Pushing the Paddle at the Pan-Am Games

Toronto is the proud host of the 2015 Pan-Am games this summer. Fans have been thrilled to watch their favorite athletes with several Canadian gold, silver and bronze medals already tucked away.  No matter what your sport there is sure to be some nail-biting competition. For many Ontarians who grew up along the shores of the Great Lakes or spent time camping in Muskoka, some of the most anticipated events are the canoe and kayak racing. There are few Canadians who have not spent at least one afternoon in their life paddling their worries away, so you can be assured these events will be among the best attended. If you are a fan of these sports, the following are a few things you need to know about the events, the equipment, and how to store your new boat.

 

Canoeing and Kayaking at the Pan-Am Games

There are two events for kayaking and two for canoeing, and both have men and women competing.

  • The first is a sprint, a fiercely competitive event where the first one to the finish line wins. This year, the sprint events will be held in Welland at the Flatwater Centre.
  • The second is the slalom, which is super exciting. It is much more than just going around flag posts. The slalom courses for both kayak and canoe are done in raging white water. It is literally a thrill a minute as upsets and almost-upsets can change the lead in a heartbeat. The event will be held at the Wild Water Reserve in Minden.

Canada is putting its hopes on one of our premier canoeists / kayakers, Olympic medalist, Mark de Jonge for the sprint. The nation will also have an eye on Jazmyne Denhollander, our Canadian women’s hope in the kayak slalom. Without a doubt, Canadians will be watching their every move, not just for racing, but to also check out the latest and greatest equipment.

The Coolest Kayaks and Canoes

racing-canoe-in-fast moving-riverGone are the days of canvass boats and wooden paddles. Today’s kayaker or canoer is looking for something a little more high-tech. They want sleek, they want light and they want what the top athletes are using. You don’t have to be an Olympic level athlete to enjoy the benefits of top-of-the-line equipment; many recreational boaters are also looking for high-end products.

What to look for in Kayaks

Today’s competitive kayak is a far cry from the plastic model you piloted at summer camp. It is sleek, strong and generally made of polyethylene or carbon-Kevlar (the same material as bulletproof vests). They are more maneuverable and designed to minimize wind resistance. Of course, sprint Kayaks need to be more streamlined and slalom kayaks need to be tougher. Try to determine which type of kayaking interests you and pick your equipment accordingly.

What to look for in Canoes

single-canoe-racer-olympicAt first glance, a competitive canoe can be mistaken for a kayak. They are narrower and shorter than those you see on the lake and they have a spray skirt. Again, like the kayaks they are made out of lighter materials such as Kevlar and carbon fiber. In fact, they have gotten so much lighter that the Olympic committee put in minimum weights for these boats to keep the competition fair -10 kg for a single canoe and 15 kg for a double.

Kayak and Canoe Pricing

If you are just looking for a regular touring canoe or kayak, you can easily find one for under $1000 but if you want high-end competitive boats, you are starting at least around the $3000 mark and depending on the make and customization, you can easily spend ten times that amount. A high-end canoe or kayak is an investment so you need to ensure you take care of it properly, and that means storing it safely indoors during our Canadian winters.

Super Solutions to Storing your Kayak or Canoe

If you find yourself hesitating to buy a high-end canoe or kayak because you don’t have the room to store it, then think again. There are a number of convenient and innovative solutions to storing these awesome boats.

Overhead Storage

overhead storage - bulky gear - canoe slingYou may not have enough room on the floor of your garage to store your kayak but chances are you have plenty of room up top. You can use overhead racks to store one or more boats. They are convenient and they look great. You can also set up a pulley system, which allows you to lower your boat directly into your truck or trailer for easy transport

Wall Mounted Storage

Simple and secure. Padded wall mounts hold the boats in place during the off-season. They are secure, easy to operate and can be used to store more than one boat.

