Do you cringe when you open your garage door? All of that clutter — from gardening tools, old furniture and sports equipment to half-empty paint cans and pesticides — limits the usability of the space and, what’s more, it’s exposed for all your guests and neighbors to see.
Rolling down the door won’t make that mess, or the potential safety hazards, disappear (trust me, I’ve tried). So consider devoting some time to making your garage safer and more functional. Here are a few garage organization and safety measures to guide you:
You don’t have to sell your car in order to have super-sized storage capacity. Separate items into categories such as auto supplies, lawn and garden tools, holiday decorations and sports equipment. Then pitch, donate or sell the items you don’t need or use. Invest in wall organization and storage solutions such as shelving units, cabinets or peg boards to keep the floor clear of clutter. This can also help reduce the risk of people tripping and falling.
Garages aren’t exempt from the rules of fire safety. Combustible chemicals such as fertilizer, paint thinner, pesticides and gasoline can create especially dangerous fires. Identify, organize and properly store all flammable products (in a well-ventilated area, in their original containers). Follow disposal instructions on product labels and properly dispose of old materials that are collecting dust or have expired. I recommend keeping a fire extinguisher on hand — but make sure you have the right kind. Fire extinguishers are categorized into five general classes; you may want to consider Class B/C extinguishers for the garage because they are able to fight fires involving grease, oil, gasoline, kerosene and flammable liquids, as well as energized electrical equipment.
In attached garages, fumes from vehicle exhaust can build up quickly and seep inside your home. Carbon monoxide (CO) is produced through fuel-burning equipment and engine-powered machines, including portable generators and cars. Having carbon monoxide alarms installed on every level of your home and near sleeping areas can be crucial to ensuring your family’s safety in the event that fumes do enter your home. This colorless, odorless gas can only be detected through the use of alarms. But, even with CO alarms in place, remember that it’s never safe to leave a vehicle running while parked in the garage, even if the garage door is open.
Garage doors can provide easy entry points for burglars. Never leave your door open after you leave the house. The door leading from the garage into your home should always be locked, too. Installing motion sensor lights above your garage door can also help deter a nighttime break-in through the garage.
Garage safety can be easy to achieve with a few simple steps. So, set aside some time, get organized and reclaim that space.
Guest blogger Debbie Hanson is director of external affairs for First Alert, a trusted brand in home safety products.