When most people hear the word “garage”, they conjure a mental image of a dimly lit, dirty space, where piles of assorted tools and lawn chairs are stored. It’s the part of your home that you have been meaning to clean and organize, but a busy life always seems to get in the way.
The problem is, most people don’t know where to start. A garage full of spiderwebs and useless junk can be an intimidating project to start on. What should i keep? How many snow shovels do we need?
Fear your unorganized garage no more! The team at Alpha Doors has put together a foolproof plan to help you regain your clean garage, so you can stop hiding the mess from your neighbours and start enjoying more living space.
Step 1- Remove and Choose
The first step in getting your garage back is to remove EVERYTHING from its interior. Yes, everything. It is best to choose a day where there is no threat of rain so your belongings remain dry. Set out four large tarps on your driveway or lawn; these will be your four sorting piles.
Keep, Sell, Donate, Discard.
But how do you know what you should keep?
A great rule of thumb is, if you remember using it in the past 2 years, you will likely need it again soon. If your garage is extremely cluttered and you don’t conduct too much yard work or gardening, stick to a one year rule.
So you have three perfectly good shovels that you have used over the past year? Keep your favorite, and rid yourself of the rest. You only need ONE of each tool. Sometimes you can even dispose of four or five tools by replacing them with a single multi-tool. Does your neighbour also have a table saw? Perhaps you get rid of yours and borrow their saw whenever you have a need. In return, they can use your snow blower when the next storm hits- there are many ways to reduce the amount of physical items in your garage space.
Do you have an extra fridge in your garage that you use often and are unsure if you should keep it or not? Let us help you out- get rid of it!
Most fridges that occupy garage space are more than 20 years old, meaning they are extremely inefficient and are majorly jacking up your energy bill. Even if you have a newer fridge in the garage, it will still struggle to be efficient as it has to work twice as hard in the warmer months when your garage is twice as warm as the inside of your home.
Step 2- Visualize and Plan
Now that you have a clear view of the space you have to work with, you can start to let your imagination run wild. Have you always wanted a workbench in the corner? Now is the perfect time to add one.
Conducting any improvements to your garage is much easier while all the items are out of it. We highly recommend creating “zones” when planning what will go where. Perhaps in your garage you have a zone for your car and automobile items, another zone for your workbench, one for storing your yard equipment and a fourth designated for sports.
Once these zones are laid out, take an inventory of all the items you decided to keep for each area, and estimate how much storage space you require. There are many different ways to create storage. Here are some tips and recommendations:
- Install pegboard to hang tools and other loose items
- Create or purchase a lockable cabinet for dangerous chemicals and valuable goods
- Put up simple wooden storage shelves to keep a wide range of items off the floor and at eye level
- Utilize hooks and ceiling racks to keep larger items such as bicycles out of the way
- Store bulky items in large, clear plastic bins which can be labeled appropriately
- If installing a work table, consider creating a version that can fold onto the wall to save space when not in use
Step 3: Build and Enhance Your Garage
After you have decided on your storage solutions, it’s time to get building. Most of the recommendations above are simple projects and shouldn’t take much longer than an afternoon.
At this stage there are a few additional enhancements you may want to make to your garage.
One is to increase the lighting, as most garages come equipped with one or two single bulbs that don’t do the trick. Consider bringing in an electrician to install long fluorescent lights which will help you when you are working on a project in your garage late at night.
Another improvement you can make is to paint or epoxy the floor. Not only will this brighten up your garage, but it will also protect the floor and give your garage a much more “professional” appearance. Remember, the more pleasant your garage looks, the more time you will spend using it.
Lastly, ensure the security and safety of your garage is up to par. If you have an older garage door, have it inspected to ensure it cannot be easily broken into and that all the safety features are working properly (The Alpha Doors Team would be more than happy to help out with that!). It is also a great idea to keep a fire extinguisher in the garage, especially if you are often using flammable liquids such as gas for the lawnmower.
Step 4: Use and Keep Clean
Now you can finally move back your condensed pile of garage items and place them all in their designated areas.
Nothing is too big or small to have a storage container, even the different screws and nails you may have. Try using old coffee tins to help store small items that may otherwise easily become lost.
The key now is to always put tools and other items back in their proper spot after they have been utilized. This will keep your garage clean and organized for years to come. A couple times a year do a quick tidy up of your garage space and reassess what is being used often enough to keep around.
Bonus Garage Cleaning Tips!
- Install large magnetic strips above your workbench to easily hang tools
- Hang a tennis ball from the ceiling so it hits your windshield of your car when you are in the perfect parking position
- Store large cans of paint indoors, as large fluctuations in temperature can damage the composition
- Place old pieces of carpet on the wall where you fear a car door might make contact
We hope you enjoy your newly organized garage and remember, if you have any issues with your garage door, the team and Alpha Doors can have you up and running again in no time!