I recently went through a house move and as many have written before, the exercise was long and tedious. Cleaning out the home was part 1, the garage clean up was part 2.
An important part of this clean out was identifying what was to be taken with us and what could be either thrown out, given away or sold.
Once we had done this, we also had to put a value on each item we thought could be sold and work out how and where to sell it. This was not easy.
Of the few things I have sold in the past, they have all been via Ebay. I have generally found the sales process very long with very few bites. In all honesty, Ebay is such a huge marketplace and if your item isn’t from an in-demand category, getting attention is difficult.
A friend of mine who also went through the same home and garage clean up process, told me that he had used Facebook Marketplace and that it worked quickly and easily.
I gave it a go and listed bookshelves, bedheads, wooden shelving, plates, a fridge, statues, gym equipment, lights and even the kitchen. Over a 3 month period I have sold pretty much all of it. The same items were also listed on Ebay and Gumtree. The Kitchen was the only item I successfully sold via Ebay. Everything else went via Facebook Marketplace. Most of the interest was via Facebook.
Giving Things Away
I generally found that if you want to give things away, it worked a treat. I gave our 20 year old fridge away within 24hrs. With everything else, you need to work on a price that has flexibility. People will ask you to half it, so ensuring you factor some of this in allows you to reach a reasonable price that also moves it on.
Another thing to look out for is that you will get plenty of enquiries. Some of these people will not be serious and will waste your time. I had one guy promise to pickup a bookshelf in 2 days and never arrived. When I tried to contact him, his Messenger was off and I couldn’t. In that time I had several others asking to collect it and I had told them it was sold. Very frustrating.
From what I understand, unlike Ebay they also don’t take a commission on these items which helps a little.
The fridge I mentioned earlier was from our garage. I also managed to give away some old work out equipment and an old bed head that was in our garage. It all went within a few days of it being listed.
One of the challenges with larger furniture is how it is collected. In one case, the person paid me an extra $50 to deliver the book case them.
Council Drop Off
Monash Council offers an ability to drop off items such as used paint cans, car batteries and even empty gas bottles free of charge. You can also leave mattresses (for a small fee). I plan to take advantage of this to finish off my garage clean up.
So with a little research and preparation the home and garage clean up process can be made much a lot easier and successful.
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.
Over the past fortnight, I have been receiving calls from customers looking for accessories for their StorEase Slimline Smart Rail. The StorEase Slimline Smart Rail Wall Bracket is sold by Bunnings and allows you to clip on a broad range of accessories for your garage, sporting gear or workshop.
StoreWALL is not StorEase
StoreWALL is not StorEase. Whilst most of our accessories might work on the StorEase range of Wall Brackets, it is not the same product nor quality. I’d like to think StoreWALL is a much better solution, but I will let you be the judge of that.
About a year ago, I did an in-depth review of the StoreEase Aluminium Smart Wall Panel and one of its more popular accessories. The review includes several videos and has proven to be rather popular. The Smart Wall Panel is very similar to the StorEase Slimline Smart Rail but it is a slightly wider wall panel and raw aluminium in colour. The StorEase Slimline Smart Rail is painted Black.
StorEase Smart Wall Panel
StorEase Slimline Smart Rail
StorEase Slimline Smart Rail Compared
Some of the key difference between the two StorEase panels is that the Wall Track Slimline is a different Colour, a different Width and has a different groove for locking the accessory. In fact, several of the calls I have received have actually been specifically about the StorEase Slimline Smart Rail locking mechanism.
The price of the StorEase Slimline Smart Rail is about $30.82 and its dimensions are: W:105 H:10 L:1200. The Smart Wall panel is priced similarly but its dimensions are: W:158 H:5 L:1200. About 50mm wider. In fact, it now seems (2023) that the Wall Panel can only be purchased directly from StorEase as it is no longer featured on the Bunnings website.
StorEase Slimline Smart Rail Review
So I ventured down to my local Bunnings Store to see for myself what the StorEase Slimline Smart Rail looked like and how it worked. I had the opportunity to test it with one of the StorEase hooks and I have included some photos and video below.
