What Your Garage Is to You
Whether you’re working with a standalone one-car shed that’s older than your parents or a fancy, attached, three-car vehicle palace that has its own heating system, the possibilities for your garage are just about endless. No matter how you reimagine the space, your leap of faith could bring some much needed order to your busy home.
The Man Cave
It may be attached to your home or flush against your block’s alley, but your garage is liable to be a perfect man cave. To do this, you’ll need to remove as many stored items as possible and make the remaining clutter as unobtrusive as possible. You’ll want to consider installing ceiling storage racks and placing items that you don’t frequently use into a convenient off-site storage unit. By removing as much junk as possible, you’ll find it surprisingly easy to turn your garage into a respectable man cave.
Every man has his own ideas about how a man cave should look. Some folks imagine a sports bar-like space that features a full bar, TV and comfortable seating. Others believe that a true man cave celebrates table games like ping pong and pool. Still others prefer to let practicality win the day and choose to install workbenches and table saws.
These improvements may require some cosmetic upgrades. If you’re setting up a wet bar with a refrigerator and television, you’ll need to bring in a power strip or install an extra wall outlet to address the additional power demands. For table games, be sure to set up adequate overhead lighting to keep shadows from interfering with play. Likewise, powerful fluorescent lighting will dramatically improve the safety of your man-friendly work space. If you’re going to be using chemicals or welding equipment near your workbench, you may even need to snake in a plumbing line for a wash sink.
You may not have to give up a warm, dry space for your car in order to turn your man cave dreams into reality. Whether you turn your garage into a practical workroom, a center for serious table games, or a full-fledged sports bar, you can create a killer man cave and possibly preserve that all-important parking space.
It’s all about maximizing the space that you have on hand. For instance, be sure to keep your practical man cave’s workbench, raw materials and shelving on one wall of your garage. That way, you’ll have plenty of room to pull your car in on the other side of the space. Likewise, if you have a two-car garage (or larger), run your bar down the length of a single wall and face your gathering space’s seating towards a TV that’s mounted in a corner. For your table games space, set your ping pong table on one side of the garage and your pool table on the other. This will allow you to deposit your car safely in the middle. That’s just one of many garage ideas.
The Office Alternative
For some folks, even the most well-appointed man cave can’t replace a spacious, inviting office. Fortunately, it’s likely your garage is roomy enough to function as a comfortable home office in which you’ll have no reservations about entertaining clients. Chances are good that it just needs a good shine to regain its dignity. To that end, prepare the space by moving all superfluous stored items to your basement or an off-site storage unit and either clean or resurface the floor.
If you intend to bring clients into the space, be sure to apply a fresh coat of paint or a new set of panels to the wall. If it’s possible, you might even consider adding a new window to let in natural light. Before you furnish the place, be sure to contact your utility company to determine whether your garage needs to be wired for phone and Internet connectivity. Although this might add an additional line item to your project’s budget, it’s absolutely essential that your garage office enjoys all of the same modern conveniences as your former, off-site space.
Storage Can be Exciting, Too!
For one reason or another, you might not be ready or inclined to turn your garage into a man cave or home office. This doesn’t mean that it has to go to waste. You can always use your garage to de-clutter the other rooms in your home. If you believe in the power of aboveground storage and don’t have an available tool shed on your property, there’s no shame in embracing your garage as a makeshift storage depot.
Of course, storage spaces tend to shrink when left to their own devices. Once you commit to using your garage as a storage shed, you might find it tempting to throw a variety of items into it with no regard for organization or efficient space utilization. This “storage creep” might eventually interfere with your ability to move through your garage or find previously stored items in it.
For this reason, many experts advise homeowners to put systems in place to limit the amount of stuff that they store in their garages. This is sound advice, and it’s not difficult to follow.
Start with this simple rule: A garage that has been converted to a storage shed is best used for bulky items like skis, lawn implements, and power tools. However, your garage doesn’t have to contain a static collection of bulky seasonal tools and appliances. During the winter, free up additional space for more useful things by placing gardening tools and lawn implements, like shovels, rakes and lawnmowers, into an affordable storage unit. When spring comes around and the earth loosens up, you can swap out these tools for the snow plows, ice scrapers and snow tires that you won’t need again until the following winter.
Getting Down to It
Like any home-improvement project, de-cluttering your garage and turning it into a useful space takes patience and diligence. It may also require a boatload of extra space that you simply don’t have. Even if you choose to turn your garage into a well-organized storage shed, it may not be able to hold all of your things safely or efficiently.
It might make more sense to use your garage as a temporary staging area to organize the clutter in the other parts of your home. As time goes on, you can move the bigger items that you don’t use every day into a nearby storage unit. This will reduce the likelihood of clutter creeping up on you and ensure that plenty of room remains for your vehicle. It’ll also make it easier to turn your garage into a man cave or office in the future.
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