Improving Our Golf Score

August is National Golf Month;  it’s a good time to look at some of the best practices and equipment every duffer needs for a great golf game. Since the game of golf originated in the 15th century in Scotland, golfers have been trying to improve their scores by employing any number of resources. We thought we might look into a few of them, and the advice of specialists in the field.

Tip #1: Golf Apps for Smart Phones

Can you believe all the things our phones do for us these days? Using apps to improve one’s golf game is gaining popularity. Some offer GPS, other keep score for you, while some will show you the layout of the hole, and offer trajectory and velocity pointers. Some even offer social media interaction for those times you shot a bogie on a par 3 hole. There are special apps just for putting, too.

Our phones are always with us anyway, we might as well put them to use on the golf course.

Tip #2: Choose the Right Tee

It seems that many golfers get confused about the right tee, and with good reason. There are so many from which to choose. How can you tell which one will work best for you? The experts at Martini Tees in Canada helped explain the mystery. Club heads come in so many sizes and variations, there has to be a tee designed to work with the club.

Shorter tees work best for shallow faced drivers and fairway wood clubs, where as deep faced clubs need a significantly longer tee. Martini Tees suggest 2 3/4″, or longer, for the deeper faced clubs.  As with most golf equipment, it is a good idea to store your tees properly when not in use.

Tip #3: Care for Your Clubs

Truth be told, golf clubs are expensive. They deserve to be looked after if you want them to perform perfectly. Your golf clubs are an investment that will serve you for years to come, if you know how to look after them.

After 18 holes of relaxing and rejuvenating golf, you may just toss your clubs in the trunk of your car, or toss them in the garage when you get home. Experts warn that storing your golf clubs in your trunk can have disastrous ramifications.

Clunking around in the trunk, even for a few days, can mean dents, scratches, and bent shafts, for your clubs. The extreme heat in a car trunk can warp clubs more readily than you might have thought.

Cold and damp also ruin clubs quickly. As with all sporting goods, like everything else, the key is to store belongings off the floor of the garage.  Golf clubs are bulky and may seem to be always in the way. A good storage system design eliminates clutter, and the obstacle course in your garage.  As with any sporting equipment, a system will provide easy access and safety for all of your golf equipment off the floor and away from damp walls.

It does not need to cost a fortune. Our garage renovation specialists can work with you to devise a system that is unique to your family’s needs. For example, open storage uses slatwall shelves with CamlokTM brackets and baskets that make it easy to see what you need. We can offer a full garage interior design, or a partial renovation based upon your needs.

Garage cabinets is what we call closed storage  allowing you to store your golf clubs out of sight, when not in use. Closed spaces can also be organized to provide a space for each and every golf related item, such as tees, extra balls, etc.

Think outside the box with overhead garage storage. If you stand in your garage and look up, you might be surprised at how much room goes unused just over our heads. Overhead storage means you can still park the car(s) in the garage overnight. Even heavy items, such as golf clubs can be safely stored, and easily retrieved with a number of storage ideas.

Tip #4: A Good Golf Brush

Even the pros end up in the mud and brush sometimes. Keep your clubs and ball clean and dry with a good quality golf brush. Some people favoru towels, which serve the same purpose, but a brush can get the divots of grass out of the grooves like no other.

These handy tools can be used on the wheels of your golf cart, too. Use it to knock off a dust or dirt before you put your clubs in your car, and off the bottom of your

Tip #5: Choose the Correct Ball

Golf balls have changed drastically in the past decade and a half. Some fly further while some fly straighter. Some golf balls provide spin or help to eliminate it. Some are soft, while others are hard. Experts suggest finding a ball that works well for your swing and style.

Costs vary greatly. Buy the best you can afford, in order to lower your scores. Check in with a golf pro or other specialist to determine the one that is best for you.

Once you have found the right match, use the same ball for every round. Soon you will learn how to use it with different clubs and conditions. Consistently using the same brand or model of ball will improve your game. Each ball is slightly different, but if by sticking with one manufacturer and type, you will be a more consistent golfer with much more ability to chip away at that golf score.



The Year of Soil – 4 Ways to Improve Our Own Backyards

The year 2015 is the International Year of Soils according to the United Nations. Worldwide recognition of the need to promote sustainable soil resources has prompted scientists and researchers around the globe to come up with a variety of ways we can help keep the planet green. Green thumbs among us understand that good soil is critical to any backyard garden or landscaping endeavor. With a few of the right garden tools and a composter, gardeners naturally return to the soil what it needs to be a rich source of organic carbons. These organic carbons are an important towards mitigating the effects of climate change.

Likewise, non-gardeners can make a difference in the world by recycling reusable and organic wastes with the sorting of garbage, recycle and green bin storage solutions. Experience tells us that a system must be convenient and easy to use so our families will utilize them. By properly sorting green waste, recyclables, and trash, everyone can promote less use of landfills and better soil worldwide. The number of options available might surprise you. This list will help you achieve sustainable soil in your own yard, as well as maintaining a workable solution for your recycling and green waste.

Tip #1: Choose water conscious plants and landscaping.

patio stones blocks hardscaping backyardThe effects of global warming and other environmental changes have inspired the trend for landscaping that requires little to no water. Those not affected by drought can still benefit from these water conscious choices.

Planning a landscape includes finding plants that will work well in your soil. Many drought resistant plants are ideal for poor soil and full sun. Proper placement and planting is the secret to creating a beautiful garden able to sustain itself, and thrive, even in harsher conditions. Hardscaping is a technique that augments landscaping by adding tiles, stones, walls or patios. Consult an expert to determine the best plan for your needs.

