13 Essential Garage Safety Tips You Should Know

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.

garage safety tips cabinets

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.

Garage safety tips old paint can

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

garage safety tips fire extinguisherHopefully 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.

If you look around for the best garage floor coating available, you’ll find a polyaspartic garage floor coating is superior to an epoxy coating in several ways.

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.

garage safety tips garage floor

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 in-home design consultation with Garage Living.

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7 Garage Wall Storage Tricks to Eliminate Clutter

Having too much garage clutter really hampers your ability to use your garage for what it was really meant for – parking and efficient additional home storage.

So is eliminating your garage floor clutter really as simple as making use of a few garage wall storage tricks? Absolutely.

When you take a smart approach to maintaining your garage with effective storage systems and sound organization strategies, clutter will cease to be a persistent problem.

Using even just a few of the following garage wall storage tricks will pay off immediately. Your garage space will be tidier, more functional, and safer.

1. Maximize your garage wall storage space

One of the key ways to keep your garage floor clutter-free is to utilize an area of your garage that’s mostly underutilized – its walls.

Some homeowners may use a few hooks for hanging yard tools and some DIY shelving on their garage’s walls. Look at most garages, however, and you’ll typically find a lot of wall space that could be used better.

When choosing a garage wall storage system to maximize your wall storage space, the two main options you’ll find are slatwall and pegboard. Both allow you to hang panels up to 4′ x 8′ on your garage walls.

As we discussed in a previous blog post, you’ll find a lot more limitations with pegboard compared to slatwall (including looks, versatility, and durability).

A high quality slatwall garage storage system is your best option. It’s designed to make the most efficient use of your wall storage space and also adds a more finished look to the interior of your garage.

garage wall storage slatwall

Slatwall storage maximizes your storage space and gives you the flexibility to create a home for any hangable item.

2. Make a home for everything

Your garage floor is filled with clutter because you haven’t taken the time to create proper storage spots for items like bikes, yard tools, sports equipment, and extension cords.

One of the major benefits of using a good garage wall storage system is that it allows you to create a home for anything in your garage that can be hung. This leaves everything highly visible, easy to find, and makes it significantly easier to keep your garage organized.

Once you get all the floor clutter stored on your garage walls, your garage floor space will open right up. It will be easier to park vehicles inside, where they should be stored.

Many things that are commonly found on garage floors also pose tripping hazards or have sharp edges. Hanging tools like rakes, pruners, hedge trimmers, and shovels on your garage walls is safer than keeping them on the floor. They’ll also be less likely to get damaged.

Your garden hose can also be kept off your garage floor and stored on a wall-mounted hose reel.

3. Use labels

Using a garage wall storage system automatically makes it easier to keep your garage organized. When making a home for all of the things you’ll be hanging on your garage walls, using labels can also be very helpful.

Some homeowners like to outline the items that are hung on their garage walls with paint or a black marker to remind them where they’re stored. Aside from the fact that this doesn’t look very good, it it also poses a problem if you decide to shuffle around where items are stored.

Labelling your hung items with a handheld label maker or labels printed from your computer or smartphone is much easier and certainly looks much nicer. Neatly printed labels that have a uniform look also help minimize visual clutter.

Labels encourage good organization maintenance by clearly spelling out (literally) where an item that was used should be returned to.

4. Look for storage flexibility

Your garage storage needs are guaranteed to change over time. Worn out and damaged tools will be discarded and replaced eventually with new tools of varying sizes.

You’ll also find that certain tools you may use frequently for a certain amount of time for a specific task may not be needed again for quite awhile.

That’s why choosing a garage wall storage system that provides flexibility when it comes to storing your belongings is so important. You want to be able to freely move items around and have your most regularly used tools as accessible as possible.

There’s no better garage wall storage system for this than a slatwall system. The horizontal slats on the wall panels allow for very easy movement of all your hung items and their hanging accessories.

5. Use the right hanging accessories

A big part of ensuring your garage wall storage system provides enough storage flexibility lies with the types of hanging accessories that are available for it.

It’d be a shame to buy a wall storage system for your garage and then find out that not enough of its hanging accessories fit your storage needs.

With Garage Living’s slatwall storage system, you’ll find more than 40 types of sturdy hanging accessories that have a wide variety of applications:

  • garment hooks, double hooks, utility hooks, loop hooks, single hooks, and industrial hooks
  • magnetic tool bars and tool racks
  • bike hooks, golf racks, fishing rod racks, and racks and hangers for other sports equipment
  • hanging baskets in sizes from deep to shallow
  • wire utility shelves
  • tilt-out storage bins and utility bins
garage wall storage accessories

Look for a garage wall storage system with plenty of hanging accessories to fit your storage needs.

6. Look for stability with your garage wall storage

The stability of your garage wall storage system is another important factor to consider. Both the surface items are being hung on and the hanging accessories you’re using need to be sturdy, reliable, and able to hold heavier weights for reasons of safety.

A lot of garages with a pegboard storage system only use panels that are 1/8″ thick. That thickness is easy to find in any home improvement store and is also attractive because of its cheap price.

