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.

How much is a disorganized garage really costing you?

1 car garage parks bmw plus 7 high end bicycles, portable workshop and all tools

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.

1 car garage parks bmw plus 7 high end bicycles, portable workshop and all tools

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?

Professional Storage Solutions – Overhead Storage

1 car garage - central toronto - back attic style mezzanine area

1 car garage - central toronto - back attic style mezzanine areaIf you are a regular reader of my blogs, you’ll know that I write a lot about finding storage space in the garage that isn’t obvious. One of my favourite places to store things is on the ceiling. Many garages, especially in newly built homes, have high ceilings (10-14 feet) that can accommodate shelving and platforms. To conclude my series of blogs on doing it yourself versus hiring a professional garage company, I’ll talk about ways to create room for storage in this often neglected area of the garage.
 

ready-made overhead storageThe big box option

If you check out the offerings at the big box stores, you’ll likely find limited choice, if any at all. All I’ve found there is a 4-x4-foot steel rack that can be attached to the ceiling. This doesn’t provide much storage space and because it is open on all sides, this makes it difficult to reach items stored in the middle. Also, this option often doesn’t support a lot of weight.

 

overhead storage - bulky gear - canoe slingDo-it-yourself

If you want to store a lot of items overhead, you can do it yourself by building wooden shelves and platforms.  It’s do-able, but you need to be confident in your skills. You need to understand weight and load to ensure it’s safe. You’ll also need the right tools and a vehicle big enough to transport wood and sheets of plywood. The other option is to order overhead storage from an online retailer, but then you run into the costs of shipping and duty if it has to come across the border.

 


Consult a
professional

tire storage solutions - custom overhead tire storage platform

Using a professional garage company, such as Nuvo Garage, provides multiple options. If you want to go with ready-made, we offer a sturdy 4-x-8 foot steel storage rack. We install it securely into the ceiling joists and the poles can extend from 16 to 34 inches. It will take up to 750 lbs of weight.

Steel racks are great for spaces such as over the garage door and for storing seasonal items that you don’t need access to on a regular basis. But they are also limiting because the size will not adjust to use all of the available space. If you choose customized overhead storage, the possibilities are almost endless.

Custom overhead wood platforms allow us to design and build shelving that is safe and can store many heavy items such as tires. We can design shelving or platforms to make use of odd-shaped corners and maximize cubic storage area of any garage. Our custom platforms are attached to the ceiling with aircraft cable. This allows the shelf to support significantly more weight than anything you could purchase retail. We can then finish the underside with melamine or drywall, and even install pot lights to add focused lighting.

If you’re thinking about renovating your garage, decide on your budget and weigh your options carefully. If you’re handy at all, doing it yourself may seem like an obvious choice. But doing a full garage renovation can be as much work as a basement or kitchen, so a professional can help you save time as well as a headache or two.

 

Professional Storage Solutions – Cabinets

hercke garage cabinets - lockable storage systems

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

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


Variety

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

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


Flexiblity

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

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


Quality

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

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

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

hercke garage cabinets - beautiful garage storage & workstation

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

 

Professional Storage Solutions – Slatwall Organization Systems

garden long handle tools storage - ladder, lawn mower, hose, plant clipper, slatwall, lockable hooks, custom platform, basket

thomas transformation, 2 car garage beaches - slatwall organizers, hooks, garden tools, afterChoosing the right storage products is essential to ensuring your possessions are kept neatly and safely. This is where the quality of the products you choose really matters. The last thing you want is to risk damage to your car or your family from tools or storage containers that might fall off improperly secured hooks or unstable shelving.

The first thing to look at when choosing garage storage is a way to hang things on the wall. As I’ve mentioned before, the secret to an organized garage is having a place to hang everything and get it off the floor. But not all wall storage is created equal. There are degrees of quality and unfortunately you just aren’t going to find top quality at a big-box do-it-yourself store.