Determine the best way to care for your soil, and your soil will care for you.

Tip #2: Smart Composting

wooden composters bestComposting is a sound way to eliminate organic waste / composting. It is the ultimate form of recycling. Any waste products that come from plants can be tossed together, including leaves, banana peels, apple cores, or even the bedding from small animals. Many items you currently place in your green bin can be put to use as mulch in your own garden as compost. Kitchen waste is acceptable such as vegetable peels, fading lettuce or coffee grounds.

Meats, fats, and non-plant based byproducts should never be included in the compost pile. Keep a trash receptacle close and handy at all time. If you are worried about the smells that might occur from the garage, or under your kitchen sink, consider an outdoor bin storage solution. Bin Solutions - Trash Bin Solutions - storage Medium A doubleThese also work well for people that do not have much storage space in their garage.

Despite what some experts will tell you about “layering” compost, you should feel comfortable tossing in green and brown waste as you produce it. Most gardens produce more green than brown waste, so layering is not easy to accomplish. Just stir the mix from time to time to ensure the green and brown waste mixes properly together.

Composting creates a lot of heat and must be done outside. If you have a large yard, you can compost directly on the ground, but if your garden is small purchase a good compost bin or tumbler. Never store compost in plastic containers. The heat will melt the plastic and could create a hazard. Only use approved composting equipment.

Regular turning, with a shovel or in a bin will help keep the compost moist enough and aid in the decomposition, creating a marvelous fertilizer for your yard.

Tip #3: Recycling made easy.

1 car garage markham slatwall organization system cabinets recycle green bin storage polyaspartic coated stair floors punched aluminum wainscotingKeeping reusable products out of the landfills will help promote healthier soil content, and a better environment. Recycling can be inconvenient, but a garage renovation specialist can help design a recycle centre that will work for the whole family.

It is important to have recycle bins easily accessible and conveniently placed to encourage consistent use.  Stackable bins offer maximum storage space, while large bins provide more room for trash or recyclables. Recycle centers can be set up in your garage, or outside, depending on your preferences. Outdoor storage has specific challenges, such as protection from raccoons or other scavengers looking for food. A professional garage renovation specialist will help plan an easily accessible recycle centre for your household safe from curious paws.


Tip #4: Use organizational systems to cut down on your carbon footprint.

Do you have piles of stuff hanging out in your garage? Have you ever replaced an item you know you owned but could not locate? Have you ever discovered a lost article, only to find it broken or unusable? Everyone has these experiences, unless they are organized.

Getting everything off the floor is the first step. You have more space than you realize, and several garage storage options to fit any lifestyle. Many people overlook the use of valuable overhead and wall space available to them.

There is no need to remain caught up in a disposable society. Reuse, reduce, and recycle with a good system inside your garage or outdoors in a bin solution. It is good for the planet.

Pushing the Paddle at the Pan-Am Games

Toronto is the proud host of the 2015 Pan-Am games this summer. Fans have been thrilled to watch their favorite athletes with several Canadian gold, silver and bronze medals already tucked away.  No matter what your sport there is sure to be some nail-biting competition. For many Ontarians who grew up along the shores of the Great Lakes or spent time camping in Muskoka, some of the most anticipated events are the canoe and kayak racing. There are few Canadians who have not spent at least one afternoon in their life paddling their worries away, so you can be assured these events will be among the best attended. If you are a fan of these sports, the following are a few things you need to know about the events, the equipment, and how to store your new boat.


Canoeing and Kayaking at the Pan-Am Games

There are two events for kayaking and two for canoeing, and both have men and women competing.

  • The first is a sprint, a fiercely competitive event where the first one to the finish line wins. This year, the sprint events will be held in Welland at the Flatwater Centre.
  • The second is the slalom, which is super exciting. It is much more than just going around flag posts. The slalom courses for both kayak and canoe are done in raging white water. It is literally a thrill a minute as upsets and almost-upsets can change the lead in a heartbeat. The event will be held at the Wild Water Reserve in Minden.

Canada is putting its hopes on one of our premier canoeists / kayakers, Olympic medalist, Mark de Jonge for the sprint. The nation will also have an eye on Jazmyne Denhollander, our Canadian women’s hope in the kayak slalom. Without a doubt, Canadians will be watching their every move, not just for racing, but to also check out the latest and greatest equipment.

The Coolest Kayaks and Canoes

racing-canoe-in-fast moving-riverGone are the days of canvass boats and wooden paddles. Today’s kayaker or canoer is looking for something a little more high-tech. They want sleek, they want light and they want what the top athletes are using. You don’t have to be an Olympic level athlete to enjoy the benefits of top-of-the-line equipment; many recreational boaters are also looking for high-end products.

What to look for in Kayaks

Today’s competitive kayak is a far cry from the plastic model you piloted at summer camp. It is sleek, strong and generally made of polyethylene or carbon-Kevlar (the same material as bulletproof vests). They are more maneuverable and designed to minimize wind resistance. Of course, sprint Kayaks need to be more streamlined and slalom kayaks need to be tougher. Try to determine which type of kayaking interests you and pick your equipment accordingly.

