A typical suburban garage has one purpose and one purpose only: storage. Of course, you can always convert it into a workshop or a man cave but where will you park your car then? You would utilize this space better if you used it for storage. Cars, hand tools, bikes, toy cars, gardening tools, etc. should all live harmoniously inside the garage. Easier said than done; because every homeowner who tried to spruce up the garage will tell you that’s a lot of work. However, with a couple of useful tips on how to upgrade your garage, you will get the job done in no time!
Engage in some spatial planning and visualizationBefore you are ready to move stuff about you need to engage in some spatial planning. Park the car inside and draw a line around it on the garage floor so you know exactly how much space it takes. You can do the same for other large utilities, such as a bicycle or the lawnmower. After that, you should decide where the pedestrian corridors are going to run through so you can easily access every corner of the garage. Because you will install shelves and cabinets, mark the place electrical wires and plumbing run on the wall, ceiling, and the floor. The most important part of planning the new look of your garage is to visualize all the alternations you want to make.
Start from the top and work your way downThe first rule of dusting your house is to start from the top shelves and work your way down with the feather duster. The same principle should be applied when it comes to sprucing up the garage, as you ought to start from the ceiling and the light fixture. After painting the ceiling, you need to update the light fixture. Since most garages have small windows or no windows at all, daylight has a hard time penetrating inside. Visibility is even worse at nighttime when you must rely on strong artificial light sources. The LED light bulb you install in the garage should produce at least the equivalent of 100 watts. You can enhance its effect by glossy flooring or painting the walls in a light color. These surfaces will help reflect light better, thus increasing visibility which is essential when using a power tool or repairing the car.
The importance of declutteringLet us not fool ourselves: the reason why your garage is a mess right now is clutter. As years went by, you probably kept discarding all the unwanted stuff from the house into the garage and you have to declutter the whole space. Start by rolling in a huge bin or a skip to throw away everything you have no need for. The rest of the stuff, like useful hand tools should be stored on special shelves you build for them. All in all, everything from the car to the ¼ wrench should have its place in the garage. Having said this, make sure there is always extra room for new things you will get in the years to come. As your family grows in size, you might need extra space for bikes or if you take up a craft, you’ll need more cabinets to store the tools of the trade.
Putting up cabinetsAlthough shelving is useful, especially in the corners of the garage, you should first try to store everything you have decluttered inside cabinets. These cabinets can be hung from the walls or you can place them on the floor and they can feature drawers for storing hand tools. Unlike the kitchen cabinets, cabinets in your garage should contain a lot of compartments for storing different small tools and knickknacks we all have in our garages. However, such cabinets are hard to come by because they often don’t match the dimension you need for your garage in particular. For this reason, ordering custom-made cabinets is a great solution. If you wish to save many and you are crafty, you can engage in some carpentry and make the cabinets yourself. The cabinets that sit on the floor should be made from metal, while the ones you hang from walls can be made from wood. The reason for this is avoiding water damage.
Max out storage spaceCabinets are an excellent design solution because they prevent dust from piling up but they themselves take up a lot of space. For instance, it is hard to install a cabinet in the corner of the garage and still have easy access to it. While visualizing the new layout of your garage, think about all the nook and crannies that are likely to remain unused. Maxing out on space should eliminate these empty areas such as the awkward gap between cabinets and toolboxes. For example, you can use such a narrow space to store the show shovel, garden hoes, and brooms. In terms of vertical space, make sure the wall cabinets you order extend all the way to the roof.
A bicycle shed outside the garageAs we have mentioned earlier, bicycles are usually stored inside the garage because they don’t take up much space. However, due to their award shape for storage, the handgrips have a tendency to hit you in the stomach when you pass them so you might want to rethink the way you store your bikes. The most common solution is to hang them from a wall peg but this method is only applicable in garages with a tall ceiling. If you’re lacking space inside the garage, you can roll out the bikes outside. You’re probably thinking that this move wouldn’t be wise security-wise but instead of locking the bikes out in the open, you should construct a bike shed. This design solution won’t cost you much but you will get extra space in the garage and you’ll sleep soundly knowing that your bikes are under lock and key outside in the driveway.
Make use of remote control technologyBecause space is precious inside the garage, you should apply remote control technology wherever possible. This will do away with the need to navigate the tight space every time you want to open the garage door, for instance. Automated garage doors have come a long way so manufacturers nowadays offer the possibility to operate the garage door using a phone app. This saves a lot of time when you are rushing to work in the morning, as a single swipe of a finger is enough to open the garage door and subsequently close it. What is more, there are smart garage door systems that use geolocation to open the door for you as you approach the house in a car.
Installing an AC unitSince your garage probably lacks proper insulation, it can get either too hot or too cold inside depending on the season. Investing in insulation doesn’t pay off because of the short periods you spend in the garage but installing an AC unit gives you control over the microclimate inside the garage. The AC unit doesn’t have to be large and the best thing about it is that it fills a top corner of the garage you wouldn’t use for anything else, thus maximizing the use of space. What is more, unlike window air conditioners that are ideal for the living room, the AC unit in the garage won’t blot out any windows that are scarce as it is. Air-condition inside the garage is somewhat a luxury but it comes with the perk of regulating air humidity, effectively preventing rust from forming on everything metal, which is the case with the most stuff you keep in the garage, from hand tools to the car. The exterior part of the AC unit can be placed at the back wall of the garage so it doesn’t detract from the curb appeal of your home.
“Am I going to use this” criterionCleaning up and decluttering your garage is important but clutter has a nasty tendency to come back. Even if you implement all of the tips listed above, the chances are that your garage will be out of order in a few months’ time. To prevent this scenario from unfolding, you need to change your shopping and storage habits. Before you decide to buy a gardening tool, ask yourself: “Do I really need this” or “Am I going to use this often”? You might want to buy a pole saw for landscaping work in the garden but after the work is done, they might sit in the garage unused for years, decades even. In this case, renting tools is a wiser option because you save both money and storage space. The garage is the ideal storage unit but it should be turned into a graveyard of disused hand tools. As you have seen from our examples, upgrading your garage is neither that hard nor costly. All it takes is a bit of goodwill and visualization regarding the new look of your garage. Once you make over your garage space, you will realize that there is plenty of extra storage space there that you haven’t tapped in for years prior to the upgrade.
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