Is your home garage so cluttered it is difficult to so much as fit your car, truck, or SUV inside? Has your garage become barely a storage place for your vehicle, and with it, not a fit place to actually work on your car? If so, you need help – the sooner the better. The following tips can help.
While it’s attractive – at least, temporarily – to treat your garage like free storage, your garage is actually best suited to storing your car or cars as well as serving as an area in which to service these vehicles. It should also be a place where you can store the tools and materials needed to perform home-based maintenance on your fleet – whether it’s one car or three.
With this in mind, follow these steps and tips to better use of your garage space:
First, look closely at your garage space. What can be eliminated through junk pickup, sold at a garage or yard sale, or stored in a more appropriate place to provide you room to both park your vehicles and do maintenance upon them. Some items, like bicycles and such, can be mounted from the ceiling to give you space to work and part. Other material may simply not belong in a garage so start your cleanout now.
Second, do you have adequate work tables and shelves upon which to store materials like spare oil and parts, tools, and the like? If not, some plywood and a few parts let you build work tables. Also, you can purchase such work shelves used at other people’s garage sales or buy new shelving (assembled or ready-to-assemble) at any general merchandise or home improvement store for prices ranging from the inexpensive to the fairly sophisticated and long lasting.
Once you have shelving and work space, you can put old cans, jars, and other recycled items to use to hold short-term fluids, parts, screws, fuses, and more. Just remember to mark them carefully. Consider too adding a bag of quality car cloths, some automotive cleaner for your hands and tools, and other needed components. I like to pick up lots of these items at liquidation sales and yard/garage sales where I can save a bundle. You may want to consider this as well.
If you plan to work on your vehicle(s) inside your garage, it’s time to install or add at least one exhaust fan. If you aren’t much on carpentry, you can get one or two big box fans positioned at the far end of the garage that can blow fumes out the open garage bay doors.
Also, get containers you can use to store used oil, antifreeze compounds, and other fluids you may drain from your vehicle. Rather than allow these to go down an in-garage drain, you can used closed containers to carry these spent fluids to your auto parts store or elsewhere for proper disposal, sometimes at no cost to you.
It helps if you have a water source – even a hose – close by since you probably want to clean your tools after you use them. Remember to dry these tools carefully, too, before you put them away.