What to look for in Canoes

single-canoe-racer-olympicAt first glance, a competitive canoe can be mistaken for a kayak. They are narrower and shorter than those you see on the lake and they have a spray skirt. Again, like the kayaks they are made out of lighter materials such as Kevlar and carbon fiber. In fact, they have gotten so much lighter that the Olympic committee put in minimum weights for these boats to keep the competition fair -10 kg for a single canoe and 15 kg for a double.

Kayak and Canoe Pricing

If you are just looking for a regular touring canoe or kayak, you can easily find one for under $1000 but if you want high-end competitive boats, you are starting at least around the $3000 mark and depending on the make and customization, you can easily spend ten times that amount. A high-end canoe or kayak is an investment so you need to ensure you take care of it properly, and that means storing it safely indoors during our Canadian winters.

Super Solutions to Storing your Kayak or Canoe

If you find yourself hesitating to buy a high-end canoe or kayak because you don’t have the room to store it, then think again. There are a number of convenient and innovative solutions to storing these awesome boats.

Overhead Storage

overhead storage - bulky gear - canoe slingYou may not have enough room on the floor of your garage to store your kayak but chances are you have plenty of room up top. You can use overhead racks to store one or more boats. They are convenient and they look great. You can also set up a pulley system, which allows you to lower your boat directly into your truck or trailer for easy transport

Wall Mounted Storage

Simple and secure. Padded wall mounts hold the boats in place during the off-season. They are secure, easy to operate and can be used to store more than one boat.

Custom Built Sling

If space is at a premium in the garage, consider using a sling to keep your canoe or kayak up off the floor. Look for heavy-duty stainless steel chain that is wrapped in foam. The sling system also works great for lowering the boat right into a waiting vehicle.

No matter which solution you think might work best for you, the smart idea is to consult with a garage storage specialist. He (or she) can tell help you find the right solutions to keep that high-end competitive boat in the best shape.

Therefore, if you find yourself idling in the stalled traffic this summer, wishing you had a third person for that HOV lane, don’t despair. You can use that time to daydream about the new kayak or canoe you are going to buy at the end of the Pan-Am games. It will be sleek, light and will be safe and accessible thanks to your new garage storage system.

Bike Storage of Track Bikes – 2015 Pan Am Games

Velodrome Track Racing - Pan Am 2015 @ Milton's velodromeWe have  become a nation of bike riders. There has been a consistent increase in the number of cyclists in the country since the beginning of the millennium. It is not just the twenty-somethings either. People of all ages are getting out and about on their bikes. Whether for leisure, commuting, fitness or sport everyone from high school students to busy executives to retired seniors are strapping on helmets and pushing pedals.
This summer, the Pan-Am 2015 games are taking center stage and with the building of the brand new state-of-the-art Velodrome in Milton, avid cyclers are not only anticipating the thrill of watching the competition but with access to velodrome facilities people are trying their hand at track cycling.  If you have an interest, there are already lessons available for anyone curious about this sport which has now become accessible to us in the Southern Ontario area.

For those of us with a cycle enthusiast in our family, this means more sports gear and a new bicycle to consider and store as well.  Yes, the road bike purchased last year will not work for the sport of Track Cycling.

How Does Track Cycling Work

Riders will need a track bike with no brakes and fixed gear.  It is designed for racing on a track at a velodrome. The track is a banked wooden track so the bike is  lightweight, aerodynamic for racing and high gear.  These professional  riders are reaching speeds of 80km/hr while many of us are cycling at 20km/hr on the road.

Track biking is both a team and an individual sport and has its own set of unique rules and events. The following is what you can expect to see at this year’s Pan-Am games.

Sprinting Events

For the Pan-Am games there are three types of sprinting events:

  • The individual sprint where cyclists begin racing with a flying start (from a moving position rather than a stopped position), and race for 200 meters.
  • The team sprint, which is slightly different for men and women. For men, three racers sprint over three laps of the course, with each rider participating in one lap. In the women’s event, it is two racers over two laps of the course.
  • The Keirin sprint in which a motorbike is used to set the pace. The cyclists follow the pacer over a kilometer or two as it gradually increases in speed. When the pacer moves from the track, usually with about 700 meters left to go, the cyclists battle it out to the finish line.

Endurance Events

The endurance event for the Pan-Am games involves two teams racing at one time. The teams of four riders begin on opposite sides of the track and the race is completed over a distance of four kilometers. A winning team is declared when one team catches the other or whichever team finishes in the fastest time.

Combined Events

The combined cycling event for the Pan-Am games is called the Omnium (which is Latin for “belonging to all”). In this competition, cyclists compete in a series of six events over the span of two days which include:

  • Flying lap – Where cyclists complete one lap from a moving rather than a cold start.
  • Points race – Which is a mass start marathon race, 30 kilometers for men, 20 kilometers for women.
  • Elimination race – Where a rider is eliminated over a series of races.
  • Individual pursuit – Where two riders compete over four kilometers (three for women) from a stationary start position.
  • Scratch race – Which is a simple race where the riders start together and the first one over the finish line wins.
  • Kilometer time trial – Where the cyclists are timed over the length of one kilometer (500 meters for women).

If all of this makes you want to try out track cycling, there are already lessons offered at the Velodrome in Milton .  People are also thrilled at the opportunity of all-year training. With the building of this facility, Canadian cyclists no longer need to worry about the weather.

What Do I Need for Track Cycling?

You’ll need a fixed-gear track cycle and  a body hugging skin suit as well as an aerodynamic helmet all in an effort to reduce drag and get every little bit of advantage out of drafting behind team mates while on the track.

