Friday, October 7, 2011

Optimizing Your Garage Space

As we start getting into fall, the anticipation for the winter season is already starting to grip homeowners. One of the more favored home improvement projects in the colder months is organizing your home and opening up some space. This even extends to areas like the shed, the terrace and, finally, the garage, which is an area rife with possibilities for space saving. Of course, the central question when thinking about this is what you use (or rather WANT to use) your garage for. Is it simply a depository for your car(s) and a snow shovel? Is it a space used for your tools? Knick-knacks? A second refrigerator? Bikes and sports equipment? Considering the ideas below, you might very well be able to fit all of these things into your garage…oh, and maybe your car.

  • ·         Clear Out: If it were summer or spring, it would be easy enough to put all the stuff in your garage in your driveway or your front lawn. Alas, in the colder months, you’d be better off putting it in a mudroom or any room that has some extra space for this stuff. Regardless, put all the clutter in a separate space and then clean your garage. A good sweep and mopping should do the job but also consider washing the walls, just to be thorough.

  • ·         Inventory: What do you have? It’s important to see what you already store in your garage before deciding how to store it and what else you’d like to put in there.  If you’re a handyman, it’s likely that you have a lot of tools that need to be at the quick and ready. If you have recreational and sports equipment, it could range from a kayak to hockey pads to fishing gear. Know what you have and know what is more important to have at the quick and ready. 

  • ·         Shelves: A major key to organizing is using every inch of space you have and in this, adding shelves to your walls is a major advantage. As for a DIY project, this is a mildly difficult task but not an enormous undertaking, though I still suggest hiring a home improvement professional to help with the planning and get an estimate, at the very least. Make sure that the shelves are properly supported and out enough to hold some containers, which you can use to store anything from sports balls to emergency supplies to beach games to loose washers and lug nuts.

  • ·         Pegs and Racks: It sounds like such a small thing but they make a huge difference. Sure, they’re perfect for hanging up coats and a pegboard is still one of the best things a tool hound can invest in and properly label but think bigger. You can hang a mesh bag for sports equipment from two pegs for easy access or place a latter on the wall. If you do it right, you can also use a system of pegs to hang your bikes on the wall. Racks serve a similar purpose and are perfect for shovels, skis and oars, amongst other things.

  • ·         Work Station: If you’re more mechanic-minded, you’ll want a good countertop, one that’s easy to clean and resistant to easy cuts, to work and properly clean parts. It’s essentially the same for a home-improvement enthusiast, though you would assumedly want a bigger countertop or table for any woodworking or remodeling project. Hang two or three medium-size cabinets above the station and two or three utility drawers underneath and you should have the perfect area to handle any job. Some of these can be bought largely pre-made but otherwise, I implore you to seek out a contractor or home improvement expert to help you with this project, as it involves a sizable amount of work and time.

There are other options, such as using your ceiling to house your kayaks or canoes, that are more specific but it’s enough to say that every blank wall should be seen as an opportunity for storage. At a recent job, I helped a musician turn his garage into a supply space for his instruments and his record collection, not to mention his wife’s and his bicycles. Nothing is impossible or too ambitious when it comes to these types of projects. It’s all a matter of whether you care enough about the use of your available space.