Five Ways to Go Green for Earth Day and Beyond

eco-nuvo-garageWith Earth Day fast approaching, it’s the perfect time to take a look at the impact we’re having on the earth and our environment. Reducing your carbon footprint and protecting the environment might seem like overwhelming tasks to take on. However, even the smallest changes can have a huge impact when incorporated daily. When those changes are made as part of a larger, environmentally-conscious community, there is a ripple effect that can have a measurable impact on our environment.

Not sure where to begin? Well, here are five simple ways to go green, starting in your own garage.

Revisit Recycling Habits

Recycling glass, plastics, paper and other materials keeps tons of trash out of the landfill and diverts it to centers where it can be reused. The Blue Box recycling program in most communities makes recycling quick and convenient. Review the recycling guidelines for your community and recommit to recycling as much as you can. Keep the guidelines posted in an accessible area, near your recycling containers. This will make it easy for family members to consult the guidelines, whenever in doubt.

Purge and Re-purpose

Earth Day is the perfect time to reduce the items you currently own, repurpose whatever you can and recycle the rest. Attack the spaces where junk tends to accumulate: the garage, attic and basement. Eliminate items you no longer need. Re-purpose items, like an old dining room table, that might serve another purpose, like a craft space in the basement or garage. Sell or donate items that are in good shape, but you no longer need or want. Properly dispose on damaged, out-of-date or otherwise unusable items.

Park the Car and Use Pedal Power

Even in communities where everything is conveniently located, we often hop into the car whenever we need to zip to the convenience store. However, walkable communities were created to help reduce the carbon footprint of each resident and the overall community. Ride your bicycle or walk to neighborhood stores and restaurants, whenever possible. You’ll reduce your gasoline usage and improve the environment. The additional exercise will also help boost your health.

Increase the Fuel Efficiency of Your Vehicle

Keep your car in tiptop shape, and you’ll increase the efficiency with which it uses fossil fuels. Even something as seemingly inconsequential as properly inflating your tires can increase your mileage. Get regular tune ups and change the oil at the manufacturer-recommended intervals. If you change your own oil, be sure to use the type of oil recommended for your vehicle to get the best results.

Properly Dispose of Household Hazardous Waste

The garage often becomes a collection reservoir for a wide range of household hazardous waste, including automotive waste, pesticides, solvents, household cleaners and unwanted electronics. These items don’t belong in landfills. They should be disposed of properly.

For instance, used engine oil should never be poured oil down the drain or in your lawn. According to Environment Canada, if a single litre of oil leaches into our waterways, it can contaminate up to two million litres of water. Protect soil and waterways by properly disposing of engine oil drained from your vehicle, oil containers and used filters. Visit your city’s website to find out how to dispose of the household hazardous waste (HHW) lurking in your home and garage. (See Toronto’s HHW guide here.)

There are countless ways, big and small, to be more environmentally-conscious every single day. Check out some of our past recommendations for living greener on Earth Day and beyond. Visit to learn about local events and initiatives designed to help improve our environment.

Prevent Ice on Sidewalks, Driveways and Around Your Garage Door

Last time we talked about ice dams and how to prevent them. But your roof isn’t the only place snow and ice can wreak havoc. These elements can also pose a hazard on sidewalks, driveways and around your garage door.

Remove Snow and Ice from Sidewalks and Driveways

a-snowy-winter-scene-of-a-man-shoveling-snow-during-snowfallAccording to Toronto Municipal Code 719-2, property owners have twelve hours after the fall of snow, rain or hail to “clear away and completely remove snow and ice from any sidewalk on a highway in front of, alongside or at the rear of the building.” If removing the snow and ice leaves the sidewalk slippery, the owner or occupant is charged with applying ashes, sand, salt or another appropriate material to the surface to “completely cover the slippery surface.” Property owners who fail to comply with this edict are subject to fines and open to slip-and-fall lawsuits. So how can you protect yourself and others?

The best way to prevent snow and ice buildup is to shovel during the snowfall, whenever possible. While it’s true this may require shoveling a second time, your arms and back will thank you for the lighter load. A push broom can be used to remove light dustings of snow. If ice has already formed on the sidewalk, use a garden edger or metal pick to break through ice. Clear the snow down to the pavement. Then apply your ice-melt product of choice to provide traction.