Fixed gear means there is no coasting on this bike.  The pedals are attached to the crank set so if the bike is moving so are the pedals.  If we want to travel 10km then we will be pedaling the entire 10km. Think back to riding your first tricycle around the neighbourhood and you get the idea. There has also been a rise of other fixed gear bikes as city hipsters are bringing back retro no-gear bikes and riding them as commuter bikes. Track bikes are little more complicated but the basic idea remains the same.

In addition to the lack of coasting, these bikes have no brakes, as streamline design is more important on these wooden track speedsters. Therefore, stopping is different than on a regular road bike. There are two ways to stop on a fixed gear bike.

  • The skid stop – Think back to that tricycle again; you place backward pressure on the pedals so the back wheel stops spinning and skids to a stop.  On a bicycle, you also need to remember to lean forward over your front wheel to improve the stability of your stop.
  • Have brakes installed – Many cyclists have front brakes installed for increased safety on city streets and while learning how to properly ride a fixed gear bike.

Surprisingly, with minimal  technology, the track bike raced in a velodrome is still a bit heavier than a road bike even though,  you would never see a spot to put a water bottle. In fact, water is not allowed on the wooden racing tracks.


How to Store Your New Bike

bike-racks-512w1Chances are that if you (or someone in your family) has purchased a brand new track bike, there are already a number of bikes in the garage. No doubt you have a mountain bike, a high-end road bike, a leisure bike and even a few bikes for the kids. Fortunately, there are innovative solutions to your bike storage issues that keep your wheels secure and easy to access and still leave room for the car and lawn mower.

  • Automated bike lift on a pulley – This system can store up to five bikes at a time, raises them up to the ceiling, and out of the way, yet still keeps them easy to access.
  • Ceiling mounts – If you have a tall garage, you can take advantage of the space up top and store your bikes overhead on ceiling mounts.
  • School yard-type bike rack – This is the perfect solution for the warm months when everyone is riding. Park the cars in the driveway to allow this simple solution for bike storage. Easy to store, even for the kids.

The best bet is to talk to an expert who can evaluate the space you have, the bikes you need to store and the ease of access you require. They can help you use both the vertical and horizontal space in your garage to ensure you have enough room to store the entire family’s bikes, no matter how many that may be.

It should be an exciting summer for all athletes, but especially for the cyclists. The Pan-Am games are bound to rejuvenate the sport of cycling and the Milton Velodrome just may change the way Ontarians think about biking. Just ensure that if you take up track cycling you know the rules, purchase a great bike and store it securely.

Find Space for Hard-to-Store Items

In nearly every garage there are items that pose a serious storage challenge. Winter tires, luggage carriers, leftover siding, lawn mowers, snow blowers, truck caps, motorcycles and other bulky items command a huge chunk of the already limited real estate in a garage. This makes such items particularly difficult to store.

Sports enthusiasts often have additional difficult-to-store items on hand. Paddle boards, kayaks and canoes and sports equipment carriers, like Thules, create additional storage dilemmas.

Many homeowners simply store bulky items on the garage floor perimeter. Eventually over-sized items can take over the garage, leaving one or more vehicles outside during cold, Canadian winters. However, with a bit of forethought, large, unwieldy items can be stored inside the garage while still leaving room to park vehicles.

Specialized Solutions

In response to homeowners’ desires for simple and efficient ways to organize their garages, there is a growing market of specialty items for this express purpose. Below are a few specialized storage solutions designed to store over-sized or bulky items.

Tire racks

tire storage solutions - wall-mounted tire rackSpecialized storage racks come in a variety of configurations, allowing tires to be stored vertically or horizontally, on a wall or overhead. To determine which tire rack is right for your space, first create an overall plan for your garage organization. Then choose the best space to install the tire rack. Tires should be stored horizontally, unless they are being stored in a rack that can store them vertically, while keeping them suspended to avoid flat spots.

A set of tires can easily weigh eighty to one hundred pounds. Therefore, installing the rack securely is critically important. If not properly installed, your garage walls and ceiling can sustain unsightly damage. Make sure that the rack is installed by someone who understands how to safely install a shelf capable of bearing heavy loads.

Lawn mower racks or lifts

garden long handle tools storage - ladder, lawn mower, hose, plant clipper, slatwall, lockable hooks, custom platform, basketBoth riding and push mowers take up substantial space in a garage, making it difficult to park vehicles inside. Worse, vehicles often get scratched when the door is opened, or while the lawn mower is being removed from or returned to the garage.

Specialty racks allow lawn mowers to be stored off the ground, so that additional items can be stored underneath. This type of rack works best for a push mower. Upper body strength is required, since the mower must be manually lifted onto the rack. On the other hand, a motorized lift will cost more and should be professionally installed. However, lifting and lowering the mower will be as easy as pushing a button.

Motorcycle lifts

Motorcycles can also damage vehicles if squeezed into limited garage space. During the cold winter months, a motorcycle stored inside the garage may take up space needed for the snow blower, or to park a second vehicle. A professionally-installed motorcycle lift can safely store the bike off the ground, reserving premium garage floor space.

Kayak and Paddle Board racks

overhead storage, kayak or canoe slingKayaks and paddle boards provide a fun way to spend a hot day at the beach. Finding a place to store these seasonal items in your garage can be anything but fun. Boards and kayaks propped against the wall or around the floor perimeter can easily be scratched or toppled, posing a tripping hazard. However, specialized kayak and paddle board racks provide safe, attractive storage for these items.

