Five Essential Tips for Maintaining and Organizing Your Garage

overhead storage, kayak or canoe sling

As the year quickly draws to a close, it’s the perfect time to recap some of our favorite garage renovation tips from this past year.

Winterize Your Garage (and Everything in It)

If you haven’t already prepped your garage for winter, there’s no time like the present. Defend your garage, and home, against the harsh, cold weather by doing the following:

  • Replace the batteries in your garage door openers.
  • Check garage door weather stripping and replace, if needed.
  • Check all moving parts of the garage door. Get a pro to repair damaged or malfunctioning parts.
  • Lubricate garage door rollersand hinges to ensure smooth operation.
  • Test the garage door safety reverse sensor. If not functioning correctly, adjust the sensors or have them repaired.
  • Shut off water supply to exterior spigot.

Use Specialized Solutions for Your Unique Storage Needs

custom storage overhead of canoes & kayaksIf your garage is stuffed to the gills, preventing you from parking your car(s) inside, specialized storage solutions could be the answer to your problems. Bulky items, like lawn mowers, snow plows, motorcycles and canoes take up considerable room in a garage. However, there are a variety of specialized garage storage solutions that can help. Here are a few:

  • Tire racks–Specialized tire storage racks come in a variety of configurations, allowing tires to be stored vertically or horizontally, on a wall or overhead.
  • Lawn mower racks or lifts – Riding and push mowers take up substantial garage space, making it difficult to park vehicles inside. Worse, vehicles can get scratched when the door is opened, or while the lawn mower is being moved.Lawn mower racks store push mowers off the ground, so additional items can be stored underneath. For a riding mower, a motorized lift will lift and lower the riding mower with the push of a button.
  • Motorcycle lifts – Motorcycles often hijack 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 – It can be tricky to find just the right place to store these seasonal items in your garage. If not properly stored, expensive paddle boards and kayaks are easily scratched or toppled. However, specialized kayak and paddle board racks provide safe, attractive storage for these items.Overhead, wall-mounted and freestanding racks are available. Many models can hold multiple boards/kayaks.
  • Overhead pulley systems – Canoes, truck caps and other heavy items which must be lowered onto a vehicle are excellent candidates for an overhead pulley system. Such a system allows users to lift and lower heavy items with minimal effort. Pulley systems are also available for single, double or multiple bicycle storage.

Maximize Garage Storage

1.5 car garage, etobicoke - right wall, bare cement block, slatwall organization system, camlock hooks, basketsThe specialty storage solutions outlined above lift bulky items and preserve essential floor space. However, a variety of smaller items also pilfer valuable space when stored at ground level. A wall organizer system is the key to maximizing garage storage space by storing items vertically. Once installed, a professional-grade garage wall organization system, like slatwall, has infinite configurability, thanks to corresponding accessories:

  • Baskets – Store balls, sports pads, household goods and other items in baskets. Create a separate basket for each task, sport or individual.
  • Hooks – Use hooks to hang a wide range of items from gardening tools to sporting equipment, like hockey gear and bicycles.
  • Shelving – Shelves fit into the grooves in slatwall, enabling heavy items to be stored securely. High shelving provides the perfect storage space for items that should be kept out of the reach of pets and children, like automotive fluids, household chemicals or flower pots.
  • Specialty hooks – Many professional-grade garage wall organization systems offer specialty hooks for items like golf equipment, skateboards, snowboards and more.

All hooks, baskets and shelves can easily be relocated, creating endless configuration possibilities.

Find a Way to Use “Unusable” Garage Space

garage-storage-custom-overhead-platform-toy-storage-slatwall-camlock-hooks-bicycle-helmets-golf-clubs-stairs-bannister-central-vacuum-garden-toolsOne of the keys to maximizing storage space in your garage is to find clever ways to make use of “unusable” space. Look around your garage. Perhaps you have high ceilings, oddly configured corners, poorly placed appliances and other dead spaces that create storage challenges. However, a garage renovation specialist can find creative solutions for such challenges, like custom-built overhead platforms; custom-built or customizable cabinetry; custom-built slings for storing canoes and rooftop sports equipment carriers overhead; and other custom-built options.

Make Keeping the Garage Organized a Family Affair

Standing back and surveying a neat, organized garage almost makes the entire Saturday you spent cleaning it feel worthwhile. But what happens a week later, once the entire family goes back to using the garage as a dumping ground? The garage quickly returns to utter chaos. This often occurs because only one person in the family is charged with the responsibility of keeping it clean. Put an end to this cycle of chaos. Get the entire family invested in keeping the garage organized. If everyone contributes to the hard work of cleaning and organizing the garage, they are more likely to work toward keeping it that way.

