The Garage Summer Project

Warmer weather is coming. Really it is! When spring finally hits what do you have planned? Open the windows and knock the dust off or grab the lawn chairs and kick up your feet in the setting sun? Warm weather projects go smoothly if you have a headquarters. The hub of tools, materials and chairs to rest in when the day ends; the garage!

Garage Clean Up

So what are some things you can do to turn your garage into the summer project slayer? Start small with the most immediate needs first. Picking up, sweeping out and weeding through. You may even find enough stuff to plan your first garage sale. Here is a list to get the wheels turning a bit more.

  • Paint cupboards and drawers with chalkboard paint. Write using an erasable chalkboard pen for easier organization and labeling.
  • Designate zones in your garage. Such as an area for lawn care equipment, tools, food storage and recreational items. If you recycle, create a recycling zone with separate bins for plastic, glass, etc. to make the sorting process easier.
  • Use hooks on the wall for electrical cords, hoses, ropes and bungee cords so that they are accessible and off the floor.
  • Install shelving units into the joists of your garage ceiling for items you do not use frequently. These may include items such as holiday decorations or keepsakes. Once these are stored away properly, you will free up a lot more space on the garage floor.
  • Apply a garage floor coating while you do your spring clean-up instead of waiting until the summer. A coating can protect the surface of your garage from spills and tire treads and make next year’s clean up a breeze.

Remember, start small and branch out from there. With enough effort your garage will be the best in the neighborhood!

Busted Toys, Bloody Knuckles and World Issues

The kid’s cheap toys broke again, DON’T WORRY…to the cave! What awaits you is only the thin sound of humming lights. While the chaos continues back in the house, you escape! The power drill, fully charged, all the hardware needed to mend, not only the toy, but the sobs of a disappointed child! You throw on your safety glasses and in minutes, you’re ready to emerge from the cave as a hero!

When people think of a garage it normally conjures up an image of cars and containers. A place to throw cardboard until it’s broken down, a great landing pad for all the bikes and strollers, or just a large storage unit with no room left to park the car. The reality, for those who are squeezing the potential out of their garage, is entirely different.

Who easily wins for most epic garage ever?

Batman of course! Although, he has a cave; which may lead you to the all too typical “man cave”. Man Cave is an outdated term. Why not say the bat cave or…the bunker!? I know plenty of women who can navigate the bat cave; and let’s be honest…THAT’S SEXY!

Changing how you refer to your garage is just the start.

Once you get your storage in place, making room for the cars again, you’ll notice the true potential of a cave over a plain ole garage. If insulated properly, organized, clean and heated you have a place to escape, year round.


A simple start to organization…mason jars! They are fairly inexpensive; come in various sizes, and can sometimes be found on Craigslist at a discount. Just make sure you have an ample shelf to set them on. The shelf should be sturdy and level, so it can bear the weight and lower the risk of the jars sliding off. Remember, they ARE glass.

Start thinking about how your garage can be best used.

Like, year round, as a place to find peace and quiet, become a hero of fixing, share in a cold beer with friends, bust your hands up a bit working on your car, or, pull up a chair to talk things out with the neighbor. Once you have a vision of how your space needs to function then suit it to those needs. The result will even surprise you! Remember, it’s not just a garage!

Room Above, Expanding Your Garage

There is pure genius in discovering something new in something you already have possession of. Whole novels, Broadway plays and one of the most famous children’s stories of all time have enjoyed enormous success with this kind of thinking. Ok, so Dorothy was not tapping her red shoes together for her garage exactly, but that was because they didn’t have garages in the Wizard of Oz. YOU do!

Garage Storage Space Garage Storage Space

When is a garage not just a garage?

For starters, having extra living space is NICE. How about that studio you always wanted to have? The very height of the space above the garage gives you some built in privacy and a loftier view. (pun intended!)

This is your chance to have a log cabin in the woods without the log cabin! Your garage door can easily be designed to be looking like it’s made of old beams.

Maybe it’s a serene cottage in the country, complete with breakfast nook?

Aim high, make it a place to send your teenagers and their music to! Or aim even higher and make it a place to send your parents and their music to!

When it’s cold outside, you can be happy to know the beach is not in your yard, but you can still be going up into your own beach bungalow. You can even have a deck!

If already live where it’s warm and you are pleased to stay there, your room above can hold all your treasures your partner ‘doesn’t really care for’ the way you do. Why, that could even be your own fridge for your Limburger cheese.

Probably the biggest asset, after the fact that it’s your to do what you want, is you don’t ever have to worry about bothering the neighbors with any kind of noise you make.

What is in Your Garage?

