Americans love their garages. Not only are they getting bigger, they're becoming multi-functional, much more than just a place to park the car. That's why it's important to include the garage in your list of summer projects, whether it's just cleaning it up, making better use of storage space, or stealing a portion of it for some other use entirely.
And if you're getting ready to sell, a nice orderly garage will be a plus to potential buyers.
"One thing you don't want to do is fill up the garage," says Robert Irwin in his book Improve the Value of Your Home Up to $100,000: 50 Surefire Techniques and Strategies (John Wiley & Sons, 2003). "Buyers like to see plenty of open space in the garage. It tells them your house has adequate storage area as well as room to park car(s)."
If you're staying put, then stealing a nook or corner of the garage for a workshop, extra storage, workout space or recreation area for your older children can put some of that extra space to use. Or, at a minimum, getting rid of the clutter and clearing the cobwebs and cleaning the floors will look great to buyers - or will be one less thing on your summer list if you're not selling.
By following a few tips and keeping these considerations in mind, you'll be well on your way to a more functional garage:
If it's additional space you're after, home improvement retail giant Lowes offers how-to tips on building a loft 80 inches off the floor, allowing plenty of head room to walk and park a minivan. Lowe's says two people can get the loft done in a weekend.
Once your project is complete or your garage is cleaned and organized, it will be time to clean those oily floors. Start by wiping any excess oil with a towel or cloth. Pour some paint thinner on the oil spot, making sure it is fully saturated, then pour an absorbent material over the saturated spot. You can use cat litter, sand, baking soda, corn meal, sawdust, or any other absorbent material you may have on hand.
Leave the mixture to set overnight then sweep it up the next day. If possible, try to use a heavy push broom with sturdy bristles. Finish it up by pouring a little laundry bleach, dry dishwasher detergent or a concrete cleaning solution on the oil-marked concrete. Let it sit for about an hour. Rinse the area off with hot water and scrub the area with a broom.