Get Your Car into the Garage for Winter in Three Easy Steps

nuvo car garageIf you’re like many homeowners, your garage may be more of a dumping ground for seasonal items, outdoor equipment and gardening tools and less of a haven for your vehicles. Whether you’re looking for a do-it-yourself option or a quick fix to tide you over until you can get a permanent garage organization solution, you can make space for your car this winter in three easy steps.


Step One: Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

We form an attachment to our things. Even things we haven’t used in years. This makes it difficult for us to face the ugly truth. Most overstuffed garages are harboring…junk. It’s a word we don’t like to use in reference to our own things. However, when stuff we aren’t using takes up valuable space in our garage, that’s exactly what it’s become.

Go through your garage and pull out anything you haven’t used in the past year. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I need this item?
  • What is the likelihood I’ll use it again?
  • Why am I holding onto this item?
  • Would it be of more benefit to someone else?
  • Is it broken? If so, is it worth fixing? How likely is it that I’ll fix it (or get it fixed)?
  • Does it fit my current lifestyle?
  • Is holding onto this item more important than parking my car in the garage?

If your answers reveal that the item is sucking up valuable garage space, let it go. That includes those just-in-case items like old paint. After a year in your garage, especially through the winter, the paint is no longer good. Make note of the color, then chuck the can. Be sure to properly dispose of paint and any other household chemicals.

Of course, just because you can’t use your old items, doesn’t mean someone else can’t. If you have bicycles or other sports equipment that your children have outgrown, consider donating them to a local charity. Sometimes knowing that your things will be loved and appreciated by someone else makes it easier to let go of them.

Step Two: Group Similar Items

Once you’ve eliminated any items you don’t use, it’s time to do a little organizing. Start by going through your remaining things and grouping like items. Put all of the gardening tools and equipment in one part of the garage. Carve out another section for outdoor gear like camping or skiing equipment. Put the children’s sleds and other winter toys where they can easily access them.

Grouping similar items will give you further opportunity to purge. You’ll likely discover unnecessary duplicates and outdated items. These, too, can be tossed, gifted or donated.

Step Three: Arrange Items Along Perimeter

Once you’ve eliminated anything you don’t need, it’s time to carve out enough space in the garage for your vehicle. Arrange your remaining items along the perimeter of your garage. This includes bicycles and other bulky items like your lawn mower or snow blower.

While you’re organizing items along the perimeter of your garage, consider which items you’ll need to keep accessible during the winter. Make sure you’ll be able to quickly retrieve your snow blower, shovel, salt, window washer fluid and winter sports equipment like skis, ice skates and snowboards.

Create additional space by stacking or nesting similar items along the perimeter of your garage. For instance, nesting a set of flowerpots or stacking storage crates will reduce the amount of floor space they consume. With just a few hours of work, a space for your vehicle will begin to emerge.

If the thought of spending hours cleaning your garage is unappealing, take a moment to consider what you’ll gain by parking your vehicle in the garage. You won’t have to clean a mountain of snow off your windshield before work. It won’t take as long to warm your car in the morning. By saving time each morning, you won’t be rushed during your commute, making travel safer. Not a bad trade-off for a few hours of work on a Saturday.

Taking these steps will allow you to make room in your garage for your vehicle during winter. Come spring, you may be ready for a more permanent solution for your garage organizational needs.

Baseboards in the Garage, Did You Know?

You may not have considered the baseboards inside your garage. Yet, as you will soon see, these baseboards serve very important functions as well as providing an aesthetic touch.

2 car garage, stouffville, pvc garage floor tiles, punched aluminum baseboardFirst, let’s begin with a working definition of baseboards so everyone is on the same page here.  The baseboard is, in its most general sense, the covering over the lowest part of an interior wall.  You may encounter different terms for this wall covering; everything from skirting board, floor molding, or even a mopboard.  In most cases the baseboard is constructed of wood, no matter which name is used. In your garage, you will find the baseboard (if there is one installed) at the bottom end of the walls at the floor level. Typically, the baseboard is from 4” to 6” in height.

The baseboard in your garage serves a couple of functions.  Perhaps the most important function is that of protection. If your baseboard is installed properly, it protects the interior of your garage from foreign invasion.  To understand why this is important, consider how your garage is built.  You have a vertical wall sitting on top of a concrete floor.  The joint (seam) between the wall and the floor is typically 1/16” to 1/8”. 

