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.

Find Space for Hard-to-Store Items

overhead storage, kayak or canoe sling

In nearly every garage there are items that pose a serious storage challenge. Winter tires, luggage carriers, leftover siding, lawn mowers, snow blowers, truck caps, motorcycles and other bulky items command a huge chunk of the already limited real estate in a garage. This makes such items particularly difficult to store.

Sports enthusiasts often have additional difficult-to-store items on hand. Paddle boards, kayaks and canoes and sports equipment carriers, like Thules, create additional storage dilemmas.

Many homeowners simply store bulky items on the garage floor perimeter. Eventually over-sized items can take over the garage, leaving one or more vehicles outside during cold, Canadian winters. However, with a bit of forethought, large, unwieldy items can be stored inside the garage while still leaving room to park vehicles.

Specialized Solutions

In response to homeowners’ desires for simple and efficient ways to organize their garages, there is a growing market of specialty items for this express purpose. Below are a few specialized storage solutions designed to store over-sized or bulky items.

Tire racks

tire storage solutions - wall-mounted tire rackSpecialized storage racks come in a variety of configurations, allowing tires to be stored vertically or horizontally, on a wall or overhead. To determine which tire rack is right for your space, first create an overall plan for your garage organization. Then choose the best space to install the tire rack. Tires should be stored horizontally, unless they are being stored in a rack that can store them vertically, while keeping them suspended to avoid flat spots.

A set of tires can easily weigh eighty to one hundred pounds. Therefore, installing the rack securely is critically important. If not properly installed, your garage walls and ceiling can sustain unsightly damage. Make sure that the rack is installed by someone who understands how to safely install a shelf capable of bearing heavy loads.

Lawn mower racks or lifts

garden long handle tools storage - ladder, lawn mower, hose, plant clipper, slatwall, lockable hooks, custom platform, basketBoth riding and push mowers take up substantial space in a garage, making it difficult to park vehicles inside. Worse, vehicles often get scratched when the door is opened, or while the lawn mower is being removed from or returned to the garage.

Specialty racks allow lawn mowers to be stored off the ground, so that additional items can be stored underneath. This type of rack works best for a push mower. Upper body strength is required, since the mower must be manually lifted onto the rack. On the other hand, a motorized lift will cost more and should be professionally installed. However, lifting and lowering the mower will be as easy as pushing a button.

Motorcycle lifts

Motorcycles can also damage vehicles if squeezed into limited garage space. During the cold winter months, a motorcycle stored inside the garage may take up space needed for the snow blower, or to park a second vehicle. A professionally-installed motorcycle lift can safely store the bike off the ground, reserving premium garage floor space.

Kayak and Paddle Board racks

overhead storage, kayak or canoe slingKayaks and paddle boards provide a fun way to spend a hot day at the beach. Finding a place to store these seasonal items in your garage can be anything but fun. Boards and kayaks propped against the wall or around the floor perimeter can easily be scratched or toppled, posing a tripping hazard. However, specialized kayak and paddle board racks provide safe, attractive storage for these items.

Kayaks can be stored in overhead or wall-mounted racks which can hold one or more units. Wall racks typically come in two styles: padded metal bars or straps which hold boards in place. Freestanding racks that hold multiple kayaks are also available.

Stand up paddle board racks also come in several styles. Wall-mounted racks are made of steel and have a heavy padding to protect boards. Depending on the size and style chosen, a metal wall-mounted rack can accommodate from one to four paddle boards. Another option is a wall-mounted rack that uses heavy straps to hold one or more paddle boards in place. Lastly, simple overhead rack systems are also available to store one or more paddle boards.

Overhead pulley systems

Canoes, truck caps and other heavy items which must be lowered onto a vehicle are good candidates for an overhead pulley system. Such a system allows users to lift and lower heavy items with minimal effort. To ensure that your system operates safely and will not damage your ceiling, have your unit professionally installed.

Customized Solutions

Despite the growing market to accommodate specialty storage, there isn’t always a ready-to-buy solution available at your local home improvement or sporting goods store. Additionally, on-the-shelf storage solutions may not be practical for the layout of your garage. In such instances, customized storage solutions are required.

1 car garage, central Toronto - attic mezzanine overhead storage for 1.5 storey garageCustom-built, overhead platforms

A custom-built overhead platform or mezzanine provides the perfect place to store items used infrequently without sacrificing floor space. Store-purchased units don’t always accommodate your unique space or fit your specific needs. However, a custom-built, overhead storage platform offers greater possibilities and more flexibility. A garage renovation specialist will work with you to create a solution that meets your exact needs.

