Most of us never have enough garage storage space.
It isn’t surprising why – the garage is one of the biggest rooms in a house. Along with basements and attics, that makes it a magnet for clutter and those extra things we can’t figure out what to do with.
After years of being the home’s dumping ground, the garage floor space starts to gradually disappear. Eventually, the garage becomes so packed that there’s no room to park vehicles anymore.
Does this sound familiar?
A lack of garage storage space creates many problems
An HSH.com survey found that a lack of storage space was the number one pet peeve of homeowners.
Homeowners have been focussing their attention in recent years to improve how their garages look and function. They’ve realized that it’s no longer okay to just accept the traditional standard that garages are disorganized, overstuffed spaces.
Those that have gotten on board with the idea of maximizing their garage storage space first had to experience the negative effects of not using the room wisely for their storage needs.
Here are some of the signs that there simply wasn’t enough storage space in the room. How many of these common problems created by a lack of garage storage space are you dealing with?
1. You can’t park in your garage
The telltale sign that your garage can’t handle your storage requirements is that it becomes so full that the driveway becomes a permanent home for your vehicles. Another sign is that whatever indoor parking space may be available is a tight squeeze to get into.
Being unable to park in the garage is surprisingly common. Here’s proof:
- 25% of people with 2-car garages don’t park in them at all. A third can only park one car, largely due to garage clutter. (U.S. Dept. of Energy study)
- A Garage Living poll of 1,500 North Americans found that 20% were unable to park in their garage.
It’s natural for a one-car garage to present a challenge getting a vehicle and your stored items to share a space. When that garage gets a little bigger and can accommodate two, three, and even more vehicles, there should be more than enough room for both.
Even a one-car garage can get the job done, however. You’ll find more success working with a garage makeover professional that can tailor your storage systems for your needs and maximize the limited available storage space. Car lifts are one option to create more parking space.
Garages were invented to store vehicles, not store clutter. Parking in the driveway or on the road puts your vehicles at higher risk of theft and vandalism.
2. Finding items is difficult and you often lose things
How many times have you complained that it’s a headache trying to find things in your garage? Or perhaps you often misplace or lose things and end up buying replacements for them.
That’s a combination of poor organization and a lack of garage storage space. As each year passes and the state of the garage goes from bad to worse, addressing the situation becomes increasingly daunting. Regardless of what you’re doing in the garage (from parking a vehicle to working on a project), any time spent in there feels less productive than it should be.
A garage that is outfitted with efficient, high-quality storage and organization systems like cabinetry is easier to keep organized and improves the overall functionality of the space.
By creating a home for everything and keeping like items together, you’ll be more inclined to put things back in their proper home. This eliminates the frustration of searching through the entire garage for that certain small tool, as well as wasting your money on purchases to replace any lost items.
3. You get stressed when you’re in the garage
It’s not only frustrating searching for things in an untidy garage – a messy space causes stress and anxiety.
Entering cluttered rooms (especially large rooms like the garage that can hold even more clutter) never makes you feel good, it only evokes negative emotional reactions. Psychology Today explains here “why mess causes stress”:
- Clutter overwhelms our brains with excessive stimuli, especially visual stimuli. This “causes our senses to work overtime on stimuli that aren’t necessary or important”.
- Clutter makes it harder to focus on things because it distracts us, which limits our productivity.
- Clutter drains your energy and makes it more difficult to relax.
- We feel guilty and embarrassed that we’re so disorganized. An Impulse Research survey found that 24% of homeowners are embarrassed to leave their garage doors open.
- The sight of a messy space repeatedly tells our brain that our work is never done.
How many times have you gotten stressed out because it’s difficult to find things in the garage and the room can never stay organized?
4. The garage has too much floor clutter
An excess of garage floor clutter is a good indication that the room’s storage systems aren’t adequate. The floor is where things like plastic storage bins, sports equipment, and yard tools end up.
Adding more off-the-floor garage storage systems is a great start to get organized. It only addresses part of the issue, however.
It’s a fact of life that items that once had a purpose end up becoming clutter. Some people stay on top of keeping their homes as clutter-free as possible, while others take the easier “I’ll deal with it later” approach. That often means stashing things out in the garage.
The common denominator with most of the issues listed here is too much clutter. Therefore, the only path forward is to free up that floor space by finally addressing the root cause of the problem.
Aside from the unattractive sight of all that clutter, you also know it’s time to get that decluttering project started if you can’t remember the last time you threw out a good amount of junk. If you notice a lot of things occupying space in the garage that you haven’t touched in ages, that’s another sign that the room needs a good purge.
Adding some storage systems like slatwall and overhead racks will help transform a garage from dysfunctional to functional. Being able to actually see your garage floor also allows you the opportunity to make another significant upgrade – having a new floor coating applied to protect the concrete surface and add decorative appeal.
5. There are too many safety and parking hazards
Floor clutter in a garage doesn’t only limit the room’s functionality, it creates several safety and parking hazards, too.
