Garage Organization Systems: Don’t Let Your Car Take a Backseat to Your Garage

This month's Guest Blog was written by Joni Moore.  Joni is the co-owner of Tailored Living of Vancouver, WA.  What I love about Joni is that her values are in line with my own.  She values function over beauty - although the final results will also look great!  The services they provide make the lives of their clients organized and stress-free.     

From Joni:

As Americans, we have stuff.  We have so much stuff, yet we continue to buy more stuff every day.  George Carlin did a whole comedy act about our stuff back in the eighties.  “There’s a whole industry created around keeping an eye out on your stuff” referring to renting storage facilities.  If only he could see how right he was, even today 20 years later, with all the new storage companies that have popped up across the country.  It’s crazy! 

As of March of 2020, Americans spent $39 Billion annually on self-storage facilities.  It’s gotten so crazy our cars are even taking a back seat to the space that was built specifically for them.  I mean, isn’t that why we have garages in the first place – so we have a safe and secure place to store our car?  If we can’t afford or don’t want to rent a storage space, what do we do when there doesn’t seem to be enough room to share with our car?

The first step would be to hire a professional who knows how to make the most of your space and work with you to come up with a design that will be:  A). Beautiful, B). Efficient, and C). An investment you can recoup if you decide to sell your home down the road.  This option will be on the higher cost side of solutions available, but if you can afford it, is totally worth it. 

You’ll generally deal with fewer headaches because the pros will take the measurements, design the space with you, your family and your stuff in mind.  They’ll buy and cut all the materials, have it shipped to their shop for assembly and then install it in your home. 

You could always go with a box store, but the materials may not be as high quality, they probably won’t have custom sizes to truly take advantage of those tricky or unique spaces, and often you may have to hire the installation crew yourself. 

By hiring a professional, you’ll be able to work with the same company to do everything, including flooring if you like.

Another advantage of going with a pro is the multiple solutions they can come up with.  Before they present you with a design, they’re going to ask you, what kind of stuff do you have?   Do you do a lot of gardening?  Are you someone who likes to work on cars or carpentry projects?  Do you have kids?  What kind of stuff do they have?  Are they into sports?  Are you?

A lot of the answers to these questions can be resolved by the same solution:  slatwall.  Personally, I’m a huge fan of slatwall!  There are several advantages to using this solution.  First, you can save a lot of space because you’re not going out 14-24 inches or more from the wall as you would a cabinet.  That alone could mean the difference between getting in and out of your car – let alone getting the car in the garage.

A second advantage is what can be stored on slatwall.  There are all kinds of accessories you can get to hang stuff, from sports bags to canoes and magnetic bars for hand tools to paper towel holders.  The accessory options are vast and creative.

Thirdly, slatwall can go as high as your ceiling is tall, so if you’ve got a lot of gardening tools that need to be stored, you can hang them much higher where it’s not as easy for kids to get to, and still leave room for their stuff, including bikes of all sizes.  One warning about slatwall accessories: be sure the accessory is compatible with the system purchased.  Not all are.  The ones generally used by Tailored Living of Vancouver, WA (like the picture shown above) is called Handiwall.  This brand offers great durability and a great selection of accessories to choose from.

The final solution we’ll discuss for now generally doesn’t get considered by most people until the end – and that is the ceiling.  All that space up there and no way to access it.  If you’ve got a ladder, you can always add platforms up there to store items you only access once or twice a year.  But what if you don’t want to climb a ladder?  That’s probably very wise if you can avoid it.  After all, each year, there are more than 164,000 emergency room-treated injuries and 300 deaths in the U.S. that are caused by falls from ladders.  What’s the alternative solution?  It’s actually the same, but just get the motorized ones you can raise and lower with the touch of a button on your phone. 

If you are growing out of your home because of all your stuff, sometimes the solution is to expand the living space into the garage.  People today are using their garage for all kinds of things – man caves, party staging, craft rooms, new business startups.  You name it, it’s happening.  But if the main goal is to get that car back in your garage, start with one or more of the suggested solutions above.  Even a tiny change could make all the difference.

Joni Moore and Dar Hoogstad

"I love what I do!  Our customers get so excited when we present them with a design that is truly going to work for them - not just what we think is fun or pretty - although that's probably true too.  Even better is the gratitude they express when the space we've designed for them comes together and they can't wait to get their stuff back in it."  - Joni Moore, co-owner of Tailored Living of Vancouver, WA

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