With storage space in many modern homes being sacrificed on the altar of larger living areas, maximising what is available becomes even more important.
The garage offers a heap of potential, but unfortunately it’s often a poorly organised dumping ground for the unwanted, the unloved and the unused; with the car taking a back seat to sports gear, the wheelbarrow and garden furniture.
But as television makeover shows have demonstrated, even the most uninviting space can be transformed.
“The most important thing when you’re doing up the garage is how you want to use the space,” says Stan Scott, Mitre 10’s DIY guy.
“Do you want to store cars or convert it to a kids’ play area or rumpus room? You also need to take into account what stuff you have.” Mitre 10 has storage solutions to fit every budget, and Stan recommends starting with a good clean out to get rid of the junk. “Drawing up a rough sketch is a good idea too, as it’ll help give you a visual guide of what you have to work with.”
Stand-alone shelving units and storage boxes may be all that’s needed, or products that can be purchased all in one or added to over time, like Mitre 10’s Warrior Modular Garage Organiser, suggests Stan.
“And remember, storage designed for kitchens and wardrobes – such as the Elfa range – is just as effective when used in the garage, as it can be designed to suit your requirements. While shelving is a really good idea in garages, bike hooks and pegboards are also great space-savers and help get things off the ground.”
The Warrior Modular garage organiser from Mitre 10, can be purchased as individual units for flexible storage to suit your needs.
Flexibility is key when it comes to garage storage; needs change as a family grows up. Cubic Capacity enables homeowners to create a unique installation that can adapt to those requirements, says Karl O’Hanlon at manufacturer, Peter Hay Group.
Cubic Capacity offers a combination of cabinets and workspaces that make the most of both garage storage space and time.
“Every tool needs a home, and for those that are frequently used, a mobile drawer unit is ideal. Everything you need is at hand. Cubic Capacity is designed for storing tools, and creating space to work with them.” Because shelves need to carry weight, Cubic Capacity shelving is rated for 62kg and products carry a seven-year warranty.
And a plus for the less gifted DIYers – Cubic Capacity is available in both assembled cabinets and flat packages.
Karl suggests using the design tools on their website to help measure up and lay out the design you’re after.
“But first measure the space available and include things that won’t be moved; like windows, doors, light switches and power points. Create an overall plan and buy the parts as your budget allows.”
The team at Lundia find garage storage is often the last space in the house to get any attention, says Greg Stone. “The cars are parked, in some cases the laundry’s set up, and it’s walk away!”
Lundia storage solutions are modular, adjustable, extendable and re-locatable; therefore provide a very handy piece of design to cater for a garage environment.
“They’re also built to last and extremely easy to install with a range of accessories that be incorporated.”
The Lundia range covers narrow units that can run between the car and the wall to store everything from jam jars to boots and shoes, deeper shelves that are ideal for suitcases, sporting equipment and “dead kitchen gadgets,” plus bench units and uprights that can go below and around the windows.
The main demand, says Greg, is for practical garage storage solutions. This may mean a more industrial look. “We can often create solutions from pre-loved systems or factory seconds.”
Cubic Capacity by Peter Hay allows you to design a system to fit your space
Stacking the family cars may seem a pretty radical solutions to maximising the garage space, but it’s one more Kiwis are resorting to, says Bob Haswell, Managing Director at Car Parking Solutions. Indeed, it’s not just cars he’s stacking. “Cars, trailers, storage, bikes, boats – all that’s needed for it to work is a height of 3,000 to 3,800mm; the more height in the garage, the better.”
They have nine different models available; most about 2,600mm wide and all with numerous safety features. The stacker is bolted to the floor and most have a lift of 2,000mm. Prices vary according to the model – think upward of $14,000 installed – and the stacker requires a power supply to work the big motor.
Installation is not a job for the DIYer. “They’re technically challenging and must be installed by an approved technician.”
Building a storage loft above a garage would obviously solve a heap of problems. But that takes both time and money.
Overhead storage items used less frequently – such as the Christmas tree – is a space-saving, practical and more economical solution. Just make sure there’s still room to move safely below the racks.
The parklift by Car Stackers is great for tight spaces, allowing a second car to be parked on top of the other.
Consider storing cycles overhead. Online sports gear retailer, Torpedo 7, has an overhead bike storage system, as well as a number of bike stand options.
And while a lot of sports gear can be safely stored on a shelf or into a cupboard; things like surfboards, particularly the popular stand-up paddle boards, are more of a challenge.
Surfboard racks providing horizontal, vertical and ceiling storage in single through to quadruple sizes from companies like Curve International, are the ideal solution.
A visit to your auto accessories retailer will also provide a number of garage storage options.
“Whatever its use, we reckon every garage should have a decent shelving unit and plenty of places to pack things away. Maximise the space,” says Stan Scott.
“Think about vertical space, using the walls; even the ceiling, not just the floor space.” Pegboards are both cost-effective and practical slat walls, that will take hooks and shelves, are another option.
And, if the garage is prone to flooding, look for cabinets with legs that keep them off the ground.
Treat the garage like any other room in the house. Clean out, categorise and containerise. It’s all about what you want to make of it. Getting it right will improve the value for your home.
This article by Patricia Moore featured on page 98 of Issue 013 of New Zealand Renovate Magazine. New Zealand's first and only magazine solely dedicated to home renovations.
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