All sorts of items that are commonly left on a garage floor such as yard tools, balls, power cords, and unwound hoses are major tripping hazards. Leaning items like bikes and ladders against the wall isn’t much safer. Stacks of boxes and junk are potential tipping hazards.
A messy garage makes parking dangerous as well. It doesn’t take much of an impact to cause a dent or scratch to a car. An overstuffed space occupied by combustible items that are left on the floor like a gas can and gas-powered yard equipment isn’t safe, either.
It only makes good sense to protect your vehicles from damage and eliminate other safety hazards by making better use of your garage storage space.
6. You notice a lot of unused garage storage space
Garage storage space issues can be partially resolved by rethinking how the room is set up to accommodate your possessions.
How would you assess how your garage is configured for storage? Is there a lot of empty space on the walls and above your head? In most garages, the answer is “yes”.
Putting that under-utilized vertical space to work with slatwall panels that allow for hanging items and overhead storage racks for bulky items will make a huge difference in getting reorganized. A skilled garage design pro can find ways to incorporate corners and awkward recesses of the room into your storage plans as well.
Also, consider reassessing how efficient the storage systems are in the rest of your home. Maybe they’re similarly due for an upgrade to further maximize your home’s storage space, which can minimize the amount of future clutter that ends up in the garage.
Slatwall hanging storage and overhead racks maximize your garage storage space and keep the floor clutter-free. Cabinetry provides an additional hidden storage option.
7. Finding storage space for new items is a challenge
Another clue that you could use more garage storage space is that when you buy something new to store, it’s always difficult to find a place for it.
When storage space is scarce, you typically just look for any open spot to put something. That only adds to the disorganization in the room because there tends to be no rhyme or reason as to where things are located.
Some sort of organization system is needed that groups similar items together to remove the guesswork of locating things. Ideally, that system will also give you some storage flexibility and leave some open space to add new purchases.
8. The garage has lots of dust and attracts pests
Garages accumulate more dust and dirt than any other room in the home. That’s mostly because the average garage door opens and closes three to five times every day and vehicles that can be parked inside are always coming and going.
When a garage’s organization is neglected, the garage will look and feel even dirtier. Floor clutter makes the space much harder to clean properly and restricts airflow, which causes dust and dirt to build up at a faster rate.
Even unsealed concrete garage floors slowly wear down over time and leave a fine, powdery residue that builds up on the floor and gets airborne in the room from foot and vehicle traffic, as well as the wind. All of these things lower the garage’s air quality level.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, dirty garages with stacks of clutter and out-of-the-way spaces that never get disturbed by cleaning efforts can also attract pests like insects and mice.
9. Your garage feels small and there’s no space for hobbies
Nothing makes a garage feel smaller than too much clutter. Year after year, the square footage of the room seems to shrink more and more and the amount of available storage space dwindles along with it.
A packed garage isn’t only going to be an ineffective storage and parking space – you can’t use it for things like hobbies. A tidy garage opens up many different opportunities to make the room a more useful extension of your living space. Here are just a few examples of what we mean:
- set up a home gym
- add a workshop
- create a crafting space
- add a pet washing station
If you do have a one-car garage that feels cramped even after installing better storage systems, consider getting a backyard shed to lighten the garage’s storage load.
Making better use of your garage storage space creates room for added functionality, such as a home gym.
10. You rent a storage unit
Our final sign that you need more garage storage space is that you’re renting storage space at a remote facility.
There are lots of reasons not to use self-storage companies:
- the ongoing monthly rental expense (including hidden fees like insurance)
- stashing your extra stuff in another location eliminates the urgency to declutter and buy less
- the inconvenience of having to drive somewhere to pick up or drop off your belongings
- storage facilities use a lot of energy resources for lighting and climate control
Storage companies rely on their customers procrastinating when it comes to getting rid of their clutter. Derek Naylor, the former president of a self-storage industry marketing and advertising agency, told The New York Times, “Human laziness has always been a big friend of self-storage operators.”
In most cases, a person or family should be able to store everything they own under their own roof. Relying on a storage warehouse for extra storage usually means two things: you own more than you need and your home storage space could be used more effectively.
The only time it makes sense to use a storage company is when someone has experienced some sort of major change in their life. This includes things like:
- a separation or divorce
- being left to handle the belongings of a deceased relative or close friend
- having to abruptly relocate to another city for work
- needing to downsize after a job loss or major change in your financial situation
Enjoy the benefits of more garage storage space
A need for more garage storage space doesn’t mean you need to undergo a messy, inconvenient, and expensive garage expansion project. Don’t go bigger – go smarter to get more functionality from your existing garage space.
If solving your garage storage space issues sounds like a worthwhile investment, Garage Living has the expertise and highest-quality garage improvement products available.
Schedule a free design consultation with us to get your garage remodel project off the ground.
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