Many homeowners look upon their garage as a kind of catch-all for storing just about anything. Some things end up there because someone was in a hurry and didn’t have time to find a better place. Other things wind up there because the closet was full or they were considered too dangerous to store in the kitchen, basement or attic. And still others wind up there by mistake. In this article we will cover somethings you should never store in your garage, and then we will give you storage hacks on how to store the things that DO belong in your garage.
7 Things You Really Don't Want to Ever Leave in Your Garage
- House Paint - We’re not the first to advise against storing house paint in the garage and we won’t be the last either because many people continue to use the garage as their preferred house paint storage unit. But what’s wrong with storing paint in the garage? Is it going to explode or some such thing? (No) Will it give rise to a race of mutant squirrel zombies? (Probably not but we’ll have to check). What it will do is separate and become unusable if it’s subjected to extreme cold for a prolonged period of time. So storing it in the garage for a year or two is essentially like throwing it out; but in slow motion.
- Canned Food - Most folks think there’s nothing wrong with putting a few boxes of spare canned goods in the garage. After all, canned goods are pretty much impervious to spoilage, right? Actually no. Canned goods can spoil if they’re stored at more than 85 degree Fahrenheit (a temperature many garages exceed during the summer) or if they’re stored in an excessively humid environment (which describes many garages in both summer and winter). Most food experts recommend storing canned goods in a cool dry place.
- Old Family Photos - In the days before all of the world’s digital photos were stored on either Google’s or Apple’s servers there were things called printed photos. Most families still have boxes of these photos that document various important moments in the life and times of the family. Typically some of these photos find their way into albums while those that don’t make the album cut are put back in the box to await nostalgia jags in the future. Sometimes these boxes find their way into the garage which is an enormous mistake. Leaving them to commiserate with the car will inevitably lead to their ruin as they fade or become stuck to one another.
- A Second Refrigerator - Everyone knows someone who either had or has a garage fridge. But most who do wind up spending exorbitant amounts to keep their beer fridge up and running because a refrigerator operates best between 50 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything above or below that (as happens all the time in the garage) causes the fridge to have to work overtime to maintain a stable temperature and this causes electric bills to spike. Working the fridge so hard is also going to significantly shorten its life. If you must have a spare fridge for your brewskis put it in the basement instead.
- Electronic Devices Televisions, DVD players, PCs, boom boxes, printers and more often wind up in the garage when new models are bought. The thinking is that at some point someone in the family will find a use for this now obsolete technology. And that could happen except that storing these devices in the garage pretty much seals their doom. Sensitive electronics do not react at all well to being stored in a space that typically gets either freezing cold or brutally hot, like the garage. Nor do they like spaces that get really humid, like the garage.
- Propane - Propane tanks should never, under any circumstances, be stored in any part of the house, including the garage. Even a tiny leak in a propane tank can generate enough fumes in an enclosed space to present the very real possibility of an explosion. And all it would take to set off the conflagration is starting the car or maybe talking on your cell phone. Always store propane tanks outdoors, preferably in a locked, secure storage shed with plenty of ventilation.
- Firewood - While it might seem like the ultimate in convenience to store firewood in the garage for those cold winter nights the fact is that where there is firewood there are pests. By storing firewood into the garage you’re also asking for centipedes, pill bugs, spiders, carpenter ants and termites in your house. When it comes to firewood it should always be kept outside away from the house on an elevated rack or platform, covered with a tarp.
The garage was not designed to be a storage unit. Don’t store anything there until you first determine whether or not it will be able to withstand the often extreme environment of the garage. Not many things will be able to.
Garage Storage That Doesn't Cost You an Arm and a Leg
Now that we have covered what you do not want to store in your garage, lets discuss easy and cheap ways you can store the things that do belong in your garage. With spring cleaning right around the corner this is as good a times as any to discuss the need for storage space. Ultimately an awful lot of the stuff we wind up dealing with during the spring cleanup is stuff that just accumulated during the winter or was perhaps given to us at Christmas. Now it needs a home. The garage is where a good deal of that clutter is going to ultimately wind up so it pays to have some first rate garage storage hacks at your disposal that you can implement on the cheap. Below our garage door installers will look at 10 of their favorite hacks.
Laying the Groundwork
Before we get into the meat and potatoes of our garage storage hacks let’s cover a few basics rules about what gets stored and what doesn’t:
- If you’re contemplating storing things that you haven’t used in year or more don’t bother. Hold a yard sale or donate them to charity instead.
- Conversely, if you have things lined up for storage that you use once a month or more don’t store them way out in the garage. Find a place under the kitchen counter or in a closet.
- • Before you rework or add to your garage storage space make sure to organize what’s already there. Don’t just add new storage capabilities to a messy situation. Throw out anything that we discussed previously as well as old TVs or donate them to charity and gather as many things as you can bear to part with for a yard sale.
Cheap Garage Storage Hacks from Your Favorite Garage Door Installation Company
Now that we have that out of the way let’s take a look at our list of affordable garage storage hacks.
- Ye Olde Peg Board - Peg boards have been a favorite organizational hack for decades because they’re easy to make and cost next to nothing. They can be attached to any part of the wall in the garage and can be used to store all types of tools.