Rock salt, though cost-effective, corrodes automobiles, damages concrete, contaminates waterways and is harmful to trees and plants. Ammonium nitrate and ammonium sulfate break down masonry materials.Ice melt products, like those containing calcium chloride require less product to get the job done. However, these products eventually make their way to waterways.

Sand is inexpensive and easily accessible. Brick sand, which is coarser, is the best option. However, it can easily be tracked into the house. Provide an area for boot and shoe removal just before or after the entryway to your home to avoid this. Ashes from a wood burning fireplace are another convenient option. Do not use ashes near gardens, as heavy metals may be present. Kitty litter, while more expensive, is an option which provides excellent traction.

Looking for the best environmental choice? EcoTraction, a green-colored, all-natural volcanic mineral that doesn’t contain salt, chlorides, chemicals or dyes, is an environmentally-friendly choice. The product is touted as completely safe for use around children, pets, plants and wildlife.

If you’re building a new home or replacing your driveway, in-ground heat mats prevent snow and ice from building on the driveway without shoveling, snow blowing, scraping or the use of ice-melting chemicals.

Prevent Ice and Snow Build Up Around Your Garage Door

The last thing you want to discover on your way out to work, or after a long day at the office, is a garage door that’s frozen shut. However, if water gets underneath the garage door seal and then freezes, this is quite likely to occur. To minimize the chances of your garage door freezing shut:

  • Keep the area around your garage door free from ice and snow to prevent the bottom seal from sticking to the ground.
  • Apply silicone spray to the rubber seal to prevent it from sticking. Cooking spray and vegetable oil will also work.
  • Open the garage door periodically during bad weather, to keep it from sticking.

What if your garage door is already frozen shut?

  • Don’t keep trying to lift the garage door with the automatic opener, as this could burn the motor out or strip the gears.
  • Pull the release cord, which allows you to manually open the garage door.
  • Don’t try to force the door open, as this could rip the bottom seal from the door.
  • From outside the garage, try breaking up the ice by using an ice scraper between the bottom of the door and the concrete.
  • Use a hair dryer or heat gun set on low to melt ice. Don’t concentrate on one spot for too long.

Managing snow and ice during winter weather can be tedious, hard work. However, the cost—in possible fines, injuries and property damage—make preventing the buildup of snow and ice on sidewalks, driveways and around your garage door worthwhile.



Prevent Ice Dams from Damaging Your Home and Roof

Snow and ice often make driving treacherous in winter. However, the danger these elements pose doesn’t end there. Snow and ice can also cause expensive damage to your home and roof. Let’s examine how ice dams form, how you can prevent them and what to do get rid of one before it causes serious damage.

The Formation of Ice Dams

During the winter, ice and snow build on the roof of your home and garage. When the layer of snow on the roof melts due to the heat rising in the attic of your home, water pools along the edge of the roof, where the temperature is much cooler. There, it refreezes, causing ice dams—a mound of ice that starts along the eaves of the roof and spreads upward.

snow-covered-roof-with-big-icicles-in-winter-day-ice-dammingThis formation of ice, which often traps pools of water underneath it, can cause substantial damage to the exterior and interior of your home. Gutters and downspouts blocked by ice prevent water from draining properly, causing icicles to form overhead, which pose a danger to people and property. The weight and expansion of the ice in gutters and downspouts can damage or dislodge them from the house. If the ice dam breaks free, shingles may be ripped off, along with the ice. Anyone or anything in its path below,including people, pets, shrubbery or fencing, may be harmed.

Meltwater trapped underneath the ice dam seeps underneath shingles, loosening them. Pooled water can penetrate the interior walls and ceilingsof your home or garage.Invading meltwater compromises insulation, stains and deteriorates drywall and causes paint to bubble and peel. If the leak is persistent, it can damage flooring, furniture and other items. Mold and mildew will form on drywall and insulation that stays damp for long periods of time. Affected wood may begin to rot, compromising the integrity of your roof.