It didn’t take long to work out where the confusion and calls were coming from. I honestly didn’t find the StorEase Slimline Smart Rail very intuitive. As you can see from the video, trying to secure the hook to the rail was not easy and I wouldn’t be confident hanging heavy items from it.
This is in contrast to what I found with the Smart Wall Panel in my review. It secured the hook a lot better (probably a little too well). The StorEase Slimline Smart Rail looks nicer with its powder-coated black colour. It is also slimmer which makes it less visible on the wall. It just didn’t quite do the job when it comes to holding the accessories. This is supported by some of the reviews on the Bunnings website.
StoreWALL’s wall panel system is in many ways similar to what is offered by StorEase but also quite different. For one, StoreWALL is not a rail, it is a wall panel, designed to cover your wall area. You can cover as much as you need to. Also, each wall panel is double the width of the StorEase product. The width of the panel is about 300mm (30cm) as opposed to the StorEase panel being 150mm (15cm). Being wider it has room for two rows of grooves and can therefore fit more accessories. You would need to join two StorEase panels together to get the same result.
Price wise the 1.2m StoreWALL panel is $69.99 sold separately and slightly cheaper purchased in a carton of 4. The cost of two StorEase Slimline Smart Rails is about $61.64.
Another key difference is the accessory range. StoreWALL’s accessories are designed to be attached to the panel and then locked in. There is no threat of the accessory falling off the panel. The CamLok locking mechanism eliminates this. See the below video on how it works.
StoreWALL’s accessories are priced a little higher than the equivalent from StorEase but as noted the quality and locking mechanism are different. The panels are also not aluminium but hardened thermoplastic which will not change shape, or attract rust or mold. They also come in several colours so you can match them to your wall colour or other cabinetry in the garage.
Having tested the StorEase Smart Wall Panel (wider panel), I can confirm that you can use the StoreWALL accessories on your StorEase Smart Wall Panel.
THIS HOWEVER DOES NOT APPLY TO THE STOREASE SLIMLINE SMART RAIL. OUR ACCESSORIES WILL FIT BUT THE GROOVE IS NOT DEEP ENOUGH TO SECURE THE CAMLOK.
Below is an example of what one client did in Melbourne. They had a StorEase rail in the garage and added 2 StoreWALL U Hooks to hang this dart board.
Give us a call should you want to know more about the differences.
In this week’s blog post we focus away from ideas and to the practical side of pricing and measuring your garage storage solution. The internet is filled with ideas on what you could eventually make your garage look like, but Instagram and Pinterest don’t really tell you how to get from A to B.
Measuring your Garage Storage Solution
Let me be frank, there is no best garage wall storage solution. There are lots of ideas and ideally you can pick a little or a lot from many of them. The end result should be something which will cater for most of what you need to store today and the next few years. Expect to have to review and adjust your design a few times over the life of your garage.
When you are looking for ideas, spend just as much time in your garage as you do on the internet or the hardware store. Its super important that don’t lose focus from the goal of managing your items. Knowing what is in your garage is important when solving how to store it. Sometimes we can get carried away with the desire to make it look like what is in the photo.
Cleaning up the garage
I have covered this lots of times in previous articles but your first step in a garage makeover is to clean up your garage. Do your best to throw (better still give it away if its in good condition) out enough without causing a family WW3. The clean-out is import because it will free up space for more stuff. It’s also important because in order to install any new garage storage solution, you will need room to work.
The clean out should be carried out over a few weekends. Repeating it is important because your are likely to throw out more the more you review what is stored and never used. As I mentioned earlier, spend time in your garage to understand what you have.
Walls or the Whole Garage
Working on the garage of a new home (which is empty) is different and much easier compared to working on an existing garage with its pre-existing mess (even if it has been cleaned out).
If it’s an existing garage you might consider starting with one wall and then extending the design gradually to the rest of the garage.
Most garages make-overs will require a combination of the follow features:
Shelving – whether you need more of it or need to replace what you have, shelving is super important. DIY shelving comes in various lengths, depths and heights. Think about how many shelves you will require. Consider what you have to store and the space you have to store it. My garage shelving is used to hold luggage, plastic storage containers and food items. DIY shelving is accessible from all major hardware stores as well as online. DIY shelving is affordable and very easy to setup. The aluminium frames are very strong and can hold hundreds of KGs.
