With any garage renovation project it is fairly common to encounter situations that require a bit of creativity in order to set up the best storage solutions. These situations can be broadly classified into two main categories: those that involve movable objects or materials and those situations when it becomes necessary to work around appliances or other fixtures that are for the most part not readily movable. As you might expect, situations involving movable storage obstacles are fairly straightforward to address. On the other hand, storage obstacles arising from immovable storage solution obstacles need a bit more creativity and planning. However, as you will soon see there are options available for both.
There are a few optimized storage obstacles that show up with any garage renovation project. Each of these must be handled with proper planning and foresight to achieve the optimized storage you desire.
The most frequently encountered storage solution obstacle is the central vacuum. You may have noticed the central vacuum is often left hanging there on the wall taking up a lot of space. Most new home builders mount these central vacuums in the middle of a wall, either the back wall or one of the sidewalls. Also, the central vacuum is typically mounted about half way between the ceiling and the floor. While this position certainly allows you to access the unit for service, it makes storage above and below rather cumbersome.
All of that being said, the central vacuum is actually an appliance that can be relocated relatively easily. The vacuum pipes coming to the central vacuum unit are simply common p.v.c plumbing and the electric is typically a standard outlet plug. Relocating the central vacuum merely means choosing an optimum location, mounting the unit and re-piping the vacuum lines as required. Oftentimes, the best location is found to be mounted in a side corner such that the unit is still accessible but it is mounted a bit higher and out of the way. By relocating your central vacuum, you gain valuable storage space below and of course along the wall where the unit was originally located. For example, if you relocate a central vacuum stuck there in the middle of your sidewall to the back corner, now you have the option to install slatwall, storage racks or other optimized storage solutions in the newly freed up space.
The next most frequently encountered obstacle to optimized storage is the doors and windows. Obviously, in most cases you aren’t going to be moving a door or window. On the other hand, there are practical storage solutions that can be installed to optimize the space.
Start with the door into your garage from inside your home. The most obvious answer is to install an overhead storage rack. An overhead storage rack above your door will add valuable storage space that is useful, yet still out of the way. At the same time, you want to be aware of the fact that there is an optimum way to install an overhead storage platform and there is a sub-optimum way.
The very best solution is to install an over the door storage platform using hardware hung from the ceiling. However, sometimes eager do-it-yourselfers will instead install this overhead platform and support it with vertical posts. While this is okay and does give you the overhead storage, the vertical posts can be an eyesore, not to mention getting in the way of other things you want to have in the garage.
One other scenario to consider is when the door is located in the middle of the wall. In this case, more often than not a customized solution could be the best choice. For example, you could install a combination of overhead platforms, shelving or platforms on one side and slatwall on the other side. Of course each garage design is unique so many who chose to renovate their garages end up selecting a custom solution.
Although windows are not really that common in most garages, customers with garage windows often are looking to optimize the space around the window. The one big issue is often the location of the window. In other words, if the window is in the middle of a sidewall versus being located towards one side or the other will determine the type of renovation options available. One typical storage solution option is the installation of an overhead platform with a slatwall installation to the sides and beneath the window. This option maximizes the utility of the space around the window while still allowing the full functionality of the window itself.
A minor situation that sometimes shows up in garage renovation projects is the location of the fresh water hose bibb. The hose bibb may be installed in a location that means stretching an attached hose along the garage floor and outside. Some renovation customers may choose to have this hose bibb relocated further along the wall to a more convenient location.
Alternatively, to save the trouble and expense of relocating the garage water supply, a more optimized hose reel and storage fixture can be installed. The hose reel can be conveniently mounted on the wall to allow easy access and storage.
One final situation that might be a factor is the automatic garage door opener. The garage door opener operates off of the normal household electrical outlets. Unfortunately, there is rarely an outlet mounted in the ceiling in a convenient location for the opener. Consequently, many homeowners end up draping an extension cord across the top of the garage and down a wall.
Of course, this is not the best solution and is definitely not recommended. Keep in mind that an extension cord is only designed for temporary use; it is not supposed to be used as a permanent electrical supply. The solution is to bring in a electrician to mount an outlet close by the garage door opener. Absent wanting to install another outlet, the other option is to more permanently affix the extension cord with cable clamps or similar hardware.
Conclusion: as you can see from the above, each and every garage renovation project presents its own challenges and surprises. However, with some simple planning along with a discussion of the best storage solutions for your situation you can have a garage that works for you.