 

Choosing quality slatwall storage

It’s difficult to tell the difference on visual inspection, but the slatwall that’s sold in retail stores is not built to the same standards as slatwall used by professional garage firms such as Nuvo Garage. Our slatwall is made of heavy-duty PVC, which holds a large amount of weight and stands up to moisture. The typical big-box slatwall is made of MDF, which is a wood fibre product. You can install it and hang your things on it and it will look good and work well for a while, but it won’t hold the weight and can’t withstand the moisture over time so it will eventually start to break down.

 

Advantages of PVC professional-quality slatwall

Our slatwall comes in 1 ft x 8 ft panels. This makes it much easier to handle as well as more customizable to fit your space. Sometimes you just need a small section of slatwall to store a few tools or to fit into a recess in the garage wall. It also comes in a variety of colours to match with shelving and floors. It also comes with matching trim to create a finished look and protect the exposed ends from nicks. The screws are even colour-coded to make for a more seamless look.

 

Hooks, shelving and baskets

slatwall - wall organizers, wood grain, hooks, garden toolsOnce the slatwall is installed you can think about what accessories you need to organize your items. The beauty of slatwall is you can add or change the amount of storage you have over time by adding more panels and adding or changing the shelving and hook options.

You can hang anything with a hole in the handle. That means gardening tools, sports equipment, recycling bins and even something as heavy as a lawn mower. Nuvo Garage uses the unique Camlok system. The hooks lock firmly into the slatwall and you don’t have to worry about them falling off. They’re also removable because they don’t screw into the slatwall like the big-box store hooks. This is handy when you’re rearranging your wall hooks to accommodate winter or summer tools and toys. You can easily remove the hook and place it somewhere else. Our shelves use Camlok too, as well as our baskets. Baskets are a great way to store things such as balls, sports equipment, car accessories and even antifreeze and heavy bags of salt. 

If you’re planning to stay put in your home for a while and you want a garage renovation that will stand the test of time, consider investing in a quality product. I guarantee it will save you time and money in the future.

 

Open vs. Closed Garage Storage

thomas transformation, 2 car garage beaches - slatwall organizers, hooks, garden tools, after

We’ve talked about purging your garage and getting rid of what you don’t need to keep; now it’s time to think about how to organize what’s remaining.

slatwall - wall organizers, grey, drywall, hooks, garden toolsThis is when you really need to reflect a little on your storage personality: Is it open or closed? Take a look at your kitchen. Do you have open shelves with items stored neatly on display? Or is there a disaster lurking behind the closed cupboards? You might try to keep things neat and orderly, but maybe you’ve got teenagers who sabotage the organization. The same thing can happen in the garage. When we organize, we have the best of intentions to keep everything neat, but life gets in the way and we fall into old habits.

You need to look at the way you live your life and find a storage plan that fits every member of the family’s storage personality. With spring arriving, if you’re an avid gardener, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to walk into the garage and instantly find those pruning shears that always seem to disappear over winter? And you need a place to keep tools, soil, fertilizer and other gardening items. If you’ve been skiing all winter and now your thoughts are turning to golf, you’ll need a convenient place to store your equipment and switch sports with the seasons without a lot of effort. If you’ve got kids, You need a way to keep their stuff organized while keeping them safe when they’re you need to think about them running in and out of the garage with their bikes, toboggans or looking for toys. This calls for different types of storage solutions. To help you decide what will work best for you, let’s look at open shelves versus closed cabinets and the advantages and disadvantages of each.

closed storage solutions - golf locker, garage cabinets lockableWhen you think about things looking tidy, a cabinet with doors sounds appealing. Closed cabinets can work well for organizing in a garage. If you have small children, cabinets with locking doors,to keep small hands from being able to reach for toxic chemicals such as fertilizers and cleaning solutions, is a great solution. A cabinet with drawers is handy for storing small tools for the exotic car guy or DIY-er of the home so they can enjoy a professional-style environment in the garage.There are also tall, locker-style cabinets with shelves above and an open area below to store long tools or golf clubs. Storing everything in closed cabinets give an overall clean look to a garage. But do they really keep you organized? Unless you’re naturally organized (and can train the rest of your family to be the same), things that are hidden can end up messy after a while. And you’ll be paying a premium to hide all your stuff.