Custom Built Sling

If space is at a premium in the garage, consider using a sling to keep your canoe or kayak up off the floor. Look for heavy-duty stainless steel chain that is wrapped in foam. The sling system also works great for lowering the boat right into a waiting vehicle.

No matter which solution you think might work best for you, the smart idea is to consult with a garage storage specialist. He (or she) can tell help you find the right solutions to keep that high-end competitive boat in the best shape.

Therefore, if you find yourself idling in the stalled traffic this summer, wishing you had a third person for that HOV lane, don’t despair. You can use that time to daydream about the new kayak or canoe you are going to buy at the end of the Pan-Am games. It will be sleek, light and will be safe and accessible thanks to your new garage storage system.

Bike Storage of Track Bikes – 2015 Pan Am Games

Velodrome Track Racing - Pan Am 2015 @ Milton's velodromeWe have  become a nation of bike riders. There has been a consistent increase in the number of cyclists in the country since the beginning of the millennium. It is not just the twenty-somethings either. People of all ages are getting out and about on their bikes. Whether for leisure, commuting, fitness or sport everyone from high school students to busy executives to retired seniors are strapping on helmets and pushing pedals.
This summer, the Pan-Am 2015 games are taking center stage and with the building of the brand new state-of-the-art Velodrome in Milton, avid cyclers are not only anticipating the thrill of watching the competition but with access to velodrome facilities people are trying their hand at track cycling.  If you have an interest, there are already lessons available for anyone curious about this sport which has now become accessible to us in the Southern Ontario area.

For those of us with a cycle enthusiast in our family, this means more sports gear and a new bicycle to consider and store as well.  Yes, the road bike purchased last year will not work for the sport of Track Cycling.

How Does Track Cycling Work

Riders will need a track bike with no brakes and fixed gear.  It is designed for racing on a track at a velodrome. The track is a banked wooden track so the bike is  lightweight, aerodynamic for racing and high gear.  These professional  riders are reaching speeds of 80km/hr while many of us are cycling at 20km/hr on the road.

Track biking is both a team and an individual sport and has its own set of unique rules and events. The following is what you can expect to see at this year’s Pan-Am games.

Sprinting Events

For the Pan-Am games there are three types of sprinting events:

  • The individual sprint where cyclists begin racing with a flying start (from a moving position rather than a stopped position), and race for 200 meters.
  • The team sprint, which is slightly different for men and women. For men, three racers sprint over three laps of the course, with each rider participating in one lap. In the women’s event, it is two racers over two laps of the course.
  • The Keirin sprint in which a motorbike is used to set the pace. The cyclists follow the pacer over a kilometer or two as it gradually increases in speed. When the pacer moves from the track, usually with about 700 meters left to go, the cyclists battle it out to the finish line.

Endurance Events

The endurance event for the Pan-Am games involves two teams racing at one time. The teams of four riders begin on opposite sides of the track and the race is completed over a distance of four kilometers. A winning team is declared when one team catches the other or whichever team finishes in the fastest time.

Combined Events

The combined cycling event for the Pan-Am games is called the Omnium (which is Latin for “belonging to all”). In this competition, cyclists compete in a series of six events over the span of two days which include:

  • Flying lap – Where cyclists complete one lap from a moving rather than a cold start.
  • Points race – Which is a mass start marathon race, 30 kilometers for men, 20 kilometers for women.
  • Elimination race – Where a rider is eliminated over a series of races.
  • Individual pursuit – Where two riders compete over four kilometers (three for women) from a stationary start position.
  • Scratch race – Which is a simple race where the riders start together and the first one over the finish line wins.
  • Kilometer time trial – Where the cyclists are timed over the length of one kilometer (500 meters for women).

If all of this makes you want to try out track cycling, there are already lessons offered at the Velodrome in Milton .  People are also thrilled at the opportunity of all-year training. With the building of this facility, Canadian cyclists no longer need to worry about the weather.

What Do I Need for Track Cycling?