How to Prevent Ice Dams

For a permanent solution to hazardous ice dams, address the primary cause—poorly insulated attic space. Install a ridge vent and soffit vents to circulate cold air beneath the roof.Cap the attic hatch and sealaround chimneys, exhaust fans, ducts and other spaces from which heat might leak.Insulate ducts, and use a fire-barrier sealant to caulk around vent pipes and electrical cords. In addition to preventing ice dams, proper insulation and ventilation will keep your attic warmer in winter and cooler in summer, reducing heating and cooling costs.

If your furnace is located in the attic, it may not be possible to permanently prevent ice dams. (See short-term solutions below.) Still, proper ventilation and insulation of the attic will reduce the likelihood of ice dam formation. Consult a contractor to insulate and ventilate your attic safely and according to code.

Short-term ice dam prevention begins before the first snowfall. Provide a clear pathway for melting ice in winter by clearing leaves from gutters and downspouts during autumn. After a big snowfall, use a snow removal tool with a long handle to remove snow from the safety of the ground. Removing snow from the roof will also help prevent roof collapses caused by heavy, wet snow.

Alternately, heat cables can be installed along the edge of the roof in a zigzag pattern and down the nearest downspout. From there, the heat cable must be plugged into a GFCI outlet.The heated cables melt snow and prevent ice dams. However, when snowfall is particularly heavy, heat cables can cause meltwater to pool, causing leaks. Be sure to install and operate heat cables according to manufacturer’s instructions and monitor their use carefully.

Eliminating an Ice Dam

What, though, if an ice dam has already formed on your roof?

  • Try aiming a box fan at the spot of the interior leak. This should lower the temperature of the roof and stop the leak.
  • If working from the inside doesn’t help, consider hiring an experienced contractor to remove the ice dam safely.
  • If hiring a contractor isn’t an option, be mindful that working on a ladder in icy conditions can be extremely dangerous. Wear shoes with rubber soles and proceed carefully. Make sure that people or pets are not underneath the ice dam while you’re working.
  • Melt the ice by filling the leg of an old pair of nylons with calcium chloride ice melter. (Do not use rock salt, as it will damage the metal, paint and shrubbery beneath.) Lay the nylon leg, filled with an ice-melt mixture and tied off at both ends, vertically across the dam. The snow and ice will melt, creating a channel for the water underneath.
  • Don’t use sharp tools like a pick or hatchet to chip away at the ice dam. There’s a good chance you’ll damage the shingles.

Ice dams cause millions of dollars in damages each year. Insurance can recoup some of the costs. However, prevention is the key. Insulate, seal and ventilate your attic. During fall, remove leaves from gutters and downspouts to give meltwater a clear path. Remove heavy snowfall from your roof to help prevent both ice dams and roof collapse.

Next time we’ll talk about how to prevent ice on walkways, driveways and around the door of your garage.

Seven Ways to Make Your Garage More Green

Today, the world is celebrating Earth Day, a day for renewed appreciation of the earth and the environment. It’s also an excellent time to examine ways that we can live a more earth-friendly lifestyle. We often consider how to make our homes greener. Yet, an important part of our homes is often overlooked: the garage. However, there are several ways, big and small, that we can incorporate our garages in the plan to make our homes more eco-friendly.

Get Green Garage Doors

If you have an attached garage, a significant amount of heating and cooling energy escapes your home through the garage. A lack of insulation in the garage door, coupled with its frequent opening and closing, can make your garage extremely cold in the winter and uncomfortably warm in the summer. Any room sharing a wall with your garage will experience energy loss. However, an insulated, energy-efficient garage door can mitigate the temperature difference, reducing energy loss by more than seventy percent. This results in considerable savings on your energy bill.

home electric car charging station garageEnergy-efficient garage doors are more expensive. So do your research and check the R-value of any door you’re considering. This number represents the door’s ability to resist heat flow (in or out). The higher the R-value is, the stronger the door’s insulation properties. In addition to being energy-efficient, many green garage doors are made of recycled material.

Use Solar Power to Light Your Garage

Looking for a way to reduce your energy bill while also keeping your home safe? Install solar-powered floodlights and/or lanterns on the garage exterior. Install solar-powered spotlights along your driveway. These energy-saving lights are reasonably-priced at a local big box store and can be installed fairly easily. Solar-powered lights will make your home safer and more beautiful. The energy savings you’ll enjoy can quickly recoup the cost of the lighting.

