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Garage clean-up and storage tips

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21 Jan 2013

A garage was originally designed to house your car but it can fast become a room where unwanted objects are stashed.

As with any organisational mission, the first step is to move everything out and clean it. So get some friends to help shift items outside and get the room as bare as possible.

If you can't fit your car in the garage, it is time for a clear out. The day before you attempt this, you may want to use a bug bomb to avoid any nasty surprises.

As with any organisational mission, the first step is to move everything out and clean it. So shift items outside and get the room as bare as possible. Remember, if you clean the garage as thoroughly as possible, you may not have to do it again for some time.

Scrub down work surfaces, shelves and cupboards. Unfortunately, cars can leak oil and leave stains on the floor. If this has happened, you will have to buy a bag of kitty litter and book your car in for repairs.

Cleaning up oil leaks

If you have an untreated, concrete garage floor, this trick will work wonders. Completely cover the stains with handfuls of inexpensive, super absorbent kitty litter. The bigger the stain, the longer you will have to wait for the litter to absorb it, but if they are small 10 to 15 minutes will do.

Utilise wall space in the garage by putting up pegboards to store tools and other bulkier items.

After waiting, stand on the kitty litter and grind it into the stain as much as you can, and then sweep it up. Using a concentrated detergent and a stiff brush and scrub the stain hard in a circular motion, easing up as you scrub beyond the spill. This will lighten it out and make it less obvious if you haven’t gotten rid of it completely. Do this as many times as necessary, and then spray down the floor with a hose.

Tip: Place a thick sheet of cardboard or a large rubber mat in the space where you park to avoid oil leaks leaving stains again.

Effective storage solutions

Throw away things that can't be repaired and toss anything that doesn’t fit or you don’t need into a donation box. Then take a clear look at everything you have left, and only keep the essentials.

The kind of storage your garage needs will depend on what you use the room for. If you are a DIY person, you may need additional storage to keep your workbench clear. However, if you simply park your car and disappear into the house, your garage will not have to accommodate much more than the essentials.

Store seasonal items in clearly marked plastic crates and place them on heavy duty shelves. Use plastic bins to store sports gear, jars for nuts and bolts and wire racks for camping equipment.

One of the best storage solutions for the garage is using a pegboard. These utilise wall space, keeping the floor clear. You can secure garden and power tools to it, but be sure to use bungee cord for bulkier items.

Tip: Make an indicator that will remind your family of the storage units so that they will not bump into it when parking. You can do this by attaching an old tennis ball to a piece of string and tying it to the ceiling.

You can also opt to install steel or wooden shelves above the pegboard and along the other walls. These should be the heavy duty kind, as they will undoubtedly have to carry quite a bit of weight. Keep shelves organised by using plastic tubs as drawers.

Keep seasonal items such as Christmas decorations in plastic tubs and label them for easy access. Then stick them on the highest shelf to avoid them getting confused with boxes that will be pulled out regularly.

Tip: Easy to install wire racks can be attached to the ceiling and are great for storing camping gear or seasonal items such as Christmas trees.

If you have a lot of sports equipment cluttering up corners, opt for a plastic bin near the door. This way, kids can grab what they need on the way to the car. It also stops the sports gear from cluttering up their bedrooms. Store bicycles and scooters underneath shelves if possible.

If you have your washing machine and dryer in the garage, build a cupboard around these. This way, you can keep all your laundry aids together and locked away to avoid any spills or curious hands. – Victoria Taylor

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