The garage, often the forgotten room of the home, has long been a dumping ground for tools, paint pots and outdoor toys amongst other things. Half of Britain’s garages are no longer used to store cars but purely household items according to a survey by RAC Home Insurance.
The additional storage space is welcomed by many and garages are being used in various ways, from housing a home gym to storing food. Getting it organised continues to be an issue and cluttered garages are embarrassing otherwise well-organised householders.
A recent survey found homeowners wanted better organised garages. In fact, almost a third were so embarrassed by the state of their garage they kept the door shut to prevent neighbours seeing in. Additionally, 34% couldn’t even remember what was stored in there!
Knowing what type of garage owner you are will give help you to make the most of your needs and get that space ship-shape.
DIY tools are the most stored items followed by decorating equipment. Keep your floor clutter-free by attaching a peg board to one wall to hang tools.
Keep smaller items – screws, nails and washers, together in jam jars rather than loose. Install shelves or a shelving unit to store paint pots and prevent them rusting on the floor.
Garages suffer more extremes in temperature than homes, which can affect paint quality though. It’s good practice to do an inventory twice a year to check usability of items and discard unfit consumables. That way you’ll free up space and know what to stock up on next time you’re at the DIY store.
Use your garage as a space to indulge your hobby? You’re in good company; 36% of RAC’s respondents turned their garage into a workshop for hobbies and DIY. Hobby equipment however, can take over.
Maximise space by using cube style units around your dedicated workstation. Set up organised storage in other parts of the garage for the inevitable outdoor or seasonal items and prevent clutter creeping into your hobby area.
The last thing you want when trying to finish a project is to be moving lawnmowers or the kids’ bikes away from your workstation.
Almost half of survey respondents admitted to keeping sports kit and bikes in their garage. When preparing for a bike ride, camping or fishing trip you want to get going. It’s frustrating to have to search for all your kit first.
Sort your garage into zones including an area near to the door for sports and outdoors gear. Install vertical shelves to ‘park’ bikes/scooters or secure large hooks from the ceiling to hang bikes out of the way. Keep a set of labelled plastic bins or boxes for smaller bits of kit.
Also ensure your garage is dry to prevent rust and that the outer door is well secured to protect these high value items.
With the price of food going up it makes sense to bulk buy. Additional food and drink are stored in the garage by 25% of survey respondents, with a third keeping freezers here too.
While it seems like a great idea to store a chest freezer in the garage, be cautious. Freezers are made to be kept in rooms of not less than 10°, so check it regularly, especially in colder weather, to make sure it’s in good working order.
Be practical with food items too. Keep them off the floor, away from chemicals or gardening consumables and use hard plastic storage containers to protect against rodents or insects. Know that temperature fluctuations will also diminish the shelf life of food far more quickly than if kept indoors.
The amateur hoarder
Over 75% of respondents use their garage for general storage. Reasonable, with homes being less storage friendly than ever. But don’t fall into the trap of opening the garage door, adding more clutter to what’s there then forgetting about it. The best solution is to have an annual de-clutter.
Give unwanted items to charity and take broken things to the tip. Store like items together in zoned areas, for example, seasonal decorations, gardening equipment, kids toys etc. Get large ultra-tough storage boxes, stash as much in each one as possible and label each box.
Invest in heavy duty plastic or metal shelving, ceiling racks and tool organisers to keep items off the floor. This will make finding things far easier.
Reclaim garage space by being organised. Your garage will work harder to meet your needs and you’ll avoid the embarrassment and hassle of clutter.