Your car? Your bike? Sleds? Trash cans? Garden hose? Tools? Half buckets of paint and old rags? Perhaps that unadorned space that you repair broken things or spray paint things to freshen them up?

If you look it up in the dictionary, you’ll find it’s a place to ‘store or protect automobiles.’


HA! GARAGE is a state of mind!

Back in 1901, William Harley and Arthur Davidson started up a few projects in one.

In 1923 Walt Disney, and his brother Roy, hatched a few good ideas in theirs, too.

Shortly after 1939, Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard used one to make oscillators. (Walt Disney bought eight of these to use to make his block buster ‘Fantasia’ movie.)

It was in one of these, that doll houses made out of picture frames turned a few toys into ‘Mattel’ in 1945.

Every police officer carries a standard issue flashlight, a ‘Maglite’, created under such a roof, by Tony Maglica, a man from Croatia who could hardly speak English, in 1950.

Sixteen year old Michael Kittredge, in 1969, melted down crayons to create the beginning of Yankee Candle Company in one of these.

It was in 1976 that the two ‘Steves’ made theirs, their own garden of Eden putting an ‘Apple’ out as some new kind of fruit!

It was in one of these in 1994 that Jeff Bezos sold his first, of many books, under the roof of ‘Amazon’.

Larry Page and Sergey Brin borrowed one from Susan Wojcicki in 1998 to give ‘Google’ a home.

Industrial Garage Doors

To help you decide which way you want to go to choose your new industrial garage doors, here is a break down of the initial advantage factors to sort through:industrial garage doors

Sectional doors:

Very flexible in material (steel and aluminum) and steel gauges.
Various colors of baked-on enamel.
Custom finish (raised panels, flush sections, full view glass or ribbed.
Various window configurations.
Various options for insulation …R-values up to 17.2.
The best government U-values for energy tax credits
Options for friction fit or sandwich (bonded) structure.
Components are readily accessible– making routine maintenance easier.
Replacement of components usually easier then rolling or sheet doors
Torsion spring power unit open; easily lubricated.

Rolling doors:

Guides are durable heavy structural steel little maintenance required.
Springs are enclosed in barrel and hood (not visible).
Curtain has continuous hinge (longer wear).
Configuration of large ‘special’ doors for specific applications.
R-values up to 8.1.
Windows are riveted in place.
Initial cost usually higher due to weight of the door and the equipment and time needed to install it.

Sheet doors:

Lighter then rolling door therefore a larger range in manual push-up.
Best paint warranty in the industry.
Small windows.
Foil covered ‘blanket’ insulation (R-value 3).
Initial lower cost.
Installation time and costs are lower.

Faux Garage Door Designs

Whether you are looking at your two car family garage or your businesses rows of industrial ports, garage doors can make or break the entire look of your property.


Maybe in the past you had to settle for something adequate and functional. It is very important to have your vehicles protected from inclement weather, animals, thieves and be at least compatible with the design of the rest of your property. All admirable, but such dull dogs!

The good news is an attractive garage door adds value to your investment.

They’ve been saying for years that you can’t judge a book by its cover, but we all know that is not true! That cover better let me know what the book is about. In the world of property and business the words ‘curb appeal’ are a serious factor.

In your home, you can have doors that are made of glass that allow for day light and a view from the inside. For a business, letting your customers see you working hard is a plus!

Wood carved in a Spanish style with cast iron embellishments, the open- from-the-center rustic barn charm, ultra modern minimal lines (horizontal or vertical), or the elegant look of beach-washed distressed designs all look fabulous.

In today’s market, you can get a Screen garage covering that works just as a regular garage door, open and closing with the touch of the remote. The real game changer is what can be accomplished with Faux Designs.

This, again, holds true for your home or business. Anything you can do for real, can be done in Faux. It is wonderfully mind boggling to watch a garage door of solid dark mahogany with steel rivets roll down after you back out!

Garage Floors

Unsightly cracks, flaking paint and the plethora of problems epoxy can create are a few reasons you might need to cover the floor of your garage.

Having proper flooring can make it safer and easier to clean. It’s one way to add value to your home or business. After your home, your vehicles are usually your most costly investment.

Here are a few guidelines to help you decide what works best for your garage:


If you just put in a new concrete floor, it must be dry 30 days before applying an epoxy. If you have tried your hand at doing it yourself and are stuck with bubbles, pin holes, a waxy film, sags in the joints, fish-eyeing in the coating, or you inherited someone else’s epoxy job gone wrong, you must remove the old epoxy before recovering it again.

