• Cleaning and Organizing a Garage

  • For some homeowners, a garage is little more than a storage shed, but that doesn’t mean your garage can’t be organized.  Here are tips for organizing your garage so you can reclaim some lost space.

    First, you need to stop seeing your garage as an extension of your attic or a substitute for a shed. If you’ve accumulated so much stuff that you’re parking cars in the street, then it’s time to invest in a shed for your backyard. One of the best tips for organizing your garage is to clear out what doesn’t really belong in the garage.   Also, consider building in rafters or other storage near the ceiling. This can be an effective space for little used items that you simply need to get out of the way. Make sure that any storage that’s above your head is securely fastened with anchor bolts drilled into studs.

    Hazardous Materials   The first items to get out of your garage are propane tanks from gas grills. Many people store grills in their garages, along with the tanks. The tanks can leak propane, which is a definite fire and explosion hazard. A gas grill simply takes up too much room to store in a garage. Get an affordable grill cover and leave it outside.   Of course, garages are pretty much the place people store chemicals, paint and pesticides. First off, don’t store hazardous items in anything except their original containers. Otherwise, you’re exposing yourself, your family and your pets to potentially dangerous leaks and fumes. This includes seemingly harmless items such as road salt, which can cause diarrhea in pets. Antifreeze is fatal to both humans and pets. Since our furry companions don’t know better, there’s a danger they’ll try to lick up even small spills because of the sweet smell. And, of course, keep antifreeze and other hazardous chemicals locked up and out of the reach of children.

    Kids Toys   First, get anything that really doesn’t belong in the garage out. For example, is the patio a better place for storage? If so, and the toy needs to be protected from the elements, consider a small plastic shed or storage container. For the items that are left, bicycles and tricycles, fold-down basketball hoops, etc., push everything against the wall. Some of these items will be big and you want easy access. Bikes can also be hung on ceiling hooks.   Be sure to keep kids’ toys and the hazardous materials as far apart as possible.

    Gardening Tools   Gardening tools should be stored securely on hooks mounted to the walls. You can double up on how you store some items. For example, little used rakes can hang on hooks on the wall, while the lawn spreader and leaf blower can hang further out from the wall on ceiling hooks.

    Ladders   Ladders are best stored on hooks on the wall. If you lean them up against a wall, there’s the very real danger that they’ll fall and injure a person or a vehicle. Storing them on the floor simply takes up too much space. Since you’re not likely to use a ladder often, you could even store it in the rafters of your garage.