Steps to a Clean Garage

According to Garage Envy, one in four Americans can’t fit one car in their garage, and probably not because there’s a band rehearsing in it. Garages are a home’s catchall for storage, hobbies, projects, recreational equipment, and just plain junk.

Garages get dirty too. Those big doors welcome dead leaves and car debris from seasonal travel. And if your garage door can be seen from the front of your house, you know it plays a big role in your home’s curb appeal.

No one wants to be embarrassed for neighbors to see what’s inside. So, your garage should be at the top of your spring-cleaning checklist.

8 Steps to a Clean Garage

1) Have a plan, a timeframe, and a few helpers
Depending on the size of your garage, its condition, and the amount of clutter, cleaning it out can be a big job. But if you find a weekend with good weather when you can get the job done, it’ll totally be worth it in the end.

2) Sort everything into categories

Remove everything from the garage and distribute it into five piles:

  1. Keep
  2. Donate
  3. Recycle
  4. Trash
  5. Sell
    Many organizations will pick up your donations. Be sure to dispose of any paint, solvents, or batteries safely. And if your “sell” pile is big enough, hold a yard sale to show off your clean garage while you make a little cash.

3) Clean your garage top to bottom

While your garage is empty, give it a thorough cleaning. Start at the top, and sweep away any cobwebs from the ceiling and walls. Clean out light fixtures and replace bulbs. Open any side garage windows to air out the space. And don’t forget to dust shelves and clean workbenches.

Next, clean the floor. If it has oil spots, use a floor-friendly degreaser. Or you can try putting kitty litter on the stain and scrubbing with a wire brush. If you use a pressure washer, be sure to leave the unit outside for ventilation and be careful not to damage the walls. Sweep or use a leaf blower to remove any debris. Then hose things out and allow the floor to dry.

4) Clean your garage door inside and out
While the floor is drying, clean both sides of your garage door with a brush and a sponge. Inspect for any problem areas, including cracks, rust, or rot. Touch up paint or stain and make sure everything looks its best. If your garage door is old or showing signs of wear, it might be time to consider replacing it with a new one.

This is also a good time to inspect your garage door opener and lubricate the chain or screw drive. Check to be sure photo eyes are clean and properly aligned too.

5) Cleaning garage windows
Carefully inspect your garage windows while you clean them. Make sure there are no cracks where weather and moisture can invade your space. And do the same with any insert windows in your garage door.

6) Separate things based on interest

Now it’s time to separate your keeper pile from your garage clutter. Divide everything into categories such as:

  • Household tools
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Auto tools and accessories
  • Recreational equipment
  • Holiday/seasonal décor
  • Landscape supplies, gardening tools, and lawn equipment
  • Pet supplies
  • Throw out any cardboard boxes and replace them with sturdy plastic bins that keep moisture and pests away.

7) Organize!

Use your garage space wisely and save the floor space for your car(s). There are lots of garage storage solutions that help you make the most of wall and ceiling space. Check out Amazon or your local hardware store for storage ideas. You can even consult with specialists who sell organizational systems specifically designed for garage spaces.

To organize your garage, line the walls with:

  • Industrial wire shelving for easily accessible items
  • Cabinets for things that need protection
  • Pegboards for smaller items
  • Brackets to hold long-handled items like brooms, shovels, etc.
  • A workbench for power tools and storing small items like nails and screws
  • Rack units for lumber or recreational equipment

Use your garage ceiling for:

  • Bike racks
  • Overhead storage racks
  • Pulley racks for hanging kayaks
  • Fishing rod storage
  • Ventilating ceiling fans

8) Plan a monthly garage cleaning
Choose an hour a month or at the end of every season to clean your garage as you would your home. Toss out the trash, keep a bin for donations that you can put in your car for easy drop-offs, and give the floor a sweep.

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9 Creative Ways To Repurpose Your Garage

If you’re merely utilizing your garage for storage purposes, you’re overlooking a wonderful chance to expand your living space and upgrade your home. This underutilized area is ripe for repurposing. It can serve as a dedicated work or hobby space, a second family room or a primo indoor-outdoor living perch.

As households seek to maximize every inch of their home’s square footage, people are rethinking their garages and refreshing them in creative ways. If you’re considering a garage reno, here are a few clever ideas for repurposing your garage, along with helpful advice from interior design and architecture professionals to get you started.

