A local Victorian town house builder was telling me this week the Victorian Building Association is requiring him to include bike storage in a new set of two town houses he is building. It seems the Victorian Building Association is ensuring some form of garage organization enter all new Victorian homes.
If the average Australian family home owns two vehicles, then new homes should be built with three car garages not two. Two spaces for the vehicles and one for storage. Walk past most new homes today and you will see one car parked in the garage taking up half the space. The other half will be filled with storage items laying on the floor and up against the walls.
Too Much Stuff
The problem for young families is that between all of the furniture that you are expected to buy and all of the toys you accumulate there is just not enough room to store it. Effectively storing everything is a lose lose predicament.
Get rid of it
Having 3 young children of my own, I have experienced the buying, using and storing that we all go through. I still have a kid’s bed in my garage that turns into a couch/bench which my partner expects to one day use in a bigger home we may own. It isn’t easy to move stuff on. Throwing it out is painful, giving to someone for a small price or free is much easier. Atleast you know it might get a second or third use. Gumtree, eBay and Facebook’s marketplace are ideal for this. You will be surprised how quickly some stuff goes particularly if you have looked after it.
Storing what is left
My work with StoreWALL has allowed me to share time with hundreds of customers who have purchased or considered purchasing StoreWALL. The key to effective garage organization is prioritising space for the things you use regularly. This is a task no one can really help you with.
If your family enjoys bike riding then, this is a priority. Same applies to ball sports or kraft activities. It may also include tools for your work around the home or garden or even your car(s). Prioritising also includes considering the actual cost of some of your “stuff” and looking after it. Keeping a $300 drill in bucket or just lying on a bench/table is not safe nor a great way to protect your investment.
Garage Organization – Height
Consider using the full height of your garage space. If you have a 2.4m height, then look to make the most of this. Look at storage options that allow you to store the least used items in locations that you may only need to access once a year. Shelving is ideal for this. So is overhead storage.
Garage slatwall panels can make this easy by allowing you to panel the height of your wall and then offer versatility in how you use it. Add brackets to your slatwalls and create your own shelving. These shelves can then be moved lower as your needs change.
Overhead storage is also very popular today and can be placed in most locations on the roof of your garage. Once installed they can be difficult to move, so you need to get the location right.
Garage Organization – Walls
I mentioned garage slatwalls above and this is obviously our specialty. Wall panels are great because they give you options. Once the wall is panelled it can be used for Hooks, Baskets, Shelving, Bins and Bags. Best of all, you can move it around over time as your needs change.
Using your walls is also great because it allows you to use the length and height for those odd, shaped items like ladders.
Compared to just buying a shelfing unit from your local hardware store, garage wall panels might seem expensive. Over time you will come to appreciate the flexibility your choice offers you that a basic shelf will never deliver.
Here is an example of what I mean. If bike storage is a priority for you, slatwall panels allow you to add a bike hook anywhere on your wall. You will then be able to easily access your bike as well as your car. If your priorities change over time and you no longer need the bike, you could remove the bike hook and replace it with a Tote Bag for sporting balls or some shelving. If you ever needed that bike hook again, you could easily move the shelving higher (making it bigger or smaller) on that wall or in another location and re-introduce the bike hook.
Garage slatwall panels need to be seen as an investment not just a garage storage option. If you eventually decide to sell your home, they will add to its value and will give your prospective owners a new ready to use garage. Alternatively, they can also be taken with you to your next home.
Garage Organization – Depth
I don’t want to underscore the value of shelving units because not only are they affordable they also give you depth. If you garage space is long and narrow, you can add a shelving unit at the back of it allowing you to maximise the space between your vehicle and the back wall. Depending on the height of your garage, shelving units can also allow you to use the full height of your garage.
The one challenge with a deep shelf is accessing everything stored on it. This is where some forward thinking of what you need occasionally and what you need regularly comes into play. Ideally you don’t want to have to sort through stuff each time you want to use the vacuum cleaner.
Fixed shelving units can be found at most hardware stores plus many online retailers.
Cabinets are another very useful option if you have the space. A lockable cabinet can be a great way to secure those expensive tools or that equipment which you don’t want others looking at each time they enter the garage. Cabinets come in lots of shapes and sizes and combinations including bench space and drawers.
Bench space is important if you have the real-estate. You can accomplish this with a moveable bench (on wheels) or something that is fixed to your wall. It can also be something that you build yourself (YouTube is great for this).
First things first
Clean out your garage and get rid of the stuff you know someone else may be able to get more use from.