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.