 

A garage is like a blank canvas when it comes to design and space planning. It’s a room that’s already part of your home with lots of ways to repurpose and play around. “A garage is a great opportunity to customize to your family’s interests,” says Lisa Kells, partner and vice president of design at CDC Designs. To that end, here are some popular garage renovation ideas that suit a variety of hobbies, lifestyles and interests.

1. Workshop

A dedicated workshop is arguably the next logical purpose for a garage, since you likely already have tools and equipment stored there. And if you’re particularly interested in home maintenance and improvement projects, a dedicated space creates a safer environment in which to work.

Along with a quality workbench and a place to keep tools, Kells likes to bring in affordable custom cabinetry to elevate the look. “Custom closet companies quite often will be integral in being involved in creating these really nice customization opportunities for the garage,” she adds.

2. Home Gym
Burn off the day’s stress in the convenience of a garage tricked out into a home gym. Outfit the space with your favorite equipment for activities that you already enjoy doing to ensure you’ll use the space regularly (and so you can cancel the fancy gym membership).

For a cushioned and durable floor, roll out rubber matting or use interlocking rubber tiles. You may need to invest in additional light fixtures to brighten up the space. A large mirror is also a good idea—it helps move light around the room for better illumination.

3. Separate Living Space

Accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are gaining popularity across the county, especially in areas with higher housing costs. These standalone units can be attached or detached from a home and offer fully independent living with a sleeping and sitting area, kitchen and full bathroom.

While a garage to ADU conversion is possible, architect and owner of SQFT Studios Eli Green recommends proceeding with caution. “If you’re going to make a garage habitable and especially for sleeping, it has to be built to a certain standard.” Refer to your city’s building code for foundation, electrical, plumbing, insulation and ventilation requirements. Depending on your construction expertise and the garage’s condition, this may be a project best left to the pros.

4. Yoga Studio
If establishing a better mind-body connection is your priority, a yoga or meditation room is just a simple garage refresh away. Comfort is the most important consideration in a yoga studio—the space should encourage free movement and mindfulness.

To create a calming sensory environment, think about a soothing neutral palette with as much natural light as possible. “A way to get more light into a space and enjoy outside views is to remove the existing garage door and infill it with glass French doors and sidelites, windows or a combination of the two,” recommends Green.

5. Game Room

A dedicated game or media room is a popular nice-to-have space for many households, but often there is not enough space inside the house. A garage is a great spot to create a fun-filled hangout for family and friends. Make it as simple or elaborate as you wish, from a laid-back spot to play board games to a billiard room or video game lounge.

It also keeps the higher decibels away from your home’s main living spaces. “Kids can get noisy [while] playing video games, so I like to give them their own space with a sofa and large TV,” says Kells.

6. Kids Playroom
Tired of tripping on Legos and seeing toys everywhere? Transform your garage into a dreamy playroom that the kids will love. Flooring, fixtures and furnishings are key to creating a child-friendly and cozy space—brightly colored decor, warm woods and good lighting can inspire play and imagination.

Laminate floors work best for a kids’ room that sees frequent spills and rough-and-tumble activity. Functional and durable built-ins are great for storing toys and art supplies.

7. Home Office

Nearly 60% of Americans have the opportunity to work from home at least one day per week, according to a 2022 McKinsey & Company survey. This shift to a more remote work culture impacts home design—people need a dedicated spot to work, removed from household noise and activity. And if indoor space is unavailable, the garage can double as a home office.

To create a comfortable home office that encourages focus and productivity, invest in quality furnishings and fixtures, like a good desk, an ergonomic chair and appropriate overhead and task lighting.

8. Indoor-Outdoor Living Space

When the garage door’s rolled up and open, it provides a prime covered indoor-outdoor living space. This is a good place to take some risks and try out some design trends that you love, but that you aren’t ready to commit to in the main house.

Improve air circulation with an overhead combination fan and light for the warmer months. A built-in bar is also a nice touch, but be warned—your garage will quickly become the hangout spot among your friends and neighbors!

9. Pet Spa
Your four-legged friends deserve a space of their own, too. Pets bring in a lot of mud, dirt and debris from outside. Keep it contained and prevent it all from entering the home with a garage dog-washing station.

A small tiled pet shower with a detachable nozzle can anchor the space. Adjacent built-in cabinets and shelving will keep shampoos, soaps, towels and other pet accessories within easy reach.

