazards.
First, there’s the very real danger of clutter that’s stacked too highly falling over and injuring someone. Even brand new cardboard boxes aren’t the most stable storage container to be stacking and they only deteriorate over time.
Secondly, too much garage clutter (especially boxes, newspaper and magazine bundles, and flammable materials) also makes your garage more of a fire hazard.
Leaving too much clutter on your garage floor is also a tripping hazard.
Get your space straightened up and clutter-free by making use of the numerous helpful garage storage systems available, such as slatwall, storage racks, or a cabinet system.
7. Dispose of old paints and chemicals
If you’ve lived in the same house for awhile, you’re sure to have compiled a collection of empty and half-used paint cans, solvents, cleaners, spray paint cans, and other items that can’t just be thrown in the trash.
And if you’re the hands-on type and like doing your own vehicle maintenance, there are probably a few old car batteries, vehicle parts, and tires lying around your garage.
Taking the time to deal with what may be many years worth of accumulated hazardous materials clutter in your garage will free up valuable space.
Finally taking these old hazardous materials to your local recycling or disposal depot will also remove potential poisoning and fire hazards from your garage.
Photo by Jack Douglass on Unsplash.com
8. Use well-anchored storage systems
Proper garage storage systems will help you stay organized, but they need to be up to the task of handling the heavy weight capacities of the items you’re storing.
That means making sure the garage storage systems you use are well-anchored, whether they’re wall-mounted or ceiling-mounted.
Say you’re storing your extra set of winter or summer tires on a wall-mounted tire rack, for example. The weight of a 17″ tire with a rim is around 40 lbs. Multiply that times four and you’ll see why safely anchoring your storage system is so important.
For overhead garage storage of large, heavy items, the safety considerations for your overhead storage racks is just as important.
Garage Living use racks with heavy gauge steel construction that can support up to 600 lbs, which we install to adhere to the strictest safety standards.
9. Garage lighting
One of the less obvious garage safety tips you might not have considered is to simply improve your garage lighting.
Relying on one or two incandescent light bulbs or a flickering fluorescent light to illuminate your entire garage is an outdated concept.
There are many modern garage lighting ideas available that can make your garage easier to function within, which makes it safer.
A modern LED light fixture or two, for example, will provide better energy efficiency and more uniform lighting for your garage.
Everything from driving in and out of the garage, working with tools, and finding a specific tool becomes that much easier when you can actually see what you’re doing.
10. Take proper fire safety measures
Hopefully you’ll followed a few of these garage safety tips to remove some fire hazards from your garage.
Even if you are keeping garage fire hazards to a minimum, take some additional proactive fire safety measures. A heat detector alarm or smoke alarm are a wise investment for your garage.
Another great investment is a fire extinguisher for the garage. If you live in a colder climate, make sure to get a model that can be stored in lower temperatures.
Otherwise, keep a standard fire extinguisher just inside your home’s garage access door. Make sure anyone old enough to operate the device is properly trained on how to use it.
11. Limit your garage’s carbon monoxide exposure
Carbon monoxide from vehicle emissions doesn’t pose a health risk in the small amounts that are generated by vehicles being started and parked in garages.
It’s when vehicles are left to run for longer than recommended periods in the garage that safety becomes an issue. That’s why you should think twice about warming up or idling your vehicles indoors for extended periods, even with your garage doors open.
This harmful odorless and colorless gas can also build up if you’re running any gas-powered tools or recreational vehicles in your garage.
If you’re doing maintenance on a lawn mower, grass trimmer, or anything else run by gas, be mindful of not running them for too long in the garage.
And operating any type of barbecue in your garage (possibly to cover yourself from inclement weather) is a huge no-no. Aside from the obvious fire hazards, charcoal grills generate high levels of carbon monoxide.
Consider installing a carbon monoxide detector that’s specifically made for garages.
12. Keep a well-maintained garage floor
Another overlooked area when it comes to garage safety is the garage floor.
A garage floor surface with cracks and missing chunks of cement doesn’t just look terrible, it also presents a major tripping hazard.
You could stub a toe or, even worse, take a serious fall without having an even and unbroken surface to walk on.
Polyaspartic floor coatings are more durable and easier to maintain, with a higher resistance to household chemicals and abrasion damage.
You’ll also get better traction, which makes your garage floor safer when it’s wet. It goes without saying that you should attend to spills and pools of water on your garage floor right away.
And since we’re discussing garage safety, it’s worth mentioning that polyaspartic floor coatings also emit a very low level of VOCS (volatile organic compounds). Those are the chemicals found in many household products that are slowly released into the air.
A smooth, well-maintained garage floor makes your garage a safer space.
13. Replace old electrical cords
The last of our garage safety tips involves getting rid of any old, frayed electrical cords that have seen better days.
They’re not just a fire hazard, they’re also a shock hazard.
Be diligent with what type of power cord you’re using with a specific tool or for a particular job. Make sure a cord with the correct gauge is being used for the tool or appliance you’re using.
Avoid overloading your garage outlets with charging devices and extension cords. And if your garage’s electrical wiring and infrastructure is especially old, don’t wait until an accident happens to get them updated.
Make your garage safer and more functional
We hope these garage safety tips are beneficial to you in order to make your garage a safer space.
For creative makeover ideas that make your garage look incredible, more functional, and much safer, book a free design consultation with Garage Living.