Six Steps to Organizing Your Garage with Plastic Bins

strong-racks-automated-ceiling-overhead-storagePlastic storage bins can be the perfect solution for a cluttered garage overflowing with toys, sporting goods, gardening supplies, automotive supplies and seasonal decorations. Relatively inexpensive, plastic bins can be purchased in a variety of sizes and colours. They hide clutter and allow it to be grouped in a manner that makes items easier to find.

Maybe you’ve been dreaming of corralling all of the clutter in your garage, but you aren’t sure where to begin. Follow these simple steps and the organized space you’ve envisioned is within reach.

Step #1: Install overhead shelving for maximum storage space

Most garages consist of three blank walls, limiting storage space to the floor around the perimeter of the garage. When that space is taken, items stored in the garage begin to commandeer one or more of the parking bays.

Use the height of the garage to maximize storage space. This can be achieved by storing items in stackable bins. However, if bins are stored along the entire garage perimeter, little space is left for bicycles, the lawn mower and other equipment which requires floor space.

Professionally-installed overhead storage racks create secure, accessible platforms where plastic bins can be stored and stacked, saving valuable floor space for items that need it. High-quality steel storage racks, available in a range of pre-determined depths and sizes, can be configured to your space. Alternately, made-to-measure wooden platforms can be constructed to accommodate your unique space.Overhead racks should be installed by a professional who understands their weight-bearing nature. Always observe weight limits determined by manufacturer.

Step #2: Buy the best quality bins your budget can accommodate

There are a variety of plastic storage bins on the market, from easily-recognizable brand names to less expensive store brands. Paying more doesn’t always ensure quality. Examine bins carefully to see if they meet your needs.

Does the plastic feel sturdy? Does the bin have handles to facilitate lifting? Will the bin hold up during years of use? Consider these questions when examining plastic storage bins. Whenever possible, check product reviews to see how past users rated the bins. Then purchase the best quality bins your budget can accommodate. Well-constructed, highly-rated plastic storage bins will provide years of use.

Step #3: Save time by using clear plastic bins

If you’ve ever opened half a dozen cardboard boxes in search of a single item, you know how frustrating it is not knowing what’s stored in each box. So if you’ll be storing a wide variety of items, consider using transparent bins. Clear plastic bins enable you to see what is stored inside each box without taking heavy bins down from overhead shelves or digging them out of a stack.

Step #4: Group similar items

Grouping similar items in the same bin also simplifies storage and retrieval. If items are large or include a broad category, group all bins in that category in the same section of the garage. For instance, seasonal items, like holiday decorations, might require several plastic bins. One for each holiday, perhaps.

This category of items—holiday decorations—should then be stored in a single section. Since these items tend to be light in weight and infrequently used, an overhead storage rack is an ideal place to store them. Do the same with other similar items, like off-season sports equipment or garden supplies.

To keep items inside the bin organized and minimize breakage, store them in smaller plastic boxes inside the bin. For instance, holiday ornaments or shin guards can be stored in this manner.

Step #5: Clearly label bins

Not everyone wants clear bins, which put items inside on display. For many homeowners, the appeal of plastic bins is keeping everything stored inside out of sight and out of mind. Labels make it easy to determine what’s inside each box without dragging it out and opening it, even when using clear bins.

Step #6: Arrange items according type and frequency of use

Above we used the example of storing lightweight, infrequently-used holiday decorations on an overhead rack. Approach each category of items in the same manner. Items retrieved frequently should be stored where they are easily accessible. For instance, a bin filled with summer toys should be stored where children can easily access it.

To achieve this, rotation may be required. Make gardening equipment accessible during the growing season. Hockey equipment should be within reach during winter, but softball gear takes center stage during softball season.

Plastic storage bins can transform a cluttered garage. Get sturdy, overhead storage racks professionally installed. Purchase the highest quality bins your budget will permit. Use clear bins to make contents visible. Group similar items. Label all bins and arrange them according to timing and frequency of use. Follow these steps and the organized garage you envisioned is at your fingertips.


