It is that time of year – the time when the summer season comes to an end, and when we must organize our garage for winter.
Once you get over the fact that summer is over, you can move forward to organizing your garage.
Tackle this task in 3 easy steps, and have your garage organized for winter.
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Garage Organization Goals
Your garage goals at this time of year should be to ensure that your winter tools and accessories are completely and easily accessible.
As well, if you park your car in your garage – or you want to – in the winter, you also want to ensure that you have enough room to do just that. And not just park, you do need to be able to open your doors too 🙂
So, let’s get started. Follow these 3 easy steps to achieve your garage organization for winter goals.
Now, I don’t think I have ever heard someone say that de-cluttering is fun…but, it must be done.
I would advise you to be brutal – especially if you have little space or you find yourself spending more time than you would like finding things when you need them. The latter is usually an indication that you have too much stuff.
Clean out all of your storage units – cabinets, cupboards, shelves and storage bins.
You should pay special attention to those items which are for the spring and summer seasons. Things such as garden tools and planters, pool tools, chemicals, toys as well as outdoor summer games are just a few of these warmer weather seasonal items which you can sift through and de-clutter.
Even if you focus more on de-cluttering your spring and summer items, feel free to be just as harsh on your winter items.
At the end of the day, de-cluttering applies to all of our stuff – and not just seasonal items. Trust me, once you have de-cluttered, you and your garage will thank you.
2. Remove Non-Wintering Items
This second step of getting your garage organized for the winter flows somewhat from the first step of de cluttering.
The de cluttering is more of a process of getting rid of things you no longer need.
This step involves moving garage items which cannot be stored outdoors or in the garage during the winter months. That is, they cannot handle cool or very cold weather – depending on where you live.
Here are just a few items which should not be stored in your garage over the winter. You should find a new home indoors for these items.
Move These Items Out of your Garage
Household Liquid Chemicals
Be sure you remove any paints, spray paints, varnishes, cleaning products, garden weeding liquids, and any other household chemicals, and store them indoors.
As you probably know, any of these liquids will freeze and hence, will compromise their effectiveness.
You should move pretty much anything that is in liquid form – with the exception of car oils, coolants and windshield washer fluids – which are meant to withstand cold temperatures.
While you may not think much about any electronics in your garage, you really should move them to an indoor storage location.
Any cold or snow will increase the moisture in your garage. As such, this moisture can cause excess condensation which can damage the solder joints on any circuit board.
Gazebo Roof, Curtains and Screens
When you take your gazebo down, you will need to store it for the winter. A natural place to store your portable gazebo roof, curtains and mosquito nets is in the garage, right?
Well, I will answer that with a YES, but with a large caveat. The best solution to store your gazebo fabric pieces is to put them in an indoor storage room or shelf. This will prevent little critters trying to find a warm place to live during the cold winter months.
Trust me on this one – I have real live experience.
A few years ago I, unfortunately, left my gazebo screens in the garage on an open shelf – not thinking that some little mouse would be interested in eating the screens – after all, they are screens. Well, I was wrong.
When I brought them out the next year, there were several small to medium sized holes – something I had to spend a few hours repairing.
In the end, maybe that mouse did not eat my screens but, he / she sure did create some very ‘inconvenient’ holes.
You can see that this gazebo screen has been repaired. While the hole no longer makes accessible the interior of our gazebo to pesky little insects and bugs, I would have preferred to have a screen without these patches.
So, moral of the story:
Store your gazebo roof, curtains and screens indoors, if possible. If you don’t have room indoors, store them in a durable storage tote with a lid which closes tightly. Even if you store them indoors, it is a great idea to store your gazebo fabrics in a large storage bin with a secure lid. You never know…those little mice have been known to squeeze themselves indoors too.
Plastic versus Rubber Storage Totes
If you opt to store your gazebo fabrics in a storage tote, and you live in an area with very cold winters, you will be better off using a rubber storage bin versus a hard plastic one.
The cold can damage hard plastics, whereas rubber will stand up much better. Note also that a rubber tote will be more expensive but, will be more durable and last longer.
Vacuum Sealing Storage
If you have access to a vacuum sealer and bags, this is another great option to store your gazebo roof, curtains and mosquito netting. Depending on the thickness of your vacuum sealer bag, this may be OK to leave in your garage during the winter – I will leave that to you to decide.