Kayaks can be stored in overhead or wall-mounted racks which can hold one or more units. Wall racks typically come in two styles: padded metal bars or straps which hold boards in place. Freestanding racks that hold multiple kayaks are also available.

Stand up paddle board racks also come in several styles. Wall-mounted racks are made of steel and have a heavy padding to protect boards. Depending on the size and style chosen, a metal wall-mounted rack can accommodate from one to four paddle boards. Another option is a wall-mounted rack that uses heavy straps to hold one or more paddle boards in place. Lastly, simple overhead rack systems are also available to store one or more paddle boards.

Overhead pulley systems

Canoes, truck caps and other heavy items which must be lowered onto a vehicle are good candidates for an overhead pulley system. Such a system allows users to lift and lower heavy items with minimal effort. To ensure that your system operates safely and will not damage your ceiling, have your unit professionally installed.

Customized Solutions

Despite the growing market to accommodate specialty storage, there isn’t always a ready-to-buy solution available at your local home improvement or sporting goods store. Additionally, on-the-shelf storage solutions may not be practical for the layout of your garage. In such instances, customized storage solutions are required.

1 car garage, central Toronto - attic mezzanine overhead storage for 1.5 storey garageCustom-built, overhead platforms

A custom-built overhead platform or mezzanine provides the perfect place to store items used infrequently without sacrificing floor space. Store-purchased units don’t always accommodate your unique space or fit your specific needs. However, a custom-built, overhead storage platform offers greater possibilities and more flexibility. A garage renovation specialist will work with you to create a solution that meets your exact needs.

Custom-built slings

garage-storage-solutions-overhead-thule-pulley-rackThere are a variety of pulley systems and slings on the market. Finding one that can safely accommodate your space and lifestyle can be a bit more challenging. A garage renovation expert who is experienced at building custom solutions can design a sling that meets your storage and use needs.

Foam-covered, heavy-duty chains can be used to create a simple, effective sling suitable for lifting and lowering items like canoes, sports equipment storage containers and truck caps.

Finding space in the garage for those hard-to-store items can present a challenge. Storing items around the perimeter of the garage floor eats up valuable space and makes it difficult to park vehicles inside. There are a variety of specialized and custom-built storage solutions for bulky items. Consult with a garage renovation expert to determine how to best integrate such solutions into your space.

Five Ways to Calm Garage Chaos

If your garage has become a chaotic collection of belongings, the thought of organizing your garage likely feels overwhelming.

It doesn’t have to be.

Whether you decide to take one Saturday to clean your garage as a family or prefer to organize the space a little at a time, these five steps will simplify the process and help you to achieve the results you want.

Step One: Create Specialized Zones

1.5 car garage, etobicoke - slatwall, overhead platforms, polyaspartic floor coating, shelves, bike racks - afterThe items in a typical garage can generally be classified into the following categories: household supplies, automotive supplies, gardening tools and supplies, recycling and waste disposal, tools and workbenches and sporting goods. Create dedicated zones in your garage for each of these categories. This instantly reduces the amount of time spent searching for items. Once items have been shifted to designated zones, they can be further organized.

Step Two: Utilize Vertical and Overhead Space

Floor space is at a premium in most garages. Vehicles parked inside the garage consume the majority of available floor space. What remains must be used judiciously. Therefore, one of the keys to an organized garage is to strategically employ vertical and overhead storage space.

A garage wall organization system increases garage storage space exponentially. We recommend a slatwall-based system that, when used with coordinating baskets, hooks and shelves, can accommodate a variety of storage requirements and can be easily reconfigured with each change of season.

Step Three: Make Seasonal Adjustments

When the season changes, how we use our garage storage space often does, too. Softball equipment, golf clubs and bicycles take a back seat to sleds and skis once the air turns crisp and cool. The lawn mower must make way for the snow blower.

Take a few minutes at the change of the season to reorganize your garage so that seasonal items are easily-accessible. The last thing you want to do is wake up to a snowy drive, only to realize that you must first dig out the snow blower. Also, if little ones are forced to wade through summer sporting goods to access their sleds, the garage floor will be littered with the items they had to cast aside.

Reduce the potential for clutter further by ensuring that all items can be easily located.

Step Four: Label or Clearly Display Items

back-right-1-car-central-toronto-garage-afterEver had to dig through half a dozen boxes to find an item? It’s time-consuming and frustrating. Eliminate this time suck by clearly displaying items whenever possible. This can be achieved with open shelving or clear storage boxes.

Open storage isn’t appropriate for some items. Nor do all homeowners find this storage style aesthetically-pleasing. If closed cabinets or non-transparent storage boxes are more your style, invest in a label-maker. Neatly label boxes and either the inside or outside of cabinet doors. This makes locating items a breeze.

The steps above can certainly simplify the process of organizing your garage. However, you may require a more complex or customized solution. If so, assistance is required.

Step Five: Know When to Call in the Troops

As with any other home improvement, some jobs one can handle quite easily. Others require the assistance of a skilled professional. If you’d like to maximize storage in your garage and you don’t know where to begin, or the work required is beyond your knowledge and abilities, it’s time to call in a garage renovation specialist.

A knowledgeable, experienced garage organization professional will assess your needs and create a plan which addresses them and maximizes available space. A garage renovation specialist has access to professional-grade materials, like custom cabinetry, not available to the public. He or she will be familiar with building permit requirements and can install overhead shelving capable of bearing heavier loads safely. A qualified professional will also be able to complete the work correctly and in a timely fashion.