Explore these and other garage renovation and organization topics to ring in the new year with a clean, organized garage that will stay that way.

5 Garage Gifts to Give This Year

Workbench for One Car Garage

With the holidays quickly approaching, you’re probably still searching for a unique Christmas, Hanukah or Kwanza gift for that special person. If he or she enjoys spending time in the garage (or would like to), you’re in luck. We’ve got five gift ideas that will make your garage lover a happy camper.

Finally Being Able to Park the Car in the Garage

1 car garage parks bmw plus 7 high end bicycles, portable workshop and all toolsIf the items stored in the garage have taken over, forcing you to park outside in the cold, give the gift of indoor parking space. Start by creating a viable plan for the space. Assess what you have stored in the garage. Decide what should be tossed (broken furniture, ruined paint, unusable items, etc.). Make a list of items than can be donated (furniture and sporting goods no longer needed, duplicate gardening tools, etc.). Then plan separate spaces for each type of item stored in your garage. For instance, create dedicated zones for automotive accessories, gardening accessories, sporting goods, etc. Determine if there is a need for additional storage space, like shelving. Make sure you have everything you’ll need on hand.

Now that your plan is in place and you have all of the necessary tools, it’s time to take action. If the job seems too big to tackle alone, make it a family affair or invite a few friends over. Bundle up, clear space for a portable heater, turn on your favorite playlist and begin executing your plan. First, eliminate or relocate as many items as you can. Once the space has been pared down, you’ll have more room to operate. Move everything to the perimeter, making use of shelving, hooks and baskets that will allow you to store items vertically. Continue until you’ve cleared enough space to park inside your garage.

A Workshop or Craft Space

Workbench for One Car GarageNeed a gift for a woodworking or gardening enthusiast? Consider creating a gardening or craft station inside your garage. A dedicated workspace for crafts and hobbies can be created relatively simply by re-purposing old furniture and cabinetry. First, determine where you want to locate the work area. Then reclaim the wall space by removing or relocating items. Next, create a flat work space. An old table or cabinet might do just the trick. If not, foldable workbenches or task desks are available at your local box store.

When planning your workspace, don’t forget to provide adequate storage for tools and other accessories. If a sturdier workspace or heavy duty storage is needed, modular cabinetry might be the best option. Modular cabinets, like European-style Contur Cabinets, offer a clean, modern aesthetic and plenty of hidden storage. Need a unique workspace solution? A garage renovation specialist can create a custom workbench.

Find Space for the Things Your Loved Ones Cherish

The amount of cherished items we own continues to expand, yet garage space remains fairly static. So how can you snag additional storage space for your loved one’s favorite things while conserving enough space to park your vehicle(s) inside the garage? Go vertical.

Don’t limit storage to the perimeter floor space. Instead, find ways to store items along the entire height of the wall. This can be accomplished with a wall organization system, like slatwall, which makes use of complementary shelves, hooks and baskets to display items neatly and attractively. Heavy-duty shelving units, available at big box or wholesale stores, can also provide vertical space.

Need even more storage space? Try looking up. Overhead space is an ideal spot for storing cherished, but rarely used items, like seasonal decorations, and large, bulky items like canoes, roof rack storage containers or leftover siding.

Give Athletes & Weekend Warriors Dedicated Space for Sporting Goods

sports equipment storage - slatwall, camlock hooks, water skis, snowboards, snowshoesActive families can easily fill a garage with all of their sporting goods. Bicycles, golf clubs, skis, hockey gear, bats, balls, kayaks, snowboards, lacrosse equipment and other items jockey for space throughout the year. When not stored properly, expensive golf clubs, skis and other equipment can easily be damaged. Smaller items, like balls, knee pads and helmets are frequently lost. Protect your investment and save precious time by creating dedicated storage space to house the sporting goods of your athletes and weekend warriors.

This can easily be accomplished with a wall organization system. Just add hooks, baskets and shelves to accommodate sporting goods. Then create dedicated baskets for each sport or family member. Many wall organization systems include storage solutions for specific sporting goods—like skateboard or kayaks.

Schedule a Consultation for a Garage Renovation

If organizing your garage seems overwhelming, or you’d rather have a professional renovate your space, consider enlisting the aid of a garage renovation specialist. Nuvo Garage specializes in garage transformations ranging from small organizational projects to major garage renovations. Contact us to discuss how you can give your favorite garage enthusiast the gift of a transformed garage space.

Use “Wasted” Space in Your Garage to Store Seasonal Items

Storage Containers on Shelf - organized basement

seasonal garage storage changeover - shovel, snowblower, decorations - winterWith the holiday season in full swing, you’re likely in the midst of decorating. Perhaps you’re dealing with the frustration of not being able to locate the wreath or tree topper. Once you locate your favorite box of ornaments, you may discover chipped or broken items. Then there is the battle with tangled strings of lights and trying to remember which string of lights goes where.