Custom-built slings

garage-storage-solutions-overhead-thule-pulley-rackThere are a variety of pulley systems and slings on the market. Finding one that can safely accommodate your space and lifestyle can be a bit more challenging. A garage renovation expert who is experienced at building custom solutions can design a sling that meets your storage and use needs.

Foam-covered, heavy-duty chains can be used to create a simple, effective sling suitable for lifting and lowering items like canoes, sports equipment storage containers and truck caps.

Finding space in the garage for those hard-to-store items can present a challenge. Storing items around the perimeter of the garage floor eats up valuable space and makes it difficult to park vehicles inside. There are a variety of specialized and custom-built storage solutions for bulky items. Consult with a garage renovation expert to determine how to best integrate such solutions into your space.

Creative Solutions to Four Unique Garage Storage Challenges

In my last post we addressed two storage challenges you might be might be facing in your garage. Storing oversized items like building materials, winter tires and canoes can be a real pain. This problem is compounded if you have lots of space that feels “unusable,” like tight, odd corners or wasted overhead space.

We discussed four ways to make use of “unusable” space in your garage: custom-built overhead platforms; custom-built or customizable cabinetry; custom-built slings; and other custom-built options. Now let’s explore how Nuvo Garage has used these creative solutions to combat storage issues.

Client Dilemma #1: Cluttered garage with wasted overhead space

retractable attic ladder garage mezzanineThe client’s garage had become a cluttered space where the family dumped anything that didn’t have a designated space or that they weren’t using. The garage had finished walls and a peaked ceiling, but not much else. The family needed room to park one car and all of their bicycles, tools and assorted sports equipment.

Garage Storage Solution: A snazzy second-floor mezzanine

To create the storage space that these clients required, we took advantage of the peaked ceiling by constructing an overhead rear wall mezzanine. We framed the mezzanine with a glass and aluminum railing for safety. A retractable ladder was installed to allow access to the mezzanine without sacrificing floor space. See the complete transformation here.

Client Dilemma #2: An outside-the-box storage solution that didn’t quite work

rear wall, overhead storage with glass safety railing 1024x768The clients had already purchased a car lift to be used as a “second story” of storage. While it did provide a bit more storage space, this option didn’t meet the clients’ needs. They needed a viable storage solution that would allow them to take advantage of the considerable ceiling height in their garage.

Garage Storage Solution: A second-story storage space accessible via car lift

We incorporated the car lift that the clients had already purchased into the design. Rather than using the car lift to store additional items, it serves as a lift to raise people and things from the ground floor to the second-story mezzanine. Two tables were built to create additional workspaces on the second-story mezzanine. The raised platform was framed with an elegant, tempered-glass railing. This was important to the clients because the raised platform can be seen through the garage door window.

Client Dilemma #3: Oversized items were taking the garage over

2 car garage oakville overhead storage platform slatwall organization system hooks camlock baskets tire storage racks afterThe clients were busy professionals with a young family and lots of oversized items to store. They required storage for two sets of winter tires, a Thule roof rack and leftover house siding in addition to the family’s bicycles and all of the other typical items one stores in a garage. The walls were bare, concrete block, so the family stored all of their items on the floor around the perimeter of the garage. This only permitted them to park one of their two vehicles inside the garage.

Garage Storage Solution: Rack ‘em up

First, we framed the concrete block walls and installed slatwall so that the family could neatly store bikes, balls, tools and more on hooks and shelves as well as wall-mounted baskets. We installed two racks on the wall, each with the capacity to hold a complete set of winter tires. A custom-built ceiling platform was installed to store the leftover siding safely overhead. Finally, a custom-built sling was created to keep the Thule roof rack stored overhead and out of the way. Yet, the sling also made lowering the rack onto the vehicle a breeze. See the full transformation here.

Client Dilemma #4: 1 Car garage needs to store 7 bikes and a BMW

after - garage wall storage - household supplies - 1 car garage - North TorontoThe client had never parked in his narrow, one-car garage. As an avid cyclist, he owned seven bicycles that had to be stored in the garage. Additionally, the family had garden tools and a variety of other items that required storage. When the client purchased a new BMW, he wanted to park it safely in the garage while also finding space for all of his other important items. The client also had a challenging item on his wish list for the garage: a workbench for bike maintenance and repair.

Garage Storage Solution: Custom shelving and a hideaway workbench

To achieve the client’s goals, we used nearly every square inch of available space in the garage. Custom shelving attached to the sidewalls creates a wealth of storage space for bike repair and gardening tools and accessories. Workbench for One Car GarageAdditional storage space for seldom-used items was created by installing custom-built overhead storage platforms. Though the garage was narrow, it was deep enough to accommodate the storage of five bikes hung vertically on the back wall and the storage of two others on a sidewall horizontally. See the remarkable transformation here.