You’ll need a fixed-gear track cycle and  a body hugging skin suit as well as an aerodynamic helmet all in an effort to reduce drag and get every little bit of advantage out of drafting behind team mates while on the track.

Fixed gear means there is no coasting on this bike.  The pedals are attached to the crank set so if the bike is moving so are the pedals.  If we want to travel 10km then we will be pedaling the entire 10km. Think back to riding your first tricycle around the neighbourhood and you get the idea. There has also been a rise of other fixed gear bikes as city hipsters are bringing back retro no-gear bikes and riding them as commuter bikes. Track bikes are little more complicated but the basic idea remains the same.

In addition to the lack of coasting, these bikes have no brakes, as streamline design is more important on these wooden track speedsters. Therefore, stopping is different than on a regular road bike. There are two ways to stop on a fixed gear bike.

  • The skid stop – Think back to that tricycle again; you place backward pressure on the pedals so the back wheel stops spinning and skids to a stop.  On a bicycle, you also need to remember to lean forward over your front wheel to improve the stability of your stop.
  • Have brakes installed – Many cyclists have front brakes installed for increased safety on city streets and while learning how to properly ride a fixed gear bike.

Surprisingly, with minimal  technology, the track bike raced in a velodrome is still a bit heavier than a road bike even though,  you would never see a spot to put a water bottle. In fact, water is not allowed on the wooden racing tracks.

 

How to Store Your New Bike

bike-racks-512w1Chances are that if you (or someone in your family) has purchased a brand new track bike, there are already a number of bikes in the garage. No doubt you have a mountain bike, a high-end road bike, a leisure bike and even a few bikes for the kids. Fortunately, there are innovative solutions to your bike storage issues that keep your wheels secure and easy to access and still leave room for the car and lawn mower.

  • Automated bike lift on a pulley – This system can store up to five bikes at a time, raises them up to the ceiling, and out of the way, yet still keeps them easy to access.
  • Ceiling mounts – If you have a tall garage, you can take advantage of the space up top and store your bikes overhead on ceiling mounts.
  • School yard-type bike rack – This is the perfect solution for the warm months when everyone is riding. Park the cars in the driveway to allow this simple solution for bike storage. Easy to store, even for the kids.

The best bet is to talk to an expert who can evaluate the space you have, the bikes you need to store and the ease of access you require. They can help you use both the vertical and horizontal space in your garage to ensure you have enough room to store the entire family’s bikes, no matter how many that may be.

It should be an exciting summer for all athletes, but especially for the cyclists. The Pan-Am games are bound to rejuvenate the sport of cycling and the Milton Velodrome just may change the way Ontarians think about biking. Just ensure that if you take up track cycling you know the rules, purchase a great bike and store it securely.

Three Tips for Making This Year’s Garden Your Best Ever

spring-planting-gardening-tools-garage-storageNow that the temperatures are steadily rising, your thoughts have likely turned to gardening. The Farmer’s Almanac predicts our last date of spring frost for Toronto as May 9th, but how can you be sure your soil is ready to be worked? Take a handful of soil and squeeze. If the soil forms a ball, it’s not quite ready. When the soil crumbles in your hand, it’s go time for gardening. Though you’re probably eager to start planting, to get the best results you must first prep the soil.

Feed and Prep Soil to Maximize Results

Building a rock-solid home begins with laying a solid foundation. Likewise, growing healthy, vibrant plants begins with healthy soil. Dry, sandy or compacted soil isn’t conducive to producing healthy plants. Amend problematic soil by introducing nutrient-rich, organic matter into it at the start of each growing season.

Spread a one to three-inch layer of dark, earthy, finished compost on flower beds and gardens. When used in a vegetable garden, use organic compost or a variety designated for use with edible plants. Work compost into the top six to twelve inches of soil using a shovel, rake or rototiller one to two weeks before planting. Compost adds nutrients to soil and encourages the presence of garden-friendly earth worms.