You’ll find, however, that using such a flimsy material for hanging items on isn’t an ideal long-term storage solution. Between the fluctuating temperatures in a garage environment and the wear and tear that comes with tools being handled, even thicker pegboard panels will degrade quicker than you’d like.

A more resilient material like our 5/8″ thick slatwall panels are more capable of handling the needs of a garage wall storage system. Their rigid cellular foam PVC construction will last much longer and can handle a load capacity of 40 lbs/sq in.

Pegboard hanging accessories usually only have two small hooks that fit into the pegboard’s holes. That doesn’t provide much of a stable anchor point.

Slatwall hanging accessories, on the other hand, are anchored over a larger surface of the panels to provide more stability. In fact, items weighing up to 50 lbs can be stored on a slatwall panel.

7. Use common sense with your garage wall storage system

Even as sturdy as some garage wall storage systems are, not everything in your garage is meant to be stored on the wall, nor capable of being stored there.

Common sense will dictate when to look at alternative garage storage ideas for items that aren’t suited to wall storage. Bulky items like holiday decorations and seasonal tools and patio furniture can be stored in overhead storage racks. If you have two sets of tires for your vehicles, free up garage floor space by using heavy-duty tire racks.

Industrial standalone shelving racks and garage cabinetry also provide additional storage options for items that are best stored somewhere other than your garage walls.

Use garage wall storage to reclaim your garage floor space

Reclaiming your valuable garage floor space is as simple as using the right wall storage system in your garage. Schedule your free in-home consultation with one of Garage Living’s design experts to begin the process of getting your garage organized.

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Winter Car Storage: 11 Tips to Help Preserve Your Prized Ride

As the warm weather gives way to the next several months of cold and snowy conditions, auto enthusiasts lament the changing of seasons as much as anybody.

That’s because months-long stretches of lousy weather mean sports car and classic car owners will need to store their vehicles until spring. After all, snow and rain, road salt, sub-zero temperatures, and slippery roads aren’t exactly ideal conditions to expose your prized ride to.

The importance of proper winter car storage

Proper winter car storage for your seasonal vehicle is essential for a few reasons:

  • it extends the life of the vehicle
  • you’ll avoid costly repairs
  • the vehicle will be better-prepared to be driven again in the spring

You’ll find plenty of classic car restoration experts who believe that improper winter car storage can actually be worse for the vehicle than if it had been driven all winter on salt-covered roads.

If you haven’t gotten around to taking care of your winter car storage needs yet, don’t procrastinate much longer. These 11 winter car storage tips will keep your prized vehicle in pristine condition in your garage until spring time.

winter car storage jaguar

1. Wash your car’s exterior

It’s imperative that your vehicle is thoroughly washed before storing it for the winter. Don’t use a drive-through car wash – be sure to hand wash it. Give the car’s underside a good spray wash as well.

Once the car has air-dried, give it a good waxing to protect the vehicle’s finish. It doesn’t hurt to give the car’s chrome a polish, either. Once this step and some of the other winter car storage recommendations below are done, you’ll be covering the car with a cover or tarp.

When the time for winter car storage ends in the spring, your cherished vehicle’s exterior will be fresh and well-preserved during its resting period.

2. Clean your car’s interior

If you’re going to the trouble of following the proper procedures for winter car storage, it’s clear you love your classic car or sports car. Therefore, it’s unlikely you’ve left your beloved car’s interior filled with garbage.

Even still, it bears mentioning that you should ensure your car’s interior is clean before storing it. Anything food-related (including food wrappers) definitely needs to be removed. This lowers the chance of any pests trying to get inside your car and you also won’t have any unpleasant odors to face after months of winter car storage.

Seat covers are a smart idea for providing extra protection for your upholstery. And it’s also a good idea to add some packs of desiccant (like the silica gel that comes in boxes of new shoes) inside the vehicle. They can be bought at your local dollar store and will absorb extra cabin moisture.

3. Keep the critters away

Critters like mice will be drawn to your stored vehicle, which can provide a comfortable winter home for them if you’re not careful.

If you’re aware of issues with mice in your garage, try and resolve the problem before winter arrives. And if they continue to be a persistent problem, take a few steps to protect your vehicle.

Use mouse traps outside the vehicle (never inside) or wherever you notice critter activity in your garage. Mouse traps are reusable and provide visual proof that you’ve caught one of the pests. The effects of mouse and rat poisons, on the other hand, don’t leave evidence as readily. You also won’t want to use them if you have pets.

Be sure that all air inlets are closed in the car and put steel wool in the air filter box’s intake duct. Check under your hood periodically during the winter to make sure it’s critter-free. Also, plug up your exhaust pipe with steel wool to prevent critter access.

4. Fill ’er up before winter car storage

When it comes to winter car storage advice, you’ll find plenty of conflicting opinions online on a few different issues. One of those is whether or not to empty your gas tank or fill it up before winter car storage.

Those in favor of emptying the fuel believe this prevents varnish and gum buildup. Unfortunately, it’s tricky to drain a gas tank without leaving behind moisture that can cause rust.

There’s a stronger consensus for filling up your tank (which prevents moisture buildup) and adding a fuel stabilizer. Gasoline stabilizers prevent the fuel from deteriorating, which causes oxidation and deposits to form that could damage your fuel system.

