Not long ago, most homes had only a one-car detached garage, if they had a garage at all. The garage door had to be opened manually and the garage was too short and narrow to accomodate a large car or SUV of today. Fast forward a few decades and we have the attached two and three car garages that are part of today’s new homes. While it’s great to have the convenience of an attached garage, especially in inclement weather, an attached garage is part of the home and needs to treated as such. That means your garage should be included in your home safety plan. As your attached garage is probably the main way you enter and exit your home, it also deserves some attention when it comes to design and storage. So let’s review some safety and design tips for the all-too-often neglected garage:
- Make sure your garage has adequate lighting. Most garages don’t have windows, so good lighting in the garage is essential for safety. If you have a work space in your garage for projects, be sure it is well lit to avoid eye strain.
- Be sure all chemicals are stored out of reach of children and pets.
- As part of your home, your garage should contain a smoke detector and a fire extinguisher. A fire that starts in your garage can quickly spread to the rest of your house.
- Shovels, rakes and other gardening tools should be hung on walls for storage. There are numerous garage wall storage options available for tools, ladders and sporting equipment. Wall storage opens up floor space in the garage and provides safe storage for potentially dangerous tools.
- Use overhead storage racks to make full use of garage space. I have two overhead storage units in my garage and am amazed at the number of boxes they can hold in this otherwise wasted space.
- Epoxy coated floors are a good way to seal garage floors and allow easy cleanup of spills. The coatings that contain confetti also increase slip resistance.
- Don’t leave your keys in your car in the garage. Your car is the most valuable item in your garage, so take the keys inside.
- If your garage or garage door has windows, be sure they are covered so no one can see in. You don’t want potential thieves checking out the contents of your garage.
- Keep your garage door closed. A four foot snake got into my garage when I left the door open briefly during a project. The shriek I let out when I nearly stepped on that snake could have gotten me the lead in a horror film. Lesson learned.
Finally, if you can no longer park your car in your garage, it may be time for a garage sale. After all, wouldn’t it be wonderful to see a clean, well-organized garage every time you enter and leave your home? Time to make some garage sale signs.