Somewhere around 30% of all garages are used for household storage instead of vehicle parking, according to organizational experts.
If this sounds like you, it might be time to tackle the clutter. And you just might be able to organize your space and reclaim your parking spot. Here are some quick tips to help organize your garage and finally get that car inside.
Storage hacks to get your stuff off the floor
Sometimes half the battle is just finding homes for your things that are up and out of the way. Your local hardware store will have several great solutions, but there are plenty that you can accomplish with things you might already have around the house. Here are five of our favorites.
- Angled brackets on the wall are all it takes to create handy hangers for big, awkward items from lawn chairs to riding toys.
- Bungee cords will help you round up basketballs, soccer balls, and more. Hook a few into sturdy surfaces and create a tidy spot, secure behind the cords.
- Mason jars or any other glass jars are the perfect places to stash small items like nails and screws.
- A magnetic strip secured to the wall can become your go-to spot for frequently used metal tools like scissors, screwdrivers, and more. Make sure that all items have their sharp edges pointing in the same direction.
- Large baskets will help you round up otherwise scattered items like beach gear or snow toys.
Organizing for safety
If you walk through your garage every day, it’s easy to have a blind spot to potential dangers ranging from sharp tools to electrical hazards. Take a fresh look with common garage hazards in mind and start taking care of them.
- Store items securely. Improperly stored items like ladders that can topple or cords that can tangle are all potentially dangerous, particularly if you have young children. When storing heavy stuff, make sure your storage system can support the weight and your anchors are secure.
- Lock up your tools. Disconnect power tools when they’re not in use, and store them safely away to protect them from curious kids or burglars. Take care when storing sharp or pointy tools, too.
- Look after your lawnmower. Remove keys from lawn equipment and tractors to prevent kids from accidentally starting them.
- Inspect your garage door. Regularly test the auto-reverse mechanism to make sure it’s working as it should, and never let kids play with the garage door opener. Make sure the main garage door is locked and secured to prevent unauthorized access.
- Stock up on safety essentials. Equip your garage with must-haves including a fire extinguisher, carbon monoxide detector, smoke alarm, and a first aid kit.
- Spot tripping hazards. Spills and drips on the floor, such as sawdust or oil, can cause someone to slip and fall. While you’re at it, give your garage floor a once-over. Uneven cracks or large chunks of cement missing can present tripping hazards, too.
- Heat it safely. Never install a wood-burning stove in your garage, as this presents a serious hazard. Gasoline vapors from cars, lawnmowers, or gas cans are heavier than air and travel along the floor. That means they could easily come in contact with sparks or embers from the wood-burning stove, resulting in a fire.
- Know what not to store. While you’re in cleaning mode, learn what to avoid storing in a garage, including propane tanks and other common threats.
- Brighten it up. No one wants to stumble around in the dark looking for a tool. A well-lit garage is a safe garage. (Bonus: Lighting up your space helps you show off all the spring cleaning you’ve been up to!)
Check in with your local ERIE agent to make sure your home and garage (and everything stored in them) are properly covered with homeowners insurance you can trust.
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