Mountains of snow on the horizon mean that shovels, snow blowers, skis and more are about to come out of the woodwork. Prepare appropriately for the daily use of winter equipment and gear by getting your garage in tip-top shape now. An organized garage that acts as a functional storage space will keep everything you need at hand, allowing you to move through chores and errands with efficiency and ease. Optimize your garage space by following the below tips from the pros.
Plan accordingly. Before you make any move, assess your space carefully. Even if you want to do the dirty work yourself, you may want to call in a professional simply to help you create a working vision. “You want to understand exactly what your personal storage requirements are, and then design your garage accordingly to fit your needs,” says Jeff Murphy, president of Murphy and Co. Design. “It’s amazing what a good design can do to the quality of life in your garage.”
Avoid general floor storage. First rule of thumb: Keep the garage floor as clear as possible. “Snow melting off your car will make anything left out wet and muddy,” says Rozalia Kiss, design manager at transForm.
Work your walls. Use all the wall space available; this not only keeps things off the floor, but also leaves optimal space for your car. “Consider a wall track system to hang shovels and other tools in an easy-to-reach place by the garage door,” says Kiss. “For heavy, bulky items such as winter sports equipment, install deep garage shelving with metal stiffeners.”
Look up for general storage. Running out of available wall space? Use the ceiling. “There are many great companies that specialize in simple garage storage, including overhead storage that can mount on your current ceiling,” Murphy says.
Consider creating a gear closet. Murphy suggests creating a dedicated sports or gear closet out of a room accessed directly from the garage. “These spaces are simply a larger closet with shelves and open storage, which works great for unloading kids’ sports items right from a vehicle into a room where it doesn’t matter if it becomes wet or dirty,” he says. “This room is typically heated the same as the house.”
Hang racks for skis and snowboards. “Mounting a ski or snowboard rack on the wall is a nice way to keep the clutter down in the garage,” says Murphy. “It allows for a dedicated location to keep them off the floor and out of the way of tipping over.”
Keep sand and salt at hand. Use sliding wire baskets or install a tilt-out hamper for easy access to sand, salt and even (well-wrapped) birdseed. “This also helps to keep them protected, stored and off the floor all winter long,” says Kiss.
Install motion-sensor-activated and battery-powered LED lights. You never know when a winter storm might challenge your power, so it’s best to be prepared. “Motion-sense-activated and battery-powered LED lights help you find supplies in the event of a power outage and can be easily mounted under cabinets to illuminate countertops, and installed in drawers and closets,” says Kiss.
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Houzz is the leading online platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish -- online or from a mobile device. From decorating a room to building a custom home, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals around the world. Shawn Gauthier is a contributor to Houzz.