Researchers estimate only 30% of homeowners with a garage actually use them for car or vehicle storage. More often, garages are used
for storing extra household items, property from other family members, estate sales, or landscaping and lawn care equipment. Start planning now to organize your garage in 2016!
There are many solutions to organizing and de-cluttering your garage: first, you’ll need to make space to work. Consider a self storage container unit to pack away your extra household items. Container storage offers more space for less money than traditional indoor storage units, and are a secure, clean, safe alternative storage option for a large amount of boxes, furniture, equipment, materials or tools.
When considering cleaning out the garage, keep in mind you’ll need at least a full weekend or possibly two, to get everything done. Consider flooring early in your planning. An epoxy coating, rubberized coating, or concrete floor sealant can be an attractive addition to your garage and increase your home’s overall value. Flooring requires removing all items from the garage, so it’s a good idea to consider renting a storage unit large enough for all the items in your garage if redoing the floor. Custom floors with designs or colors are popular in some areas. If you are planning on staying in your home for many years, a custom garage floor may be a wise investment.
Get the family into the loop: depending on your garage size you might want to call in reinforcements. To stay organized and stay on track you’ll want to make piles of the things you’ll keep close to home and items you may want to put into a storage unit. Items you may never use again might be good candidates for charitable donation. Before donating, consider whether family members may be able to use these items in the future. Many of the things you’ll come across may make you somewhat nostalgic. For these items storage in a storage unit or self storage container may be the best option. You or your children can review these items at a less hectic time in the future.
For items you are keeping close to home, organize them first by order of importance. Keeping most of your goods in labeled plastic bins can be very helpful for organization as well as making it easy to find. Once you’re done storing your items make a floor plan for yourself, where do you want certain items? Where do you want to keep handyman tools? If you’re looking into buying shelves or putting up any type of cabinet, measure out the dimensions on your garage before you go out and buy anything. Buying the wrong thing can put a hole in your budget and can be a hassle trying to exchange it for something new. Consider making overhead storage for smaller household items or boxed items that you don’t have to have readily accessible.
Your local hardware store or big box store (Home Depot or Lowe’s) can be great places to start planning a garage storage strategy. Overhead storage can be attractive, but it can be expensive and time consuming to install. Consider the cost and time of researching, installing and using overhead storage versus storing items in a self storage unit or self storage container for a month or two.
A few general tips for garage organization:
- Keep your bikes and scooters closer to your garage door, using racks or other hangers, so you don’t have to haul them through the entire garage for when you want to go on a bike ride.
- Keep larger gardening tools further away from your car, so neither your car nor your appliances get damaged.
- Keep chemicals in a child proof area, locked away. If you have any types of tanks such as propane, you should always keep them outside; a small spark could ignite a fire.
- Keep a functional fire extinguisher in an easily accessible place.
- Keep seasonal items and things you don’t use as often in higher or harder to reach places.
- Keep any pet food in tightly sealed bins (the scent attracts insects and critters)
- Place electronics accessories, cables, wires, and plugs in invidual Ziplock type bags and place all in the same storage bin, to prevent time consuming tangles.
- Keep a storage bin or two stocked with emergency supplies such as water, non-perishable food, flash lights, batteries, blankets, matches, and a first aid kit. A complete guide to emergency preparedness can be found at the American Red Cross.
- Consider off site storage for extra vehicles, trailers or project cars.
If you have many tools, but don’t have a tool chest it can get messy. Tool chests are nice to have, but can be somewhat expensive especially if you’re organizing on a budget; consider having a tool pegboard for your bigger tools and a multiuse clear plastic cabinet for smaller bolts, nails and such. Storing your tools in storage bins wouldn’t be ideal for a few reasons; you can damage your tools, easily lose your smaller tools and when you can’t find them you might make a bigger mess than what you started off with. If you have inherited tools from a family member that are more sentimental then functional, consider storing them for a future time. An antique toolset, watch bench, chest or work bench makes a sentimental and irreplaceable gift for a grandchild.
Consider garage security: Are the windows and side doors of your garage lockable and tightly sealed? If your garage is not part of your security system, you may want to relocate any expensive items or items attractive to thieves to your home or to your self storage unit.
Try to re-evaluate your garage a few times a year to make sure things aren’t piling up again. Move items into your storage unit than are not being used, but could be helpful in the future. Keeping on top of your garage will save you from needing a complete overhaul ever again. Finally, if you have extra vehicle or project car at home, consider outdoor car storage to get it out of the way. Affordable outdoor car spaces and storage containers units are available at Gateway Storage. Check out our Facebook page for the latest specials or give us a call today!