Compost improves the hardest, toughest soil, creating a nutrient-rich environment where flowers and vegetation can thrive. Strong, healthy plants, grown in a nutrient-rich soil, tend to be more naturally resistant to bugs and diseases.

Deciding What to Plant and Where

You’ve selected the perfect space to plant your garden. Only, it might not be so perfect. For instance, most flowering annuals won’t fare well in the shade. Other plants don’t do well with extended hours of sunlight. Carefully select plants that are optimal for your allocated space.

If the area receives less than six hours of daylight each day, plant vegetation that thrives in shade. Begonias, impatiens, elephant ears, black-eyed Susans and fuchsia do well in shade. If the area gets partial shade, pansies, petunias and snapdragons may be a good choice.Flower beds that receive more than six hours of sunlight daily are ideal for flowering annuals like colourful petunias, geraniums, marigolds, carnations, sunshine impatiens or verbena.

Your annuals will make the most impact if planted in groups of three or more. Each group of flowers should overlap the next to create a powerful punch of colour.

Sunlight should also dictate the makeup and layout of your vegetable garden. Kale, herbs, spinach and scallions can do well with as little as three hours of sunlight each day. Peas, beans and root vegetable require close to five hours of daily sunlight.

While tending to your flowers and garden, don’t forget the perennials. If they aren’t looking as lively and vivacious as they once did, it may be because they’ve overgrown the available space. Divide the plants, relocating some of them. The additional room will allow the plants left to flourish. The rest can be used in another part of your yard. If you don’t have room to plant them elsewhere, consider gifting them.

Once planting is done, give plants a weekly boost by feeding them with a calcium-rich eggshell tea. To create the eggshell tea, store eggshells in a container of water. Allow them to steep for a few days or weeks and continue adding more shells. Water plants with one cup of the eggshell mixture combined with a gallon of water. This calcium-rich mixture will strengthen plants and improve production.

Create a Gardening Space in the Garage

There is no shortage of tools and supplies required to keep your lawn and garden looking their best. Shovels, rakes, hoes, trimmers, hedgers, garden gloves, compost, grass seed and fertilizer can take over your garage during gardening season. Searching for tools amid chaos is frustrating.

slatwall - wall organizers, wood grain, hooks, garden toolsWhen a task becomes frustrating, it’s human nature to avoid it. So make time at the start of the season to take inventory of your gardening tools and supplies and organize them. If there isn’t enough room in the garage for all of your garden tools, consider installing a wall organization or shelving system to create dedicated storage space for each item. A purchased or custom-built garden bench will provide space for repotting plants. However, a repurposed table will achieve the same end.

Once your garden tools are neat and organized, the soil has been fed and you’ve chosen the right plants for your yard, you’re on the way to making this year’s garden your best yet.

Strong Racks Shelving – Maximize Garage Storage

strong-racks-overhead-wall-storageWhether your garage is big or small, it probably doesn’t have nearly enough storage space to accommodate your family’s lifestyles. Bikes, sporting goods, lawn care equipment and gardening tools take up lots of space. Then there are bulky items like tires, kayaks and roof equipment racks that consume as much space as a small vehicle. So how can you possibly fit all of these items in your garage and still have space to park your vehicle?

Last time we discussed the importance of optimizing available storage space, as one of three steps to prepare your garage for the change of season. Now we’ll consider how sturdy, steel shelving can be used to maximize the storage space in your garage.

Boost Garage Storage with Strong Racks Steel Shelving

Inside your home there are designated spaces for storing items. The closets, laundry room and pantry have racks, shelving and perhaps even cabinets. However, the typical garage consists of three bare walls. Without distinct storage space, it’s no wonder families often resort to using the entire garage as a dumping ground. The key to eliminating clutter in the garage is creating clearly defined storage space for each item. Shelving creates much-needed storage space while keeping items clearly visible.

There are a variety of shelving options available, from freestanding shelving units to garage wall organization systems with movable shelves that lock into place. Another option is sturdy, steel shelving, which does not require a paneled wall system for installation. Strong Racks ceiling shelves provide sturdy overhead storage. This reserves premium floor space, allowing room to park your vehicle inside the garage.

