Fall Fix Ups: Tips to Clean Your Garage

In the second segment of our Fall Fix Up series, we’re focusing on what is generally one of the messiest areas of the house, the garage. Many people forget about garage when doing their fall clean up, but it is a key area to keep tidy considering the items that are stored inside. And in many cases the garage is attached and incorporated into the house, acting as an airlock for your home.

Take a few moments to consider what is lurking inside your garage and how you might quickly get it prepared for the coming colder months.

Not a breezeway: It is important to check the doors of your garage for air leaks, most importantly any doors that lead from the garage into your home. If the door doesn’t seal properly or if venting from an attached laundry is askew, you can experience air leaks both into and out of your home. During the fall and winter, losing warm air from your home to your garage can cost you a considerable chunk of change. And if carbon monoxide emissions from your vehicle enter your home, it can cost you and your family even more dearly. Taking 10 minutes to check and repair any air leaks in your garage entrance can save you money, health, and maybe your life.

Icky chemicals: If you garage is like mine, it is home to a variety of chemical products that are used around the house. Over time and with temperature fluctuations, these products can emit nasty toxins into the air. And if the packaging is damaged, you may find yourself up to your elbows in messy chemical leaks. To prevent these messy situations, take the time now to sort and store paint, fertilizer, pesticides and other household chemicals in sealed plastic containers.

For the birds: Many homeowners in the northwest like to encourage birds to visit their backyards by hanging feeders. In my yard, the seed is appreciated by finches, towhees, robins, and more, especially in the harsh, hard-to-find-snacks seasons of winter and spring. Storing the seed in my garage makes sense. To keep out any other creatures (think mice and squirrels) who might enjoy moving into a warm home with a buffet, store the seed in heavy plastic or metal bins with secure lids.

Store it: If you use your garage as storage for off-season clothes, old papers, and holiday decorations, now is the time to create an elevated storage system for these valued items. Leaks in your garage can saturate treasured keepsakes turning them into trash. Not all leaks will be evident with the initial rains; some will appear after months of rain. So this fall, check your garage for evidence of leaks and put in shelves or roof-suspended storage in your garage. You’ll be happy you did.

Muddy Buddy: During the long wet rainy season in the Pacific Northwest, many homeowners use the garage as an impromptu mud room. Go one step further this summer and convert an area of your garage into a muddy buddy. All you need are a few convenience items – a boot tray to hold muddy, wet shoes; a floor mat or scraper for cleaning shoes; a rack for coats and hats; and a stool or bench for changing shoes. Creating this little muddy haven now can mean cleaner floors and fewer last minute “Where are my shoes?” moments when you’re heading out the door this fall.

Previous posts in this series:

Part 1: Tips for Cleaning Up Your Yard and Garden

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