Five Tips for Applying Feng Shui in Your Garage

yin-yang-feng-shui-garage-interior-design-organization-storage-solutions-nuvo-garageWith the Chinese New Year approaching, many feng shui practitioners are busy cleaning and preparing their homes to get rid of bad chi (energy) and usher in good luck before the New Year arrives.

Feng shui is an ancient Chinese art and science that recognizes the impact our environment, and the objects in it, can have upon us. Often regarded the art of placement, feng shui is literally translated “wind and water.”  Feng shui strives to balance the five elements—wood, water, fire, earth and metal–and the energy (chi) that flows from all things—living and inanimate.

The goal of feng shui is to create harmonious environments that reflect one’s internal environment by improving the flow of chi throughout the space. Optimizing the flow of chi in one’s home or office can enhance happiness and one’s financial and romantic life. This is accomplished through the use of colour and the mindful placement of objects in one’s living and work spaces.

While you may be incorporating feng shui into your home, have you ever considered incorporating the principles of feng shui into your garage? This ancient art of placement can be used to create a garage that welcomes positive energy into your home, rather than blocking it. Below are five tips for using feng shui to enhance the flow of chi in your garage.

Eliminate clutter.

Have you ever tried to work in a cluttered space and found it difficult to function or think clearly? That’s because clutter represents stagnant energy, which can zap your personal energy. This is true of clutter whether it be in an office, bedroom or your garage. Eliminate energy-draining garage clutter by ridding the space of items that no longer serve a purpose.

Objects that are outdated, non-functional, redundant or rarely used harbour stalled energy and have a negative impact on your energy. Toss, repurpose or donate such items stored in your garage. It can be difficult to let go of items to which we have an emotional attachment. Knowing that donated items will benefit those less fortunate can be a powerful motivator to finally release unneeded items.

Every item must have a purpose and a designated place.

Order is an essential component of feng shui. However, it’s difficult to create order in your garage without a system for organizing your space. A garage renovation specialist can work with you to develop a garage design suited to the needs of your family. Wall organization systems that use corresponding shelves, hooks and baskets create a designated space for everything in your garage from bicycles and sporting equipment to gardening tools. Lockable storage cabinets provide a safe, concealed space to store tools, household chemicals and other items.

Park your car inside the garage—its designated space.

People often treat their garages as a sort of “junk space.” In reality, the garage is the designated space for storing your car. Keep this in mind as you clean and de-clutter your garage and then assign each remaining item a designated space. If carving out space in the garage to park your car(s) feels impossible, consult with a garage renovation specialist who will design a plan for you.

Finish the walls and/or floor with an energy-enhancing colour.

Garages tend to be a dark, uninviting spaces, but they don’t have to be. The walls are often unfinished, and the floor of an older garage may be stained, cracked or otherwise compromised. Give your garage a cheerful facelift by incorporating colour. Feng shui recognizes the strong impact colour can have on mood and physical and emotional well-being. Incorporate relevant colours connected with the five elements of the natural world, listed earlier.

Colour can be incorporated into the space through wall paint, fabric—like a colourful kite or flag—or by finishing the floor with an epoxy or polyaspartic floor coating, designed for garage and basement floors. Modular interlocking floor tiles offer a less permanent way to introduce colour into the garage floor. All three products come in a range of attractive colours. The floor coatings can be customised to achieve your desired colour.

Make your garage an uplifting and inspiring space.

If you park in the garage, it is the last thing you see when departing home and the first thing you see upon your return. It’s important to make it a space that uplifts and inspires. Post a picture or painting that stirs the soul, a motivating personal affirmation or a moving quote on the garage wall, so you’ll see it when you enter or exit the garage

Make sure to tackle all of your home and garage cleaning projects prior to New Year’s Day, as it’s considered bad luck to clean during the first few days of the New Year. Once that period has passed, you can attack any areas you weren’t able to finish prior to the start of the year.

