Archive for May, 2009

May 28 2009

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Garage Organization Tips

Garage StorageAs the largest room in most homes, the garage has plenty of potential to be one of the most usable spaces. However, in many homes, the garage is more of a cluttered catchall for everything from tools and toys to holiday decorations and sporting equipment, and if you are one of the lucky ones, there may even be room to squeeze a car in there too. But for those who use the garage mainly for storage, after several years of buildup it becomes harder and harder to find and access the things you need without knocking down a pile of boxes or tripping over a skateboard. So, take charge of your garage using these helpful tips to get things organized.

 

Sort Everything: Begin by sorting everything in your garage. Make piles for similar items such as woodworking tools, lawn and garden supplies/equipment, clothing, spark plugs and air filters, toys and sporting equipment. After you’ve made your plies, take everything that doesn’t belong in the garage and put it in its proper place. This includes returning barrowed items to the neighbors.

 

Sort Again: Now take the piles you’ve made and sort them again by season or activity. This will help you group your belongings and separate them into bins or cabinets making everything easy to find. Group all of the ball gloves, baseballs and bats together. Put soccer cleats and the soccer ball together. Your rakes and leaf blower should be in a separate pile. Do the same for toys, clothing, seasonal items and auto supplies and tools.

 

Get Rid of Unwanted Items: After you’ve organized everything you want to keep, get rid of the things you don’t need. Sell these items on line, have a garage sale, refurbish items that can be reused, take recyclable items to the recycling center instead of putting them in the trash and donate the rest to charity or throw it away.

 

Evaluate the Open Space: After all that sorting, chances are you have much more usable space than you thought you might. Take a look at the open area. Determine how much space you need for parking the family vehicles and mark it off on the floor. Now look at the remaining space and the piles of sorted items. Determine which piles are best stored or organized in bins, cabinets or other storage containers, on shelving units or on hooks hanging from the wall or ceiling. How much organizational storage space do you need? Will floor cabinets work? Tall shelving units? Overhead cabinets? Can you add a counter along the wall that can serve as a workbench? What works best for bikes and bike helmets, skateboards, and your hunting gear?

 

Garage Choose and Install Organizational Units: You are in the home stretch. Choose the storage units that will work best in the available space in your garage. There is a wide range of shelves, lockers, bins, hooks, cabinets and more designed specifically for garage storage. Gladiator GarageWorks by Whirlpool and Harley-Davidson Storage Systems by Stack-On are two popular garage storage systems available in a variety of units and sizes that can be arranged to suit your specific needs. For more ideas about storage systems, check with your local home improvement store, a garage design company or search garage storage systems on the web to find what is right for you. Once you’ve selected the organizational storage units you’ll need, it is time to install them. Depending on your experience, you may need help from a friend or neighbor, or you might want to hire a professional to handle the installation.

 

Store Your Stuff and Park the Car: After all of the organizational units are installed in your garage, store all of your belongings according to the piles you sorted at the beginning of the project. Label bins, cabinet doors, etc., making it easy to find the things you need. Then, pull the cars into that big empty space in the middle and feel good knowing you’ve taken the necessary steps to organize your garage and give you car a safe place to park.

 

With a little effort and determination, you can efficiently organize your garage and turn it into a very usable extension of your living space that the whole family can access.

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May 13 2009

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Build a Garage with Living Space

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If you’re going to add a garage to your home, consider a garage apartment. One of today’s most popular trends, garage apartments offer the parking space you need and an added bonus: living space. Garage apartments are available in a variety of sizes and floor plans and come in a wide range of architectural styles ensuring you’ll find one to match your home.

 

What is a garage apartment? It is a garage design which incorporates a modest yet fully functional living space. Typically, the living space delivers one or more bedrooms and baths, a compact kitchen and a living area. Some even offer other features like an eating bar, a porch/deck, special ceiling treatments and more. Garage apartments are typically designed with the parking areas on the first floor and the living spaces above. However, some floor plans are designed all on one level.

 

So why should you consider building a garage apartment? Many of the top reasons are listed below.

