If you’ve waited all year to get out there and work on your car, now’s your chance. Fall is here, and it’s time to fine-tune your ride, but first you’ll need a well-organized and convenient workspace. Take some time to get the garage in good condition and everything you need placed just where you want it.
The days when the garage was for parking the car and piling up household objects no one knew what to do with are gone. Homeowners are maximizing garages these days by turning them into work and recreational space, but it’s still the best place to tinker with the engine and find ways to coax a few more miles per gallon from the old family car.
Clean and declutter
The garage, like any other part of your home, tends to become cluttered and out of control during the winter. Begin by going through all the loose items that are in the way and organize them based on what can be thrown out, given away or donated. If you’re not sure what to do with something, get rid of it so you have plenty of space for your car and enough room to build an efficient workspace. If things have really gotten out of control, consider having a garage sale and making a few bucks in the process.
From the floor up
Select flooring that’ll help keep your garage as safe and clean as possible while making it easy to move around under your vehicle. There are lots to choose from, including rubber matting, garage tiles or interlocking hard plastic squares. Remember to go with a material that’ll make it easy to clean up if you plan on changing the oil and doing other work that’ll leave a mess.
There’s no sense clearing out garage workspace for your car if you’ll be wasting time looking for the tools you need. Install overhead storage bins or shelves and label each section to avoid confusion and keep you organized. Arrange your handheld tools, wrench sets and other frequently used items so they don’t get mixed in with other kinds of tools. The local hardware store will have an array of options for helping you organize everything you need to keep the car in tip-top condition.
If you’ll be working on cars in the garage, it’s important to keep the space well-lit. A dimly lit garage isn’t a safe place for anyone, especially if hands and fingers will be inside the engine block and other places where accidents can easily happen. When contemplating what kind of bulbs to buy, consider that lumens rather than watts are a better way to determine brightness, which is what really matters in the garage.
Make sure your garage is able to handle the amount of electrical power you’ll use. Keep extension cords to a minimum and use surge protectors as much as possible. If you’ll need to adapt your electrical system to accommodate the amount of electricity you’ll require in the garage, consult an electrician before running new wiring or making other modifications that could result in shock or electrocution.
Proper ventilation is always important when working with cars inside a garage. You may decide to work with the garage door open to bring in some fresh air, but make sure there are other ventilation outlets to keep car exhaust and other fumes from building up inside the garage. Keep fans going to maximize airflow and help beat the heat.
Grow your space
If you’re still in need of more space, consider building a steel garage. This new addition is a good choice if you need a place to store belongings you’ve inherited, as well as clothing, gifts, and other things that don’t fit anywhere in your first garage or the home. Using the steel garage as storage will allow you to free up a room or two in your house for a play area, guest bedroom, or other purpose you have in mind. Like your primary garage, make sure to keep the steel one organized, especially if you intend to store small items that might get lost in clutter.
This fall, create the garage workspace you’ve always wanted. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get it – you can do much of it yourself by staying organized, getting rid of any excess clutter, and building a steel garage for additional space. And always make safety your priority.
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