Are you ready to incorporate the elements of feng shui into your garage? Complete the garage survey form to tell us a little about your garage and schedule a no-cost, in-home consultation to discuss your specific garage needs.


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.

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.

What to Look for in a Professional Garage Designer

You’ve decided that you’re finally ready to renovate your garage and you don’t want to do it yourself. How do you know which professional garage designer is right for you? Of course, you want to know that the person’s business is licensed and insured. However, there are several other factors that will help you decide whether a garage design professional will meet your needs. Here are a few to consider.


One of the advantages of hiring a professional garage designer, rather than trying to tackle the project yourself, is the knowledge, wisdom and experience that he or she will bring to the project. Every project is different. However, the more renovation projects the person has under his belt, the more scenarios he has encountered. This adds to the person’s overall knowledgebase, which is invaluable on a design project. Ask your potential designer how many projects he has designed. If he has a strong body of work, he should have a substantial portfolio that he is willing to share. Otherwise, your project could end up being where the designer cuts his teeth. Good for him; potentially disastrous for you.

what to look for in a professional garage designer

Testimonials and References

If the designer has a large body of work, then he should also have several happy customers who have given him glowing testimonials. Look for testimonials on the designer’s website. If there are several, that’s a good start. However, how do you know that all of that glowing praise is from legitimate customers? Ask the design pro for references from past clients who are willing to spend a few minutes talking to you. A good designer with a solid body of work, and lots of happy clients, will likely have several.

Work Style and Reliability

When talking to references, don’t just ask about the design itself. Find out what it was like to work with this designer.

  • Was he prompt?
  • Did he deliver on his promises?
  • Was the owner/manager on site?
  • Was the project on time? On budget?
  • Did he clearly communicate about any problems or issues that arose?
  • Was he respectful of their property and that of their neighbors?
  • Did he follow-up promptly with any requests?
  • Have there been any issues since the completion of the project?
  • Would they hire the designer again in the future?

Detailed Proposal

Within a few days of meeting with you and seeing your space, your potential garage design professional should come up with a proposal. If you’ve wanted to renovate your garage for a long time, the moment you get that proposal can be truly exciting. You begin envisioning your new space. Take a hard look, though, at the proposal itself. Is it a simple sketch with few details? Did the person jot down a few ideas on the back of a napkin? A competent garage design professional will provide you with a detailed proposal that clearly defines the scope, timeline and estimated cost of the project.

Customized Solutions

Look closer at the proposal. Does it reflect that the designer took the time to get to understand your lifestyle and what’s most important to you in your garage renovation? Does the proposal make the most of your unique space? Is the designer simply planning to install “out-of-the-box” cabinets and shelves, or are you getting a space designed to fit your specific needs? An experienced design professional will maximize your space by building custom storage solutions that take advantage of overhead space and other areas of the space you probably hadn’t considered. A good design pro will ensure that the renovated space fits your lifestyle and specialized storage needs. For instance, if your family is active and has bicycles, kayaks and other sporting goods, the space will be specifically designed to house those goods.

Service Follow-up Spelled Out in Contract     

You expect, of course, that everything will turn out well on a project. However, it is important to address what happens when things don’t go exactly as planned. What kind of follow-up does the garage design professional offer? Is a warranty offered on the materials that will be used in the renovation, like slatwall, shelving, cabinetry and flooring treatments? Does he guarantee his work? If so, for how long? While such scenarios aren’t pleasant to consider, the possibility of paying for an expensive renovation and being left with shoddy work or materials, and no recourse, is far worse.

Planning a garage renovation is exciting. A well-designed garage can organize your life and beautify your home. However, it is well worth it to do your homework when it comes to choosing the garage design professional that will transform your space.

Would you like to see what an experienced garage design professional can do for your space? Request a consultation today.