Are oversized items or “unusable” spaces creating a storage challenge in your garage? Discover the amazing results you’ll get when we use creative solutions to transform your garage.

Four Ways to Make Use of “Unusable” Space in Your Garage

rear wall, overhead storage with glass safety railing 1024x768

Several items are commonly stored in garages: gardening tools, automotive supplies and winter weather accessories. Yet, the configuration of your garage, the space available therein and the items you store there are unique to your individual lifestyle. Let’s explore two common issues that frequently create a storage challenge in garages.

Storing Oversized Items in Your Garage

When clients are unable to park their cars inside the garage, it’s usually due to one of the following reasons:

  • Too many items stored in the garage;
  • Oversized items have taken over the garage;
  • Inefficient use of available space.

retractable attic ladder garage mezzanineIn this post, we’ll address the last two issues: storing oversized items and making efficient use of available space, since these two issues are frequently connected.

Is the storage of winter tires, kayaks, building materials or other bulky, oversized items preventing you from parking in your garage?

If so, you’re not alone. Whether you have a small, one-car garage or a large three-car one, your garage contains a finite amount of space. Yet, as the years go by, we continue to acquire what feels like an infinite amount of goods; most of which, ends up vying for space in the garage.

Periodically, it’s a good idea to assess what’s in your garage and eliminate unnecessary items. Purging your garage of unneeded items frees up valuable storage space. Still, the unusual size and bulky nature of items like canoes or leftover house siding make it difficult to store them in the garage without impeding the car’s entry.

What’s a frustrated homeowner to do?

Make Use of “Unusable” Space in Your Garage

rear wall, overhead storage with glass safety railing 1024x768Is your garage saddled with “unusable” spaces like high ceilings or oddly-shaped corners? Is your central vacuum sitting smack in the middle of a wall where you’d like to install a bank of cabinets? These types of situations create storage challenges that homeowners find extremely frustrating.

However, as a garage renovation specialist, I know that these challenges are easily overcome by applying creative storage solutions. Here are four possible creative solutions to storing your oversized items:

Custom-built overhead platforms – Looking for a solution to the dilemma of what to do with oversized items? Just look up. Many garages have open space overhead that seems “unusable.” However, a custom-built, overhead platform creates the perfect place to store items that aren’t frequently used. If the garage ceiling is high enough, a full mezzanine can be built across the back wall of the garage which allows for another level of storage and workspace.

hercke garage cabinets - wall storage systemsCustom-built or customizable cabinetry – Perhaps you’d like to install cabinets along the back wall of your garage, but a recessed or curved wall makes it difficult? Nuvo Garage has met this challenge by either custom-building cabinetry designed to fit that unique space or by installing cabinetry with customizable design options. A poorly located central vacuum can either be relocated or hidden inside of a cabinet. The final result is aesthetically-pleasing cabinets that have nice, clean lines, even when the walls behind them don’t.

Custom-built slings – Canoes and rooftop sports equipment carriers for your vehicle provide an additional challenge. overhead storage, kayak or canoe slingAn overhead platform would provide storage space. However, the item would be difficult to access. A better option is a custom-built, overhead storage sling. Sturdy chains are used to provide maximum holding power. In the case of a canoe sling, the chains are covered to protect the finish of the canoe as it is lowered or hoisted into place overhead.

Other custom-built options – In a small, tight garage it’s nearly impossible to add a traditional workbench. However, a custom-built workbench that is tucked in an otherwise unusable corner or that folds up against the wall when not in use fits perfectly in a limited space.

There are many creative storage solutions available. However, it can be difficult to visualize how those solutions might work in your space. In the next post, we’ll explore specific storage challenges and examine the creative solutions used to resolve them.

Want to see how Nuvo Garage can fix your garage storage dilemma? Request your consultation today.

Creative Solutions for Storing Sporting Goods in Your Garage

overhead storage, kayak or canoe sling

The change of season presents a challenge when it comes to garage storage. Last time we talked about creative solutions for bike storage. However, now that it’s officially summer, the bikes probably aren’t the only sports equipment taking over your garage.

Balls, bats, knee pads and helmets abound. Yet, you can never find the piece of equipment you need. The absence of designated storage space is usually the culprit.

Most homeowners want an organized garage with designated space for everything. However, in a typical garage consisting of three blank walls, it’s tough to accomplish. That’s where a garage renovation specialist can be invaluable.

A garage renovation specialist will help you determine your family’s storage needs now and in the future, based on your lifestyle. Your garage design pro can devise a plan that fits the way you live and then make those plans a reality.

