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

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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

2 Car Garage Etobicoke - right parking bay with an auto lift

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

2 car garage willowdale showcase - garage door, clutter, painted garage floor, slatwall organizer, shelving, drywall finished walls, drywall finished ceilings

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.

7 Reasons You Need to Organize Your Garage

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1.5 car garage, etobicoke - slatwall, overhead platforms, polyaspartic floor coating, shelves, bike racks - afterEveryone is familiar with the chaos and clutter found in a typical home garage.  Sadly, too many people accept a cluttered garage as normal and simply put up with it.  Have you ever stopped to consider how life-changing an organized garage could be?

A good place to understand the benefits of organizing your garage is with a clear definition of organize.  Organize means to transform chaos into order.  Literally, organize can be defined as the process of turning a messy, chaotic or unordered space into a structured coherent layout, often with specific grouping arrangements.  You will see that there are 7 reasons you want to consider in organizing your garage.

 

1. Safety of Your Family

The primary reason to organize your garage is the safety of you and your family.  Especially for families with children, an organized garage keeps dangerous tools and chemicals safely out of harm’s way.  Additionally, by using carefully planned storage solutions you won’t risk the hazard of random objects falling upon you or your kids. 

 

2. Cleanliness

A second reason to properly organize your garage is cleanliness.  Cleanliness shows up in two ways.  First, an organized garage is more visually appealing because it just looks cleaner overall.  One issued related to cleanliness you need to be aware of concerns bare concrete floors.  An unfinished concrete floor is prone to releasing concrete dust, especially as vehicles and heavy equipment like lawn mowers are  moved in and out of the garage.  This concrete dust can be especially bothersome to those who are prone to allergies.  Note that concrete dust is not so much of an issue if there is a floor covering product installed. Secondly, an organized garage is easier to keep clean. 

 

3. Protect Your Vehicle

1 car garage parks bmw plus 7 high end bicycles, portable workshop and all toolsNot surprisingly, the third reason to organize your garage is protection.  By freeing up the clutter in your garage, you can store your vehicles, your sporting equipment and other valuables safely inside the garage where they belong.  Look at it this way, is it better to store a couple hundred dollars worth of various clutter in and around your garage floor or are you better off parking that $45,000 car inside where its protected from the weather, from vandals or even theft?

 

4. Have More Quality Time

You will not be surprised to learn that the fourth reason for organizing your garage is your own time.  There are only twenty four hours available each day.  How much of that time do you want to spend scrounging around looking for stuff in your garage?   It is so easy to discount a few minutes here and a few minutes there.  However, if you ever took a moment and added up all of that extra time you spend desperately searching for something in your garage or worse added up the time you spend going to the store and getting something that you later learn you already owned, you would probably be shocked and dismayed.

 

5. Peace of Mind

Along the same theme, a fifth reason for organizing your garage is your own peace of mind.  You may have heard about or read studies that suggest that clutter creates a low level stress every time you see it.  Consciously or not, each and every time you walk through your cluttered garage you experience a mild level of stress.  You know having an uncluttered space is more appealing yet a quick glance at most garages is enough to cause many people to give up in frustration.  The task just looks too overwhelming to even consider.  Of course, the best solution is to go ahead and make a decision to organize that garage space.  The amazing fact is that once your garage space is organized you may well find yourself organizing other spaces in and around your home.

 

6. Save Money

A sixth and perhaps even more motivating reason to organize your garage is to consider how much money you will end up saving.  For example, have you ever found yourself heading off to one of those big box stores to pick up a lawn tool only to discover later that you already had one of those tools buried under a pile of debris?  Or what about those lawn and garden chemicals that may be scattered around your garage? Have you ever found yourself with more than one container? Have you ever factored in the time and money you spend driving back and forth to end up getting something you already have right there in your garage?  Obviously, you wouldn’t have this expense if everything was stored in a logical organized way. So add up the cost of all those duplicate tools and supplies, add in the cost of the gas to go to the store and back and finally add in your time that you spend either scrounging around looking for your stuff or going back and forth to the store and the point is crystal clear; an organized garage is a huge money saver.

