Summer 2020 is officially a thing of the past. Say goodbye to hot days by the pool and hello to brisk air, bonfires, and everything pumpkin spice. Fall is a pleasant season: Not too hot, not too cold. A precursor to what we know is inevitable… a cold, snowy Chicago winter.
This moderate time of year is the perfect time to start getting your garage in order so that once those cold, snowy days arrive, you’ll be ready! Being proactive about organizing your garage space within the next few weeks is a good idea so you don’t have to deal with your fall garage storage concerns later when temperatures in your garage are less comfortable. Functionality and optimization of garage space during these extreme winter months are key for us in the Midwest.
Here’s our list of easy ways to get your garage ready for Winter 2020 (and whatever craziness it may bring!):
1. Rotate and Clean Seasonal Items
Start by pushing summer items such as the lawn mower, garden tools, and hoses to the back of the garage, and pulling winter items such as shovels and salt to a spot that’s easier to get to. Move sports gear such as bats, basketballs, and roller skates to the back and sleds, ice skates, and snowboards forward.
According to Garage Living, you should be sure to clean all of your summer tools off before stowing them away for the winter:
- Lawn and garden tools like wheelbarrows, rakes, shovels, tillers, and edgers can be hosed down, which should remove most dirt. To remove stubborn caked-on soil and dirt, hose the tools down and use a light wire brush for cleaning (this can also be used to remove light rust). Make sure to dry all washed items before storing them.
- Your pruners, loppers, shears, saws, and hedge trimmer blade will likely have sap on them. Use a cutting tool cleaner (or turpentine, which is also effective) to remove any sticky residue. Also, inspect the sharpness of the tools’ blades.
- Powered yard equipment needs even more care before storing them for the winter to maximize their life. Clean any grass clippings and residue from lawn mowers and grass trimmers. For gas-powered equipment, drain all gas, oil, and other additives from the tools and dispose of the fluids properly. Consider an end-of-season tune-up for your lawn mower so you’ll have one less thing to deal with when spring comes.
2. Clean your garage floor
During the Spring and Summer months, your garage gets a lot of foot traffic. People track dirt in from their yards on shoes, boots, and tools. Because of this, it’s recommended that you clean your garage floor before the weather gets too chilly. Once you’ve pulled all of your items out of the garage, sweep or use a shop vacuum to remove all of the extra dirt and debris. If your garage has seen a lot of action this summer, take a hose and spray down areas that need a little extra TLC. Be careful not to spray any electrical outlets when you’re doing this! Then take a squeegee and remove the extra water from the garage. Presto! You have a floor that is prepped and ready to face the elements.
3. Make sure certain items aren’t kept in the garage
Yes, garages are used to store items. However, if you live in our harsh Illinois climate and your garage isn’t temperature controlled, there are a few items that you should consider moving from the garage to a basement, out of the reach of children and pets:
- Paint, weed killer, wood stain, cleaning products, and household chemicals – frigid temperatures affect their consistency, color, and effectiveness
- Grass seed and birdseed – Rodents love feasting on different types of seed throughout the winter
- Electronics you plan to donate – condensation can damage solder joints and cause circuit boards to rust or crack
- Clothing or linens – make sure if these items will remain in the garage, they are in vacuum-sealed storage bags
- Propane tanks – store them in a shed or covered outdoor area
- Paper – attractive to rodents and other pests
4. Make better use of your garage’s storage space
Having a clear garage floor will be much appreciated when the cold weather arrives. You won’t need to brush snow off vehicles and they will also warm up quicker when started. A few ways to reclaim your valuable garage floor space during the winter are:
- Garage walls can be used for hanging a variety of items during the winter months. Adding a slatwall storage system or hooks to your garage walls will give you space to hang ladders, shovels, rakes, helmets, brooms, and bikes. Hanging these items on the wall will reduce clutter on the ground and make more room for your car
- Along with a garage’s walls, its vertical space is rarely used to the best of its abilities for storage. Consider adding specialty overhead racking to store your bulkier and seasonal items. Or install a bike lift to get larger ride-ons out of your way until the weather gets warmer
- Shelves and cabinets can help you maximize storage space and can be extremely valuable when it comes to finding extra fall garage storage space for all your belongings
5. Inspect Your Garage Door
- Look and listen – Observe your door every time that you use it. Does it jerk a little when it opens and closes? Is it loud?
- Wipe down the weather stripping and check for cracks – If you notice that it’s cracked, have it fixed right away to prevent cold air from entering and weather stripping from freezing to the pavement.
- Clean dirt from the door, track, and rollers – Dirt will trap in moisture and this moisture will freeze, which could leave you with frozen areas in your garage door opener.
- Lubricate all moving parts – During the winter months, they can get cold and stick. After lubrication, make sure to wipe off any excess oil.
If you have any questions about winterproofing your garage, we’re always here to help. Give us a call, send us an email or message us anytime!
6. Get Ready for Ice and Snow
Don’t wait until the snowy weather arrives to get all of your winter tools ready to go! Check all of those winter supplies to make sure that they still work and are conveniently located. You don’t want to get stuck with a broken shovel the day of that first big snowstorm. Being proactive by doing the following steps will ensure you’ll be ready for the cold, icy, snowy Illinois winter.
- Test to make sure your snowblower works. Consider taking it in for a tune-up if it’s been a while since a pro has performed maintenance on it. You’ll also need to move it to a spot in the garage where you can easily get it out without moving the car
- Make sure you’re stocked up on salt for the sidewalk and driveway
- Ensure that your snow shovels are ready to go
- Move ice scrapers to the car
- Put all supplies in a place that’s easy to access (typically towards the front of your garage)
Taking a proactive approach to winterizing your garage will serve you well throughout the coming colder months. With Fall just beginning, you still have a few weeks before the temperatures begin to plummet. Start organizing your winter garage by taking baby steps… Work on one step each weekend. Getting the garage organized will ultimately save you time and money. You’ll also notice the benefits when the warm weather returns in 2021!