Make the Switch from Incandescent Bulbs

You might not be prepared to invest in solar-powered indoor lighting. Yet, there’s another way to go green with your indoor lighting. Make the switch from incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescent (CFL) or LED bulbs. CFL or LED bulbs will cost a bit more than incandescent light bulbs. However, an incandescent bulb lasts for about a year while a CFL bulb can last up to ten years and an LED bulb can last up to twenty-five years. CFL and LED lights are also more efficient in their energy use, unlike incandescent bulbs which waste up to 90% of their energy consumption on heat, rather than light.   

Use Lighting with Motion Detectors

Take the energy-efficiency of your outdoor and indoor lighting one step further by incorporating motion detectors. Exterior lighting with motion sensors provides an additional layer of security to your home. Inside the garage, lights with motion sensors will automatically shut off when there is no movement in the garage. This eliminates the energy waste experienced when someone inadvertently leaves the lights on inside the garage.

Mind the Gaps

Another place where energy is lost in your home is through the gaps between the walls and floor of your garage. Over time the garage settles and the spaces between the floor and the walls widen. Heating and cooling is lost through these gaps as air escapes into the garage. This can be resolved with a relatively simple and inexpensive fix. Get some caulk and a caulk gun and fill in the spaces. Talk to the clerk at your local hardware store to ensure that you purchase the appropriate caulk for the job.

Put your hand near the perimeter of the door between the house and the garage. Do you feel a draft? If so, cold air is seeping into the house through the gap around your door. Close this conduit for drafty air with inexpensive weather stripping. It’s an incredibly simple job that you can do in less than an hour with a few simple tools. Weather stripping will make your home warmer and more comfortable, plus you’ll see a reduction in your energy bills.

There’s one more gap that needs minding. Since there isn’t a visible gap around your electrical outlets and lighting fixtures, you might not realize that air can also seep through the spaces around them. Additionally, carbon monoxide fumes can escape from your garage into your home through those fixtures. To remedy the situation, simply buy an inexpensive package of fire-resistant foam seals made for this purpose. Remove the faceplate. Place the seal. Replace the faceplate. Voila! You’re done. After you’ve sealed all of the faceplates between the house and garage, put seals on all outlets and light switches on exterior walls inside your home for maximum benefit.

Capture and Reuse Rainwater

Take your commitment to going green up a notch by capturing and reusing rain water for jobs that don’t require potable water. For instance, recycled rainwater can be used to water the lawn, wash the car or bathe the dog. Purchase a rain barrel and then install it in three easy steps. Measure the height of the barrel. Cut the downspout. Then install the elbow that will divert rainwater into your barrel. The next time it rains you’ll be collecting fresh water. The best part? You’ll be rewarded for your efforts with a reduced water bill.

Install a Car Charging Station in Your Garage

What better way is there to make your garage greener than to switch to an eco-friendly vehicle, like a hybrid or all-electric car? If you’re considering making the switch, there’s one more eco-friendly element you’ll need to add to your garage. You’ll need to install Electric Vehicle Service Equipment (EVSE), or what is often called a car “charging” station. This allows for convenient, overnight charging of your vehicle.

Doing our part to help the environment may feel overwhelming, at times. However, a greener lifestyle doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposal. Every little bit helps. Start by incorporating one or two green initiatives into your daily lifestyle. Do the options discussed here seem like more than you’re ready to take on alone? If you want to make your garage greener, but you aren’t sure how request a garage renovation consultation. Alternately, you can start smaller. Check our most recent post for seven easy ways to go green this spring.

Five Ways to Go Green This Spring

Spring has finally arrived ushering in warmer weather and a desire for fresh new beginnings. You’ve probably already begun spring cleaning in your home, but what can you do to give your garage a fresh, new feel, too? Let’s look at five simple ways you can be more mindful of the environment as you prepare for spring.

Increase the Fuel Efficiency of Your Vehicle

Just like your home, your car needs a little attention after a long, hard winter. Keep your car tuned up and use the grade of oil recommended by the manufacturer to improve gas mileage. Another, simple way to increase gas mileage is by keeping tires inflated to the optimal pressure. Check the inside of your driver’s side door jamb to see the tire pressure recommended by the manufacturer.

