Saturday, 06 June 2020

How to get the most out of your garage

Written by Posted On Friday, 20 April 2018 07:12

Those getting ready to sell a home put time and effort into cosmetic renovations and staging. This includes things like making sure there are fresh-baked cookies on the counter for the open house, and freshly-planted flowers in front. But what about the garage? It's often ignored and given a quick sweep over the old oil stains. Maybe all of the old boxes, broken furniture and power tools get pushed into a corner.

If you've just bought a home, you delight in redecorating your living room, putting new tile in the bathroom and picking out new furniture, decorations and maybe a soothing indoor fountain. Where do all the empty boxes and replaced appliances go? You guessed it – in the garage. 

You can make your garage more than just a place to park the car and store your extras. A few quick fixes will transform that space into something wonderful which will add value to your home. The good news is that usually, unless you're adding something structural, you won't need a building permit – just get out and do it!

Get those oil spots out

You're diligent about vacuuming the living room, wet-mopping the tile floor in the bathroom, and cleaning those hardwood floors, but how often do you sweep the garage floor? A couple times a year? Never? Take a good look. Are there oil spots on the floor? Probably. Dust? Mud? Absolutely.

Fifteen minutes with a push-broom will clean the surface, or for an even easier fix, open up the door and fire up your leaf blower and just blow it all out. That's not going to do anything about the oil stains, though – for that, put a little paint thinner on the stain, and then cover it with a little sawdust. If you don't have sawdust on hand, use some cat litter and let it set overnight, then sweep it up the next day and the oil stain will be gone. To make the floor even better-looking, use some weather-resistant concrete stain to give it some shine.

What about the walls?

Once you've cleaned the garage up, the walls are still bare. Perhaps they haven't even been drywalled. Here's an idea: You put pictures and decorations in your living room, why not your garage? A few pictures and decorations will dress it up. Make them suited to the venue – for example, hang up some pictures of your favorite antique cars. Put your vintage beer can collection on display, and that 30-year-old neon bar sign you haven’t found a place for in your house.

A garage full of handyman tools

By now your garage is looking good, but you still want to use it for your fix-it and do-it-yourself projects. You may be using your garage space for an auto restoral project. Have a vintage Austin-Healey "bug-eye" Sprite? A '59 DeVille with huge tailfins? A Studebaker "bullet nose" Commander? Lucky you! You're the envy of your friends and neighbors, and they all want to drop by to have a look.

It's not that unusual for an at-home restoral project to turn into an entrepreneurial venture, and there are plenty of professional shops which started out in somebody's garage as a weekend do-it-yourself project. If you're that serious, then you need to start stocking up on professional equipment you can't find at your local supply shop. Online destinations like Auto Body Toolmart  have a good selection of tools and products that are well-suited to both professional shops, and at-home auto restoral projects.

Don't be a TV dad

An extra fridge in the garage just for holding beer? Sounds like a perfect idea. All the TV dads do it, but you have to resist the temptation. You're not Hank Hill, so keep your beer in the kitchen. It gets very hot in a garage in the summertime, and running a refrigerator in spaces like that represent a huge energy drain. Also those 50-pound bags of dog food will quickly be discovered by chipmunks, squirrels, raccoons and other critters that sneak into your garage at night.

Shelves, cabinets and storage

Most garages are unadorned without much actual storage. If your tools, car care products, old Christmas decorations and the dozen or so half-used cans of WD-40 you've accumulated are all piled up on an old wooden bench, then it's time to put in some shelving, and maybe a free-standing cabinet or two. It's easy and cheap – and helps with organization. And what's even more important, storing all those cans and bottles of oil, solvent and cleansers in shelves and cabinets will prevent those spills, which are unfortunately inevitable when they don't have their own space.

Finally, just de-clutter on a regular basis

A surprising number of people with garages don't keep their cars in them, just because they are too cluttered with other things. Besides the fact that this scenario defeats the entire purpose of having a garage, a cluttered garage space makes it hard to work, makes it hard to find things, and is probably a fire hazard. It's easy to fall into the habit of using the garage as a catch-all to throw things you don't know what to do with – but if you don't know what to do with it, maybe you don't really need it. If you're not using it, then throw it away or give it to goodwill.

An organized garage space, with shelving, decoration and a clean floor will go a long way towards house appeal, and if you're selling, you may be surprised at just how many buyers will want to take a close look at the garage. Don't stop your staging with cookies in the kitchen – make sure your garage is ready!

Rate this item
(0 votes)

Realty Times

From buying and selling advice for consumers to money-making tips for Agents, our content, updated daily, has made Realty Times® a must-read, and see, for anyone involved in Real Estate.