Let’s explore storage options available for the sports equipment you use throughout the year.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

sports equipment storage slatwall camlock hooks baskets mesh netting bins shelves balls skates rollerblades skateboards golf clubs camping gearEvery sport has a variety of required accessories. Some are small, making them easier to store. Unfortunately, it also makes them easier to lose. Ever spent an afternoon hunting down a pair of shin guards or someone’s “lucky” ball? Have you ever purchased a second (or third) pair of baseball gloves because the first pair went missing? It’s a common occurrence. Yet, there’s a better way.

Nuvo Garage uses a professional-grade garage wall organization system to maximize storage space. Strong, durable, grooved slatwall panels are the basis for the wall organization system. Since this grade of slatwall is waterproof as well as mold and mildew-resistant, it’s tough enough to weather Canada’s four seasons. Slatwall panels are installed on the existing wall. They can even be installed over a concrete or brick surface. Camlock hooks, wire baskets, specialty racks and shelving in a variety of sizes can be inserted into the grooves. This makes the system highly configurable.

A basket can be installed on a back wall for storing balls and other items. Since the slatwall accessories are easily interchangeable, you can dedicate a basket to a single sport and/or individual. For instance, the baseball basket takes the primary position during baseball season. In winter, shift this basket to a more obscure location and put the ski accessory basket front and center.

Skateboards, Scooters, Skis and More…Oh my!

sports equipment storage slatwall camlock hooks baskets mesh netting bins surf boards skateboards rollerblades helmetWhat about storage options for items too big to fit neatly in wire baskets? Skateboards, scooters, baseball bats, lacrosse sticks, rollerblades and other sports equipment cause a tripping hazard when strewn carelessly in the garage. These items also need designated storage space.

The flexibility and configurability of slatwall makes storing these items simple. Skateboards can be suspended from their wheels flat against the wall or hung horizontally. Scooters, hung by their handlebars, can lay flat against the wall. sports-equipment-storage-slatwall-camlock-hooks-water-skis-snowboards-snowshoes-1024x768Baseball bats, hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks, rollerblades and anything with a hole or a straight edge can easily hang from lockable Camlock hooks secured to the slatwall. Specialized accessories make it easy to hang snowboards and other items.

Golf equipment can be secured against slatwall, too. Camlock lockable hooks are sturdy enough to support heavy golf bags and other sports equipment. Not keen on the idea of your beloved golf clubs and bag being suspended from a hook? Consider adding a lockable golf cabinet where your golf equipment and shoes can be securely stored.

Large Item Storage That Won’t Rock the Boat

overhead-storage-kayak-canoe-sling-1024x768Large sporting goods like kayaks, paddle boards and roof racks designed for carrying bike and ski equipment require lots of real estate in your garage. Their size, coupled with their limited, seasonal use make them excellent candidates for overhead storage.

High garage ceilings have lots of wasted space which can easily be converted to make room for storing kayaks, canoes, roof racks and paddle boards. Your garage designer can build a sturdy sling for these specialized items which will allow you to raise and lower them whenever needed.

Overhead storage is ideal during the winter months when kayaks and canoes aren’t in use. However, during the summer season, when these items see frequent use, kayaks and canoes can be secured to slatwall using specialty hooks and accessories.

A garage wall storage system that uses slatwall as its base is highly versatile and can be configured to accommodate your active lifestyle during any season of the year.

The space in your garage is limited. Still, the storage capacity of any garage can be increased with an organizational plan that’s designed to fit your family’s unique needs. Nuvo Garage sells a professional-grade slatwall organization system for do-it-yourselfers who prefer to tackle their own installation. However, we specialize in full-service garage transformations.

Tired of sifting through a jumble of sports equipment in your garage? Contact a garage renovation specialist to discover creative ways to store your sports equipment.

Reclaim Your Garage with Creative Bike Storage Solutions

sports equipment storage slatwall camlock hooks baskets mesh netting bins shelves balls skates rollerblades skateboards golf clubs camping gear

Summer hasn’t officially begun and already you find yourself climbing over bicycles to get into the house. Worse, perhaps you’ve run over a bicycle left in the driveway.

It’s difficult to find room in the typical garage for everything your family needs to store. No wonder homeowners often surrender the garage to their kids’ bikes during the summer months. However, surrender isn’t the only option. An organized garage that can accommodate your active family and your vehicles is possible.

The storage capacity of any garage can be increased. However, your family’s lifestyle dictates your storage needs. So the first step to finding the right bike storage solution for you is to assess your family’s overall needs.

Determining Your Family’s Needs

In addition to parking your vehicles and safely storing the family’s bikes, you might also require space for tools and gardening utensils. Perhaps you’d like a workbench or space to store the kayak you’ve always wanted. Your garage renovation plan should accommodate all of these factors. If that seems overwhelming, consider hiring a garage renovation specialist to devise and execute your plan.