- Simple shelves - Utilizing the walls is a great way to optimize the storage potential of your garage. Peg boards are a great way to start but you also need to install some simple shelving as well to handle all types of misc stuff currently clogging things up in the garage.
- The power tool station - Power tools are often spread out between the workbench and various drawers. So consolidating them is key. You can get a free plan for a compact power tool station from numerous websites that offer them. Just build it and install it over the workbench.
- Get your garden tools off the floor - Often times it’s hard to find floor space in the garage to put a new cabinet or to stack storage tubs because there are shovels, rakes and more leaning against the walls everywhere. Get them off the floor with a few simple wall racks. You can purchase the necessary racks from any home improvement store. They’re cheap.
- Get your bikes off the floor too - If you have exposed beams in the garage ceiling simple hammer 2 large spikes into them (one for each wheel) for each of your bikes and get them up off the floor. If you want something a bit more aesthetically pleasing bike hooks are cheap and available everywhere. Once you get everything off the floor it will seem like a new garage.
- Plastic tubs - Now that you’ve created some floor space by hanging the rakes, shovels and bikes you can build out some super cheap wooden shelves and populate them with plastic storage tubs full of stuff from the house.
- Make use of the space above the garage door - After a garage door installation there is often unused space above the door when it is open. This is a great place to install some storage shelves for the things you don’t need right now but don’t want to toss like throw rugs and books.
- Magnetic storage - If you’ve got a bunch of loose hand tools clanking around various drawers install magnets on the bottom of one of your shelves and hang all these screwdrivers, pliers and more from them. You’ll clear more space and have these popular tools at hand all the time.
- Organize all those nails and screws - Baby food jars make the perfect receptacles for nails, screws, bolts, nuts and more. Label each jar and then place them on a new shelf over the workbench to clear up even more space in your existing drawers for other things.
Creating ample garage door storage is, more often than not, simply of matter of organizing and making better use of the space you have available to you. So put the above hacks to good use and watch the storage possibilities open up in front of you.
Organizational Hacks for Your Garage
Really old maps from 400-500 years ago contained big areas that were simply deemed “terra incognita” and left blank. Basically the map maker had no information about those parts of the world so they just ignored them. The garage is sort of like that. Most people have a very definite vision of their home: what they like, what they don’t, how it works and their favorite parts. But that mental picture tends to include a large blank spot that we like to call “the garage”.
Part of this willful blindness when it comes to the garage is due to the fact that, like the basement, we tend to use it as a kind of catchall and not much more. As a result the garage - again like the basement - can get so discombobulated that we start to pass through it with mental blinders on. But there’s no reason the garage has to continue being the terra incognita of your home. With just a modicum of effort you can transform the garage into an organized, even attractive, space that actually works to enhance the quality of your life. Below are 8 organizational hacks you can use to do just that.
Bringing the Garage Back into the Domestic Fold
Put the following 8 organizational hacks to work in your garage and convert it from something you’d rather not talk about into something you want to show off to friends and neighbors.
- Get the garden tools out of the boxes and onto the walls: If you’re like most people your garden tools are tossed hither and yon into a random collection of boxes on the floor of the garage. Start your garage reclamation project by installing a pegboard on one wall of the garage and hanging all your garden tools in an organized fashion. While you’re at it, do the same for any power tools you use around the house.
- Hang your bicycles: Bikes are a common cause of garage clutter as it’s quite common for folks to simply hop off the bike and lean it against the nearest vertical surface in the garage. Put an end to the tyranny of the loose bicycles by installing bike hooks in the ceiling of the garage and get your bikes off the floor.
- Create some simple DIY shelving: One of the best ways to tackle the issue of garage clutter is to build some simple shelving along one wall of the garage. If you have a natural DIY streak the process shouldn’t take more than a weekend to accomplish. You can then use the shelving as a launching pad for other organizational hacks like putting nails, screws, zip ties and other loose objects into mason jars and giving them their own section of the new shelving.
- Make use of storage bins: Plastic storage bins are an incredibly simple way to get things off the floor and out from underfoot. Pick up as many as you need to hold various objects like sporting goods and recyclables and give them their own designated area on those new shelves you just built. Don’t forget to label the various bins for easy identification of the contents.
- Purchase a hazardous materials cabinet: All too often homeowners will leave things like spray paint, paint thinners/removers, propane tanks - either full or empty - and other hazardous materials lying loose about the garage. This not only leads to clutter but is actually quite a dangerous habit. Purchase a hazardous materials cabinet for your garage and put all dangerous materials in one safe place.
- Designate a specific part of the garage for storing trash bins: All too often trash bins just get dumped wherever inside the garage once they’ve been emptied by the trashman. As a result we have to negotiate our way around them once we’ve exited the car. Designate a specific, out of the way area for trash bins and make sure they’re always returned to their proper position.
- Use all of the space: If your garage has a high ceiling you may want to create a storage platform in the upper reaches of the space. This can be used for long term storage of items that aren’t particularly temperature or moisture sensitive.
- Let there be light: In most garages light is at a premium. As such it’s often difficult to find anything in the gloom. If you’re serious about organizing your garage introduce a modest lighting scheme that will bring sufficient light to bear on the various aspects of your newly organized garage.
Turning your garage from that place where you dump stuff into the place where you can easily find stuff is not as difficult as you might think. Keep the above tips in mind and you’ll be well on your way to a more organized, productive and safer household.