Eliminate the additional stress next year by considering how and where you’ll store your holiday decorations once this season is over.

Prep Holiday Decorations for Off-Season Storage

Storage Containers on Shelf - organized basementSimplify the process with the proper tools and a little preplanning. Clear, stackable plastic bins are invaluable for storing decorations. They come in a variety of sizes and configurations—from small shoebox bins to large totes big enough to accommodate an artificial tree. Specialized containers, which make storing wreaths, ornaments and other items a breeze, are also available.Here are a few ways to ensure that your ornaments are stored safely.

Artificial Christmas trees can last for many years, if stored properly. Buy a large plastic tote or tree bag to store your artificial tree.When stored in a box or bin, the tree may first need to be “de-fluffed.”

Fragile Christmas ornaments can be tricky to store. Purchase a plastic bin divided into compartments large enough to accommodate each ornament, or invest in a container made specifically for holding holiday ornaments.

Use bubble wrap to protect fragile decorations with irregular shapes, like ceramic figurines. Once they are securely wrapped, store them in labeled plastic bins.

Strings of lights often get tangled during storage. Avoid this frustrating dilemma by labeling each string of lights. Note the length of each and where you used it. Purchase a holiday lights storage reel, or wrap each string of lights around a clean, empty cylindrical can to prevent tangling. Place reels or cylinders in a storage case or bin.

Sort ribbon, wrapping paper and small, easily-misplaced items.Stack ribbons in a plastic bin, or use a box made for storing ribbon. Sort strings of beads and other small items into small plastic bags. Group similar items in clear, plastic shoe boxes. Label each box for easy identificationto save time and frustration next year.

Store faux firgarlands in a large, clear plastic bin, winding the garland neatly inside. Faux fir or pine wreaths can be stored in a large hat box or plastic bin. Hard plastic cases designed specifically for storing wreaths are also available.

Wrap candles in cellophane. This will prevent them from melting onto each other in warmer temperatures. Don’t wrap candles with anything that will transfer unwanted colors or melt onto them when the temperature climbs.

As you sort decorations and prepare them for storage, examine each piece. Toss items that are chipped, broken or faded. Examine strings of lights for possible fraying or broken bulbs.Use plastic storage bins that seal tightly, to protect decorations from moisture and insects. Once everything is prepared, it’s time to store your decorations.

Employ “Wasted” Space to Store Holiday Decorations

Make decorating next year simple by creating a designated space in your garage for your seasonal decorations.The thought of finding room to store your seven-foot tall artificial tree might seem laughable, if your garage is already packed with items. However, most garages have a wealth of unused space that is perfect for storing seasonal items. Just look up.

If you have a high garage ceiling, you likely have lots of additional storage space. You might regard this space as unusable. Consider three ways your overhead space can be used to store holiday decorations and other seldom-used items.

  1. Have an overhead platform installed. What was once dead space now becomes functional storage. Access the overhead storage area with a step ladder to store stackable plastic bins, your artificial tree and other items.The depth of stacked items should be no more than 32”. If the space is too deep, it becomes difficult to see what you have on hand.
  2. Have a pulley-based storage platform installed. The one disadvantage of a stationary overhead platform is that it requires you to tote items up and down a ladder. A pulley-based platform eliminates the need for a ladder. Use the crank to lower the storage platform. Load it up. Then crank the platform back up to the ceiling. When you’re ready to retrieve your seasonal decorations, simply lower the platform again.
  3. Install a ceiling-mounted garage hoist or custom sling. These hoists or slings are typically used to store kayaks or canoes overhead in the garage. However, they can also be used to overhead. Another option is to install hooks overhead from which the tree can hang. If you have adequate shelving along the perimeter of your garage for storing most of your seasonal items, a hoist or sling can be a simple solution for storing your tree.

Decorating your home for holidays should be an enjoyable experience for the entire family. Invest in containers suitable for storing your ornaments, wreaths, holiday lights and other fragile decorations. Create a designated storage space for your seasonal items overhead in your garage. Have overhead platforms installed by a garage organization professional who will ensure that the platform is installed safely and fully capable of bearing the manufacturer recommended load.

Preparing Your Garage for Winter Sports Equipment

sports equipment storage - slatwall, camlock hooks, water skis, snowboards, snowshoes

sports equipment storage - slatwall, camlock hooks, water skis, snowboards, snowshoesWhen the air turns crisp, it prompts a variety of changes. Summer clothing is exchanged for fall sweaters, and eventually, heavy duty winter gear. We switch out screen windows for glass panes and shore up insulation to ensure that our homes stay warm and toasty. The change of season also prompts the need for changes in the garage. Once you’ve gotten your garage ready for winter, it’s time to tackle another change-of-season task—stashing away all of your family’s summer sports gear to make room for winter sports equipment.

