5 Ways to Take Control of Your Garage
It is another sunny, summer Saturday here in Los Angeles, California. I texted a friend to see if he wanted to watch the Kings game later. Much to my dismay I received back, “Can’t. Cleaning out the garage.” So sad.
And it is totally unnecessary. There is no need to spend a weekend cleaning out a garage, year after year. This dismal doom can be mostly avoided by taking control of your garage. Here are five ways to show your garage who is boss.
1. Keep Your Cars in Your Garage
This is a piece of advice that is so obvious it sounds counterintuitive. One of the best ways to keep your garage clean and organized is to use your garage for your cars. You can’t fill a garage with junk when your car is in the way. Right?
Not to mention storing your car in a garage spares your car’s paint job a pounding from the weather and will lower your car insurance premiums.
2. Hang Your Tools on a Peg Board
When of your dining room chairs has a loose screw that is threatening to collapse the entire chair. You say to yourself, Hey, I can fix that! I just need to grab a screwdriver from the garage! Two hours later you’ve located four stuffed animals, a pair of pliers, some loose bolts, and a hammer. But no screwdriver.
There is an easy and cool solution. Hang your tools on the wall. You can either arrange your tools on a peg board, a rack, or specialized hangers. This also gives you an excuse to bring that work bench you’ve always wanted. What else compliments a showroom of tools better than a work bench?
When you are finished organizing your tools grab a couple of empty coffee tins and start organizing your screws, nails, bolts, nuts, etc. One coffee tin for screws, one coffee tin for nails, and so on. Depending on the type of Do-It-Yourself jobs you do you may want to get even more granular — a coffee can for wood screws and another coffee can for machine screws.
You can also use store bought organizers to store fasteners and screws, but I tend to like coffee cans. There is something deeply nostalgic about fishing a screw out of an repurpose Folger’s tin.
3. Install Shelving
There are a ton of shelving solutions that are aimed squarely at getting your boxes off the floor. You can buy free standing shelving or shelves that screws (or bolts) directly to the wall. You can even find garage shelving that is designed to hang down from your garage’s rafters (this is an ideal way to store infrequently used stuff like ladders.
Another way you can get boxes off the floor is to install quarter inch plywood boards running across the rafters of your garage. This can serve as an “garage attic” where you can store seasonal items like Christmas decorations.
If you’ve made an effort to carefully install shelving do yourself another favor and buy some sealable plastic boxes. Plastic boxes will last a lot longer (possibly forever) than cardboard boxes and do a better job of protecting the stuff you are trying to store.
4. Label Everything
Either buy a label maker or a couple rolls of masking tape and a marker. Now label everything. Even if you know what is in a box today, label it. Why? This will prevent you from the, “Well I know the Christmas decorations are in THERE!” syndrome. Labeling keeps you from guessing and prevents you from making a mess when you guess wrong.
If you want to get really serious, after packing a box for storage, write out an inventory list of what’s in the box (1 Xmas wreaths, 4 boxes Christmas bulbs). This technique is particularly effective if you have multiple boxes filled with similar items (.i.e. Christmas decorations).
5. Don’t Store Used Chemicals
Paint, household cleaners, and automotive fluids are all considered household hazardous waste and you can’t put them in your normal curbside side trash. So many people store used chemicals in their garage. This is a bad idea on multiple levels of bad.
Firstly, an excess number of poorly store chemicals creates a fire hazard that can damage or destroy your home. Secondly, chemicals laying around your garage pose a hazard to small kids and pets. Instead of storing household hazardous chemicals drop them off at a city approved drop off center. Or call a hauling service like Green Clean Junk Removal Services to haul away old paints, cleaners, etc.
Getting control over your garage takes a little time, a little effort, and a lot of planning. But the results can be amazing. You not only reduce clutter but you turn your garage into another show piece inside your home.