Bench space – it could be 1 metre or several, but no matter how much, you need some. Most hardware stores can assist with varying ways to build bench space into your garage. There are several portable benches which come complete with drawers and cupboards built in. Alternatively you can also just build your own and there are lots of youtube videos showing you how.
Cupboards and drawers – if this is important to you then you will need to look at some professional storage solutions which can be built and installed for you. If it’s just drawers that you are after, a pre-made set that is portable (on wheels) might also be worth considering.
Wall Hanging Storage – slatwalls, and pegboards are a great way of hanging tools and everyday garage items via hooks. StoreWALL’s range of hooks will hang anything from bikes to ladders. Slatwall options like StoreWALL also cater for baskets, bags and shelves all hanging from the wall.
Measuring Your Garage
Prior to selecting what to add to your garage or storage area, you need to measure up. If you are renovating just one wall then measure the whole wall (ceiling to floor and corner to corner). Note these measurements. You will also need to measure the areas you want to dedicate to Shelving, Bench, Cupboards, Drawers and Slatwall.
If you are combining storage, draw up a plan and design. Add your measurements and visualise the end result.
In a recent example, a client called me looking to add hanging bike storage to his garage. We worked through the actual wall space he had to use. This included looking at how much of the actual wall he wanted covered by the StoreWALL slatwall surface. With 4 bikes and each bike taking up about 500mm each, he required about 2m of wall surface. In addition to hanging bikes he also wanted baskets for the helmets and hooks for other items in his garage.
The benefits of StoreWALL’s slatwall finish is that all accessories can be added and moved around or removed altogether depending on your need at the time. You aren’t locked in.
Measuring your Garage Storage Solution – Client Example
Measuring your area (and re-measuring it) will provide a clear understanding of the space required by each garage storage idea. As per the previous paragraph measuring your Garage Storage Solution will help you design it.
In the case of the client with the bike hooks, his garage was 4m in length. He decided to buy four 1.2m StoreWALL panels (each 1.2m panel is .3m in height with a surface area of .36m) making two rows of 2.4m of StoreWALL slatwall. The total surface area covered by the two rows of panels is 1.4m squared (calculated as two rows of .7m). Each panel comes with 4 slatwall grooves which allow for the hooks to be added and moved around.
With any slatwall installation you also need to consider what surface you will be installing on ie what the garage wall is made from. Slatwalls will need to be fastened to the wall. If the wall is plastered then you will be able to install them using the studs under the plasterboard (usually spaced 450mm apart). If the wall is bricked, you will be able to drill into the mortar or brick and fasten to this. The only challenging wall surface will be a tin/aluminium wall. These walls will usually also have a wooden or metallic frame. In this case you might need to add additional frame in order to support the slatwalls.
When you are investigating options for reorganising your garage storage area its important to see working examples others have completed. This week I have searched the web and found several examples of StoreWALL garage installation ideas.
Two Wall StoreWALL Garage Installation
This is a busy garage on the left has much of the wall area installed with StoreWALL. They have implemented a large range of hooks as well as shelves to manage their many tools, brooms and other gardening equipment. Notice the use of StoreWALL’s specialist pole hanging hooks. They are both secure and can hang multiple poles from the one hook. This approach saves space on your limited wall.
StoreWALL Stairwell Installation
This is a much smaller fit out of StoreWALL. It’s also not in the garage but inside the home. Making better use of your smaller storage areas is ideal use of StoreWALL accessories. In this small area they have lined the wall with StoreWALL panels. The use of accessories has enabled this family to hang and store all sorts of cleaning tools. Each item has its rightful space and so can be returned once used. This eliminates that cluttered cupboard which most of us end up with.
StoreWALL Sporting Garage Installations
This StoreWALL garage installation has been built on only one side of the garage. To the far left we have brackets for storing the bikes horizontally. As you can see this method of storing and hanging bikes is effective but takes up one third of the space. This garage has also combined a range of hooks for helmets and other sporting gear. They have kept all of their sporting balls within tote bags which enables them to see what is held in the bag and easily grab it. In addition you also have box hooks for gardening scissors as well as hooks for smaller ladders and electrical cables.