There are all kinds of epoxies. You have a limited time to work them over the surface. If your floor is fiberglass you’ll need to burn off those hairs with a gas torch. You will need tools and a higher level of skill. Floor must be well cleaned and well prepped.



Remember a mil is only 1/1000 of an inch. You’ll need a cleaned and prepped floor. It must be measured and cut out (almost like wall papering) but on the floor. It will be joined at seems. Like epoxy, you’ll need tools and a certain amount of skill level.


No extensive floor prep. They are skid resistant and simple to install. They are not only portable but also replaceable. They are not affected by heat or cold. They can withstand thousands of pounds and come in fun colors that can be coordinated to basement and/or patio.


Lighting Your Garage

To LED or not to LED your garage, that is the question!

If you are thinking about the lighting for a new garage or adding and/or updating your present one, this is a very important decision.

How do you feel about the opportunity to get big utility rebates? How do you feel about 77% savings in energy?

Since all the wild weather, how do you feel about LED bollards with enough battery back up to supply lighting power for 90 minutes without wire or external back up system?

Lighting is crucial in a garage.

Be sure to be aware of ‘safety’ before you decide on overhead, natural daylight, ambiance, under cabinet or track lighting. Almost all garages end up with a combination of these.

Door ways, steps, (even a single one) light switches, places where rain, snow, or leaves tend to gather, short walls, handles on doors, cupboards or draws, things hanging from the ceiling or potentially dangerous tools (shovel, picks) all need to be contained or clearly lit.

Solar powered, sensor and motion lights are down right fun.

Jay Leno LED

Nebraska native, Jay Leno, is not only a funny guy who has lots cars, he is super savvy about the garage he keeps them in.

Yes, he whistled long and loud over the initial cost to switch to LED lighting, but after learning how soon he would re-coup the cost in energy savings he jumped in with both feet.

The other fellows who work with him were quick to add that the new lights didn’t make the awful thrumming sound florescent lights made. They actually preferred them.

Birds Roosting in Your Garage

It’s for the Birds! No…It’s Not!

You are just itching to utilize your garage for that extra work and storage space but wait a minute, so do some birds! What to do?

As far as they know, they think you’ve arranged it for them.


You must sway them away from the garage.

A lot of birds are protected by environmental laws so you must resist the urge to shoot them. However, they still make nests in your garage door opener or open spaces above, leave unsanitary droppings (often right on your windshield), some make holes and oh yeah, that swooping-down-on-your-head thing when you are in their path.

You can try to always keep the door closed, but your next bet is to try to give them another, more favorable to them, option.

Options Away from the Garage

Bird baths, higher bird houses, even bushes with berries away from the garage. If you can make them feel safe this actually works pretty well.

Another option is to make sure they can not ‘get comfortable’.

There are Sound deterrents that are as well as Netting. That is often used on fruit bearing trees and bushes to keep birds off, works in the garage rafters as well.

Reflectors and/ or Flash tape, will keep your garage walls free for your use.

Balloon Decoys (big eyes) Cut-out photo Decoys (coyotes) seem almost funny to people, but they do fool the birds if you move them around often.

If you have the right wind drafts, Predator Kites are down right fun.

If you still have no joy, there are Bird Spikes. They sound ominous, they just attach in strips and make it so there is no purchase for bird feet to grip on to. They are U.S. Humane Society approved and come in metal or a choice of acrylic colors.


Eliminate Garage Clutter

The garage isn’t just for storing your car…at least not for most people.

It has become the storage for just about anything people do not want in their homes…shoes, tools, old furniture, cardboard boxes that might be used to ship stuff at Christmas, etc.

Here are a few ideas to help with all the clutter you need to step around as you venture from your garage door to your car and back again.

Shoe Storage

Shoe Storage:

Since the garage is the main entrance for your family and sometime your friends, especially your kids’ friends, a lot of folks make others take their shoes off by the door. And, most of the time, they just sit there, waiting to trip you. Why not get a shoe organizer you can leave by the door? Easy to build from the store and clears the floor.


Storage Loft:

Do you have a high ceiling garage or see a lot of room up there that could be used for storage? How about building a loft? It’s essentially an attic.


Slat Wall:

These have become more and more popular over the years because of how great they are for getting things off the floor and creating more space. You can hang just about anything from them.



Are you considering removing cabinets inside your house and were just going to throw them out? How about hanging them in the garage? If not, you can buy cabinets and install them or, have custom built cabinets installed…clear the garage of everything!



Like a slat wall, hanging peg boards on walls will remove excess clutter from everywhere. When the garage floor is cleared, your garage will look like a huge room!

Take a long look at the garage with the cars not in it…or, if there isn’t even enough room for your car in the garage, change that…it’s easy!