If you slipped up in a previous year – and did not store your gazebo canopy properly – you can still buy a new replacement here.
Other Items made of Fabric
As with your portable gazebo pieces made of fabric, you should either remove other fabric items from your garage to indoors or store them in a sealed storage bucket.
For example, if you have a pool, canoe, kayaks or a boat, you must have life jackets. The material make up of life jackets will be prey for some little critters during the winter. I have no idea why but, they will chomp on both the outer fabric layer and the inner foam.
This is very important as the integrity of a life jacket can be compromised if any of the components are damaged. If a mouse or other critter gets to your life jackets, they should not be used again.
Batteries of All Kinds
If you have a garden lawn tractor or an electric lawn mower, you should store these batteries indoors over the winter.
If you leave them in the garage, they will most likely be completely drained – or worse, dead – come spring.
Again…trust me on this one. I have some experience.
Remove the batteries from your lawn machines, and put them in a safe storage spot indoors. You will be much happier in the spring when you need to use your lawn mower or tractor and you have a live battery.
Propane Gas Tanks
Please DO NOT move your propane tanks indoors – EVER. However, you should not store them in your garage during the winter.
Store any propane tanks outdoors under a covered shelter of some kind – in a shed, carport, or covered barbecue area.
And as applies during the summer during barbecue season, be sure that they are an appropriate and safe distance from your house.
3. Re-Evaluate your Storage Needs
Now that you have rid yourself of useless items, or little used items as well as items which should be stored in another location, you are now in a good position to evaluate your storage needs for the coming winter.
Take stock of everything you have for both the summer and winter seasons.
Separate the items so that you know how much you have of each.
Decide how and where you will now store your garage goodies.
Take note that for the winter season, you can store your summer items in places where they are harder to access. This will leave the storage spaces which are easier to access open for your winter items.
As part of this process, you may realize that you either want or need more storage space – whether that be in the form of storage totes, storage bags, shelves, or storage cabinets.
Or now that you have done a de-cluttering clean up of your garage, you may want to replace your existing storage units. Some may consider this more of a spring cleaning task but, it doesn’t really matter the timing.
What matters is that you have cleaned and organized the items stored in your garage. What better time to install some new and improved garage storage cabinets.
Garage Storage System Ideas
Here are a few ideas for those who have determined that they would like some new garage storage cabinets, shelves or a complete system.
These garage storage systems are modular so they can be customized to fit your exact requirements – to suit both your storage needs and space limitations.
If you just need more shelving, then these tall cabinets with doors may be just what you are looking for. The doors add not only a clean look but keep any less than perfectly tidy items out of sight.
The only drawback I have found with storage cabinets with doors is that the doors actually limit the storage space – somewhat. The doors must close…that is it – meaning that some things which may be wider than the cabinet will have to be placed in another direction in order for them to fit in the cabinet.
I say, with cabinets as nice as these – Make it fit!
Go all out and install this great looking black modular storage system in your garage. Not only will your garage storage be neat and organized, you can have a workbench too.
With this very sleek garage storage system, you will be the talk of the neighborhood.
While most garage storage systems do not include drawers, these systems do – if you so choose.
While drawers may be somewhat less space efficient, they are superb for tidiness and organization. I love drawers! I vote for drawers!
Off The Floor Garage Storage Systems
If you live in a wetter or more tropical climate, you know that a garage floor can always be subject to water infiltration. This can mean severe water damage not only to your home, but to the items in your home or garage.
While the cabinets shown above are above the ground with the use of raised feet, you can also get garage storage cabinets which are off the ground completely – no feet required.
How can that be, you ask?
These garage storage cabinets are installed on a storage wall system.
The flexibility and versatility of this storage system is truly unique and pretty amazing – I must say!
With the simple installation of a flat wall panel, you can add whichever components you would like or need – cabinets with doors, shelves, hooks and more.
Imagine the possibilities and the organization that will ensue.
Clean out your garage, organize what is left, and start over with a new garage storage system – it is easier than your think – and you won’t regret it.
Shop some of these superb garage storage systems and enjoy your newly cleaned and organized garage space.