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Behind closed doors: Buffalo garages

Clutter. It’s the nemesis of every homeowner. Let it get too unruly and you’ll end up in a never-ending spiral of disorganization.

That extends to the garage, especially in a region like ours with four seasons. From lawnmowers and snow blowers to garden tools and snow shovels, there’s a lot to store. Creating a storage system that is both functional and practical can make your life a lot easier.

“The garage is a real depository for the unusual, oversized, seasonally used, long term storage of the home,” explains Diana Augspurger of Creative Storage. “Think about the combination of things you put in there. Is there any doubt as to why this space, as much as any, needs a system?”

Joe Iafallo, owner of Gorilla Garage Gear in Buffalo, says that customers have different reasons for undergoing a garage reorganization, but it all boils down to one specific need.

Behind closed doors: Buffalo garages | Buffalo Magazine

Brian Reader’s Southtowns garage is full of personality, while also serving as a highly organized functional space.

“It’s usually just about storage. In most cases they’ll call us because they have a two-car garage and can’t even get one car in there. They want to know what they can do to get it organized, and keep it organized.”

Here are some steps that both experts say you can take to begin your own organization project.

Take an inventory

Figure out what’s in the garage, then determine what you need and what you can get rid of. Are there old TVs and bins of garage sale items? Take it to e-scrap, have another garage sale or donate things you no longer want. Get rid of anything that’s not useful.

Evaluate your needs

Do you need quick access to things, or would you rather hide most things away?

“We ask if [their items] can be behind closed doors so people only see cabinets, or if they are things they just want them hung up so they’ve got a place for everything,” said Iafallo.

Based on each family’s lifestyle needs and storage requirements, a design consultant can then create a floor plan, Iafallo says. At this point it’s more than just adding pegboard, wire shelving and a bunch of cabinets. Consideration is given to the size of the items, frequency of their use, and what items will be hidden from view.

“This is very personalized, but every garage solution includes a combination of open or closed shelving and slat wall panels with adjustable accessories for things like sports gear,” says Augspurger. “There is always a need for large tool storage, so racks for rakes and brooms are a must. And there is almost always a demand for bike storage.”

Think about functional spaces, too

Even if you’re not a big do-it-your-selfer, the experts advise incorporating a work space.

“A work counter is optional and not everyone wants it, although I recommend it whether it’s for car repairs or gardening,” says Augspurger. “It’s very handy.”

Iafallo says to think about who’ll be accessing the garage regularly, too.

“Will kids be using it? Are there going to be any elderly people that will require special access?” explained Iafallo. “We also remind them of little things, like putting some sort of a table top area near the door so they can set items down, instead of fumbling for keys with an armload of bags.”

Consider unused areas

An often overlooked area for storage is the ceiling area, depending on the height of the garage. Iafallo says racks can be mounted above the garage door, providing out-of-sight storage area for seasonal items like Christmas ornaments and Halloween decorations.

Don’t forget what’s underfoot

Finally, Iafallo recommends including the floor in the project, something many customers overlook in their initial plans.

“It’s like redesigning your living room without adding a rug,” explains Iafallo. “In a lot of cases it’s not as expensive as people think, and they often include a warranty.”
Options include sleek epoxy finishes and modular floor tiles.

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