The lack of basements in some homes usually means garages are crammed full.
But why store a hodgepodge of belongings inside while your much more expensive car sits outside, exposed?
Find extra storage options by giving your garage a makeover. Here's how to spiff up the space, from the floors to the exterior facade.
Clear the clutter. You probably don't remember half the stuff crammed in there. If you haven't used something for a while, sell, donate or toss it. Be thorough and only retain what you truly need. After that, keeping the garage organized should be just light maintenance.
Create zones. Based on safety and convenience, decide where to put long-handled tools, gardening supplies, recycling bins, appliances and project areas. If you have young children, for instance, don't store their toys near dangerous tools or chemicals, says Lou Ann Schafer, senior marketing manager for Gladiator GarageWorks, which makes specialized gear for the garage.
Project space. Need to carve out a nook for DIY projects? Line the floor with a snap-together floor covering from Swisstrax, available through More Space Place or from swisstrax.com, for a comfortable and easy-to-clean work environment.
Store items vertically. Floor space is at a premium in garages, but plenty of retailers offer ceiling- and wall-mounted products to hang bikes, ladders and tools. The Claw from Gladiator features Soft-Touch grips that won't scratch your rims. Rather than piling mops, brooms and shovels in a corner, consider installing a 64-inch SmartRack from Crawford or a Handled Tool Holder from The Container Store.
Mix and match storage options. A functional garage isn't exactly a showroom. Install some cabinets so you can hide unsightly items, Schafer says. Pick shelving that can support significant weight and withstand the extreme weather that exists in an uninsulated garage.
Choose energy-efficient appliances. If you have a second fridge or freezer, select a style that won't jack up your electricity bill. The Gladiator brand evolved after Whirlpool began noticing more consumers placing refrigerators in their garages (usually old, energy-guzzling models). Gladiator makes the Chillerator, an Energy Star-rated fridge, and the Freezerator, a freezer with a top section that can be converted from freezer to refrigerator.
Don't neglect the front. Now that you've organized the inside of your garage, evaluate its curb appeal. Does the door need to be replaced? Garage door companies offer a wide variety to pick from, including glassy modern versions by Clopay and carriage styles by Amarr.