Once you’ve got the complete plan in mind, it’s time to choose a bike storage option that works for your family’s lifestyle. Let’s review three possible storage solutions to see which one will work best for you.

schoolyard-style-floor-standing-4-bike-rack-1024x768Schoolyard Style Bike Rack

Remember riding your bike to school and locking it to the bike rack? A similar style of bike rack can be used in your garage. The traditional (or schoolyard-style) bike rack is easy for kids to use. They simply roll the front wheel into the rack and engage the kickstand.

However, the traditional rack has a large footprint, requiring lots of valuable floor space. A schoolyard-style bike rack requires enough space to accommodate the rack and the bikes that will be stored there. This style of bike rack works well, if you have a deep garage with sufficient space along the back wall. schoolyard-style-floor-standing-bike-rack-1024x768Another option is to park one vehicle outside and utilize that space for the bike rack during the bike riding season.

As garage renovation specialists, our goal is to help you store all of your bikes and vehicles inside of the garage. However, over the summer, some clients choose to park one vehicle outside in order to make bicycles easily accessible to small children. During the winter months, the bikes are stored along the wall or overhead so that the vehicle can return to its space inside the garage.

Horizontal Bike Storage

A second option is to hang the bicycles flat against the wall. horizontal-bike-storage-on-slatwall-camlock-hooks-102x768This requires the installation of strong, durable slatwall panels which come in a variety of attractive colours. When paired with compatible Camlock hooks, shelves, baskets or racks, slatwall creates a completely customizable organizational system.

Bike racks can be inserted into the slatwall to hold each bicycle. The bike must be lifted onto the rack. Therefore, the height and physical ability of each rider determine the height at which the slatwall and racks are installed.

Since the bikes hang flat against the wall, horizontal storage is ideal for sidewalls. Another option, which also relies on slatwall panels, is hanging bikes vertically.

Vertical Bike Storage

slatwall camlock hook rear wall vertical bike rack storageAs with horizontal wall storage, storing a bike on the wall vertically requires lifting the bike. However, since vertical wall storage requires that the front tire be hung on a hook, lifting the bicycle this way is physically challenging.

Vertical bike storage can be quite attractive. However, because of the strength required, it isn’t recommended for anyone with weaker upper body strength, including young children. Some families use vertical bike storage to store bikes during the winter months while using a traditional, schoolyard-style rack for the summer months.

When storing bikes on the wall vertically, the full height of the bike extends from the wall. Therefore, vertical bike storage is usually only recommended for back walls. If installed on a side wall, the extension of the bikes might impede vehicles from entering the garage.

Overhead Bike Storage

overhead-motorized-pulley-5--bike-rack-storage-system-lowered-1024x768Look up for the third option. The area overhead in a garage is often wasted space, but it has lots of potential. However, since it isn’t easily accessed, overhead space is typically reserved for storing items not frequently used.

Sounds great for storing bikes during the winter months, but is it feasible for the months when your bikes are in constant use? Absolutely! Bike pulley systems enable bikes to be stored overhead and easily accessed. Motorized pulley systems can store up to five bikes. Many feature one-touch control, so anyone can operate them.

overhead-motorized-pulley-5--bike-rack-storage-system-1024x768Overhead bike storage is an excellent use of wasted overhead space. However, in order to install the five-bike overhead pulley system, the ceiling height must accommodate the height of the bicycles plus allow for 60-inches of clearance. Since this type of overhead pulley system requires a high ceiling, it isn’t right for every garage.

An alternate option for overhead storage is the two-bike pulley system which stores the bikes overhead flat against the ceiling. Therefore, it doesn’t require as much clearance space.2-bike-ceiling-mounted-motorized-pulley-storage-system-768x1024

Which bike storage solution is right for you? A garage renovation specialist will help you choose a creative bike storage solution that fits your space and unique lifestyle.

However, bikes aren’t the only sports equipment stored in the garage. Next time we’ll discuss creative solutions for organizing the other sporting goods stored in your garage.

 

Five Ways to Maximize Garage Storage

1.5 car garage, etobicoke - overhead platform storage, garage cabinets, slatwall organization system, camlock camlok hooks, polyaspartic floor, cement block coating - before

There are a few basic steps that will help you create a neat, organized garage. Last time we discussed the first step, creating related zones in your garage. We discovered why it makes sense to create separate zones for auto accessories, household supplies, garden tools, garbage and recycling bins, tools and workstations and sporting equipment. Now let’s discuss how to keep the items in each zone neat and organized by using a variety of tools and accessories designed just for this purpose.