Each member of your family may participate in a variety of sports, each requiring its own long list of accessories, big and small. If the garage is the primary entry point for your family, your garage is likely jam-packed with balls, bats, skates and a variety of other items. During the summer, bikes and sports equipment often take over the garage. However, with the impending arrival of winter, you’ll likely want to get your cars parked inside the garage. Let’s examine a basic plan that will help you store winter sports equipment in your garage so that you’ll be prepared to go zooming down the ski trails at a moment’s notice.

Start with a Good System (or Two)

Just like a championship-bound sports team, an organized garage has a solid system as its foundation. In this case, there should be at least two: task-related zones and a wall organization system.

In past posts, we’ve discussed the importance of creating dedicated zones in your garage.Creating separate areas in your garage for each of the tasks performed, or each type of item stored there, is an essential component of an organized garage.Once you’ve reorganized your garage by creating spaces for automotive accessories, yard tools and other commonly-used items, it’s time to assign a spot for the individual items in each category. This is when a wall organization system becomes invaluable.

A wall organization system, like slatwall, provides dedicated storage spaces for all of the items in each zone. These systems are used in conjunction with complementary hooks, baskets and shelves, which come in a variety of sizes. Dedicate a basket or shelf to a single sport or a specific family member. The individual storage accessories can be configured, and re-configured, in countless ways, allowing you to customize the system to fit the changing needs of your family.

Switch Positions

During the warm months, perhaps softball, soccer and lacrosse equipment took center stage. Now it’s time to make room for sleds, ice skates, hockey equipment and skis. If you already have a wall organization system installed, this task is simple. Unhook the baskets and hooks for summer sporting goods and relocate them to a less prominent area in the garage. Then switch the baskets and hooks for winter equipment to a position that makes them easily accessible.

If you don’t have room to store both summer and winter equipment along the wall at the same time, consider storing off-season items in overhead storage bins or platforms. This is an ideal place to store items that are seasonal or seldom used. If your garage isn’t equipped for overhead storage, or the space there is already reserved for other items, off-season sports equipment can be stored in the basement or in a closet.

Make Room for the Odd Man Out

What about large or irregularly-shaped items that tend to eat up the limited real estate in your garage? Wall organization systems, like slatwall, have you covered with hooks or specialty hangers that can accommodate snowboards, snowshoes, hockey sticks and other large items. Need space for bulkier items? Try a custom overhead sling to make storing and loading your Thule a snap.

Get Everything in Game Condition

Before you put everything away, take a few moments to prep the equipment for the season ahead. Wipe down skis and examine them for any damage. Check skates for broken laces or loose blades. Make sure the runners on sleds are securely fastened. Now you’re ready for the season ahead.

A garage wall storage system is extremely versatile and highly-configurable. When used in conjunction with dedicated zones, it creates the foundation for a truly organized garage that can accommodate your family’s active lifestyle any time of the year. Best of all, items will be stored off the garage floor leaving room for the real star of the show—your vehicle.

Want the flexibility a wall storage system can provide, but too busy to install one yourself? Contact a garage renovation specialist to discover creative ways to store your sports equipment.

Is Your Garage Ready for Winter?

slatwall - wall organizers, grey, hooks, garden tools

slatwall - wall organizers, grey, hooks, garden toolsWe’ve settled into fall and the air is turning crisp and cool. Though most of us would prefer to reminisce over how we spent the summer, it’s time to give serious thought to preparing for winter.

Remember last winter?

It was the coldest winter Toronto has experienced in twenty years. The harsh winter caught many of us unaware, and left homeowners, businesses and governments reeling from the unexpected impact and costs. Most homeowners realize how essential it is to winterize their homes, but don’t forget about your garage. It needs winter weather prep, too.

What can you do to prepare your garage for the snowy winter ahead? Here are four steps that will help you get your garage ready for winter.

Clean Up Your Act

During the activity of summer it’s easy for the garage to become a family dumping ground. Maybe you’ve even resorted to parking your vehicles outside, rather than vying for space inside the garage. However, with snow and cold weather headed our way in the coming months, now is the time to carve out space for your vehicles and all of your winter weather supplies, like shovels, salt and your trusty snow blower.

Begin your winter weather prep by cleaning out your garage. Sort through all of the items stored in your garage. Honestly assess which items are needed and which should go. Be brutal. Toss broken items, including the ones you’ve been planning to fix for the past five years. Donate items in good condition that are duplicates or that your family no longer uses.