Curious about how a garage renovation specialist can calm the chaos in your garage? Request a consultation today.

Make Clean Out Your Garage Day a Fun, Family Project

clean out your garage - family project, fun dayThe Saturday after Labour Day is Clean Out Your Garage Day, an unofficial holiday.

Granted, spending Saturday digging through the clutter in your garage probably isn’t your ideal way to spend your hard-earned time off. However, a clean, orderly garage is worth the sacrifice.

Still, when the garage has become a dumping ground for the entire family, just getting started can be the most difficult task. The responsibility of cleaning out the garage often falls to a single family member. This hardly seems fair, since several members of the family are typically responsible for the mess. With that in mind, why not make cleaning out your garage a family project?

Organizing the entire family to tackle what feels like a daunting project can be challenging. However, if the mere thought of doing so makes you break out in a cold sweat, don’t worry. Here are a few tips for making Clean Out Your Garage Day a fun, family project.

Have a Brief Family Meeting

When possible, notify all family members in advance of the plan to clean the garage. If this year’s event doesn’t allow for adequate advance notice, or plans have already been established, select a more agreeable date. Then, set realistic expectations about how long the project will take.

If you’re dreading the project, everyone in your family will, too. Talk enthusiastically about cleaning the garage. Plan a fun day your family will look forward to: play music, order pizza from their favorite pizzeria, create a fun contest, have a celebratory meal when the work is done. Discuss the benefits of cleaning the garage:

  • Adequate space to store the family’s bikes and other outdoor goods
  • Easier access to favorite items like bikes, bats and balls
  • Save time looking for items
  • Reduce the hazards of tripping over items or having things fall on someone
  • Deter pests and vermin that thrive on clutter
  • Help others through the donation of unused items
  • A space the whole family will be proud of

Once the date and time are set, and everyone is excited about the project, it’s time to create a workable plan.

Create a Plan of Attack

Imagine four of five people trying to maneuver in a small, cluttered space. If not planned well, it’s a recipe for disaster that will frustrate everyone and kill any enthusiasm there might have been for the project. To create a workable plan to organize your garage:

  1. Know your priorities. What do you need to store in your garage? Who needs access to it? Whose access should be restricted?
  2. Create zones. Now that you understand how you’ll use the garage, create areas to group similar items. Possible zones include automotive, gardening, sports equipment, tools, etc. This step is essential to creating an organized space where items can be located easily.
  3. Be prepared! A push broom, work gloves (for everyone), heavy duty garbage bags and basic tools are among the items you’ll want to have on hand. Will you be installing shelving or using plastic storage bins? Purchase needed items and have them ready. If possible, assemble shelves beforehand.
  4. Decide how each family member can be most useful. Does one person excel at a certain task, like organizing? Would certain members work better as a team?

Armed with a plan and prepared, with everything you need on hand, you’re already well on your way to a successful Clean Out Your Garage Day. Next, let’s examine a few tips for making your family’s garage cleaning day go as smoothly as possible.

Work as a Team to Avoid Chaos

To keep the project moving, without creating chaos:

o   Provide a brief overview of the day, so everyone knows what to expect.

o   Relocate everything possible from the garage to the driveway.

o   Group similar items together.

o   Discard broken items.

o   Box unused and duplicate items for donation. Avoid “just-in-case” syndrome. Be ruthless; don’t retain items that haven’t been used for a year or more.

o   Clearly define each zone in your garage.

o   Install shelving, hooks, etc. to use as much vertical or overhead space as safely possible.

o   Return each item to the garage in its newly designated space.

o   Arrange for pickup or delivery of donated goods.

o   Celebrate a job well done!

The garage is clean and tidy now, but everyone must do their part to keep it that way. Since the entire family helped clean the garage, they’ll be more invested in keeping it organized. Remind everyone how important it is to put each item back in its proper place.

Cleaning the garage isn’t most people’s idea of fun. Yet, by getting the entire family onboard, creating a workable plan and making Clean Out Your Garage Day an organized event for the entire family, it can be a family day everyone will appreciate.

Determine Your Storage Needs and Style

As homeowners, we often give little thought to garage décor. After all, outfitting a garage to store our cast offs and rarely used “stuff” isn’t nearly as exciting as picking granite countertops and hardwood floors out for the kitchen.

Still, just as we have a preferred style inside our homes, we tend to have a preferred style when it comes to the aesthetics of garage storage. To determine your storage style, let’s first consider three important questions.

How would you like to use your garage?

1 car garage parks bmw plus 7 high end bicycles, portable workshop and all toolsStart by assessing your garage in its current state. Is it neat and organized or is it a hodgepodge of items not easily found? Now consider how you would like to use your garage. Most homeowners want to achieve one of the following three goals:

  • Park the vehicles inside and still have room for storage.
  • Create a dedicated workspace for gardening or other tasks.
  • Make the garage an extension of their home.

Which goal aligns with your needs? Once you are clear on the primary ways in which you’ll use your garage, you are ready to address the next big question.

Who will use the garage?

bike storage solutions - bicycle wall rack storageAccessibility is a key consideration when it comes to garage storage. After all, it doesn’t help to have a well-organized garage if you can’t reach anything when you need it. A variety of factors should be taken into consideration when designing garage storage space. Height, age and upper body strength are a few of the factors that should be taken into consideration when determining item placement.