Slatwall – The Key to Getting Everything Off of Your Garage Floor

1_5-car-garage-etobicoke-overhead-platform-storage-garage-cabinets-slatwall-organization-system-camlock-camlok-hooks-polyaspartic-floor-cement-block-coating-afterMaybe you’ve never heard of slatwall, but you’ve probably seen it in your local retail store. It wasn’t the item being sold. However, it was likely used as the base for the baskets and hooks that held merchandise. Slatwall (also called slotwall and slat board) isn’t limited to use by retailers anymore. It is frequently used in garages as a hanging system that enables homeowners to get everything off of the garage floor.

Slatwall comes in panels which are installed on the walls of the garage. The grooves in the slatwall hold hooks, baskets and other organizational products and give the homeowner the freedom to easily move these items as needed.

Your local big-box store might sell a basic slatwall system. However, slatwall sold there is typically composed of MDF. It doesn’t have the durability and weight-bearing capacity of sturdier, PVC-based slatwall available to professional garage renovation specialists and other contractors.

Getting professional-grade slatwall installed provides the base for organization in each zone of your garage.

Baskets and Hooks

Once professional-grade slatwall panels are installed on your garage walls, corresponding baskets and hooks can be inserted into the grooves. These baskets and hooks will provide wall storage for everything ranging from garden tools and sports equipment to snow shovels and bicycles.

Just think of all of the possibilities!

Rather than the garage being a dumping ground for everyone’s in-line skates or softball equipment, each item can be hung neatly in its designated spot. You won’t spend half an hour searching for your snow brush when the first snow of winter hits unexpectedly. Instead, you can walk right over to the automotive zone in your garage and take the snow brush of its hook.

Best of all, since the hooks and baskets can be easily moved, you can adjust the configuration to better accommodate the items you’re storing at various times of the year.

Shelving

Slatwall can also accommodate shelving. Like the corresponding baskets and hooks, the shelving used with slatwall can also be relocated at any time. This provides endless possibilities for storage on your garage walls.

Shelving can be particularly useful when it comes to storing window washing fluid, automotive fluids, household chemicals or flower pots. Create shelves high on the wall to store items that should be kept out of the reach of pets and children. Create low shelves for items that should be easily accessible to children.

Overhead Storage Solutions

One area frequently overlooked for garage storage is the space overhead. However, with a bit of imagination and essential expertise, the overhead space in your garage can safely store household items that aren’t frequently accessed, like seasonal tires, holiday decorations or roof racks used for carrying luggage or sporting equipment. Bicycles, kayaks, leftover wood or siding and other large, bulky items can also be stored overhead with the right custom solutions.

Overhead storage solutions can be tricky to handle on your own. A variety of factors must be considered: height, clearance and weight-bearing capacity, to name a few. If you aren’t completely confident about designing and installing heavy overhead storage solutions, contract a professional garage renovation specialist to handle a job of this magnitude instead.

Custom-built Storage Solutions

You can purchase any number of pre-built storage cabinets, workbenches and overhead shelves for your garage at your local big-box store. However, you’re limited to the sizes and configurations that they have available. If you have unique challenges in your garage, like curved walls or odd spaces, you might find it difficult to incorporate pre-made storage cabinets into your space. However, a garage renovation specialist can assess your space and custom-build cabinetry and workbenches to perfectly fit your lifestyle as well as the unique spaces of your garage.

An organized, functional garage is only a few steps away. Start by creating related storage zones. Then, give everything a specified place within its zone. And finally, be sure to return items to their designated spaces after each use.

Want the gorgeous garage, but don’t quite have the time to make it happen? Contact a professional garage renovation specialist to explore the possibilities.

How to Safely Store Chemicals in Your Garage

garage storage - household supplies, shelving, door, house, finished garage walls

Last time we talked about items that should never be stored in your garage. However, care must be exercised with another group of materials that often find a home in our garages—chemicals. Quick, think of all of the chemicals currently stored in your garage. There are probably household chemicals like cleaners; chemicals for the maintenance of your car, like anti-freeze and window washing fluid; and gardening chemicals, like pesticides and fertilizers. If you have a pool, you have a host of additional chemicals stored in your garage.

While all of the chemicals listed above are commonly found in garages, they can be the source of household accidents if not stored properly. Let’s consider a few precautions needed to protect your home and family when storing chemicals.

Keep Hazardous Chemicals Out of Reach

garage storage - household supplies, shelving, door, house, finished garage wallsAnimals and small children are notoriously curious. This can serve a child well in many ways. However, a child or pet’s natural curiosity combined with improper storage of chemicals in a garage can turn deadly. Therefore, all chemicals should be stored well out of reach of children and pets. Consider not only a child’s height, but children’s propensity to climb. Make sure that chemicals aren’t easily accessible if the child climbs on a shelf or nearby crate. This is especially true of chemicals like window washing fluid and antifreeze which resemble colorful drinks.

