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Best Ways to Declutter and Add Storage to your Garage
Remember when a garage was used for parking cars? Nope, neither do we. Most of us hear the word ‘garage’ and the first word we think of is ‘sale’ or “storage”. Sure, some of us also think of the word ‘band’. But few, if any, think of cars. And for good reason.
Because the most common feeling associated with garages is ‘the last time I cleaned my garage, Barack Obama was in his first term’. Yup, we feel you. We empathize with you. We know the nightmares that pop in your head when you think about the organism that could be hidden behind that wooden box. And why does it keep making weird sounds?
But we digress.
There is nothing more off-putting than a dirty garage, yet it is also the most common sight among urban households. There can be many reasons, but they all start with something benign. A chair that belonged to your great grandfather who brought it from abroad; a baseball bat that you used to hit your first (and probably only) home run, or a treadmill you wanted to use. Over time though, they get accumulated to reveal a complex, layered structure that others simply call “messy”. You may disagree, but you can see the writing on the wall.
Now, how do you solve this mess?
First, remember: this will take time. Make sure you allocate a weekend at least to the cleaning process. How to clean? Wait, we are almost there. But first, remember, time, patience and a satisfying drink. The garage doesn’t care what you drink as long as you clean it!
Evacuate! Evacuate! Evacuate!
First things first: you cannot clean your garage, or do it well unless you take out everything. And by that, we mean everything that has ever adorned a place in your garage. No excuses, no exceptions. Most people would be left aghast when they realize how much they have kept stored (or hoarded) in their garage. It is only after you have taken everything out that you will understand the scope of your task. Do not fret, start sorting out all these products in three categories: keep, donate and discard.
The list of things to keep will be your primary driver with regards to how you use the space. The things to donate might need a temporary home in your garage until you do give them away, but that should not impact your new design ideas too much. And for the stuff you need to discard, under no circumstances should they come back inside the garage.
After The Declutter
One good way to start the design process after decluttering is to narrow down what you want to use your garage for. For some people, the garage is their favorite place to practice, sharpen and learn their hobbies. So for example, if you are an avid cyclist, you can consider designing your new garage as a work station/storage area for your cycles. If you are a musician, you can work on making the garage more soundproof.
Once you have zeroed in on a rough design idea, here is how to add storage in the place.
Most garages have ample space to add overhead storage for big, flat items like ladders, etc. Since these will be used once in a while and will see very little traffic, it makes sense to save costs and use re-engineered wood or even laminate for this purpose. However, you can always add design elements to these too by adding decals or painting it in colors of your choice.
Shelves, Shelves, Shelves!
We can’t stress this enough. A garage simply cannot have enough shelves! They are perfect for storing all items that need to be kept in the garage. Pick cheap but durable material to either build these from scratch or buy them online. Every nook and cranny of the garage should have some kind of shelf to ensure storage space. You can always buy different sizes to fit appropriate items, but remember that open shelves keep you on your toes since they can get messy and dirty very easily.
Pegs attached to a pegboard are a tried and tested method of storing light goods as they remain off the floor and don’t get dirty. There are also endless permutations and combinations to keep them so don’t be shy in experimenting! You can even hang heavy items like bicycles — provided you get the adequate racks. A word of caution here though: do not skip on quality when buying these racks because a badly made rack can fall off and cause serious damage to your bike or worse, injure you in the process.