Strong Racks wall shelving provides a sturdy space for storing boxes, cans and other items that are solid underneath. Available accessories, like ladder and bike hooks, double your storage by creating space in front of the shelf to hang these items.

Make Use of “Unusable” Space

Overhead storage racks convert “unusable” space into functional storage space; perfect for seasonal and rarely used items. With the highest weight capacity in the industry, Strong Racks provide safe, convenient overhead storage. Available in chrome or white, these shelving units are highly-configurable. The height of the shelves can be adjusted to accommodate tall items.

strong-racks-automated-ceiling-overhead-storageStoring heavy items overhead can be challenging for some, as it requires ascending and descending a ladder with heavy items in tow. However, a motorized lift system allows the rack to be lowered with the touch of a button. Load the rack with heavy tools and boxes or bulky items. Then simply push the button to hoist the shelf back into place overhead.Push button, motorized overhead storage is an ideal solution for storing large, bulky items like kayaks, canoes and roof rack equipment carriers.

The Key Advantages of the Strong Racks Steel Shelving System

Strong Racks provides an excellent system for getting items off of your garage floor by utilizing what is normally considered unusable space. While other overhead shelving system are available, Strong Racks shelving is superior in these key areas:

Strength:

  • The Strong Racks mounting rack is the thickest and strongest in the industry. It is made of strong, 11-gauge steel, not the low-cost angle iron, or steel straps used by some competitors.
  • The square tubes used to hang the racks are made of strong steel.
  • Each overhead rack holds up to 750 pounds. Wall mounted overhead racks can accommodate up to 1,000 pounds.

Safety:

  • Each 4’x8’ section is secured to four ceiling trusses with sixteen, three-inch screws. This distributes the weight over a wider area of the ceiling, ensuring that each rack remains firmly and safely attached.
  • Sixteen bolts are used to secure the grid system to the rails, for added strength and safety.
  • The exclusive, patented rail brackets used to secure shelving allows the shelf to be secured to a wall, for additional safety and increased weight capacity.
  • A two-inch safety lip surrounds each shelving unit to prevent items from inadvertently being shoved off of shelves.

Quality:

  • Strong Racks are backed by a lifetime guarantee, when professionally installed.
  • The durable ceiling assembly uses thirteen pieces of hardware to attach the shelving to the ceiling.
  • The quality construction and installation of each rack eliminates movement in installed shelves.

Flexibility:

  • Strong Racks come in depths of 2, 3 and 4-feet, to accommodate items of all sizes.
  • Multiple Strong Racks can be mounted in a variety of configurations, creating up to 99 different platforms sizes, to easily accommodate your specific storage needs.
  • Two square steel tubes are used per mounting rack, allowing the height of each rack to be adjusted between 27.5 and 41.5 inches.
  • The Super Drop system adjusts platform height between 40 and 96 inches from the ceiling, to allow racks to be hung at an accessible height, even in garages with high ceilings.

strong-racks-wall-shelvesStrong Racks can be purchased for DIY installation, or be installed by a garage renovation specialist. However, these racks are made to hold a considerable amount of weight overhead. It is crucial that they are installed correctly to ensure your family’s safety.Also, when installed professionally, Strong Racks come with a lifetime guarantee.

Garages haven’t changed much in the past few decades, but our lifestyles have. Homeowners want a garage that will accommodate their active lifestyles and provide space to park the cars. The installation of Strong Racks steel shelving is a simple way to transform your garage from a chaotic dumping ground to an organized space with designated spots to store all of the things you need. Are you ready to transform your garage with Strong Racks overhead or motorized shelving? Request your free consultation today.

Would you prefer to keep items in your garage stored out-of-sight, rather than on-display on shelves? Next time we’ll discuss how to keep your clutter under wraps, without breaking the bank, by installing laminate cabinetry.