 

  • Add Value to your Home: A functional garage apartment adds value to your property and extra curb appeal. You’ll have plenty of sheltered parking and flexible living space to use any way you wish.
  • Guest or In-Law Suite: Your overnight visitors and weekend guests will have comfortable accommodations and plenty of privacy in the garage apartment.
  • Independent Living with Assistance: If you find yourself helping care for an aging relative who needs minor assistance but prefers independent living, consider one-level garage apartment designs. These floor plans offer all the comforts of home without the challenge of stairs to climb.
  • Office Space: If you have a home based business, you’ll find a garage apartment provides the right accommodations for a home office and plenty of space to meet with clients, etc. Convert the bedroom area to an office and use the living areas as your conference area. With a full bath and a kitchen, you’ll feel as if you went to work without ever leaving home.
  • Entertainment Space: For those who enjoy hosting get-togethers and have the extended family over for dinner on every holiday, the apartment area is perfect for a game home, home theater or recreation area. With the compact kitchen it is easy to serve drinks and snacks. Better yet, let the kids hang out in the apartment while you enjoy adult conversation in the home.
  • Rental Property: If you’d like extra income to help you pay for your dream garage, consider renting the second floor apartment to a college student, a single or a couple. You’ll easily pay off your garage without having to pay for all of it out of your pocket.
  • Hobby Area: Perhaps you have a hobby that requires a workshop and craft area. Use one stall of the garage for all the dirty work like cutting wood and painting, and use the living areas to add the finishing touches.
  • Flex Space: As your family grows and changes, your garage apartment can change with you. Use it to satisfy your needs at any particular time. Do you need an exercise area, a quite place for your student to study or an sewing room? An open floor plan might satisfy your needs best. Just change the room arrangement as your lifestyle or needs change.

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May 04 2009

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Garage Apartment: Furnished on a Budget

035G-0002Weather you’ve built a garage apartment so you can use the extra living space for an in-law or guest suite or a place for your college student, chances are you’ll want to furnish the space without breaking the bank. Some money saving tips are listed below to help you turn your new garage apartment into a comfortable living space while keeping some green in your pocket.

 

·         Have a plan. Know what items you are looking for and keep an eye out for them in even the most unexpected places. How many lamps do you need? Do you want a small dining table? How many bedrooms does the apartment have? Does each room need a dresser and a night stand? Could you use an entertainment center? What size?

·         Think outside the box. Consider how you might refurbish a piece of furniture to give it a new look. Can you repaint a bookshelf or desk? Buy a slipcover for a couch? Sand and stain a coffee table? Purchase a new lamp shade for a lamp?

·         Think about how some items might be used for something else. Can a large bookshelf serve as an entertainment center? Will an end table work as a nightstand?

·         Check out garage sales and yard sales. Get there early so you’ll have the best selection of items resulting in the best deals.

·         Visit thrift stores often. These stores continuously receive new items, so check them frequently.

·         Watch the newspaper for estate sales and auctions. Sometimes you can find few pieces of matching furniture such as a bedroom set or sofa and recliner for a modest price.

·         Consider items left by dumpsters and curbs, especially at apartment complexes and college dorms. Sometimes perfectly good furniture is thrown away just because the owner is moving and doesn’t have a place for it in their new home. In the case of college students, many just don’t have a way of transporting the furniture to the next place.

·         Use eBay and other online stores. Home furnishings on these sites are sold at a dramatically reduced price and are often in very good condition.

·         Check you stash of mix matched dishes in the kitchen. Consider moving these dishes to the garage apartment and buying yourself the new set of dishes you’ve been wanting. Or, check with friends and family. Everyone always has extra dishes they aren’t using. If not, thrift stores always have plenty.

·         Inspect any items you find secondhand for mold and insects. If you decide to buy the items, clean them thoroughly before using or refurbishing them.

·         Watch sale ads at your favorite department stores and consider buying the basic small appliances new when they are on sale. Toasters, coffee makers, etc., can often be found on sale at relatively low prices and you’ll be assured that they will last a while. Do the same for bed linens and bath and kitchen towels.

 

Remember to use your imagination and a little creativity. With a little thought and ingenuity, you’ll have no problem decorating your new garage apartment without spending a fortune. 

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