1 car garage, markham - hercke upper wall cabinets, punched aluminum wainscoting baseboardIf left unsealed, this joint can become a liability.  For example, no matter how small, insects will consider an unsealed floor joint to be an open invitation to come on in.  Also, depending on the exterior structure of your home, an unsealed floor joint could become a source of water getting inside (water intrusion). The answer of course is to make sure this joint is properly sealed.  During a garage flooring makeover, our professional installation team carefully applies a caulking compound to this joint before any baseboard is installed.

Another function of your garage baseboard is aesthetics.  In other words, with a garage flooring makeover, many homeowners choose to finish the floors with a baseboard trim.

Since the typical garage for a new home does not have baseboards installed, a garage renovation project is the perfect time to look at how baseboards will enhance your garage.  When considering new baseboards in your garage there are a few options you will want to keep in mind.  You will notice that your floor has a slight slope.  This slope is required by the building codes used when your home is built.  This slope angles outwards, towards the exterior of your garage for proper drainage. However, a sloping floor means we need to consider the floor slope when applying a new baseboard. 

There are a few options to think about when you plan for your new baseboard.  Not surprisingly, the first choice you have is material.  Do you want to install a wooden baseboard or are you interested in a different material?  For example, some enthusiasts will install punched aluminum (often referred to as diamond plate).  Others choose to install a wooden baseboard, but they request a specific paint color or finish. 

One option you definitely want to keep in mind is continuing the floor covering all the way up the baseboard.  The polyaspartic coating we use here at Nuvo Garage can be applied directly to your new baseboard.  With this option, you are left with a seamless finish from your garage floor all the way up to the top of the baseboard.

One more choice you have with your new baseboard is how you want the baseboard to look along the floor.  In other words, do you want the baseboard to follow the slope of the floor exactly?  Or, would you prefer it to keep it square and level so that your eye doesn’t notice the natural slope of a garage floor?  Also, as hinted at above, there is always the choice for custom baseboard heights.  Some people choose to have their baseboard extended further up the interior wall to meet the slatwall.  Or, some people choose to install punched aluminum wainscoting which reaches waist height.  The advantage of a custom height, especially with the choice of diamond plate is that your interior walls are much better protected from interior damage from errant tools or toys.  If you enjoy washing your vehicles inside the garage, a punched aluminum wainscoting will protect drywall from getting wet.

As you can see, baseboards serve very useful functions in your garage.  Accordingly, if you are looking to makeover your garage, remember to consider your baseboards.

How much is a disorganized garage really costing you?

Are you a Have or a Have Not? 

As you have probably noticed, it’s that time again.  Yes, the days are getting shorter, the kids are back in school and it’s time to set up your garage for the winter season.  In our many years of helping people organize their garages, we have identified two distinct types of homeowners in our area, the haves and the have nots.

1 car garage parks bmw plus 7 high end bicycles, portable workshop and all tools
HAVE: 1 Car Garage – parks 1 BMW, 7 high performance road bicycles, flip down workbench, all garden tools & seasonal tire storage

In this case, we are talking about homeowners who have taken steps to setup and organize their garages for easy seasonal transitions.  These homeowners greet the seasonal change with open arms.  They know that seasonal garage setup is not a chore at all, but a simple task that can be completed in a fairly short amount of time.

On the other hand, there is the other group of homeowners, those who have not organized their garages.  As you might guess, these homeowners warily glance around the inside of their garage.  They desperately try to figure out how long it will take to gather up all that clutter, move all that stuff around, store all the summer tools, toys and more away and bring out the winter gear. Sometimes, these garages are so disorganized that homeowners actually consider taking almost everything outside and then bringing the stuff back inside in the order they need.  Unfortunately, if they are honest with themselves, they know this will most likely never happen.  The end result is chaos or worse. 

Back right 1 car central toronto garage
HAVE NOT: 1 Car Garage – cluttered, no storage, unable to park family vehicle, lacks organization

Then, once the first cold snap hits for these homeowners, it’s a mad dash to move the piles from here to there and everywhere in between to make room for the car.  Oh, and should the home be equipped with a 2 car garage, too often, there is so much clutter piled up that just one car can be safely squeezed into the remaining space.

The point is simple and easy to understand: an organized garage will save a lot of headaches throughout the year, but especially so when it’s time to adjust for the season change.  Look, if you plan on just shoving your stuff into various piles around the garage that’s your choice. Yet, you might want to consider what a disorganized garage is really costing you.