Still having trouble deciding what should stay and what should get the old heave-ho? Here are a few questions to consider:

  • Do I trulyneed this item?
  • How likely is it that we’ll use it again?
  • If I’m not using it, why am I really holding onto this item?
  • Could someone else use it?
  • If it’s broken, is it worth fixing? How likely am I to fix the item (or get it fixed)?
  • Does this item fit with my current lifestyle?
  • Which is more important: holding onto this item or parking inside the garage?

Once you’ve pared down the volume of items stored in the garage, it’s the perfect time to spruce it up. Sweep floors, dust for cobwebs, clean the garage door and give the floor a good scrub.

Create a Plan

Now that you can see how much space you’re working with, it’s time to devise a plan for organizing your items. Ask yourself:

  • What is my objective?
  • What additional items need to go into the garage?
  • Is there room for the snow blower?
  • Which items should be grouped together? (More on this later.)
  • Where should each item be placed for easiest access?

Map out a plan that will allow you to safely store all items while also accommodating any vehicles you’d like to park in the garage.

Floor space is at a premium in the typical garage. Don’t limit yourself to perimeter floor space. Install a wall organizer system, or have one installed by a garage interior design expert. Storing items vertically in baskets, or on shelves and hooks, reserves floor space for larger items and for vehicle parking.

Still need more space? Look up. If your garage has wasted overhead space, as most do, you could add valuable storage space by getting overhead storage platforms installed.Before you give your plan the green light, make sure it includes task-related zones.

Create Task-Oriented Zones

While creating your plan, you considered which items should be grouped together. This question is essential and deserves further discussion. Creating task-oriented zones will help keep your garage organized throughout the year.

Carefully consider all of the activities that take place in your garage. Keep seasonal and related items together. Create a car care zone, one for yard care and another for winter sports gear. Shift winter gear to a prime space and store summer items where they are less accessible.

Ideally, winter yard maintenance equipment and supplies should be stored close to the garage door for easy access to the driveway. However, not all sidewalls can accommodate a snow blower while still allowing room to park vehicles inside. If this is the case in a two-car garage, try storing the snow blower on the back wall near the center of the garage. This will allow you to exit the garage between the vehicles parked inside.

Winterize Your Garage (and Everything in It)

Now that your garage is decluttered and organized, it’s time to make sure that everything is ready for that first icy blast of Arctic air.

  • Replace the batteries in your garage door openers.
  • Check garage door weather stripping and replace, if needed.
  • Check all moving parts of the garage door. Get any missing or broken parts repaired.
  • Lubricate garage door rollersand hinges for smooth operation all winter.
  • Ensure that the safety reverse sensor is functional. If not, adjust sensors or have them repaired.
  • Drain water from hoses, purge sprinkler system and shut off water supply to exterior spigot.

Take advantage of cool, comfortable fall temperatures by preparing your home and garage for the winter ahead. Once you’ve decluttered your garage and created a plan of action that includes task-oriented zones, it’s time to put that plan into action. Store any items that can’t be stored vertically or overhead around the perimeter of your garage. Stack or nest like items, like flower pots or storage bins, to maximize space.

Five Ways to Calm Garage Chaos

slatwall organization system, wire baskets, shelves, open garage storage

If your garage has become a chaotic collection of belongings, the thought of organizing your garage likely feels overwhelming.

It doesn’t have to be.

Whether you decide to take one Saturday to clean your garage as a family or prefer to organize the space a little at a time, these five steps will simplify the process and help you to achieve the results you want.

Step One: Create Specialized Zones

1.5 car garage, etobicoke - slatwall, overhead platforms, polyaspartic floor coating, shelves, bike racks - afterThe items in a typical garage can generally be classified into the following categories: household supplies, automotive supplies, gardening tools and supplies, recycling and waste disposal, tools and workbenches and sporting goods. Create dedicated zones in your garage for each of these categories. This instantly reduces the amount of time spent searching for items. Once items have been shifted to designated zones, they can be further organized.

Step Two: Utilize Vertical and Overhead Space

Floor space is at a premium in most garages. Vehicles parked inside the garage consume the majority of available floor space. What remains must be used judiciously. Therefore, one of the keys to an organized garage is to strategically employ vertical and overhead storage space.

A garage wall organization system increases garage storage space exponentially. We recommend a slatwall-based system that, when used with coordinating baskets, hooks and shelves, can accommodate a variety of storage requirements and can be easily reconfigured with each change of season.

Step Three: Make Seasonal Adjustments

When the season changes, how we use our garage storage space often does, too. Softball equipment, golf clubs and bicycles take a back seat to sleds and skis once the air turns crisp and cool. The lawn mower must make way for the snow blower.