You might think that storing things in the open in your garage would make it look messy. But using the right sort of open storage system can actually help you get and stay organized, and potentiallymake it easier for younger members of the family to participate in keeping the space neat and organized. Hooks have a defined purpose and if you take a tool down from a hook, it’s easy to hang it back in its place when you’re done using it. If you’ve started by sorting your garage items into groups, you can then attach baskets and hooks to slatwall. Car cleaning items such as chamois, sponges and soap can go in a basket where they are easily accessible. Kids can have easily accessible baskets for balls, skipping ropes and water toys. Their bikes can also be placed on hooks low down. They’re more likely to put stuff back if it’s got a specific home. Open shelving or platforms can be placed higher on the walls or hung from the ceiling to neatly store seasonal or seldom used items away from eye level. Closed cabinets look a little neater at first glance, but open storage might keep you more organized. It’s also a less-expensive option.

Benefit from the best of both worlds and use a combination of closed and open storage.  Hide the things that you know you can keep organized or need to be locked away, and have the rest out where you can see it. When you’re ready to design your garage storage, ask yourself, “Am I an open or closed door personality?”

 

Custom Fitting

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

Off-the-shelf storage products are great as a simple solution to organizing your garage. But custom-built storage can turn your garage into a room with truly functional storage and workspace.

Just because it’s custom-built doesn’t mean it has to be more expensive. Having a storage unit designed specifically to fit an area of your garage often costs no more than buying a read-made product that may not fit as well in the space.

Custom-built is all about creativity and effective use of space. Here are some ideas:

 

Workbenches

Workbench for One Car GarageIf you’re a gardener, car-enthusiast or DIYer, a workbench is a nice addition to any garage. Workbenches can be designed to any size or shape. A workbench that folds up to be stored when you aren’t using it is a great space-saver for small garages.

 

 

 

 Overhead platforms and mezzanines

1 car garage, central toronto - custom attic mezzanine storage areaAs I wrote in my previous blog, overhead storage is a great way to create extra space in garages with high ceilings. It can be as simple as a plywood platform to store seasonal items or as elaborate as a full mezzanine, which allows for another level of storage and workspace.

 

 

Ladders

retractable attic ladder to custom mezzanineLadders or stairs are useful if you have a mezzanine or just need an easy way to access overhead storage. They can be designed to save floor space by pulling down when you need them and retracting out of the way when you’re done.

 

Thule or canoe slings

custom storage overhead of canoes & kayaksThe best place to store canoes, kayaks or Thules is overhead. We build slings out of sturdy foam-covered chain with loop-and-eye hooks to safely and easily hoist these bulky items up and down.

 

 

 

Baseboards

custom platform - finished slatwall sidings, floors, baseboardsHaving a custom-built baseboard in your garage not only looks good, it protects against water leaks and rot.  Wood baseboards allow polyaspartic flooring to wrap up the sides of the drywall.  Stamped aluminium is a great modern, industrial look and provides excellent water protection.

 

 

Custom-built boxes

electrical panel, 3 car garageThere are often unsightly items in the garage that can benefit from being covered up. We’ve built boxes to cover irrigation systems, electrical panels and central vacuum canisters. They can be finished to fit seamlessly into the rest of the garage design.

 

 

Designs for irregular-shaped spaces

1.5 car garage, etobicoke - overhead platform storage, garage cabinets, slatwall organization system, camlock camlok hooks, polyaspartic floor, cement block coating - afterAs mentioned before, garages are rarely standard squares or rectangles. By having something custom-designed and built, you make the best use of all nooks and crannies and odd-shaped corners. When I visit a garage to do a consultation, or often when I’m on the job doing the renovation, I spot areas that would really benefit from a custom-built solution so I’d be happy to make a few suggestions.

 

 

Custom finishing

garage interior design - home stagingFinishes really up the wow factor in any garage renovation. We’ve done everything from finishing slatwall panels in an oak stain, in keeping with the cottage-look of the house, to installing custom wood worktops. We can even custom-mix paint chip colours to make the perfect shade of polyaspartic flooring.

 

Have a look around your garage and see if you have any odd-shaped areas or things you want to change. If you do, a custom-built storage solution is what you’ll want to consider to maximize the storage capability of your garage.

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