Prepare Your Garage Now for the Change of Season

garage-storage-custom-overhead-platform-toy-storage-slatwall-camlock-hooks-bicycle-helmets-golf-clubs-stairs-bannister-central-vacuum-garden-toolsAfter months of cold weather, and still more on the horizon, we begin to look forward to the months ahead, when the temperature will slowly begin to climb. Perhaps your family is itching for warmer weather, ready to ditch heavy parkas and boots. However, your garage may not be quite ready for the coming change of season.

During the winter, the last thing you want to do is schlep out to the garage to carefully sort and put things away. Therefore, it’s not uncommon for the garage to become the family dumping ground during the cold, winter months. If your garage is piled high with bikes, tools, outdoor toys, gardening tools, lawn care equipment, off-season tires and sporting goods, you’re probably unable to park all of your intended vehicles inside of your garage. Additionally, finding the items you need in a disorganized garage can be extremely frustrating.

The impending arrival of spring signals the start of a variety of activities like softball, soccer, golf and gardening. All of these activities require specialized equipment which is likely buried in your garage. To avoid the annoyance and frustration of misplaced sporting equipment, gardening tools and lawn care equipment this spring, take the following three steps to get your garage ready for the change of season.

Step One: Out with the Old

The primary reason it’s so difficult to find anything in the garage is because the things we want and need are buried beneath items for which we no longer have a need. Think about the items currently stored in your garage. Has the garage become the designated dumping ground for broken toys, furniture and tools? Is the garage littered with bikes, wagons and sports equipment the kids have outgrown? Are duplicates tools stealing valuable storage space? If so, prepping your garage for spring begins with a thorough purge.

Sort through all of the items stored inside your garage. Be ruthless when it comes to cutting the clutter.

  • Throw out items that are damaged or broken. Perhaps you stored them in the garage with the intention of fixing them. However, if those items haven’t been repaired in a year or two, the likelihood that they ever will be is quite slim.
  • Donate or sell outdated items, those you haven’t used in years and items you’ve never used can either be donated to a local charity or sold. However, if you decide to sell unused items, set a firm deadline for getting rid of them. Otherwise, those items might still be taking up space in your garage three years from now.
  • Group similar items and look for duplicate tools and sporting equipment. Once you identify duplicates, decide which item you’ll keep and donate or discard the unnecessary items.

Purging the garage may seem like a daunting task for one person. Make the project fun by enlisting the help of family or friends. Turn on your favorite music. Once the job is completed, reward yourself with a night out or a fun activity the entire family will enjoy.

Step Two: Create Dedicated Zones

If weather permits, it’s helpful to remove all items from the garage in order to clearly see the storage space available. This will enable you to determine how to best use the space in your garage. Before you create the layout for your new, clutter-free garage, think about how you use the space. What tasks are performed in your garage? What kinds of items are stored there?

Create distinct zones for sports equipment, lawn care equipment, vehicle care accessories and gardening tools. Put away out-of-season items, like sleds and snow shovels, to make room for items you’ll need for spring. Then decide on the ideal location for each zone: back wall, sidewall or near the garage door.

Step Three: Optimize Available Storage Space

There’s a limited amount of space in a garage. Yet, the volume of things we own and need to store continues to grow. How can you find a dedicated space to store all of your family’s things? Maximize the storage space in your garage by incorporating shelving, cabinetry, baskets, hooks and stackable storage containers.

A garage wall organization system, like slatwall, is designed to maximize storage space. The complementary baskets, hooks and shelves slide and lock into place easily, creating a neat, organized system for storing items along the wall, rather than stacking them along the perimeter of the floor. Once the space has been optimized, each item can be stored in its designated space.

Shelving can be an essential component of an organized garage, particularly for those who prefer items stored where items can be easily seen and retrieved. Next time we’ll talk about how to maximize the storage space in your garage by using steel racks.

If organizing your garage feels like an overwhelming job to take on yourself, check out some of our amazing garage transformations, then contact Nuvo Garage to request your free consultation.