Of course, it’s obvious that a disorganized garage costs you extra time throughout the year.  Do you ever find yourself hunting all over your garage for a particular garden tool?  Do you ever move stuff aside to get to more stuff behind the first pile?  Have you ever sent one of your kids out to the garage to fetch a garden tool and they can’t find it?  Then, you head into the garage and it takes you a bit of time to find it yourself.  You can see that you could end up spending a lot more time than necessary; if only your garage was better organized, you would save yourself a lot of headache.

Another way a cluttered garage is costing you comes right out of your wallet.  Our storage solution team members regularly surprise homeowners when they point out that the homeowner has two or more of the same item such as weed whackers, garden hoses or rakes, one of which was buried deep in a pile of clutter years ago.  Or, in a more painful hit to your wallet, what about the car door that bangs into a wheelbarrow or other item in the garage simply because the garage is over stuffed with clutter.  Whether a small dent or ding, the damage is unsightly and will most likely need repair.

 A third way that a cluttered garage can end up costing also concerns your vehicle.  Think of it this way.  Think about what happens if a garage is so cluttered that one or both vehicles (for a 2-car garage) can’t comfortably fit inside during the winter.  A vehicle that’s worth more than everything in the garage combined has to sit outside and endure the brutal winter; but your garden tools, the lawnmower, the bikes, etc get to rest comfortably indoors.  Of course, when you look at it that way, it’s immediately obvious there has to be a better way.

 Actually, it’s about this time of year the storage solution team here at Nuvo Garage starts to field anxious calls from worried homeowners.  Remember, your garage is not just a dumping ground for what doesn’t belong in the house.  Your garage is there for your vehicles plus your other belongings.  With the right organization system in place, your car and your bikes, sports equipment, garden tools and more can comfortably occupy the same space.

Can you and your garage pass the squeeze test?

Is your garage causing you stress?

Back right 1 car central toronto garage 190x143 before

Before left wall 1 car garage nov 2011 190w

Thomas transformation 2 car garage beaches 190x143 slatwall organizers hooks garden tools before

As the season changes, many people find themselves faced with an unappetizing item on their plate, namely the garage and what could have been.  During the warm summer months the very best of intentions were always there.  Yet, somehow the task of organizing, of making sense of all that stuff in the garage never seemed to make it to the top of the to-do list.  This chore kept getting put off to the next weekend, the next available Friday afternoon.  Finally now we find the season change is upon us, and the garage is no better than it was at the start of the season.  The summer ended so much faster than anyone planned on.  Now you may very well feel like you have a monster on your hands. 

To help you come to terms with this, your friendly team here at Nuvo Garage put together a 7 point self-evaluation garage organization quiz.  You can use this quiz to help you figure out where you are and what your best options are at this point.  Relax, no one is going to grade this quiz so this is for your eyes only.  This is just a fun way for you to find out how much you can or cannot squeeze into your garage and whether you experience what we affectionately call Seasonal Garage Anxiety Disorder.

1. Do you feel your blood pressure rising if you pause to consider your garage, the things that need to be moved in, the things that need to be moved out, the things that need to be shuffled around to prepare for the upcoming season?

2. Are you embarrassed to open up your garage door in front of your neighbors for the mess that’s readily visible to anyone that takes a peek inside?

3. If your garage door happens to be open and a friend stops by to chat, do you find yourself apologizing for the mess?

 4. Does your car fit in your garage?  Seriously, if you have a one car garage, will one car fit in there at the same time as all your stuff you have strewn about?  Or, if you have a two car garage, can you comfortably park both cars inside without moving some of your stuff to one corner or the other?  Also, whether it’s a one car or a two car garage, if the car(s) are parked in the garage, can you safely get to your car without stumbling over piles of your stuff?

 5. Do truly know where your stuff is?  If you suddenly need a pair of shears to trim the bushes out front, can you locate them without hunting all over the garage?

 6. Do you actually know how much stuff you really have?  You may be surprised to learn that during organization storage solution installations the team here at Nuvo Garage often surprises homeowners.  These homeowners are shocked and amazed to learn there are duplicate or even triplicate tools such as snow shovels, rakes and the like strewn all over the garage.

 7. How much time would you reckon you spend moving piles of stuff around to get to the tools or materials you are looking for at the moment?

