According to the Home Safety Council, 65 million US garages are in cluttered disarray. That explains why many of the 21 million preventable household injuries Americans suffer each year happen in the garage. Here are some quick and easy things you can do to make your garage a safer place for you and your family.
- Get rid of junk. Grab a garbage bag and a large box, and head out to the garage. Garages are notorious junk magnets where stuff you don’t want in the house inevitably piles up. Be realistic with yourself, and aggressively comb through your garage deciding which things you should throw out, sell, or give away. The folks at Goodwill or popular exchange site Freecycle will happily accept any donated usable items. For goods you feel like selling, Craigslist allows you to list items on their website for free so people can contact you and pick things up at your convenience. Before junking all your garage clutter, be sure to check out these resources. Both your wallet and the environment could end up looking a little greener if you do.
- Divide your garage into ‘zones’. Think about how to best organize your garage into zones based on putting like items together (lawn and garden tools, kid things, auto supplies, chemicals). Even this basic organizational system will prevent pileups of random garage stuff, meaning you never trip over your wrench set and your kids don’t store toys on top of your table saw. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Hang tools like shovels and rakes securely. This is safer than leaning them up against a wall, and frees up valuable floor space for larger items.
- Tightly screw on the lids of hazardous chemicals (pesticides, car fluids, paint and lacquer thinner, &c.) and store in a locker with doors. This will minimize fumes and potential spills, making the garage a safer place for everyone, especially pets and children.
- Put sporting goods and children’s toys in easy to reach bins on the floor, as far away from potentially dangerous tools and chemicals as possible. You can also utilize our wall storage systems, like storeWALL, to free up floor space by using baskets and hooks for your most needed items...
- Prevent shelf collapses by not over stacking. Be sure to put heavier items towards the bottom of the shelf, and lighter items on top. If your shelves still look too cluttered, think about creative storage alternatives, such as our Hyloft ceiling mounted overhead storage systems.
- Garage Maintenance. Now that your garage is better organized than 90% of the population and usable again, you’ll want to keep it that way. In addition to purging junk and making sure your organizational zones hold up, check for and repair fraying extension cords, replace burnt-out light bulbs and test the smoke alarm. Make sure your tools are in good working order. With minimal care each month, you’ll reap the benefit of having a safe garage.
These are tips that you can easily- and should! –implement. Block out a Saturday or Sunday, and get your family to help. If you feel like your garage needs a more drastic overhaul, then consider scheduling Garage Themes for a free consultation. Whatever you choose to do, it’s important to be sure your garage is a safe space for you and your family.