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Your Garage Door Can Increase Your Home’s Value

Considering a kitchen or bathroom remodel for your next home project? Think again. According to the 2022 Cost vs. Value Report by Remodeling magazine and Zonda Media, exterior home improvement projects provide the greatest return on investment (ROI) year after year. In fact, updating your home’s exterior with a new garage door is the biggest return on your investment. The report estimates that, on average, homeowners who replace their garage door see a whopping 93.3% cost recouped on resale, the highest among all replacement projects. Since 2010, garage door replacements have consistently ranked among the top five household renovation investments.

Replacing your outdated or damaged garage door with a new, customized door gives your home a unique curb appeal that attracts potential buyers and makes the neighbors jealous. According to the National Association of REALTORS, “Homes with high curb appeal tend to sell for an average of 7% more than similar houses with an uninviting exterior.”

Tips for Choosing the Right Garage Door for Your Home
Select a garage door material that fits your lifestyle.
Location, climate and building codes are just a few factors to consider when determining which type of garage door is right for your home. The garage doors in our collections come in steel, wood, aluminum and fiberglass. These four materials are strong, durable and unique.

  • Steel is the most popular material for garage doors and requires the least amount of maintenance. While the other materials are considered a sleeker curb appeal upgrade, steel is the prime option for durability and performance. Our steel doors are layered with polyurethane or polystyrene insulation. As an added benefit to the insulation, the extra foam layer reduces noises that can possibly be heard inside.

Homeowners that prefer wood garage doors over other materials appreciate them for their natural look. Wood gives a timeless appearance to numerous architectural layouts through custom stain options, and elegant raised and recessed panels. The garage door can be refinished to complement any changes made to the home exterior over time.

  • Aluminum garage doors feature sleek full-view glass panels and a unique curb appeal. The surfaces of aluminum garage doors are highly customizable for a contemporary aesthetic appeal and their resistance to corrosion is a significant benefit to homeowners. Overhead Door™ brand constructs doors with durability and security in mind. Customers choose between five glass options that allow a variety of light infiltration and offer privacy for their garage.
  • Fiberglass garage doors are a great option if you are seeking a natural wood feel without the higher maintenance of wood. Their durability makes these garage doors ideal for homeowners living in extreme climates. Our faux wood garage doors meet the design needs of wood with the strength and durability of steel. In other words, it’s the best of both worlds.

Choosing a material is a key factor in curb appeal, but the style of the garage door should complement your home’s exterior as well. Choose a style that matches your home’s aesthetic for maximum curb appeal. It’s always best to choose a style that fits the architecture of your home.

Regarding home resale value, first impressions make all the difference. Home buyers won’t bother to go inside if they don’t like the way the house looks from the curb. Attract potential home buyers with an aesthetically appealing garage door design that complements the home’s overall architecture. Once replaced, your new garage door will improve the curb appeal of your home and potentially help sell your home faster.

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7 Benefits of Using Home Garage Parking

A Wall Street Journal survey of homeowners revealed that 74% of them believe parking is the most important function of a garage. So why do so many homeowners ignore the many benefits of home garage parking?

Garage clutter is the biggest reason that vehicles aren’t being parked indoors. A garage that lacks proper storage systems won’t make the most efficient use of its storage space.

Garage clutter can accumulate quickly and before long it will build up to the point where your vehicles will be relegated to using the outdoors as a storage space.

If you start using your garage for its intended purpose (storing vehicles), you’ll quickly wonder why you waited so long to make garage parking an everyday habit. These seven points illustrate the major benefits of using garage parking.

1. You’ll protect your vehicle investment with garage parking
Parking your vehicles outside when you have a garage simply doesn’t make sense. That’s because a new vehicle is likely the second biggest financial investment you’ll make after a home purchase.

The average cost of a new vehicle in Canada is $38,000 and in the U.S. it’s $35,000.

Protecting your significant investment in your car or truck is just one of many reasons garage parking should be considered essential. You’ll extend the life of your car or truck and get the maximum return on your investment.

2. Garage parking keeps vehicles more secure
It’s a no-brainer that parking your vehicles in a locked garage keeps them more secure. Even with modern auto alarm systems, leaving your car or truck parked in your driveway is an open invitation to a resourceful car thief.

Luxury cars are an obviously desirable targets for thieves. You might be surprised, however, to find that the top ten most-stolen vehicles in America last year doesn’t include any vehicles in the high-end category.

