Cleveland weather comes at you fast. One day you’re putting away the patio furniture, the next you’re digging through your garage to find the snow shovel. That’s why a good pre-winter plan is important heading into the cruelest of seasons. “Having an organized garage in the winter is essential,” says Wendy Clawson, marketing coordinator for California Closets in Cleveland. “No one wants to be out in the cold longer than they have too.” Here are five tips to get your garage winter-ready.
Start big. Give your door, the largest opening into your garage, a quick checkup by lifting it manually to feel if it’s overly heavy or sticks in spots, which could indicate spring issues or an obstruction. Then, give the door, rollers, hinges, bearings and springs a once-over to ensure they’re all secure and in good working order. “You want to lubricate them before it gets really cold out,” says Joe Eggert of Obar Door & Gate in Cleveland. “You always want to do it in November and April — before winter and after winter.”
Make your space count. Because no one wants to be outside scraping ice and snow each morning, clearing room for your car needs to be priority No. 1. That probably means creating out-of-the-way storage for summer and fall equipment. Hooks and brackets mounted along the wall for bikes, tools and other gear free up needed area on the floor. “Finding space on the ceiling with nets or boxes is a great way to get equipment tucked out of the way,” says Lynn Neilsen, a designer for California Closets.
Add some juice. Additional electrical outlets can make your space more convenient and comfortable. “Our power supply grommets are wonderful for getting power to countertops and inside cupboards,” says Neilsen. These pop-up electric sockets can be used for powering a space heater while working on a do-it-yourself project or vacuuming your car on a cold day.
Protect your wares. Take an inventory of items such as garden hoses, plant bulbs, aerosol sprays and ceramic pots that might need some additional protection from the elements. “Sealed containers work great for damp spaces, especially a garage,“ says Neilsen. “For liquid items, we suggest keeping them in a storage area inside the home so they don’t freeze.”
Keep it clean and dry. Snow and slush amplify the dirt coming from the garage like a lake effect storm. Fight back with a designated space on a shelf or a tray for things such as boots and snow-shoveling gloves where they can dry and not create a water hazard or additional mess that can be tracked inside. “Hang your shovels on the wall close to the garage opening,” says Neilsen. “Put a boot tray under them to collect the water and dirt.”