 

7. Gain More Living Space

1 car garage, central toronto - custom attic mezzanine storage areaFinally, the seventh reason you want to organize your garage is that it will free up more space.   It is all about making your space work.  By properly organizing and structuring your garage storage needs you will end up with more available space.  This will allow you to put more stuff in the garage that you may currently have stored in various locations around the home such as your basement.  For example, consider a growing family.  By optimizing the storage space in the garage, this family could free up enough space in the basement to construct another room.  In other words, by taking the simple step of organizing their garage, this growing family actually created more living space.

 

As you can see organizing your garage has many more benefits than you might have considered.  In many cases, setting up an organized garage could be a life changing event.

 

 

How much is a disorganized garage really costing you?

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Are you a Have or a Have Not? 

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

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HAVE: 1 Car Garage – parks 1 BMW, 7 high performance road bicycles, flip down workbench, all garden tools & seasonal tire storage

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

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

Back right 1 car central toronto garage

HAVE NOT: 1 Car Garage – cluttered, no storage, unable to park family vehicle, lacks organization

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can you and your garage pass the squeeze test?

Back right 1 car central toronto garage 190x143 before

Is your garage causing you stress?

Back right 1 car central toronto garage 190x143 before

Before left wall 1 car garage nov 2011 190w

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spring Cleaning

spring cleaning - garage sale today

spring cleaning - garage sale today

Over the winter months you likely don’t spend a lot of time in the garage. Your main goal is to get from the car into the warmth of the house as quickly as possible, or grab the skis or hockey equipment you need and go. Now the weather has finally warmed up, you might be a little more interested in spending time in the garage doing a little spring cleaning. But more than just a sweep and a mop, you need to switch around the winter stuff to make it easier to access gardening supplies and summer recreation equipment.  If your garage is already organized, this becomes a much easier task.

The stage of life you are at will determine the level of organization and the type of garage storage you need. A couple with no kids around will have very different needs to a family with young children. Let’s explore some different scenarios:

 

The no-children or post-children-at-home couple

This is my situation now, and boy it sure makes a difference to the amount of clutter in our life. I’ve either given away or sold anything that I no longer need and there’s not a lot of new stuff coming in to be stored. I’ve organized my garage into zones for gardening supplies, seasonal decorations, car supplies and my golf clubs. When the season changes I just have to switch the things I’ll need to where I can find them easily. Slatwall with hooks and baskets makes this easy. And anything I won’t need for the next six months I can store away in overhead bins. I then just have to give the flooring a wash with soapy water and a mop and I’m done.

 

The family with growing children

This is the most challenging stage for garage organizing.  There’s bikes of varying sizes, sports equipment, maybe some boxes of old clothes and toys, as well as gardening tools, car accessories and other treasures you just haven’t been able to part with.  It’s time to take stock of what you need and what you can get rid of.   A little cash to be earned from having a garage sale or listing items on Kijiji or Craigslist is a great motivator for kids to help sort through their stuff.  Once you’ve gotten rid of what you no longer need, you can organize the rest.  Hooks, baskets, overhead containers and bicycle racks make it easy.  And before you store away the hockey equipment for the summer, treat it to a professional washing.  Most sports stores offer this service, and you can also check out ProCleanGear and Fresh Gear for more information.

 

The family with aging parents and children away at university

They don’t call this the sandwich generation for nothing.  In the garage, it can feel like your car and your stuff is literally sandwiched between your kids’ and your parents’ stored furniture.  Granted, it’s difficult to part with furniture that has sentimental value – but there are solutions.  Take an honest look and decide if you’ll really ever use it again.  And ask your kids. Most of us gladly furnished our first homes with our parents’ old furniture, but today’s generation seems less willing to.  Sell what you can and look for ways to re-purpose the rest.  An old wooden coffee table or chair could have new life inside your house with a coat or paint or a faux finish.

No matter your age or stage of life, an organized garage can make spring-cleaning a simple task. For more ideas on how to create a garage that fits your life, have a look at my website.

 

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