Garage Renovation Obstacles

With any garage renovation project it is fairly common to encounter situations that require a bit of creativity in order to set up the best storage solutions.  These situations can be broadly classified into two main categories: those that involve movable objects or materials and those situations when it becomes necessary to work around appliances or other fixtures that are for the most part not readily movable.  As you might expect, situations involving movable storage obstacles are fairly straightforward to address.  On the other hand, storage obstacles arising from immovable storage solution obstacles need a bit more creativity and planning.  However, as you will soon see there are options available for both.

There are a few optimized storage obstacles that show up with any garage renovation project.  Each of these must be handled with proper planning and foresight to achieve the optimized storage you desire. 

1.5 car garage, etobicoke - overhead platform storage, garage cabinets, slatwall organization system, camlock camlok hooks, polyaspartic floor, cement block coating - beforeThe most frequently encountered storage solution obstacle is the central vacuum.  You may have noticed the central vacuum is often left hanging there on the wall taking up a lot of space. Most new home builders mount these central vacuums in the middle of a wall, either the back wall or one of the sidewalls.  Also, the central vacuum is typically mounted about half way between the ceiling and the floor. While this position certainly allows you to access the unit for service, it makes storage above and below rather cumbersome. 

All of that being said, the central vacuum is actually an appliance that can be relocated relatively easily.  The vacuum pipes coming to the central vacuum unit are simply common p.v.c plumbing and the electric is typically a standard outlet plug. Relocating the central vacuum merely means choosing an optimum location, mounting the unit and re-piping the vacuum lines as required.  Oftentimes, the best location is found to be mounted in a side corner such that the unit is still accessible but it is mounted a bit higher and out of the way. By relocating your central vacuum, you gain valuable storage space below and of course along the wall where the unit was originally located.  For example, if you relocate a central vacuum stuck there in the middle of your sidewall to the back corner, now you have the option to install slatwall, storage racks or other optimized storage solutions in the newly freed up space.

The next most frequently encountered obstacle to optimized storage is the doors and windows. Obviously, in most cases you aren’t going to be moving a door or window.  On the other hand, there are practical storage solutions that can be installed to optimize the space.

Start with the door into your garage from inside your home.  The most obvious answer is to install an overhead storage rack.  An overhead storage rack above your door will add valuable storage space that is useful, yet still out of the way.  At the same time, you want to be aware of the fact that there is an optimum way to install an overhead storage platform and there is a sub-optimum way. 

The very best solution is to install an over the door storage platform using hardware hung from the ceiling.  However, sometimes eager do-it-yourselfers will instead install this overhead platform and support it with vertical posts. While this is okay and does give you the overhead storage, the vertical posts can be an eyesore, not to mention getting in the way of other things you want to have in the garage. 

One other scenario to consider is when the door is located in the middle of the wall.  In this case, more often than not a customized solution could be the best choice.  For example, you could install a combination of overhead platforms, shelving or platforms on one side and slatwall on the other side.  Of course each garage design is unique so many who chose to renovate their garages end up selecting a custom solution.

Although windows are not really that common in most garages, customers with garage windows often are looking to optimize the space around the window.  The one big issue is often the location of the window.  In other words, if the window is in the middle of a sidewall versus being located towards one side or the other will determine the type of renovation options available. One typical storage solution option is the installation of an overhead platform with a slatwall installation to the sides and beneath the window.  This option maximizes the utility of the space around the window while still allowing the full functionality of the window itself.

garden hose reelA minor situation that sometimes shows up in garage renovation projects is the location of the fresh water hose bibb.  The hose bibb may be installed in a location that means stretching an attached hose along the garage floor and outside.  Some renovation customers may choose to have this hose bibb relocated further along the wall to a more convenient location. 

Alternatively, to save the trouble and expense of relocating the garage water supply, a more optimized hose reel and storage fixture can be installed.  The hose reel can be conveniently mounted on the wall to allow easy access and storage. 

