Penny Pinching Ways to Pimp Your Garage
When you open your garage door, does it look more like the room of doom than a place to park your car? Do piles of culch abound, preventing you from laying your hands on that oh-so-needed tool? Holiday decorations taking up the corner where you can only dream of a humble work bench? Are teenagers in training constantly thwarting your efforts toward a more streamlined man cave? Guys, this one's for you. Here are eleven frugal garage pimping tips for the organizationally challenged.
These are a huge help and perfect for those items you only access seasonally, such as holiday decorations. They come in a variety of styles and save your wall space for those items you need access to on a more frequent basis.
Available for cheap at your local home hardware box store, this stuff is easily attached to wall studs, and can be loaded with hooks to keep your hard to store items in plain sight. Wanna set the teenager in your life up for success? Trace hammers and other tools in black marker exactly where they hang on the peg board. The outline will be there to serve as a reminder to return the tool to its precisely allocated spot.
Wire baskets, wall hanging units for smaller screws and nails, and vertical bike racks all come to mind here. Basically, you just want all the precision storage you can get for those tougher to streamline storage categories.
Rolling industrial shelves.
My love affair with industrial shelving has been well documented. I think this stuff is particularly well suited to the garage however, because of the abuse that anything in that room is generally required to take. This is the kind of storage infrastructure that can take a licking and keep on ticking. Bonus? The wired version allows the bulk of the dust and debris to float directly down to the floor, making it easy to vacuum up. If you have some heavier items like air compressors or generators you want shelved, I've seen industrial strength shelves up to that level of task affordably priced at Harbor Freight.
Keep everything off the floor.
If you are following the tips above, this should be easy. Keeping everything off the floor via wired storage items and wall units makes routine push broom sweeping and power vacuuming a breeze.
See through ones are great. But for pure durability, I'm in love with the galvanized steel ones you can pick up at Lowe's. They are rectangular, can be stored easily and look like those old fashioned ones that used to slide in and out of the smaller cage style lockers in gym class growing up. Of course, you could go round and shop at a farm goods store. Either way, galvanized storage containers are affordable and stand the test of time. Bonus? They make great ice buckets at a back yard barbecue. Some ways to use them? Storing jump ropes, baseball gloves, soccer balls and sports equipment in general. Gardening paraphernalia would also be a good candidate for bin storage.
One of the easiest ways to keep things from getting chaotic again is to keep all categories of items in their assigned zone. For example, all sports equipment, from volleyball nets to croquet, to soccer balls should be stored in the same general area. Ditto for lawn and garden items as well as workshop items and general tools. Trying to incorporate more household support into your child's routine? Having a system where they can look in a general area when you assign an item for retrieval keeps their frustration level low and their success rate high. Side perk? No more volleyball nets on your soldering table or hammers stored in with the football pads.
Hang a neon ping-pong ball.
What? No, seriously. Hang a ping-pong ball. I saw this tip years ago in one of those doctor's office magazines, and we used it in our garage in Italy. If you are tired of having the car be parked too close to the tool shelves by a young person with a learner's permit (or spouse who doesn't see it as the priority you do), pull the car in exactly where you want it parked. Then, hang a bright colored plastic ping-pall ball from a string attached to the ceiling. The trick is to hang the ball so it touches your windshield in a particular spot, like the center spot behind the rear view mirror or behind the inspection sticker. Then set the family rule that whoever puts the car in for the night has to park it with the hanging ball lined up to the agreed upon spot. No windshield scratches, and your accidental paint dings from opening the vehicle door into the side of the lawn mower are a thing of the past.
Padded work stations.
If you have one or two work stations in your garage where you need to stand to work for extended periods of time, consider giving your joints a break with padded floor tiles. You don't need to do the entire room, just a rectangular space large enough to step around on a bit. Your back will thank you.
Power shopping for the man's man.
Stocking a garage or workshop for home use can easily cost a small fortune. But by using simple power shopping strategies and demonstrating a little patience, you can have what you need for much less. Cruise moving and estate sales, as well as flea markets and store models for things like shop vacs, generators, snow blowers, air compressors and more. It might take a bit longer, but so does saving up for the full price version.
Customized drawer liners.
I know we're focusing on the frugal alternatives for garage pimping, but if you do have a set or two of rolling tool cabinets (and they can be affordable from time to time), consider custom cutting holes in a foam liner to keep expensive precision items in place and protected. This also serves the same purpose as outlining items on the peg board. Teenagers in training or friends over to help you with a tougher home improvement project will know where to return items when clean up time arrives. Another great idea is the rubberized rolls of kitchen shelf lining material. It's affordable, and also ideal for those shallow drawers of items you don't want rolling to the back of a metal drawer and being too tough to reach.
That's it, gentleman. My best efforts at a home resource article with your needs in mind. I know you've had to read more than your fair share of penny pinching chick lit in the past. It wasn't for lack of appreciation for your frugal efforts on the home front, believe me. It's just taken me longer to dig up some ideas you might find useful, as mechanically based frugality isn't exactly my strong suit. In fact, aside from my utility cart piece, I believe this is my only attempt. I'll keep digging. In the meantime, I hope these ideas will get you rolling on the road to reclaiming that holiest of man caves, the garage. Good luck guys, and keep me posted on your success.