Even if it doesn't quite look like it in your part of the country, Fall is coming. This is the perfect time to take advantage of nice weather to prep your garage and storage areas for cooler weather. Since most garages are not temperature-controlled, summer is the least favorite time to head out there to reorganize and clean. The mild weather is a great incentive to get to work.
There are a few main tips to turn your garage into an organized, efficient place that will make the winter months more enjoyable.
Start the Rotation
Approach all your summer-specific items with a critical eye and a sense of ruthlessness. Worn-out wading pools? Battered pool noodles? Leaking pool floats? Give yourself a set time period to repair them, or they get thrown out. If your mower is on its last legs, your string trimmer is held together with duct tape, or someone has outgrown a bicycle, don't store them through the winter. Donate them or dispose of them safely.
Now that you've reduced your storage needs, you can bring out the bins and equipment you'll be needing for the cooler months. Optimize your space by moving the warm weather items to the back and top shelves, and move the items you'll need to the bottom and front.
If you find that you're short on space, this is also the perfect time to install new shelving. Consider adding an attractive stainless steel shelf near where you enter your house. It's a great place to put frequently-used items like flashlights, extra keys, flashlights, and anything like umbrellas, shopping bags or hats that might be a bit too wet to take directly into your home. Unlike wood, it won't retain moisture and is easy to wipe down.
Clean, Sharpen, Store
You can get a huge head start on Spring outdoor work if you take the time to clean and prep your tools now. Winterize your mower by adding oil and fuel stabilizer, and take it in for a tune-up, if needed. Drain water from pressure washers and hoses, and check for any leaks. It's inexpensive and easy to repair garden hoses with a repair kit, a utility knife, and just a few minutes.
Clean off your garden tools, and sharpen edges of hoes, shovels, and trowels if they've become dull. If you live in an area where you use your snow shovel frequently, this is the time to sharpen it as well. A sharpening stone works well for metal edges, and steel wool can be out to work on any rusty spots or really tenacious dirt.
Take a look at your tool handles to spot any cracks or issues. If they need to be replaced, it's an easy repair that will cost much less than the cost of a whole new tool. You can also sand down any rough edges or nicks in on wooden handles now.
Once you've got everything prepped, wipe down metal blades and edges with a bit of all-purpose lubricant like WD-40. Use linseed oil on a cloth to lightly coat wood. That's it! You'll love grabbing your sharp, clean tools when you start out on your first garden project.
Check Out Your Garage Doors
This is also the perfect time to perform simple maintenance on your overhead garage door, like lubricating tracks, replacing lightbulbs on door openers, tightening screws, and evaluating the fit of the rubber seal at the bottom of the door. Think back to last winter - was there snow blowing under the door? It may be time to replace it.
Take a look at the garage door that goes into your home or exits to the back yard. With winter coming, you may want to look at adding or replacing the weather stripping around it. When you're trying to keep energy bills down, these are commonly overlooked spots for heat loss and drafty breezes.
This is also a good time to add insulation to the interior of your overhead garage door. Studies have shown that simply adding a layer of insulation to your existing door can keep your garage up to 12 degrees warmer in the winter, and 25 degrees cooler in the summer!
Clean-Up Work Areas
If your garage turns into a workshop in cooler months, get ready by cleaning up workbenches and determining if you need better storage for supplies. It's great to be able to store items at eye-level or within easy reach when you use them frequently. A solution for custom shelves that look perfect in a garage environment is our Diamond Plate Steel Shelf Brackets. They're strong and would look at home in any professional shop. They look rugged and are likely to make visitors envious of your total workspace aesthetic.
While you're cleaning and checking your garden tools, do a quick inventory of your most-used items, and see if there are any rough edges, broken tips, or cracks that need to be addressed. When you're in the middle of a rainy day project, the last thing you want is a missing tool or one that breaks in the middle of a turn.
Fall and Winter chores can be a lot less stressful if you get ahead of the season. With shorter days coming, you'll be glad you took advantage of a sunny afternoon to prepare for the change of weather - and you'll enjoy your garage space more!