One final situation that might be a factor is the automatic garage door opener.  The garage door opener operates off of the normal household electrical outlets. Unfortunately, there is rarely an outlet mounted in the ceiling in a convenient location for the opener.  Consequently, many homeowners end up draping an extension cord across the top of the garage and down a wall.

 Of course, this is not the best solution and is definitely not recommended.  Keep in mind that an extension cord is only designed for temporary use; it is not supposed to be used as a permanent electrical supply.  The solution is to bring in a electrician to mount an outlet close by the garage door opener.  Absent wanting to install another outlet, the other option is to more permanently affix the extension cord with cable clamps or similar hardware.

Conclusion: as you can see from the above, each and every garage renovation project presents its own challenges and surprises. However, with some simple planning along with a discussion of the best storage solutions for your situation you can have a garage that works for you.

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.

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.  

Professional Storage Solutions – Cabinets

hercke garage cabinets - lockable storage systemsSlatwall is great for storing tools and equipment that you want visible, but it’s nice to also have the option of a place to keep things behind closed, and possibly locked, doors. Have a look at my blog on open versus closed storage. When it comes to choosing cabinets, all is not created equal.

You can go to the big box store and purchase cabinetry and install it yourself, but you might not be thrilled with the finished product. Let’s talk about the benefits of professionally sourced and installed cabinetry.


At retail stores, the choices are limited. You’ll either find fabricated wood, plastic or steel cabinets. Fabricated wood is not built to stand up to our Canadian climate. Plastic is not sturdy. It’s prone to cracking and just won’t hold up to long-term use. The steel cabinets available are a low-grade metal.

Nuvo Garage offers three levels of metal cabinetry, which I call good, better and best. Hercke is basic but it is durable, functional and attractive. Onex is a mid-range customizable cabinetry, and CTECH is a beautiful, high-end, lightweight but extremely durable product.


ctech gasketloc - yellow cabinetAt the big box stores, what you see is what you get. There’s not much choice in colour, size or customization.

The Hercke brand cabinets Nuvo Garage offers has the least flexibility in choice, but is still more versatile than the big box offerings. The big difference comes in the Onex and CTECH brands. Onex comes in 21 different colours and CTECH comes in 9 colours. But both can create a custom-mixed colour for you. Onex and CTECH are also highly customizable. Unlike standard big-box style fixtures, these professional brands don’t just stock standard sized cabinets. This is particularly useful as most garages are not a standard size or shape. The Onex and CTECH cabinets can be custom ordered to fit perfectly along the length of your wall without leaving that annoying 5 inches of unusable wall at the end.  In addition, these cabinets can be customized with hardware, lighting, locks and workshop tabletops to enhance the functionality of a garage.


ctech cabinet, drawer dividersOnline reviews of the metal cabinet brand offered by the big box guys generally repeat the same complaints: They are attractive at first glance, but are flimsy metal, the screws don’t fit nicely and the finish stains easily.

Hercke, Onex and CTECH are all made of very high quality materials. Hercke, the lowest cost offering, is made of high-quality steel that stands up to heavy use in the garage. Onex is also made of steel but is a lower gauge, which is even stronger. CTECH is aluminum. It’s not quite as strong as the Onex steel but it’s more than strong enough for residential use.

Car enthusiasts are drawn to CTECH because of the quality in the design. Its look is derived from the world of professional car racing and provides a truly unique and stylish look to a garage renovation. Also, little things such as the drawer closing mechanisms of a CTECH MotionLatch make your cabinet drawers much more enjoyable to use as opposed to low quality steel doors, which probably creak, shift and become a chore to close over time.

hercke garage cabinets - beautiful garage storage & workstation

 Along with variety, flexibility and quality, another advantage of hiring a professional is we’ll arrange the delivery and installation of your cabinets. So, if you’re planning a renovation, do some research and consider your options. In my opinion, for the money, the long lasting quality, beauty and enjoyment of professionally designed and installed cabinets far outweigh the do-it-yourself option.