Winter can be such a fun season here in Colorado. The trouble is, you take all the outdoor entertainment and drag the equipment back into your garage. This poses some risk to your family, especially if you do not have an established plan for garage safety. By following this checklist, you can get your garage organized, reduce hazards, eliminate clutter and ensure that each day is a little safer for everyone in your family.
Put Away All Hazardous Materials
If you used your garage for a lot of home improvement tasks over the summer, chances are that there are some materials or solutions that need to be eliminated or put well out of reach of children and pets. These include paints, paint thinner, pesticides, polyurethane and more. Go through anything in your garage that might pose a hazard, and categorize it. If you bought a chemical for a single task and you will not need it again anytime soon, you are probably better off getting rid of it. Dispose of it properly, and then you will not waste space storing something unnecessary. Put all hazardous materials on a high shelf or a locked cabinet. Make sure that flammable products are stored far away from heat or flame.
Hang or Store Items
Before the cold weather hits, you want to ensure that you can get everything possible up off the floor. No one likes to hunt around a pile of wet winter gear for a shovel. There are many ways to use the walls and ceiling for storage, including:
- hanging bins
- garage cabinets
As you start to bring down the skis, snowboards, boots, and snow removal tools for winter, it is an excellent time to establish a place to put everything away. List the items you want to store in the garage, and plan out storage options that will work best for each category. Hang shovels and sports equipment on hooks. Set a bin on a shelf to hold gloves, hats and ski goggles. Add custom garage cabinets give you a perfectly sized spot for everything. Garage cabinets are built to your specifications and are sturdy enough to hold almost anything. Investing the time now to organize will save you a lot of hassle later on. You will eliminate clutter, reduce time spent looking for things and keep your garage a safer place for you and your family.
Ensure You Have Adequate Light
With winter’s shorter daylight hours, you really need to step up the lighting situation. This is especially true for the parts of the garage you use every day. A light on the ceiling is a necessity, but you should plan appropriately for other lighting needs. For example, if you use the garage as a place to store the kids’ backpacks and winter boots, install some task lighting on the top of their cubbies. They will be able to see what they are doing, especially on those early, dark winter mornings. Add a lamp to your workspace, with a flexible neck to point a spotlight right where you need it. Do not forget to put lighting near the washer and dryer, or anyplace you are working with chemicals. Light helps you to avoid unexpected spills and to quickly clean them up before the kids or pets come across them.
Install a Smoke Detector
You can never have too much protection from smoke in your home. Even though you probably already have a couple of smoke detectors in your home, your garage is still a good place to install an additional one. Smoke detectors are only effective if they are put in places where you are likely to hear them. Your garage may be a site of potential fires, just like other parts of your home. It also is a location where other contaminants, such as carbon monoxide, may enter your home. Putting a smoke detector and a carbon monoxide detector in your garage will help protect your indoor air quality and alert you to possible catastrophes.
Lock Away Sharp Materials
You might as well face it: your garage is chock full of things that you would not want the kids to get into. The pruning shears and trimmers are just waiting to hurt a hand that does not know how to use them. Put away gardening tools for the winter, in a bin on a high shelf or in overhead storage. Arrange all your hand tools, nails and screws in an appropriate workbench with locked drawers. Install a pegboard to keep your drills and bits out of reach, so that the kids will not pick them up off of a table and decide to play with them.
Keep Your Garage Floor Clean
Even if everything in your garage has its own space, you can still slip and fall on a dirty floor. Snow and road salt are a bad combination that gets tracked in on your tires and your family’s boots. Mix in a little grease or oil from a car leak, and you may have an emergency room trip on your hands. Consider installing epoxy floor coating to prevent many of these issues from ruining your winter fun. With garage floor coating, you get stain-resistant protection that is easy to keep clean. The floor coating looks professional and maintains that appearance for many years. You can wipe spills clean in a snap, without having to worry that someone might slip on a grease spot.
Organizing your garage for winter is as much about safety as it is about increasing convenience and making your day easier. Each item on this checklist protects your family from harm caused in winter or any other season. Contact us today to get your garage safely organized, before the winter weather arrives.