Create a Recycling Station

Recycling prevents reusable resources from ending up in overflowing landfills. It also saves energy and reduces the consumption of raw materials in manufacturing. The convenient Blue Box recycling program in most communities makes it easy for everyone to contribute to cleaning up the environment. Make recycling even easier by creating a recycling station in your home or garage. Ensure that everyone in your home understands the importance of recycling, what items should be placed in the Blue Box and how to prep items before discarding them.

Repurpose Items or Donate Items

As you go through your home and garage during spring cleaning, you’ll probably discover items that you no longer use. Some of those items can be repurposed. For instance, an old, unused kitchen table might make a good craft or workshop table. Old muffin tins in the kitchen could make a great place to store nuts and bolts in the garage.

Other items have lost their usefulness in your home, but would be welcomed in someone else’s. Consider donating items that are in good condition, but just don’t fit your family’s needs anymore.

Reduce Water Usage

Conservation is critical to the environment. One of our most important assets is potable water. Review your family’s water usage and look for ways to cut back. For instance, can you reduce the frequency with which you wash the car? If you wash the car at home, don’t use the hose while washing your car. Instead, use a bucket of soapy water. This switch alone can save hundreds of litres of water each wash.

Water your lawn early or late in the day, rather than when the sun is highest, to avoid water waste through evaporation. Also avoid watering the lawn on a windy day. Deep water your lawn. This helps to establish a deeper root system and will allow moisture to reach the roots, where it’s most needed. Water your lawn only when it is needed. Skip watering on weeks when there is a good, hard rain. Another option is to install a rain barrel and reuse rainwater to water your lawn and wash your car.

rechargeable battery powered lawnmowerEco-friendly Lawn Care

A discussion about environmentally-conscious lawn care wouldn’t be complete without examining your lawn mower. Gas and electric lawn mowers require energy consumption. Your lawn, and the environment, can benefit from less frequent mowing. So only mow the grass when necessary.  When you do cut your lawn, don’t cut it too low. A height of six to eight centimeters will help retain water and establish a deeper root system.

If you’re in the market for a new lawn mower, electric lawn mowers are more environmentally-friendly than their gas-powered counterparts. Electric lawn mowers are cleaner and quieter. They are less polluting to the environment and don’t reek of gasoline. Neither do they require the maintenance necessary with a gas-powered mower. If the thought of navigating with an unwieldy cord in tow makes you hesitant to switch to an electric mower, opt for a battery-powered electric mower instead.

Properly Store & Dispose of Chemicals

In a recent post, we discussed how to properly store chemicals in your garage. Keep chemicals out of the reach of children and small animals. Store them in their proper containers. Make sure all chemicals are properly labeled. When disposing of chemicals, check the label first. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the proper way to dispose of the chemical. Pouring toxic chemicals down the drain is harmful to the environment and can be corrosive to plumbing. Instead, make use of household hazardous waste drop-off depots in your area.

Use No or Low-VOC Products

Whenever possible, choose no or low-VOC (volatile organic compound) products to get household jobs done. Many manufacturers offer lines of zero and low-VOC interior and exterior paints, primers, stains, coatings and sealants. These products are often low or non-toxic, making them safer for the environment and for your family.

Being mindful of the environment as you prepare for spring and summer is a great start to living greener. However, with Earth Day coming on April 22nd, we wanted to examine ways to make your garage greener, too. Check back later this month for seven ways to make your garage greener.

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?

Green your Garage Transformation

insulated garageWhen you’re transforming your garage into the space you’ve always wanted it to be, there can be more to think about than shelving, cabinets and flooring.  Think energy efficiency when thinking about ways to make your garage green.

Many houses have rooms directly above the garage, and if the garage ceiling is not properly insulated,  the room and the room floor can be cold.

There are other ways you can make your garage more environmentally friendly:

Energy efficient lighting

Often a garage was built with just a single bulb.  If you’re planning on doing anything in your garage other than parking your vehicle, this isn’t enough.  As part of a Nuvo Garage transformation, we install fluorescent lighting as an energy efficient solution which also makes your garage a comfortable place to work and maintain.


