Maximum Home Value Storage Projects: Garage

Is your garage so full of junk that your car won't fit? Reclaim this valuable storage space with these simple organization tips.

It's tempting to dump everything that won't fit in your home in the garage. Before you know it, you've got to climb over boxes of old photo albums and comic book collections to get to your golf clubs. If your garage is so full you can’t even fit your car in it, it's time to reclaim this valuable storage space.

CURRENT TRENDS

  • Behind closed doors. Open metal shelves are common in many garages. But more homeowners are keeping items like tools and toys hidden behind doors, installing cabinets with diverse storage options such as shelves, drawers with organizers and hooks for hanging items.

    “We’re seeing more organized, elaborate storage systems with built-in shelves and doors over shelves,” says appraisal expert Leslie Sellers.

  • Specialty storage. The garage is the perfect place for items you use often but don’t want to store in your main house, including bicycles, tools and recreational equipment. There are packaged systems to organize these items, such as racks to hang your bicycles.
  • Attached storage room. In the 1970s, homeowners began storing miscellaneous items in a simple tin metal storage shed in the backyard. Today, homeowners are attaching elaborate internal storage rooms, often prefabricated, onto the garage with outside access via a separate door.
  • Not just for cars. Three- or four-car garages are popular, not necessarily for housing cars, but for storing recreational vehicles like a motorcycle, boat or golf cart. A large garage can also be converted into a separate guest apartment, workout area or game room.

BIGGEST MISTAKE

The biggest mistake, Sellers says, is storing hazardous materials like old paint and gasoline in the garage, which puts your home and your family's safety at risk.

“If you’ve got a fourth of a bucket of paint and it’s been sitting around for two years, is it worth the safety loss for storing that paint?” Sellers says. “The fire hazard caused by its fumes can create a combustible situation. It’s not worth the risk.”

EXPERT TIPS

  • On a Budget: Start by giving your garage a thorough cleaning. Hold a garage sale and get rid of items you don’t need. Purchase inexpensive plastic bins or a do-it-yourself shelving kit to get organized.
  • Mid-Range: After cleaning out the garage, figure out the best way to configure the space based on how you plan to use it. If you want to use it as a work area, like a sewing room or an art studio, you'll want cabinetry that can keep all your supplies accessible and organized. There are plenty of DIY shelving and storage options for various budgets and styles.
  • High-End: If you have a large three- or four-car garage, you can build a custom storage system with high-end features, based on your needs and style. You can also convert the garage into a game room or separate guest apartment.
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