Just add the recommended amount of fuel stabilizer and let it mix thoroughly with the gas by driving the car for approximately 10-15 minutes. Another reason to keep gas in your vehicle while it’s stored is so you can run it every few weeks (more on that below).

5. Change your oil and filter

It’s wise to change the oil and filter on your sports car or classic car before storing it for the winter. Even if the vehicle isn’t due for either of these maintenance tasks, it’s a good proactive step to take.

An oil change provides helpful corrosion protection, especially since an idle car is more susceptible to engine corrosion. Just as with the fuel stabilizer or any other added car fluids, run the vehicle for a few minutes to circulate the fresh fluids.

6. Top off your coolant

Check your coolant level and top it off if needed (coolant, by the way, is the same as antifreeze). Avoid mixing regular coolant (which is typically a green color) with longer-lasting yellow and red-colored coolants, as they’re formulated to have different lifespans.

To be extra safe, you should check the coolant’s strength to ensure the water concentration level isn’t too high. If it is, this can cause the car’s cylinder heads or engine block to crack.

7. Use proper tire care

When it comes to tire care for a vehicle you’re storing, there’s a few universally accepted facts:

  • tires should always be cleaned to remove dirt and brake dust before winter car storage
  • tires on a stored vehicle should be inflated to the recommended psi
  • long-term winter car storage can cause tires to flat-spot

Flat-spotting happens when the circumference of tires on a car that’s been left in the same spot for a long time changes due to the weight of the vehicle pressing down on them.

Underinflated tires and storage in a cold garage on a car that doesn’t get moved for several months will increase the chance of flat-spotting. Driving the car for awhile can sometimes cause the flat-spots to round out, but not always.

You can prevent flat-spotting by putting your vehicle on jack stands to reduce the weight put on your tires during winter car storage. Place a small piece of wood under the stands. That ensures they won’t leave indentations on your floor, especially if you’ve recently had a spiffy new Floortex™ garage floor coating applied.

winter car storage tires

8. Disconnect your car battery or use a trickle charger

Unless you’re planning on occasionally starting your stored car during the winter, it’s a good idea to remove the vehicle’s battery. If a car battery loses its charge it may freeze, at which point it becomes useless.

Store it in your heated living space and the battery should be good to go when it’s hooked back up in the spring. Be aware that battery removal isn’t recommended if the car being stored is newer and has engine computers.

Your other option is to hook your car battery up to a trickle charger or battery maintainer. Ensure the model you purchase has an auto shut-off feature to prevent overcharging. As an added dose of preventative maintenance, you can also coat the battery terminals with petroleum jelly.

9. Occasionally start your car…or not

One long-running debate concerning winter car storage is whether or not you should start it every few weeks. Those who don’t think this is necessary believe that if you’ve taken the proper steps to store your car properly, there’s no need to run it during the winter.

There seems to be a more widely-held belief, however, that it is a good idea to start your stored car every 3-4 weeks. Those in favor believe this keeps the cylinders lubricated and removes moisture from operating components. If you’re able to move your car (even just back and forth a few feet), this also prevents brakes and clutches from sticking.

If you do decide to start your vehicle during winter car storage, just remember to do these four things:

  • always remove your car cover when it’s running
  • remember to remove (and put back) anything you were using to keep critters out of your car
  • run your car for about 10-15 minutes until it reaches its optimal operating temperature
  • leave your garage door open while your car is running

10. Cover your car

One of your last steps when it comes to winter car storage will be to cover your vehicle. This will protect the exterior you just waxed and keep dirt and dust off of it. If possible, spend the extra money for a custom-fit cover for your car as opposed to getting a universal-fit cover.

Make sure the car cover you use has breathable fabric. Moisture trapped underneath your cover will be harmful to your car’s body. And never use a plastic car cover – they trap rust-causing moisture and can also scratch your car’s finish.

winter car storage car lift

A car lift is ideal for storing your prized sports car or classic car during the winter.

11. Use a car lift for winter car storage

Using your garage during the winter to protect your everyday use vehicles from snow and ice is just one of many benefits of using your garage for parking. Storing your classic car or sports car during the winter in your garage can be an issue if you lack parking space.

One way to increase your garage’s parking space is to add a 4 post car lift to it. They’re a great solution that will protect your prized vehicle and also make room for your other vehicles.

Once all your winter car storage preparation is finished, simply raise your vehicle on the car lift and you’ll then be able to use the space beneath it for parking.

It’s easy and safe to operate the car lift if you need to run your stored car every few weeks. And a car lift is also handy if you prefer taking care of your classic car’s maintenance yourself, as it allows for easy access to a vehicle’s underside.

Make space in your garage for winter car storage

Yes, it can be a lot of work getting your vehicle ready for winter car storage, but your cherished ride deserves it. And when you take it out for that first invigorating drive in the spring time, you’ll be reminded all over again why putting so much tender loving care into your hobby was worth it.

Do you need better garage organization and storage solutions to make space for the winter storage of your prized vehicle? If so, schedule your free in-home consultation with one of our design experts.

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