The garage is more than a place for the family cars. It usually doubles as storage space for everything from tools to Christmas decorations, and even the spare fridge.
Fall is a great time (not too hot and not too cold) to make your garage efficient and organized. Here are six tips to best utilize the space in your garage.
Garages can become catchalls for everything from an extra refrigerator to leftover construction materials.
Decluttering has become a buzzword for closets, bedrooms and basements, but it applies to the garage too.
Garages can bring out the hoarder instinct in even the tidiest of us, so bite the bullet and clear out the junk. Start by pulling everything out and giving your garage a good sweeping and cleaning – or even patching and painting.
Check for signs of insect or rodent infestation and treat accordingly. An organized garage is less likely to attract pests. With the trend moving toward cordless tools, this is also the time to check your wiring and outlets and add some power strips.
2. Make a Plan
Enlist the kids’ help when you’re clearing out the garage.
Think about how you use the things you keep in your garage. The items you need most often or in an emergency should be the most accessible. If you suddenly must have the toilet plunger, you don’t want to waste time hunting for it. But if you only use the power sprayer a couple of times a year, find a place to tuck it out of the way.
3. Get Organized
Garage cabinets and shelving add much needed storage without a lot of expense or effort.
Hanging tools on rusty nails may have worked for Grandpa, but it's much more efficient to put up shelves and cabinets. You can also utilize that vertical space with wire racks, lawn equipment hooks or a garage organizing kit.
A cabinet with drawers is perfect for sorting screws, bolts, washers and other small items. Pegboards are still a favorite for small tools.
4. Develop Some Hang-Ups
If you keep your vehicles in the garage, floor space is limited. Hooks and brackets can keep things off the floors.
Brooms, mops, ladders, weed whackers and leaf blowers are among the things you can store on the walls. Make sure your hooks and brackets are sturdy and properly anchored.
5. Kick It Upstairs
See if the area above your garage ceiling is suitable for storage. Attic ladders are available at most home improvement centers for $200 or less. Professional installation might cost a couple of hundred more.
Attic space above your garage may be an open beam, so you might have to install plywood flooring for safe storage. Attic storage is great for seldom-used articles such as holiday decorations.
6. Label, Label, Label
Labeling is smart, especially for cabinet drawers and storage bins, where the contents aren’t visible. Masking tape and markers will work, but handheld labelers are available in stores and online. They’re inexpensive (and kind of fun).
Bonus Tips on Garage Storage
Make sure that any storage additions you install provide adequate room for opening and closing garage doors.
Keep safety in mind as you organize your garage. Paint and chemical containers should not be stored in the garage or anywhere else where they can freeze or spill.
Anything installed on walls or ceilings should be firmly attached. This is especially important if you have small children or pets that frequent your garage.
Sprucing up the garage can be a fun and productive family project and will give you a sense of accomplishment as you tuck in for the cooler months!
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