Garage Accessories

Little things that make a big difference

In most rooms, accessories are those little things that add style or flair. In the garage, accessories are more likely to add function and organization. But that doesn't mean they can't be stylish, too!

Perhaps the most important accessory if you use your garage for any type of work (carpentry, car repair, etc.) is proper garage lighting. A work light will supplement the overhead lighting and provide greater visibility in the work area, whether it's over a tool bench or under a car. A halogen work light is particularly bright, though compact fluorescent lighting is also a popular option. Work lights are available both as mounted fixtures and as moveable, freestanding structures (such as lamps or clip-on lights).

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If you don't have an electrical outlet near your work area, an extension cord will come in handy for plugging in your work light or power tools. Extension cords come in a variety of lengths and are particularly useful for transferring power from inside the home or garage to power tools or lawn equipment being used outside. For this reason, the garage also tends to be the perfect place for extension cord storage.

The garage is the ideal location for a garden hose reel as well, since it usually houses the outdoor water connection. A reel provides a convenient storage place for your hose and allows for easy rolling and unrolling, preventing kinks and prolonging the life of your hose. Mounting the reel directly above or beside the tap also allows you to keep the hose connected at all times, saving you the time and hassle of connecting and disconnecting every time you want to water your lawn or garden.

In fact, mounting hangers and holders on garage walls is an excellent way to increase storage capacity while simultaneously saving floor space. Unlike many other rooms in the house, in which wall space is reserved mainly for decorations, the garage is primarily functional, so it's unlikely that you'll be hanging your favorite painting or portrait on its walls. That leaves a lot of prime space available. Take advantage of it with shelves, cupboards and hooks.

Wheelbarrows are one common piece of lawn equipment that most people leave parked in a corner of the garage. Some conserve space by upending the wheelbarrow and leaning it against a wall, but that doesn't get it entirely out of the way. A wheelbarrow hanger or wheelbarrow holder mounted on the wall or ceiling, however, gets the wheelbarrow off the floor and tucked away, where you won't be tripping over it in the off-season.

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Pegboard is an extremely handy way to organize a garage, particularly the area over a workbench. Pegboard hooks hold everything from hammers to screwdrivers to carpentry squares, keeping them off of the work surface but still within arm's reach. A variety of sizes meets almost any need, and peg board can even be cut to accommodate particular spaces or special design features.

If you're using pegboard and pegboard hooks to store heavy tools and equipment, check out the pegboard requirements or ratings. Make sure the board is securely attached to the wall and the hooks are strong enough to support the load without bending. Installed incorrectly, pegboard can be a safety hazard, but used properly, it is an excellent organizational tool.

Trash Can

The garage is an ideal place to store garbage awaiting collection. Most people have many waste baskets throughout their homes – in the bathroom, kitchen, office, etc. – but with trash day only once a week, they need a place to consolidate and store their garbage until it is hauled away. Usually, that place is one or more large garbage cans kept in the garage.

The classic garbage can was made of corrugated metal and kind of resembled a giant soup can – hence the name. Nowadays, garbage containers are usually made of heavy-duty plastic, but the word "can" has remained a sort of generic term for any trash receptacle, whether it's a bin or a basket or what have you. Many modern trash containers also come with such convenient features as lid locks to keep animals out and wheels to make the trip to the curb that much easier.

To keep your trash bins clean and fresh, deposit garbage in trash bags first, especially food scraps or other degradable waste. Seal the bag with a twist tie or by knotting the handles together, and then place it inside the container. This will help contain any smell the waste might emit and keeps scraps from staining or sticking to the insides of the bin.

Recycling Bin

Over the past few decades, recycling bins have become a mainstay in homes across North America. These containers are used to separate items that should not go to a landfill because they can be broken down and their materials reused to create something new.

Recycling containers often resemble garbage bins but are usually colored differently for easy identification. Sometimes, the color of a recycling container is also used to indicate the type of recyclable material it holds, since certain types of recyclables are processed differently (cans and bottles are often separate from paper products, for example). It is important not to mix garbage and recyclables, so having a recycling bin that's easily distinguishable from the garbage can is important. If your bins are the same color, use paint or permanent marker to clearly label one for garbage and one for recyclables.

Make sure to thoroughly rinse cans, bottles and other recyclable food containers before placing them in the recycling bin; this will prevent food remnants from leaking or growing moldy, thereby keeping the bin fresh and clean.

There are numerous garage accessories designed to keep your garage tidy, organized and accessible at all times. When purchasing garage accessories, opt for function over style, but don't be afraid to have a little fun. More and more, companies are finding ways to add a little flair to what is often a dull area. For example, many wall hooks now come with plastic coatings in a variety of colors, adding a bit of brightness or boldness to your garage décor. Look for funky designs, too!

The garage may never be the focal point of your home, but with the right accessories, you can not only enhance its functionality, but also add a bit of personality.