For instance, storing bicycles vertically is aesthetically pleasing. This storage option works well for riding enthusiasts who are in excellent physical shape and own several bikes. However, if you have small children, the upper body strength required makes it difficult, if not impossible, for them to store their own bicycles this way. Vertical bicycle storage can also be prohibitive to older riders or anyone who has limited upper body strength.

Safely storing chemicals where they cannot be easily accessed by pets or small children is another matter to consider. Households with pets or small children will want to invest in a lockable storage cabinet or store potentially dangerous household chemicals well out of reach.

Once you’ve addresses issues regarding the functionality of the space, it’s time to consider how you want the space to look.

Easily accessible or out-of-sight and out-of-mind?

sports equipment storage slatwall camlock hooks baskets mesh netting bins surf boards skateboards rollerblades helmetClose your eyes and visualize your ideal garage interior. For some, their ideal vision includes every item neatly displayed in its designated space using open shelving, hooks and baskets. Everything would be easy to find and easy to access. Others, however, prefer to see the space lined with cabinets which would house all items behind closed doors.

Which option is more appealing to you?

Likely, you have a strong inclination toward either closed or open storage. Or perhaps you’d prefer a blend of the two. For instance, you might prefer open storage for sports equipment and gardening tools while everything else is tucked away behind cabinet doors.

Now you know how you want to use your garage, who needs access to items stored there and which storing option is most appealing to you. However, there are a few other factors that could have a bearing on your final decision of whether to go with open or closed storage in your garage.

Weighing the pros and cons of open and closed storage

1_5-car-garage-etobicoke-overhead-platform-storage-garage-cabinets-slatwall-organization-system-camlock-camlok-hooks-polyaspartic-floor-cement-block-coating-afterOpen storage makes retrieving items quick and easy. Your family can see exactly what is stored there and access it. Open storage typically incorporates shelving, hooks and baskets as part of a garage wall organization system. Many homeowners like the punch of color and visual interest created by items neatly arranged in open storage. Lastly, open storage is a budget-friendly option whether you decide to hire a garage renovation specialist or try to tackle the project on your own.

Closed storage requires cabinetry. This is preferable to homeowners who don’t like seeing all of the items stored in their garage. There are a variety of cabinetry choices:

  • High-quality laminate cabinets (similar to those found in most kitchens)
  • Modular steel cabinets
  • Custom aluminum cabinets

contur-cabinets-red-doorsEach style provides homeowners with a different pricing option. Still, installing cabinets will certainly cost more than installing shelving. However, if you prefer a clean, neat, closed-door look, storage cabinets will give you the polished look you desire.

Garages come in a variety of sizes and configurations. Modular or custom cabinetry can be configured to take advantage of the storage potential in odd-sized nooks and corners. While custom cabinetry can be pricey, the results are stunning.

Understanding your unique needs and preferred storage style will help you get the most out of your garage, whether you decide to organize it yourself, or hire a garage renovation specialist to do so. Need help discovering your storage needs and style? Request your no-obligation consultation today.



Create a Gardening or Craft Station in Your Garage

During summer the typical garage is a hub of activity. In addition to being the primary storage space for most outdoor sporting equipment, your garage also houses gardening tools and supplies.

Many homeowners look forward to working in the yard. After all, gardening can be relaxing and enjoyable. However, hunting through a disorganized garage for gardening supplies is exasperating. Doing so leaves one exhausted before the real work has begun.

Has this ever happened to you?

garage cabinets - rolling workbench, chopping block workstation, slatwall wall organizers, garage windowIf so, you know how frustrating it can be. Locating essential tools and supplies is just the first step. Finding a suitable workspace is quite another. Gardening, bike repair, crafts and hobbies all require a flat work surface. Yet, few garages have dedicated workspace for gardening or other tasks.

Such tasks are handled easily and efficiently in a designated workspace. A reserved workspace also eliminates the need to attempt messy gardening jobs, like planting seeds or re-potting plants, indoors.

A dedicated workspace for gardening and other hobbies can be created in your garage, even when space is at a premium. Like landscaping, it’s a project that homeowners can tackle themselves or hire a professional to handle. A garden workspace can be achieved relatively inexpensively by re-purposing old furniture, cabinetry or reclaimed wood. However, if you require a more comprehensive solution, a garage renovation specialist can help you achieve your vision.

Planning Your Gardening Workspace

after - left corner - workbench, workstation, slatwall organizers, shelving, hooksAs with any project, it’s imperative to have a concrete plan before work begins. Start by assessing your specific needs for a gardening or craft workspace. Ask yourself:

  • What tasks will be performed in the workspace?
  • How much flat surface area is required?
  • What tools and supplies are needed? Where and how will they be stored?
  • How much wall space is necessary to house workspace and supplies?
  • Is the current garage lighting adequate? Is special task lighting required?

If this level of planning is more work than you’re willing to take on, consider hiring a professional to create the space for you. A few of the workspaces Nuvo Garage has created for our clients are pictured. However, if you’re thrilled by the idea of creating your own garage workspace, let’s look at some inexpensive options for doing just that.

Create a Gardening Center in Your Garage

Ultimate Garage Workbench - butcher block top, cabinets & drawersWith your plan in hand, you’ll have an idea of how much wall space is required to create your gardening workspace. Reclaiming this space should be part of an overall garage organization strategy which relies on zones for the storage of related items.