Keep chemicals off of the ground and well out of reach of children and pets to ensure their safety and prevent accidental poisoning.

Store Chemicals in the Proper Containers

As a general rule, chemicals should always be stored in their original containers. However, there might be an occasion when you need to store a chemical in another container. For instance, you might borrow paint thinner from your next door neighbor. Rather than taking the entire container, you pour a few ounces in an old water bottle or some other discarded food container. When you’re done with the project, you store what’s left of the chemical on a shelf in your garage. Doing so could potentially lead to accidental poisoning if a child mistakes that paint thinner for what’s actually on the label.

Additionally, certain chemicals can only be stored in particular types of containers. For instance some chemicals will corrode a metal container or eat through a thin plastic one. Read the label and store the chemical according the manufacturer’s instructions.

Properly Label Chemicals

Let’s say that you stored a clear liquid chemical in a suitable jar or bottle, but didn’t bother to label it. Now it’s two years later. You’re looking for paint thinner and you happen across the unmarked container. You think it’s paint solvent, but you’re not sure. Maybe it’s something else altogether. While many household chemicals have fairly distinct smells, others do not. Besides, sniffing a noxious chemical isn’t the safest way to determine what it is. Labeling all of the chemicals stored in your garage ensures that you know exactly what you’re dealing with.

Invest in a Lockable Chemical Storage Cabinet

Earlier, we talked about keeping chemicals stored out of the reach of children and pets. A high shelf can work well, but a lockable storage cabinet works better. It doesn’t have to be huge, or take up valuable garage floor space. There are a variety of options available, from cabinets with a small footprint to those that can be installed on a wall.

Poisonous, highly-flammable chemicals are found in most homes and garages. They play a critical role in keeping our homes clean, our cars well-maintained and our gardens lush and green. However, to protect your home and family, you must safely store such chemicals. Keep household and other chemicals out of the reach of children and pets. Store chemicals in appropriate containers, preferably the container in which it came. If the label on the original container loosens, secure it with tape. If you must store the chemical in another container, ensure that it is properly labelled. If possible, invest in a lockable cabinet suitable for storing chemicals.

If the configuration of your garage, or the volume of items you currently have stored in it, makes it difficult for you to properly store chemicals, contact a garage organization specialist who can help.

Five Things You Should Never Store in Your Garage

Do not store propane tanks in the garage

The garage often becomes a dumping ground for everything. Seasonal items, like Christmas lights and snow sleds. Items that have outlived their usefulness, like old tires and bikes children have outgrown. Items you never really wanted in the first place, like the table you inherited from your favorite aunt or materials for a project you always meant to get around to, but probably never will.

Storing the items listed above in your garage might not be aesthetically pleasing, but otherwise poses no problem. However, the garage often becomes home to a number of materials that shouldn’t be stored there. In some cases, it’s because the material poses a danger to your health and safety. In other cases, storing the item in the garage will render it useless. With that in mind, here are five things you should never store in your garage.

1. Propane Tanks

Do not store propane tanks in the garageWho doesn’t love a good barbecue? After all, cooking outdoors with family and friends can be fun. You already know that you should never grill inside your garage—even in the winter.  Maybe you didn’t know that when you store your grill in the garage for winter it’s best to leave that propane tank outside.

Frequently, the valve on a propane tank isn’t completely closed when stored. Occasionally, propane tanks leak. Propane gas leaking in your enclosed garage can cause a fire or explosion. Rather than risk it, consider storing your propane tank outside in a secure, enclosed space, like a backyard shed. 

2. Clothing and Linens

There are many reasons clothing and linens might need to be stored. Sweaters and coats take up too much space in drawers and closets during spring and summer. Bedding, too, is often changed seasonally, requiring storage in off-seasons. However, your garage isn’t the place to store those items.

Especially in the colder months, animals seek cozy places to burrow and make nests. If a raccoon or skunk wanders into your garage, the last thing you want is for him to feel at home and bring his family and friends. A box of sweaters or bedding left on the floor of your garage could easily become home to a family of unwanted guests. Instead, find someplace inside your home to store clothing and linens.

Wherever you decide to keep seasonal clothing and bedding, consider storing it in sealed plastic containers that will keep animals and insects out.

3. Paper Products

A growing number of families are adopting an environmentally-conscious lifestyle, which is to be applauded. For many, going green includes recycling, which is beneficial for the planet and can have a positive impact on your family’s budget. However, if done improperly, recycling can cause headaches and an added expense—pest control.