Five Tips for Applying Feng Shui in Your Garage

yin-yang-feng-shui-garage-interior-design-organization-storage-solutions-nuvo-garageWith the Chinese New Year approaching, many feng shui practitioners are busy cleaning and preparing their homes to get rid of bad chi (energy) and usher in good luck before the New Year arrives.

Feng shui is an ancient Chinese art and science that recognizes the impact our environment, and the objects in it, can have upon us. Often regarded the art of placement, feng shui is literally translated “wind and water.”  Feng shui strives to balance the five elements—wood, water, fire, earth and metal–and the energy (chi) that flows from all things—living and inanimate.

The goal of feng shui is to create harmonious environments that reflect one’s internal environment by improving the flow of chi throughout the space. Optimizing the flow of chi in one’s home or office can enhance happiness and one’s financial and romantic life. This is accomplished through the use of colour and the mindful placement of objects in one’s living and work spaces.

While you may be incorporating feng shui into your home, have you ever considered incorporating the principles of feng shui into your garage? This ancient art of placement can be used to create a garage that welcomes positive energy into your home, rather than blocking it. Below are five tips for using feng shui to enhance the flow of chi in your garage.

Eliminate clutter.

Have you ever tried to work in a cluttered space and found it difficult to function or think clearly? That’s because clutter represents stagnant energy, which can zap your personal energy. This is true of clutter whether it be in an office, bedroom or your garage. Eliminate energy-draining garage clutter by ridding the space of items that no longer serve a purpose.

Objects that are outdated, non-functional, redundant or rarely used harbour stalled energy and have a negative impact on your energy. Toss, repurpose or donate such items stored in your garage. It can be difficult to let go of items to which we have an emotional attachment. Knowing that donated items will benefit those less fortunate can be a powerful motivator to finally release unneeded items.

Every item must have a purpose and a designated place.

Order is an essential component of feng shui. However, it’s difficult to create order in your garage without a system for organizing your space. A garage renovation specialist can work with you to develop a garage design suited to the needs of your family. Wall organization systems that use corresponding shelves, hooks and baskets create a designated space for everything in your garage from bicycles and sporting equipment to gardening tools. Lockable storage cabinets provide a safe, concealed space to store tools, household chemicals and other items.

Park your car inside the garage—its designated space.

People often treat their garages as a sort of “junk space.” In reality, the garage is the designated space for storing your car. Keep this in mind as you clean and de-clutter your garage and then assign each remaining item a designated space. If carving out space in the garage to park your car(s) feels impossible, consult with a garage renovation specialist who will design a plan for you.

Finish the walls and/or floor with an energy-enhancing colour.

Garages tend to be a dark, uninviting spaces, but they don’t have to be. The walls are often unfinished, and the floor of an older garage may be stained, cracked or otherwise compromised. Give your garage a cheerful facelift by incorporating colour. Feng shui recognizes the strong impact colour can have on mood and physical and emotional well-being. Incorporate relevant colours connected with the five elements of the natural world, listed earlier.

Colour can be incorporated into the space through wall paint, fabric—like a colourful kite or flag—or by finishing the floor with an epoxy or polyaspartic floor coating, designed for garage and basement floors. Modular interlocking floor tiles offer a less permanent way to introduce colour into the garage floor. All three products come in a range of attractive colours. The floor coatings can be customised to achieve your desired colour.

Make your garage an uplifting and inspiring space.

If you park in the garage, it is the last thing you see when departing home and the first thing you see upon your return. It’s important to make it a space that uplifts and inspires. Post a picture or painting that stirs the soul, a motivating personal affirmation or a moving quote on the garage wall, so you’ll see it when you enter or exit the garage

Make sure to tackle all of your home and garage cleaning projects prior to New Year’s Day, as it’s considered bad luck to clean during the first few days of the New Year. Once that period has passed, you can attack any areas you weren’t able to finish prior to the start of the year.