Take a few minutes at the change of the season to reorganize your garage so that seasonal items are easily-accessible. The last thing you want to do is wake up to a snowy drive, only to realize that you must first dig out the snow blower. Also, if little ones are forced to wade through summer sporting goods to access their sleds, the garage floor will be littered with the items they had to cast aside.

Reduce the potential for clutter further by ensuring that all items can be easily located.

Step Four: Label or Clearly Display Items

back-right-1-car-central-toronto-garage-afterEver had to dig through half a dozen boxes to find an item? It’s time-consuming and frustrating. Eliminate this time suck by clearly displaying items whenever possible. This can be achieved with open shelving or clear storage boxes.

Open storage isn’t appropriate for some items. Nor do all homeowners find this storage style aesthetically-pleasing. If closed cabinets or non-transparent storage boxes are more your style, invest in a label-maker. Neatly label boxes and either the inside or outside of cabinet doors. This makes locating items a breeze.

The steps above can certainly simplify the process of organizing your garage. However, you may require a more complex or customized solution. If so, assistance is required.

Step Five: Know When to Call in the Troops

As with any other home improvement, some jobs one can handle quite easily. Others require the assistance of a skilled professional. If you’d like to maximize storage in your garage and you don’t know where to begin, or the work required is beyond your knowledge and abilities, it’s time to call in a garage renovation specialist.

A knowledgeable, experienced garage organization professional will assess your needs and create a plan which addresses them and maximizes available space. A garage renovation specialist has access to professional-grade materials, like custom cabinetry, not available to the public. He or she will be familiar with building permit requirements and can install overhead shelving capable of bearing heavier loads safely. A qualified professional will also be able to complete the work correctly and in a timely fashion.

Curious about how a garage renovation specialist can calm the chaos in your garage? Request a consultation today.

Make Clean Out Your Garage Day a Fun, Family Project

clean out your garage - family project, fun day

clean out your garage - family project, fun dayThe Saturday after Labour Day is Clean Out Your Garage Day, an unofficial holiday.

Granted, spending Saturday digging through the clutter in your garage probably isn’t your ideal way to spend your hard-earned time off. However, a clean, orderly garage is worth the sacrifice.

Still, when the garage has become a dumping ground for the entire family, just getting started can be the most difficult task. The responsibility of cleaning out the garage often falls to a single family member. This hardly seems fair, since several members of the family are typically responsible for the mess. With that in mind, why not make cleaning out your garage a family project?

Organizing the entire family to tackle what feels like a daunting project can be challenging. However, if the mere thought of doing so makes you break out in a cold sweat, don’t worry. Here are a few tips for making Clean Out Your Garage Day a fun, family project.

Have a Brief Family Meeting

When possible, notify all family members in advance of the plan to clean the garage. If this year’s event doesn’t allow for adequate advance notice, or plans have already been established, select a more agreeable date. Then, set realistic expectations about how long the project will take.

If you’re dreading the project, everyone in your family will, too. Talk enthusiastically about cleaning the garage. Plan a fun day your family will look forward to: play music, order pizza from their favorite pizzeria, create a fun contest, have a celebratory meal when the work is done. Discuss the benefits of cleaning the garage:

  • Adequate space to store the family’s bikes and other outdoor goods
  • Easier access to favorite items like bikes, bats and balls
  • Save time looking for items
  • Reduce the hazards of tripping over items or having things fall on someone
  • Deter pests and vermin that thrive on clutter
  • Help others through the donation of unused items
  • A space the whole family will be proud of

Once the date and time are set, and everyone is excited about the project, it’s time to create a workable plan.

Create a Plan of Attack

Imagine four of five people trying to maneuver in a small, cluttered space. If not planned well, it’s a recipe for disaster that will frustrate everyone and kill any enthusiasm there might have been for the project. To create a workable plan to organize your garage:

  1. Know your priorities. What do you need to store in your garage? Who needs access to it? Whose access should be restricted?
  2. Create zones. Now that you understand how you’ll use the garage, create areas to group similar items. Possible zones include automotive, gardening, sports equipment, tools, etc. This step is essential to creating an organized space where items can be located easily.
  3. Be prepared! A push broom, work gloves (for everyone), heavy duty garbage bags and basic tools are among the items you’ll want to have on hand. Will you be installing shelving or using plastic storage bins? Purchase needed items and have them ready. If possible, assemble shelves beforehand.
  4. Decide how each family member can be most useful. Does one person excel at a certain task, like organizing? Would certain members work better as a team?

Armed with a plan and prepared, with everything you need on hand, you’re already well on your way to a successful Clean Out Your Garage Day. Next, let’s examine a few tips for making your family’s garage cleaning day go as smoothly as possible.

