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Gert's Dirt: The Final Step in Garage Organization

From Donna Bellino

Gertie's Cleaning and Home Service

In previous weeks, this column has covered the basics of cleaning the garage (see previous Gert's Dirt columns online at, including how to dispose of materials, what to keep in the garage and what to store elsewhere. Here are some suggestions to make your garage usable and efficient.

To really make the garage feel clean and fresh, consider a coat of bright paint for the walls. White or a light color will reflect light better. Some folks paint the floor, too. Cement floors often need an acid wash before painting. Check with your local hardware store for supplies.

Fluorescent tubes or LED lights are good choices to illuminate work areas. They are cheap, economical to operate and easy to install.

Open shelves work well for storing big, bulky items while cabinets will help keep critters out and prevent dust from accumulating. Prevent kids and pets from poisonous garage items by storing them in locked cabinets. Hanging pegboard on walls is a practical choice. The walls can then hold shelves, hooks and hangers to organize tools. You can also draw a line on the pegboard around each specific tool to increase the odds of the item going back to that spot after each use. It's useful to not store anything directly on the floor. This is particularly important if you have moisture problems. Especially during the winter months with ice and snow melting from your vehicle, items on the floor can be damaged. It is also easier to keep the floor clean without having to move things around.

When you are reorganizing, have a plan in mind. What items will you seldom use? Which things should be kept close at hand? For some organizational ideas, take a walk through a hardware store and take note of how it is set up. Automotive, carpentry, plumbing, electrical, fasteners, sporting goods and gardening can be kept in specific areas. When you are going to tackle a project, you know just where to look for what you need. Seasonal items can be stored on upper shelves. Use hangers and hooks to utilize the wall and ceiling spaces for bikes, skis, ladders, large boards and other awkward, big items.

I hope these suggestions have helped you to get your garage ready for the fall and winter months that lay ahead.

Donna Bellino is a registered nurse and owner of Gertie's Cleaning and Home Service. I care for you, your health, and your home. Gertie's: Naturally Clean!