Are you ready to incorporate the elements of feng shui into your garage? Complete the garage survey form to tell us a little about your garage and schedule a no-cost, in-home consultation to discuss your specific garage needs.

 

Plan Now for a Better Garage Experience Next Winter

How many times did you awake this winter to discover that your car was covered in ice and snow because there’s no room for it in the garage? Trudging out in the harsh elements to brush away snow, chip off ice and warm up your car is the last thing you want to do on a busy weekday morning. Worse, it can leave you rushing to get to work or to get the kids to school on time, making winter travel even more dangerous.

2 Car Garage Etobicoke - right parking bay with an auto liftLast year, perhaps you promised yourself that you wouldn’t spend another winter forced to park your car outside of the garage. The months seemed to fly by, and your plan to organize or renovate the garage never quite happened. Before you knew it, you were in the midst of another harsh winter. After our last blast of wintry weather, perhaps you’ve made the same promise to yourself again this year.

Next winter might feel as though it’s a lifetime away. But then again, remember how quickly last year seemed to pass? The first month of the year is already in the books, and Groundhog Day is almost here. Ontarians are eagerly awaiting Wiarton Willie’s prediction of whether spring is on the horizon. Wiarton Willie’s forecast of what’s to come is out of your hands, but the fate of your garage isn’t. Now is the time to start making plans.

Think it’s too early to start planning for a garage renovation? It isn’t. Garage organization and renovation services are in high demand and have been growing in popularity in recent years. Schedule your garage renovation consultation in February to ensure your project will be started as soon as spring arrives. Starting early allows plenty of time for consultation, design and the ordering of products.

The primary purpose of your garage renovation might be to rescue your vehicle from the harsh winter weather. However there are many benefits to getting your garage renovation completed during spring. Are you tired of tripping over bikes, bats, balls and gardening tools in your garage? Do you avoid tackling small projects around the house because finding a screwdriver or wrench is a small project in itself? Depending on the options you choose, you’ll be able to:

  • Safely store your winter tires.
  • Neatly store winter sports equipment like sleds, ice skates and skis.
  • Store family bicycles off the ground and out of the way of vehicles.
  • Organize and store tools.
  • Neatly house gardening tools and equipment.

Just as unprotected sun exposure can damage your skin, it can also damage the paint on your car. Over time, the sun can cause oxidation and premature fading. Prolonged exposure to the oppressive summer sun weakens leather seats and rubberized trim. The headlights of your vehicle are also impacted by exposure to the sun. Parking your car in the garage during summer keeps your vehicle looking newer longer. It also makes it more comfortable to get into the car on hot summer days.

Renovating your garage during spring means you’ll have a safe place to park your car next winter, but you’ll also be able to enjoy the benefits of an organized garage during spring, summer and fall. Each garage renovation is tailored to meet the unique needs of the client. So whether you need a simple wall organization system, overhead storage, garage cabinet installation or customized storage solutions, your garage renovation specialist can help your dream garage become a reality.

Complete the garage survey form to tell us a little about your garage and schedule your no-cost, in-home consultation.

Five Essential Tips for Maintaining and Organizing Your Garage

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

Winterize Your Garage (and Everything in It)

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

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

Use Specialized Solutions for Your Unique Storage Needs

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

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

Maximize Garage Storage

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

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

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

Find a Way to Use “Unusable” Garage Space

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

Make Keeping the Garage Organized a Family Affair

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

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

5 Garage Gifts to Give This Year

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

Finally Being Able to Park the Car in the Garage

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

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

A Workshop or Craft Space

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

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

Find Space for the Things Your Loved Ones Cherish

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

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

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

Give Athletes & Weekend Warriors Dedicated Space for Sporting Goods

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

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

Schedule a Consultation for a Garage Renovation

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

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

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

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

Prep Holiday Decorations for Off-Season Storage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Employ “Wasted” Space to Store Holiday Decorations

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

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

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

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