Work as a Team to Avoid Chaos

To keep the project moving, without creating chaos:

o   Provide a brief overview of the day, so everyone knows what to expect.

o   Relocate everything possible from the garage to the driveway.

o   Group similar items together.

o   Discard broken items.

o   Box unused and duplicate items for donation. Avoid “just-in-case” syndrome. Be ruthless; don’t retain items that haven’t been used for a year or more.

o   Clearly define each zone in your garage.

o   Install shelving, hooks, etc. to use as much vertical or overhead space as safely possible.

o   Return each item to the garage in its newly designated space.

o   Arrange for pickup or delivery of donated goods.

o   Celebrate a job well done!

The garage is clean and tidy now, but everyone must do their part to keep it that way. Since the entire family helped clean the garage, they’ll be more invested in keeping it organized. Remind everyone how important it is to put each item back in its proper place.

Cleaning the garage isn’t most people’s idea of fun. Yet, by getting the entire family onboard, creating a workable plan and making Clean Out Your Garage Day an organized event for the entire family, it can be a family day everyone will appreciate.

Organize Your Garage with Dedicated Zones

2 car garage oakville overhead storage platform slatwall organization system hooks camlock baskets tire storage racks 190x143 after

2 car garage oakville overhead storage platform slatwall organization system hooks camlock baskets tire storage racks afterThis time of year our garages can easily descend into a den of chaos. The kids are digging out the bikes and rollerblades. You’re sifting through sleds, snow shovels and Christmas decorations in search of your garden tools. Meanwhile, one (or both) of your vehicles is stuck outside because there’s never enough room to squeeze it inside the garage.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Creating some level of organization in your garage doesn’t need to be a complicated or costly affair. Optimize the space in your garage by creating related storage zones. Why are dedicated zones essential to a well-organized garage? Let’s reconsider the scenario above.

If your winter tools and sports equipment, holiday decorations and garden tools are all stored in the same area, it makes life difficult, especially when the seasons change. You’ll have to search through the winter items in order to reach the garden tools which are now in the back. This type of system breeds chaos and makes us less inclined to do the yard work.

Now, close your eyes and envision your garage as a well-organized space with separate zones for related items. The effect is similar to what you experience when you go to a hardware store. The shovels and winterization items are in one section. The garden hose and tools are in a separate location. You can easily find either type of item with minimal fuss or confusion. With that in mind, let’s apply that same system to your garage.

Like that hardware store, there are a few basic zones into which the items in a garage can typically be categorized. Let’s examine each zone and what items would best fit there.

Automotive Accessories

Create a small section to store items used to maintain your vehicles. In this zone, organize items like car wax, motor oil, windshield wiper fluid, a bucket and chamois cloths for cleaning the car. Group tools used during winter months, like snow brushes. If you keep an additional set of tires in the garage for the winter weather, these might require a separate tire storage solution.

Household Supplies

Perhaps you keep items like household cleaners and paint thinner (but not paint!) in your garage. First, be sure to safely store household chemicals in your garage. Create a dedicated zone for these items. Use a cabinet or shelf that will keep these items out of the reach of your children and pets.

Garden Tools & Supplies

Homeowners often hire a company to maintain their yard and keep it looking beautiful. Others find great pleasure in maintaining their own yards. Planting flowers and shrubbery requires lots of hard work (and tools). The last thing you want to do before a long day of work in the yard is to spend an hour raking through your garage to find your garden tools.

Don’t let this happen to you.

Instead, create a zone in your garage dedicated to storing your yard essentials: hoes, shovels, trowels, fertilizer, garden gloves, flower pots, potting soil and other yard accessories. Then you’ll be able to put your time and effort into making your yard gorgeous, rather than searching for your gardening tools.

Recycling & Garbage Cans

Garbage cans and recycling bins are frequently stored in the garage. It might be necessary to keep these items in your garage. However, if not stored properly, waste bins are open invitations to vermin. They can also detract from the aesthetics of your garage and cause unpleasant odors.

Keep recycling and garbage cans together in a single zone. Store waste in cans with lids that fit tightly. This discourages smells from escaping and pests and vermin from entering the waste cans.

Tools & Workbenches

The garage is often home to a workbench and a variety of tools. Perhaps you’ve always wanted a workstation in your garage, but don’t believe you have the room for it. Even smaller garages can accommodate a custom-built workbench or workstation. Keeping tools organized is made simple with the right toolbox, pegboard or more sophisticated storage solutions. However, recycled items are also useful. For instance, an old muffin tin makes a good place to store nails, bolts and screws. You’ll be helping the environment and organizing your garage.

Sports Equipment

Most garages are brimming with sports equipment: bikes, skis, kayaks, rollerblades and balls. If you have school-aged children, you know how quickly these items accumulate and overtake the space that was once reserved for your car. When spring comes everyone starts digging out their sports equipment. Any semblance of organization you once had descends into chaos.