StoreWALL Fitness Room Installation
Whilst this isn’t your typical garage, many people (including myself) have converted part of their garage area or an internal room into a workout area. This example is rather large but it shows how you can hold weights whether in dumbell form or as free weights using StoreWALL accessories. Baskets and shelves can also be used to hold much of the smaller equipment like skipping ropes, grips and weight gloves. Hooks are then used to hold your boxing gloves, belts and weight balls.
Part Wall StoreWALL Garage Installation
This example shows how you can use StoreWALL for only part of your garage wall and still allow for what is hanging to be removed from the floor. Floor space can be used for heavier items that need to be accessed frequenlty. This garage has installed StoreWALL on the rear wall but has only used StoreWALL on half of it. StoreWALL is installed about 600mm from the ceiling and about 1000mm from the floor. In total you have about 3 panels of StoreWALL running horizontally across the wall. Interestingly this garage wall also has smaller cupboards at one end. StoreWALL has been cut to size around this cupboard to create a clean and professional wall and garage setup.
Complex StoreWALL Garage Installation
If you are looking for a great custom build for your garage then this example will provide you with some inspiration. The owners of this garage have combined 6 sets of mid sized cupboards, two sets of drawers, bench space, built in shelving and a full wall of hanging accessories. This is a very busy wall.
StoreWALL is used end to end on the wall and in-between each of the pieces of furniture, including in between cupboards. The main tool section is above the bench space and in-between the two cupboards. One end of the wall has been lined with hooks to hang a range of garage items from sporting to gardening equipment. They have also added additional StoreWALL shelving to hold baskets and some bags.
Wall to Wall StoreWALL Garage Installation
This is a great example of having StoreWALL from floor to ceiling across the entire garage. Two walls are shown in this example. The garage floor is nicely tiled. StoreWALL’s slatwalls then butt up against the lower tile to create a really clean finish for the wall.
This garage combines tall cupboards, bench space with cupboards as well as hanging cupboards. The range of accessories is minimal at this stage but they combine brackets for the biles and baskets for the larger items.
Notice they also have power points on the wall which they have cut around. Similarly they have trimmed StoreWALL around the windows.
StoreWALL Bike Installation
This basic bike installation was included because we have been inundated with calls regarding bike hooks for the garage. You can see the StoreWALL bike hook in this example holds the bike vertically from the tyre. The rear tyre is either touching the floor or also suspended. If it is not touching the floor then it is likely to be touching the wall.
This garage has combined a range of hooks and baskets to cater for helmets and other bike related gear.
The internet is littered with information about storage options and ideas on organizing small spaces. Reading through much of this information myself on a daily basis I have accumulated a few key Storage Lessons that are worth considering as you review how to take on your next storage challenge.
Storage Lessons 1 – Make Better Use of Overhead Space
Look around your neighbourhood and you can’t miss the number of new homes being built. Not only are they popping up everywhere they are also much bigger than your average home (square feet) but they are also being built with higher ceilings. Higher ceilings makes your rooms look bigger, adds more light into each room but also gives you greater options for overhead storage. By thinking vertically, you can make much better use of this storage area. Think about your kitchen and laundry where storage is at a premium. Extend it to your garage. There are plenty of storage options built specifically for the garage ceiling.
Storage Lessons 2 – Bigger Storage Bins are Not Always Better
Picking the right range of storage containers can be challenging. Size, colour, shape and quality need to be considered. You would naturally think that bigger is better but this is not always the case. Bigger bins can sometimes cause more problems than they solve. Two medium bins can be carried by one person, while a huge bin requires two people. You need to keep weight in mind. The last thing you need is to struggle and potentially spill the bin or worse still hurt yourself trying to access it.
Storage Lessons 3 – The less you use it, the less you should see it
Professional organisers talk about systems when it comes to working through your mess. A key principle they all abide by is “the less you use it, the less you should see it”. Items that you are likely to only use once a year or even less should be placed in rooms or locations that are harder to access. They should not be the first things you see when you enter your storage area. If you are using shelves, place them on the top shelf at the back. The flip side to this is regularly used items need to be close at hand and easy to grab. This applies equally to your garage storage and even kitchen. If your family likes to make smoothies for breakfast, why have the blender in the back of the cupboard.