To create a workstation for gardening, or your hobby of choice, you’ll need a flat work surface. Here are a few options for creating one:

  • Get a no-cost work surface by reclaiming an old desk or dining room table taking up space in your attic or garage.
  • Acquire a used table or desk from a garage sale or resale shop.
  • Purchase two relatively inexpensive base cabinets (with doors or drawers for storage). Space them apart. Then lay a flat piece of wood, an old door or a purchased countertop across them to create a flat work surface.
  • Buy a modular or pre-made workbench with space for storage underneath.

Your flat work surface will be the foundation of the space. Next, consult your plan to see what additional storage is necessary.

Workbench for One Car GarageThere are a variety of creative ways to address storage needs. Shelves, baskets and hooks can hold everything from flowerpots and gloves to assorted gardening implements. When coupled with a professional garage wall organization system, shelves, baskets and hooks can be easily moved or adjusted to accommodate any season or craft.

Need to store small items that are easily misplaced? Clear plastic boxes or reclaimed jars provide storage that is easily accessible while keeping contents clean and dry.

All you need is a small space, a well-thought out plan and a few pieces of equipment and accessories to create an organized and highly-functional gardening center in your garage. Creating your own gardening workspace in your garage can be a fun, do-it-yourself weekend project. However, such a space can be part of a larger garage organization and renovation project.

Not quite sure how to make heads or tails of the collection of belongings in your garage? Contact your neighborhood garage renovation specialist for a no-cost, no-obligation estimate.

Creative Solutions to Four Unique Garage Storage Challenges

In my last post we addressed two storage challenges you might be might be facing in your garage. Storing oversized items like building materials, winter tires and canoes can be a real pain. This problem is compounded if you have lots of space that feels “unusable,” like tight, odd corners or wasted overhead space.

We discussed four ways to make use of “unusable” space in your garage: custom-built overhead platforms; custom-built or customizable cabinetry; custom-built slings; and other custom-built options. Now let’s explore how Nuvo Garage has used these creative solutions to combat storage issues.

Client Dilemma #1: Cluttered garage with wasted overhead space

retractable attic ladder garage mezzanineThe client’s garage had become a cluttered space where the family dumped anything that didn’t have a designated space or that they weren’t using. The garage had finished walls and a peaked ceiling, but not much else. The family needed room to park one car and all of their bicycles, tools and assorted sports equipment.

Garage Storage Solution: A snazzy second-floor mezzanine

To create the storage space that these clients required, we took advantage of the peaked ceiling by constructing an overhead rear wall mezzanine. We framed the mezzanine with a glass and aluminum railing for safety. A retractable ladder was installed to allow access to the mezzanine without sacrificing floor space. See the complete transformation here.

Client Dilemma #2: An outside-the-box storage solution that didn’t quite work

rear wall, overhead storage with glass safety railing 1024x768The clients had already purchased a car lift to be used as a “second story” of storage. While it did provide a bit more storage space, this option didn’t meet the clients’ needs. They needed a viable storage solution that would allow them to take advantage of the considerable ceiling height in their garage.

Garage Storage Solution: A second-story storage space accessible via car lift

We incorporated the car lift that the clients had already purchased into the design. Rather than using the car lift to store additional items, it serves as a lift to raise people and things from the ground floor to the second-story mezzanine. Two tables were built to create additional workspaces on the second-story mezzanine. The raised platform was framed with an elegant, tempered-glass railing. This was important to the clients because the raised platform can be seen through the garage door window.

Client Dilemma #3: Oversized items were taking the garage over

2 car garage oakville overhead storage platform slatwall organization system hooks camlock baskets tire storage racks afterThe clients were busy professionals with a young family and lots of oversized items to store. They required storage for two sets of winter tires, a Thule roof rack and leftover house siding in addition to the family’s bicycles and all of the other typical items one stores in a garage. The walls were bare, concrete block, so the family stored all of their items on the floor around the perimeter of the garage. This only permitted them to park one of their two vehicles inside the garage.

Garage Storage Solution: Rack ‘em up

First, we framed the concrete block walls and installed slatwall so that the family could neatly store bikes, balls, tools and more on hooks and shelves as well as wall-mounted baskets. We installed two racks on the wall, each with the capacity to hold a complete set of winter tires. A custom-built ceiling platform was installed to store the leftover siding safely overhead. Finally, a custom-built sling was created to keep the Thule roof rack stored overhead and out of the way. Yet, the sling also made lowering the rack onto the vehicle a breeze. See the full transformation here.

Client Dilemma #4: 1 Car garage needs to store 7 bikes and a BMW

after - garage wall storage - household supplies - 1 car garage - North TorontoThe client had never parked in his narrow, one-car garage. As an avid cyclist, he owned seven bicycles that had to be stored in the garage. Additionally, the family had garden tools and a variety of other items that required storage. When the client purchased a new BMW, he wanted to park it safely in the garage while also finding space for all of his other important items. The client also had a challenging item on his wish list for the garage: a workbench for bike maintenance and repair.

Garage Storage Solution: Custom shelving and a hideaway workbench

To achieve the client’s goals, we used nearly every square inch of available space in the garage. Custom shelving attached to the sidewalls creates a wealth of storage space for bike repair and gardening tools and accessories. Workbench for One Car GarageAdditional storage space for seldom-used items was created by installing custom-built overhead storage platforms. Though the garage was narrow, it was deep enough to accommodate the storage of five bikes hung vertically on the back wall and the storage of two others on a sidewall horizontally. See the remarkable transformation here.

Are oversized items or “unusable” spaces creating a storage challenge in your garage? Discover the amazing results you’ll get when we use creative solutions to transform your garage.