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DIY – How to Reclaim Valuable Real Estate in Your Garage

By Mike Wheatley | June 16, 2021

You probably make a monthly mortgage payment for your home and another monthly payment for your car. For the average American family, those are the two biggest investments they have. We value our cars so much that we dedicate one of the largest spaces in our homes to protecting them – the garage. That makes it a bit of a surprise that a survey by Gladiator® GarageWorks found that 25% of us can’t park a single car in our 2-car garage. In fact, 33% say they keep the garage door closed as much as possible so that neighbors won’t see how big the mess is. If any of that applies to you, it’s time to reclaim your garage. It may also be time for your garage door to be serviced by a garage door repair technician to prevent any mechanical issues and prolong its operational lifespan.

The #1 Rule for Reclaiming Your Garage

Whether you want to reclaim the space to park two cars or want to dedicate part of the space for a hobby like woodworking, the number one rule is getting the clutter off the floor. Your goal is to create as much vertical storage on the walls as possible. You can’t store your stuff on the garage door itself, but you still have three other walls for vertical storage. You can also suspend large shelves from the ceiling, including the space above the garage door when it’s open.

Two-car garages come in many different sizes. A common size is 24 ft X 24 ft with an 8-foot ceiling. That means each of the three walls has about 192 square feet available for vertical storage for a total of 576 square feet. You can also hang cabinets and shelves on the walls to add depth for storing many items like paint cans and boxes of holiday decorations. That means your garage has a lot of storage space beyond parking the cars – if you just get it organized.

How to Get Organized

You can build your own vertical storage or there are countless commercial systems available to help get everything up off the garage floor. But the place to start is organizing your wall space into zones. Typical zones are:

  • Sports Equipment
  • Tools
  • Kid’s Toys
  • Hobbies
  • Car Care
  • Chemicals/Paint
  • Holiday decorations
  • Gardening Supplies

To decide how much space each zone requires, you need to physically separate everything in the garage into categories. You’re going to need a lot of space to do this. Pick a weekend when the weather is nice. Park the cars out on the street so that you have full access to both the garage and driveway. Now, start pulling everything (everything!) out to the driveway and collecting it into piles according to your categories. It’s good to plan two days for this if you want to get really organized.

You’ll almost find stuff that you forgot you had, have no use for, or is just plain trash. Among your categories needs to be trash and donations for everything that will not be going back into the garage.

With everything collected in piles in the driveway, envision the ground as your garage walls to lay everything out the way you want to hang it on the walls. It can be a good idea to use string or tape to define the size of the wall space that you have available.

With everything neatly laid out on the ground, decide what type of hardware you need to hang it on the wall. Whether you build your own shelves/hangers or use a commercial system, now is the time to install it on the walls. Be sure everything is secured to the wall studs. For more mounting surface, you can install boards horizontally between the studs and then attach brackets, shelves, hooks, etc. to those horizontal boards.

All that remains to be done is moving everything organized in the driveway onto the hanging systems you’ve installed on the garage walls. You’re done and finally organized!

Tips to Making the Most of Your Garage

If the lighting in your garage feels more like a cave than a room in the house, use this opportunity to add more lighting. Large, sealed plastic totes work much better than cardboard boxes that attract pests and rodents. Also, totes don’t deteriorate after a year or two.

  • Inexpensive angled brackets on the wall are all it takes to create handy hangers for big, awkward items from lawn chairs to riding toys.
  • Open net bags (laundry bags) are great for securing round items like basketballs and soccer balls. The bags can be hung from hooks on the walls.
  • Think safety (as in broken glass) but Mason jars or other glass jars make small items like nails and screws visible.
  • Large baskets hung on the walls will help you round up scattered and oddly shaped items like beach gear or snow toys.

Please add your comments.

Also, our weekly Ask Brian column welcomes questions from readers of all experience levels with residential real estate. Please email your questions, inquiries, or article ideas to [email protected].

Photo by Damir Kopezhanov on Unsplash

Mike Wheatley is the senior editor at Realty Biz News. Got a real estate related news article you wish to share, contact Mike at [email protected].
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