Storage Lessons 4 – More on Setting Up Systems
Australian homes are typically high pitched with some storage capacity available in the roof. Most people however avoid the roof and simply don’t like going up there. When I look at the roof in my home I can easily stand in the middle section but I have never made any use of this area. Make better use of this area is not difficult nor should it be expensive. Yes it does get dusty but storage bags and containers of various sizes are available which can protect your items.
These areas can be set aside for very specific storage purposes that maybe you won’t need for several years. Placing them in the roof means you know exactly where they are when you need them. An example could be your wedding dress or specific clothing items you have set aside for your children. It might be years between visits but having a specific place for these items makes it easy to remember where they have been placed.
Storage Lessons 5 – Space Saving Ideas
Every inch counts and so when you are looking at storage solutions you need to place and measure your area carefully. If you are using shelves, ensure they are placed close together. Having adjustable shelves also allows you to ensure that all space is used up. If you have 40 or 50mm above the tallest item on each of your shelves, then that is wasted space. Multiply this by 3 or 4 shelves and that is 120 to 160mm of unused space.
Storage Lessons 6 – Storing Food
Whilst Australians don’t generally purchase food in bulk it can make sense with regular items that you don’t want to have to visit your local supermarket for mid week. If our regular breakfast cereals are on sale I will usually purchase 4 or 5 of them and store them in the garage so they are available. Same applies to pasta, flour, canned and bottled sauces, laundry detergent and other cleaning items.
The biggest challenge with storing food however is ensuring you are eating the older items first. It’s important to rotate older food to the front if you’re buying and storing in bulk. Get into the habit of sorting your food by expiration dates.
Storage Lessons 7 – Store less stuff
Your yearly hard rubbish collection is a great time to review your storage options and what you have stored. If there are items you have kept specifically in the hope that the kids might play with it again, it might be time to give them away. Another tip is if you have forgotten that you even had one of “those” that is another trigger to probably consider giving it away. If you don’t even want to remember you have it in your home, it’s probably time to re-home it.
Whether your garage is big enough to hold one or two cars, organising your garage is not easy and over time with more and more “stuff” filling it, the task seems almost impossible to start. Giving your garage an almighty clean and declutter is one thing, setting it up to stay organised means you need to create a garage organisation plan. The best way to get started is by organising your garage into zones.
A simple redesign of your garage can make all the difference. Try assigning “zones” to each section of the garage.
First of all, what are storage zones?
Storage zones are areas in your garage where certain (similar) items should be stored. Sounds pretty simple, but you’d be surprised at how many garages just evolve over time with items all jumbled in together instead of being gathered together in certain designated areas.
Below I have listed a range of Zones or categories which comprise most of the items found in a typical garage. They will give you a head start to create your own Zones for the items that make up your garage.
Zone 1 – Household items
These are mainly items you will use at some stage within your home. You’ll want to store bulk items like laundry detergent, toilet paper, pet food, extra pantry supplies, brooms, mops and buckets, the vacuum and any other items you are likely to use inside your home in this area. Keeping these items close to the interior door leading to your garage allows you to grab them quickly and easily.
Zone 2 – Backyard tools and garden supplies
These are all outdoor items and will be needed when you are working in the backyard. This particular area should be kept toward the front of the garage since you’ll want these items to be handy while the front garage door is open and you’re working on the lawn.
Zone 3 – Workshop space
Keep your hammers, pliers, nuts, bolts and clamps in the area of your workbench. Keeping these items together will make any “fix it” project much easier to manage if all of your tools are all easy to find and access.
Zone 4 – Sports Equipment
Cricket bats, soccer balls, bike equipment, even a surfboard! Keep these items together for quick grab-and-go availability. Look at how high you want to store them so that even the kids can grab them on their own.
Zone 5 – Holiday Decorations
Plastic storage bins and bags are a great way to organise this type of stuff. These items are not accessed often, so can be stored on shelves up and out of the way. Be sure to clearly label all bins to make locating particular items an easy process.
Depending on the types of items you have and your particular interests and hobbies, you may have several more zones.
The single most important thing to remember is to group “like” items together.