Like goldfish and their bowls, the stuff that my family owns always seems to increase to match the size of the space we have to keep it in. Tools, toys, children's clothes, knickknacks, documents, you name it, and it's floating around somewhere. The search for places to put things like these is a challenge for many households. One of the best places for long-term storage can be the garage. But where in the garage? And how to arrange it all? Here are a few garage storage ideas that you can use to create a little more storage space.
- Wall shelves. There are literally hundreds of options when it comes to shelving in your garage. It is easy to go to your local hardware or department store and pick up shelves in the size and durability that you need. For those with a little know-how and the right tools, building your own shelves can be rewarding and cost-saving. For those in the middle, with a little skill but not a lot of money or time, simple shelves made from sheets of plywood and L-brackets can be used to store many things. Remember to be both creative and careful in placing your shelves. First and foremost, make sure that there is enough room to still fit the car inside! This is especially important if you are putting up standing shelves, as opposed to hanging ones. Consider what will be stored where. Items that you may need frequently should not be placed on a shelf that you need a ladder to reach. Don't limit yourself unnecessarily on the size and location of the shelving you install.
- Cabinets. For things that need to be kept separated, cabinets can be handy. If you can find used ones and are not too picky about the look, the cost is usually minimal. Again, for those with the skill and tools, making your own can be very cost effective. Cabinets have all the location flexibility of shelving while keeping things separated and out of the light. Light or temperature-sensitive things like paints are good candidates for storage in a cabinet. So are potentially hazardous tools like saws or power drills. This is even more helpful if you have small, inquisitive children: cabinets can be locked.
- Hanging shelves and nets. One of the more unusual storage places that can be a great space saver is the ceiling. These solutions can be simple or elaborate. If your garage has exposed rafters, a strong sheet of plywood laid across two of them can hold light- or medium-weight items. Shelves hanging from cables, long bolts, or small beams are also available. These must be secured to a stud in the ceiling or an exposed rafter, so measure carefully before you start. Cargo nets are an easy option as well. Just put hooks in the studs, and either attach the net directly to them, or use some rope between the grommets on the net and the hooks on the ceiling. This is best with numerous, related light items.
- Peg boards. For tools and hoses, a pegboard is a great addition to your garage. With a peg board and a few hooks, you can see where your tools are and store them with virtually no floor space taken up. Pegboards are easy to install and inexpensive to buy.
Don't forget to be on the look out for corners and odd spaces that your garage might have that aren't being used. Garages are not usually designed to be pretty, so there are likely to be such spaces, especially in older houses.
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