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Objects that are outdated, non-functional, redundant or rarely used harbour stalled energy and have a negative impact on your energy.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.

Experience

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.