In recent years, studies have repeatedly shown that garages are rarely used for their intended purposes anymore. Almost ten years ago, the BBC reported that only 23% of homeowners with access to a garage stored their car there, while another survey in 2011 suggested that two thirds of homeowners would be unable to fit their car in their garage, thanks to its new role as a storage space.
Christmas decorations, golf clubs, tools and gardening equipment are all commonly boxed up and left forgotten in the garage. Reclaim your space by using these four steps to cut down on clutter and even make room for a car, if that's where you choose to keep it.
First, you'll need to know what's in your garage so you can properly assess the space. Create clear categories for your belongings such as sport and recreation, DIY, garden and electronics. Recycle, donate or sell anything you no longer use, and throw away anything broken or unusable. Once you have reduced the volume and divided the rest into useful groups, you will be able to allocate places for everything, either in the garage or your home.
Make a plan
When you have a clear overview of your requirements, you can decide on the types of storage you would like to install. Consider how often you're likely to use each item and what the most efficient and appropriate storage methods might be. For tools, a pegboard looks classically stylish, and it also makes each device easily accessible when you're embarking on a new project. Sorting items like nails and screws into plastic jars or boxes ensures you'll always know where they are when you need them.
Overhead storage enables you to make the most of your space while leaving much of the floor area free. It also keeps infrequently used items, such as seasonal decorations or holiday equipment, out of the way. It's important that this type of storage is installed correctly, so consider hiring a professional to help. Fitting wall shelving is another efficient way to use the off-ground space, while fixing bike racks to the walls will ensure you never again find yourself tripping over the spokes.
After decluttering, you may find that you have space to spare. If you have a door in your garage leading to the house, installing coat hooks, a shoe rack and a doormat will create an attractive cloakroom area, extending your house and freeing up space in your hallway. More ambitiously, you could consider transforming your garage into a home office or games room.
Whenever you use something from your garage, take the extra second to put it back properly. If something else needs to be stored in the garage, find a dedicated space for it straight away so that miscellaneous items don't begin to accumulate in corners. If you're likely to forget, it might be helpful to set a date in your calendar to remind you to clean out the garage again in three months' time.
If you're looking for a home with spacious garages, or your possessions are beginning to outgrow your home, contact Engel & Völkers. With approximately 550 offices in 38 countries around the world, we can help you to find the perfect exclusive property.