That’s why sports equipment requires its own separate zone in the garage. Use hooks, baskets or other organizational tools (which we’ll discuss more next time) to organize sports equipment.

Bicycles are large and bulky, usually requiring a separate storage solution. There are a variety of solutions for bike storage ranging from a traditional school yard-style bike rack to sophisticated overhead pulley systems.

It’s clear why separate zones in your garage make life easier. Now that we’ve reviewed each zone, you might be wondering how to keep the items in each section neatly organized. In the next post we’ll discuss all of the neat solutions that will keep each section of your garage looking its very best.

Do you want an organized garage, but just don’t have the time to do the work yourself? Consider hiring a garage renovation expert to organize your garage.

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

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

 

Step One: Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

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

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

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

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

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

Step Two: Group Similar Items

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

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

Step Three: Arrange Items Along Perimeter

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

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

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

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

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

Make Your New Year’s Resolution a New Year’s Reality

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As the clock strikes twelve, signaling the New Year, our enthusiasm burns bright. We’re excited about the possibilities ahead of us and all of the positive changes we’ve resolved to make.

If you’ve ever been in a gym during the first week of the year, you know that it’s brimming with people eager to achieve their New Year’s resolutions. By the second or third week, the crowd begins to thin. That’s because it doesn’t take long for that glittery excitement to fade.

2 car garage willowdale showcase - garage door, clutter, painted garage floor, slatwall organizer, shelving, drywall finished walls, drywall finished ceilingsMaybe you’ve begun to experience this, too. Your intentions were good, but you no longer feel motivated. Suddenly, those resolutions feel less like an opportunity for growth and more like a burden. One simple change will bring you closer to achieving your goals. Rather than making a broad resolution, like wanting to lose weight, travel more or make more money, create a step-by-step plan for reaching very specific goals. 

The goals mentioned above are indeed worthwhile. However, my expertise lies with another common resolution—the desire to get organized. Let’s look at a few ways to ensure that you realize your intention of getting organized this year.

Get Clear About Your Objective

Start by getting crystal clear about what you want to achieve. Set SMAC goals. Specific. Measurable. Achievable. Compatible. A goal like, “I want to get organized,” is admirable, but not specific or measurable. It is therefore less likely to be achieved. So be specific.

“I’m purging my closet of anything I haven’t worn in the past year.”

“I’m donating all of the toys and clothing my children have outgrown to a local shelter.”

“We’re going to organize the garage so that we can finally park the car inside.”

Now you have specific goals that can easily be measured. If the project still seems overwhelming, don’t panic. My three steps to ideal organization will help you simplify the process and achieve your desired results. Let’s apply those three steps to organizing your garage.

Step One:  Get rid of everything you don’t want or need.

This is the step that sometimes hurts. Many of the items stored in your garage have some sentimental value. They represent special memories from your past or optimism about the future. Approach each item logically. Ask yourself if you’ve used it in the past year. If you haven’t, chances are you’ll never use it again. It’s simply clutter, and it’s standing between you and your ultimate objective of organizing your garage.

Don’t be afraid to let go of unused items. If anything is broken, outdated or unsafe, dispose of it. For items that are still in good shape and may be useful to someone else, arrange for a spring garage sale or donate them to a local charity. Don’t hold onto things because maybe one day you’ll need them. Recall the frustration you felt when you made your resolution to get organized. Stay focused and be ruthless. Purge, purge, then purge some more.

Step Two:  Divide your stuff into manageable chunks.

Have you ever tried to do a small house repair only to discover that your hammer, wrench and screwdriver were in three separate places? It makes what might have been a simple job frustrating and time-consuming. That’s why it’s important to group all of your tools in one central location, like a toolbox.

Now, take the same approach when it comes to organizing your garage. Separate items by category. Group holiday decorations, gardening supplies, power tools, sporting goods and automotive products. You’ll save valuable time (and prevent needless aggravation) throughout the year.

Step Three:  Organize your things according to themes, seasons or purpose.

Organize the garage in a way that makes accessing items intuitive. Place items used frequently where they are easily accessible. Seasonal items like Halloween or Christmas decorations don’t need priority placement. Such items are good candidates for high shelves or overhead storage racks. Winter weather equipment like shovels, ice melting products and antifreeze should be placed near the garage door and given a priority space during the winter.

Once you’re done purging and organizing your garage, you may discover that your current storage options don’t accommodate everything you own. However, a well-designed garage, tailored to fit your lifestyle needs, will provide the storage you need. Simply contact a garage organizational expert to find out how quick and affordable a custom garage transformation can be.

Getting organized requires time, effort and a lot of hard work. However, when your space is organized and clutter-free it will be well worth it.

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