The theft of popular cars like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry fuels a black market for parts like rims, tires, airbags, and catalytic converters.

Even if your vehicle isn’t stolen outright from your driveway, parking outdoors also makes vehicles a much easier target for vandalism. The contents inside your vehicle are more vulnerable to theft or perhaps you’ll be unlucky enough to have your windows broken or paint job scratched.

However you’re hit by vehicle theft or vandalism, the after-effects won’t be pleasant because: you’ll need to deal with the headache of an insurance claim it’s deeply unsettling to have one’s property stolen or violated you’ll face the temporary inconvenience of not having a vehicle. Some insurance providers might actually take garage parking into consideration when setting your auto insurance premiums. Allstate, for example, recommends it as one of their insurance premium cost-cutting tips.

3. Garage parking protects your vehicles from the elements
Modern cars and trucks may be highly engineered to provide many years of use while withstanding everything Mother Nature can toss their way, but they do have a shelf life.

Even vehicles lucky enough to have dedicated owners who lovingly wash, wax, and rust-proof them like clockwork will begin to show the toll that the elements can take on vehicles.

Rain, snow, and ice will speed up the rusting process. Road salt is also notoriously bad for the bodies of vehicles. Even dew or a light frost on your car or truck will take likely take a cumulative toll over the course of many years.

And homes in warmer climates are also vulnerable to the drawbacks of parking in driveways. Extreme heat makes it very uncomfortable to enter a vehicle that’s been parked in the sun. Scorching temperatures can also cause engine hoses and seals to dry out and crack faster.

Hail, which can cause major damage, is another weather-related consideration. Regardless of where you live, UV exposure also causes vehicle paint jobs and interior colors to fade prematurely.

Acidic bird droppings, damage from tree sap, and exposure to airborne elements like dust, dirt, and pollen will also take their toll on vehicles. The harmful effects of weather-related factors alone should be enough to make garage parking a necessity!

4. It’s more convenient to use home garage parking
Your driveway may be only just beyond your garage doors, but that small amount of distance can be an inconvenience in certain situations.

Garage parking allows you to store your vehicle just a few feet from garage’s interior access door to your home. That can be a huge benefit when you have lots of groceries to bring in. The closer proximity also makes it easier to load items into your vehicle when required.

Even a short walk to a car parked in the driveway when it’s pouring rain can result in a soggy wardrobe if you can’t find an umbrella. That’s why bad weather becomes a non-issue when you need to enter or exit a vehicle that’s parked in a garage.

Homeowners in colder climates will especially appreciate the huge advantage of garage parking when the snow comes. Your covered vehicles won’t need mounds of snow cleaned off them and ice scraped off their windows. They’ll also warm up quicker.

These benefits will save you small amounts of time individually, but add up to many hours that will be collectively saved over the long term.

5. Home garage parking can keep you safer
The convenience that comes with using your home’s garage parking also factors into another one of its benefits – it can keep you safer.

A locked garage that you enter from the interior door of your home provides a safer environment than your driveway when it comes to accessing your vehicle.

And when you arrive home and pull into your garage, anyone looking to do you harm will be more reluctant to take that riskier step of entering your home to do so. They might have fewer reservations if you’re parking in the driveway.

Some garage door openers (like LiftMaster models with MyQ Technology) also let you keep tabs on whether your garage door has been opened while you’re away, for extra peace of mind. Other home security features let you turn on interior and exterior lights shortly before arriving home for added safety.

6. Parking in the garage preserves your curb appeal
Homeowners invest lots of time and money into improving curb appeal by upgrading their home and property’s appearance.

Parking vehicles in your driveway can detract from your home’s curb appeal. In fact, some might even view it as a form of clutter.

Certainly, an empty driveway compared to a driveway with one or more vehicles parked in it projects a cleaner, less cluttered look for a house.

After all, there’s a reason the vast majority of real estate listing photos don’t include parked vehicles in the property’s driveway.

7. Your vehicles are only driven 5% of the time
Most vehicle owners would probably be surprised at how little their vehicles are actually being used.

According to transportation experts, vehicles are typically only being driven 5% of the time. That means vehicles are sitting parked 95% of the time!

For almost any item you own that’s used such a relatively small amount, it would make sense to keep it stored out of sight. A vehicle shouldn’t be any different.

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