Store stacks of old newspaper and other paper goods in your garage and you’re extending an invitation to mice and other pests to come on in and get cozy. Discarded newspapers, paper plates and any other paper goods make great building materials for nests or a ready-made, toasty warm spot to sleep and raise a rodent family.

4. Fresh Food

Looking for a cool place to store root vegetables, dog food, bird seed or foods packaged in cardboard boxes? The garage might seem like an ideal and convenient place for these food items. Problem is, animals and insects find it pretty convenient, too. If keeping the two previous items in your garage makes it a potential hotel for mice, stockpiling food there makes it a luxury hotel with a five-star restaurant. Good for pests; not so good for you. Find a place to store food items inside your home instead.

5. Temperature-Sensitive Items

While we’re on the subject of consumable items, wine is another that should never be stored in your garage. Wine is temperature-sensitive. Your garage might seem like the perfect place to store cases of wine. However, the temperature in an unheated garage can fluctuate substantially. Exposure to extreme heat can potentially damage the composition and color of wine stored in your garage, making it unpalatable. This makes for a disappointing and potentially expensive loss.

Wine is best stored in a climate-controlled space. However, it isn’t the only item that’s sensitive to temperature. House paints stored in your garage can also be ruined by extreme temperature fluctuation. The extreme heat and cold to which a typical Canadian garage is subject will cause a marked change in the consistency of the paint, ruining it. Some paints separate, like oil and vinegar in salad dressing. Only in the case of paint, you’ll be left with a curdled, unusable mess.

Leftover paint is best stored in a cool, dry basement. If that isn’t an option, look for another space inside your home that is temperature-controlled and has limited moisture. Before you put those cans of paint away, record the color information somewhere safe, in case you need to have another batch made.

There are a variety of items that can be safely stored in your garage. However, for your health and safety, it’s best not to store your propane tank, clothing and linens, paper goods, food or temperature-sensitive items like wine or paint among them.

Looking to maximize the storage space in your garage for items that do make the cut? Contact a garage renovation specialist to set your garage organizational project in motion.

Seasonal Tire Storage

tire storage solutions - mounted overhead tire storage

It’s that time of year again; time to move your tires in and out.  Of course some choose to simply store their seasonal tires at an offsite location.  However, a large majority choose to store their tires at home in their garages.  At the same time, there are some homeowners who choose to do both, store the set of tires for one vehicle offsite and the tires for a second or third vehicle at home in the garage. This article is for those who choose to utilize their garage space for seasonal tire storage.

tire storage solutions - custom overhead tire storage platformThere are a few factors to consider when discussing tire storage.  One of the most important issues you want to keep in mind is that of protecting the integrity of your tire. As you probably know, it is never a good idea to store the tire vertically in the same spot over an extended period of time.  Storing a tire on its running surface (with or without rims) tends to leave a flat spot in your tire that may result in damage the tire.

Another factor to consider is the weight of the tire.  Obviously a seasonal tire with rims is significantly heavier than a tire without rims.  Even so, the weight of a tire without rims may be a bit much for some people to hoist up to an overhead platform.  You want to tailor your storage solutions to your situation, especially with bulky or heavy items such as seasonal tire. 

tire storage solutions - mounted overhead tire storageTire storage options can be classified into two main categories: horizontal storage and vertical storage.  Horizontal storage is exactly what it sounds like.  You simply place your tires flat.  The tires are either placed on a platform or they may even be stacked in the corner on the floor. Horizontal storage as an option applies to both tires with rims and tires without rims. Depending on your needs, you may decide you don’t like your tires sitting on the floor all winter and would feel much better if they were on a platform out of the way.  Also remember that whatever tire storage solution you are pondering, at least moving them off of the floor frees up some more floor space for you to use.

tire storage solutions - wall-mounted tire rackOne space-saving solution to examine if it works for your garage is that of vertical tire storage.  Storing tires vertically means they are installed in a rack. The rack is then conveniently mounted in an optimum location to maximize your other storage options while still allowing access to your tires.  Note that vertical storage is available both for tires with rims and for tires without rims.  If you are looking around your garage and want to know if a vertical storage rack would work for you, simply take 4 times the width of your tires, which is the lateral distance or width of the rack (plus hardware needs).  Then, measure the diameter of the tire, that number is the approximate depth you will need for a vertical tire storage rack.  As you can see, the vertical tire storage option gets the tires out of the way in a compact and contained space. 

Whichever option you choose for your seasonal tire storage needs, there is a storage solution that can fit your garage.  When you decide to renovate your garage that is an excellent time to evaluate your tire storage needs and options.

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