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.

 

Spring Cleaning

spring cleaning - garage sale today

spring cleaning - garage sale today

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

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

 

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

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

 

The family with growing children

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

 

The family with aging parents and children away at university

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

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

 

Winter Toy Storage

garage entrance to home - effectively leverage space for sports storage

In the great Canadian tradition of celebrating winter, sports equipment that lets you face the elements for pure fun is crucial.  From toboggans and skis to snowshoes, snowboards and skates, there’s a range of winter toys that can enhance your family life when you’re surrounded by snow and ice.

garage entrance to home - effectively leverage space for sports storageThe types and amounts of equipment families have stowed away generally depends on their children’s ages.  When kids are little, toboggans, sleds, crazy carpets and flying saucers are in abundance.  As they get a little older, skis become the most common.

Creating a proper storage solution for your skis, boots and poles is a simple way to protect your investment.  The better you take care of them, the longer they’ll last.  You could store your skis in the house but if they’re not properly dried out, you might end up with wet carpets or slippery floors.  If they are hung on hooks inside the garage, drips won’t matter. Wherever you decide to put them, the best reason to have a designated space is so you won’t have to look around to find everything when the snow beckons.

Hockey gear is another type of sports equipment that can be found in abundance in many households. Ideally, if you insist on bringing your hockey equipment into the house, the ripened under armour, long johns, socks and jerseys would immediately find their way into the washing machine while the pads, pants and gloves would dry out on a laundry rack.  But since late-night ice times are very common, most of the time after the game is over, the sweaty gear gets taken inside the house and dumped in the basement.  Admit it, you’ve done it at least once.

There is a middle ground.  As long as you take your under gear inside, skates, sticks, helmets and pads can be dried out in the garage so the musk doesn’t infiltrate the house and potentially aggravate your housemates. True, your gear will be cooler when you put it into the bag, but by the time you arrive at the rink, it’s more than likely warmed up.  And if you’re playing on a year-round league, for three seasons it’s not even a factor.

One family I worked with didn’t want their young boys bringing their hockey gear into the house.  The optimal solution was to build a locker in the garage for them to hang their skates, pants, gloves and pads using a combination of baskets, shelves and hooks mounted to an end wall.  All the washable stuff went inside with the kids for proper clean up.

Winter is an amazing time of the year.  An organized garage where you can protect your car from the elements, while also accessing everything you need to play in the snow, makes it that much better.

Depending on your budget, needs and taste, I can recommend the perfect cabinets and garage storage systems to accommodate all the athletes in your house.  Our suppliers Hercke, Onex and CTECH offer higher quality and more adaptable products than the typical garage cabinets found in big box stores.  Or if you’d like to discuss a custom storage system for your family’s specific activities which can be a better fit as well as cost effective, I can assist you with a solution to make it easy for everyone to use your garage in a way that fits the lifestyle.

A Brief History of Garages

carriage house for horses, converted for cars garages

carriage house for horses, converted for cars garagesOver the next few weeks, I’m going to discuss the evolution of garages: from sheds to what have been called ‘Garage Mahals‘, home extensions that contain everything from work stations to interlocking floor tiles to hydraulic lifts.

 

The word garage comes from the French garer – to shelter or protect.  It’s an apt name because that’s effectively what garages do.  They protect our cars from the elements.

 

During the early part of the 20th century, cars weren’t that common because they were expensive.  The first garages were just converted carriage houses that were remodeled to fit cars rather than horses.  Garages that were designed for cars didn’t become common until the early 1920s when car sales increase.  However, demand grew quickly.

 

By 1925, in fact, garages were on people’s must have lists. According to the June 1925 issue of Atlantic Monthly, ” the first question asked by the prospective buyer is about the garage.  The house without a garage is a slow seller.”

 

These garages were mostly stand-alone structures, built away from the main house. It wasn’t until the early 1950s that builders started to incorporate garages as part of the house design.  Before this, drivers had to brave the elements when getting from their garage to their home.

 

Carports became popular in the 60s as a low-cost alternative to a garage – often just roof and four posts, they were popular in warmer parts of North America.

 

The next major change happened in the 80s.  Garages were built to be conspicuous and large, to make room for families with multiple cars. Thankfully today they’re now being built to be less obtrusive.

 

The first patent for an automatic garage door opener was issued in 1937, but oddly enough, it didn’t really become popular until the late 1960s.

 

Fun fact: many businesses have been started in garages, including Hewlett Packard, Walt Disney, Apple Computers and Motown Records.

The Value of a Custom Solution for your Garage Transformation

after - folding work bench - 1 car garage, North Toronto

folding work bench - 1 car garage

Custom Folding Workbench for a 1 Car Garage

 

Once you’ve made the decision to transform your garage so it better suits your needs, you’re faced with a choice:  Do it yourself or bring in a professional?

There are advantages to doing it yourself.  You have the satisfaction of a job well done (if you’ve avoided the pitfalls I spoke about in an earlier blog post), and it will likely be cheaper because you’re not paying for labour.

However, when you’re installing an ‘out of the box’ system, you end up with something generic, but it’s unlikely they’ll fit perfectly.  You’ll probably end up with some wasted space. We come in and build to the measurements of your garage, using the space from wall to wall.

Everybody has different wants and needs, whether it’s storage, garage size, lighting requirements or aesthetics.  A professional may be able to come up with options that you’re not aware of.

For instance, several weeks ago I visited a client who had a one car garage that was too simply not wide enough to accommodate a car, but it was high and deep.  I asked him if he had things he’d like to put in a garage.  He told me he had Christmas decorations taking up space in the basement.  We talked about building a shelf along the back wall for storage, which doubled the storage space available.

He’d hadn’t considered anything other than floor space.  I find that overhead storage is the most commonly overlooked area.  The space is ideal for storing things you don’t need more than once a year such as holiday decorations or snow tires.

For some clients, the way the garage looks is as important as the job it does, whether it’s keeping boxes and tires out of sight or incorporating more high-end finishes.

The flooring is where customization can really shine.  Your floor can be anything from standard grey tiles to something with a granite look.  I come prepared with 6 to 8 samples of what’s available, but if a customer doesn’t like those, they can select colours from the Sherman Williams colour palate for a completely custom job.  No one else offers that.

We look for the right eyeline, so what we install fits in with the rest of the garage.  For instance, when we choose a spot  to install slatwall and hooks, we may keep it level to a door.  We also incorporate existing features such as light switches.  It’s a finishing detail that makes the job more professional.

For your shelving, we can give it either a rough or finished look.

Lighting is also a consideration.  You may be using your garage for more than just parking after the transformation, but a bare bulb may not be enough light. We can install pot lights under a platform or in front of cabinets.  We can even position small spotlights if you’ve got sports cars you’d like to feature.

Every customer we see and every garage we visit is unique.  Nuvo Garage tailors the storage solution to maximize the space available, leaving you with a superior product and a garage that meets your specific needs.

Copyright © 2013   Nuvo Garage
Website Design by Yenius Interactive Marketing