 Well, there are your 7 questions.  There is no real score per se, just a self assessment to help you figure out where you are.  As you might imagine, knowing where you are is the first step to moving forward and making a better choice.  So, take a look back at your answers.  Your answers are a big clue for the next step, which as you might have already guessed is better organization. 

 Of course, you are already aware of the value of a proper storage and organization solution since you’ve made it this far and to the end of the quiz.  Now, one last thing, look back to your answers and ask yourself one final question: Is now the time to take some action and get organized?

Finishing Touches for Your Garage Project, Part 1

2 car garage willowdale showcase - 4 post hydraulic car lift, garage cabinets, polyaspartic garage flooring, overhead platform storage, tire storage, satinless steel work station, flatscreen tv fixture

Previous articles have addressed the refinishing of your garage floor.  We covered everything from the fundamental steps required for proper floor preparation to the application of your new floor covering. Next, you will want to consider what is commonly referred to as the finishing touches. In this case, finishing touches can be separated into three key areas: drywall, painting and lighting. 

Drywall is an established garage wall covering material found on both existing and newly constructed homes.  Unfortunately, in many cases the drywall installation is only about fifty percent finished.  That is, when the home builder was done with the garage, he may have left the drywall both unsanded and unpainted.  Now understand this is a common practice and totally above board.  The builder is simply following the building code and completing what he needs to do to complete the job. 

Yet unfinished drywall is not just found in newer homes.  Actually, there are quite a few existing homes out there where the garage hasn’t actually been touched since the builder left.  That’s quite common, and now that you have decided to move forward and upgrade your garage you can be sure it’s done right, the way you want. 

You see, the time you have set aside to refinish your garage floor gives you the perfect opportunity to take care of that drywall.  Here are a couple of options for you to consider.  First, imagine the scenario where the drywall is already installed and thoroughly covering your garage walls.  With this scenario, the existing drywall might only need to be sanded and painted.  Also, there may be a few areas where the existing drywall needs to be patched or repaired and then re-mudded. “Remudding” is just contractor speak for applying new joint compound to the seams between the drywall sections.  Remember, the point of the “mudding” process is to make the joints invisible so that your wall looks smooth and uniform.  Of course, at this point you will want to choose a paint color complimentary to your home exterior and garage floor covering. 

1.5 car garage, etobicoke - slatwall, overhead platforms, polyaspartic floor coating, shelves bike racks - before

Another scenario is when the drywall installation doesn’t cover as many walls as you want or is damaged in one or more areas.  When this is the situation, you can choose to install drywall over any other areas you want as well as replacing or patching any damaged drywall.  One thing to keep in mind with new drywall installation is that the building code requires newly installed drywall to be at least 5/8 inch think and fire retardant.  After the correct drywall is installed, the same “mudding” process, sanding and painting procedures needs to be completed.

Once you have addressed the drywall in your garage, now you will want to consider painting.  Of course, if your garage walls are drywall, they will have been painted as explained above.  But what about exposed concrete or exposed brick walls?  You will be pleased to learn that both of these garage wall surfaces are prime candidates for a new coat of paint.  There are combination paints that serve as both a sealant and paint. We’re experts at making your garage interior match your home’s exterior as well as garage flooring, so whether you already have garage flooring or coloured cabinets, we can recommend colours which will make your garage match the rest of your home when the door is open and being enjoyed by your entire family during the warmer months. 

T8 LED tube light

Lighting is the third area I’d like to discuss when considering finishing touches for your garage. The typical garage lighting is modest at best.  Often times, there are either one or two incandescent fixtures with a single bulb.  While that may be all right for the builder, it may not look so good once you refinish your garage. In fact, most people who choose to transform their garage use this opportunity to upgrade their garage lighting. 

There are two popular options available to you when you decide to upgrade your garage lighting. Your first option and the most popular choice is replacing the incandescent fixtures with fluorescent lighting fixtures.  One precaution to be aware of is to make sure your fixture includes T8 rated bulbs.  The ‘T8’ rating indicates those bulbs are designed to work in colder temperatures.  Fluorescent lighting is the fast and economical upgrade recommendation to your existing garage lighting.

On the other hand, the alternate lighting option is to install recessed lighting or what the home builders refer to as “pot lighting”.  Recessed lighting or pot lights need an opening or recess to accommodate the new fixtures and is most commonly found in garages with finished ceilings or often, under our custom overhead storage platforms where we again have the space to recess the pot lights and run the electrical wiring.

Next month, we’ll review additional finishing options such as baseboards, casings and doors.