Use BEHR paint with less than fifty VOC (Volatile organic compounds) which also have freeze and thaw capability.  And, while an insulated garage is ideal for lower overall home utility costs and more comfortable connecting rooms, if your garage isn’t insulated, this particular paint won’t crack with the weather extremes.          


The flooring we use are also green, using low VOC while being mold resistant, easy to clean with a long lasting finish.

Garage doors

Many garage doors and windows let the heat out.  By instalingl energy efficient doors and windows, your heating costs go down and your garage is a more comfortable room to work in.  I refer people to Aurora Overhead Doors, a company that does a great job.

In with the old

If a customer has things that are re-useable, I’ll use them.  One customer had a Rubbermaid cabinet he was happy with, so rather than sell him a new one, we incorporated it into his storage plan.

Insulated light switches and outlets:

Use switches with foam gaskets that insulate and help secure the connection between the house and the garage.

Finishing details

Caulk between the walls and the floor.  Over time and seasons, the connection can expand and contract, leaving gaps where heat can escape.  Caulking improves the insulation factor while providing a pleasant finish to the garage space.



Keep your garage smelling clean

garage smell clean air freshDoes your garage smell like a garage?  Summertime is the ideal opportunity to clear the air and start fresh.

As I’ve mentioned before, if you have a slatwall system and polyaspartic flooring, cleaning the garage is a breeze. But regardless of what kinds of walls or flooring you have, there are a few things you need to do to minimize dirt and odours:

Keep rodents away:

  • Seal up any spaces where animals can enter.  Have a good look at the walls and the ceiling.  Mice can get in through the tiniest holes.
  • If you must keep garbage in your garage, make sure the bins are well sealed and you wash the containers regularly to get rid of any “come to dinner” smells.

Eliminate mould:

  • Look for white spots on the walls, which indicate dampness. Mildew and mould can form and cause odours and health problems.
  • Check the roof on a garage that is separate from the house. Mould can also form from water coming in through the shingles

Prevent chemicals odours

  • Sort through any hazardous products in the garage and dispose of anything you don’t need.
  • Make sure lids are secure on gas containers or smelly solvents.  It’s best to keep this sort of thing behind doors in a cabinet.

Another important thing to note is if you have a room above your garage, make sure your garage is properly drywalled and sealed.  Dangerous (and odourless) carbon monoxide gas can escape into your room.

Need help?  Give us a call.



Green de-icing tips from your garage storage expert


Salt tends to be the go-to solution when it comes to de-icing sidewalks, but you may be protecting your hips at the cost of the environment. As a de-icer, salt isn’t very eco-friendly. Want to go green?

    1. Remove snow from your sidewalk as soon after a snowfall as possible, preferably using a shovel. The sooner you remove it, the less de-icing you’ll have to do. While a snow blower may handle the removal job more efficiently than a shovel, keep in mind that using one completely defeats your environmental intentions!


    1. For traction, sprinkle some birdseed on your freshly cleared sidewalk. As this is a rather costly approach, limit it to small paths only – and don’t sprinkle seeds on the road as this will put hungry little birds in danger.


    1. Looking for a cost-effective solution that allows you to de-ice the parking pad outside your garage, as well as other large areas? Visit your grocery store or local hardware store and ask about non-toxic alternatives that don’t have the same harmful side effects as rock salt.

While we’re on the subject of ice, if you missed last month’s post on how to prevent your garage door from freezing, check it out here.

Clear your garage of old batteries, pesticides and other hazardous items

Since our last post, in which we pointed you to Rona as a great drop-off point for old paint, we came across a fantastic site that will help you clear your garage of everything hazardous – from aerosol containers, oil filters and antifreeze to gas canisters, batteries, pesticides and more.


Orange Drop is a Stewardship Ontario initiative that helps Ontarians recycle way beyond the Blue and Green Bin, and their site is really user-friendly.

Here’s what we suggest. Head out to your garage now with pen and paper in hand. Write a list of any hazardous items you’ve been meaning to dispose of. Then go directly to


Once you’re there:

  • Click on the button that reads “Where do I go to make the drop?”
  • Enter your postal code in the space provided.
  • Use the drop-down menu to select the waste category of the first item on your list.
  • Browse the results page and choose the most convenient location for drop-off.

It’s that simple, so no more excuses. Clear out your garage day. Your car will thank you!