On a daily basis, your garage does more than just protect your cars. It provides you with shelter as you go from your car to your house in the mornings, and if you’re like most people, you’re probably using your garage for storage: bikes, skateboards, tools, even old clothes and furniture.
Your garage is part of your overall square footage of your home, but if you’re using your garage just as a storage space for your cars, then you could be missing out on a lot of space you didn’t even know you had — space that could be better utilized to make your life easier.
Tackling a garage project can be a big undertaking, but with a little time and work, your garage could become the new hot spot of the neighborhood. Here’s how to make your garage an extension of your home from renovating an old, detached garage to remodeling a garage into a bedroom — and how green pest control can help.
Sort and donate any storage
If you’re renovating an old, detached garage, the first thing you’ll need to do is clear out what’s in storage first. Chances are you’ve been using that garage to store everything from baby clothes and furniture to old appliances. All of that stuff has been sitting in your garage, and now that you’re renovating your old, detached garage, it’s time to get all of that stuff cleared out.
Start going through what you have in storage and sort it by what can be thrown out, recycled or donated. Most clothes in good condition can be donated, but don’t just drop off clothes at Goodwill or the Salvation Army. Instead, try donating to local charities such as Baker Ripley, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Archdiocese or even the Houston Community Toolbank.
Get creative with your donations. If you have power tools or equipment you’d like to give up, consider giving them to the Houston Community Toolbank. Old towels and blankets that most humans would rather not use can be great for animal shelters such as the Wildlife Center of Texas.
Anything that can be recycled should be, and that goes beyond paper and plastic. Old electronics such as desktop computers or even laptops can be recycled. Paints and primers should also be recycled responsibly. Load up your car and take everything to your local recycling center.
You can also try selling or giving your belongings away for free on apps like letgo, Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. If you’re done having children and don’t have friends or family members who might need a crib or changing station, try selling them first if you don’t want to donate.
Once you’ve finished, sit back and marvel at how much space you really have. As you’re renovating your old, detached garage, you’ll find it has new life.
Install a heater
Who wants to hang out in a garage that’s freezing? Whether you’re simply renovating your old, detached garage or remodeling a garage into a bedroom, adding a heater can make the space much more livable all year round.
Before you install a heater, make sure your garage is properly insulated. If it’s not, all of that warm air will not stay inside your garage, and you’ll be heating it for nothing. When renovating an old, detached garage, check the insulation regardless and make sure it’s in good condition. Replace anything that has mold growing on it or is otherwise damaged.
Once the insulation is ready, it’s time to install a heater. You’ll need one to fit the size of your garage, so do you research to see what fits your lifestyle. If you like to work on your car or move around your garage, then you’ll want something large and industrial — something to heat the whole space. In Houston where the temperature stays relatively warm all year, you might be able to get by with a small electric heater.
Add cabinets and storage spaces
Now that your garage is warm and holding only the things you need to hold on to, such as holiday decorations or winter clothes, it’s time to organize that and any other items your garage might be housing. Garages have so many storage options that you may be at a loss of what to do with all this extra space you’ve found.
Start by organizing what your garage usually holds: tools, equipment, bikes, helmets and even shoes if you have an attached garage. Install cabinets with shelves above and below workbenches so that everything can have a place.
Choose one wall of your garage and hang a large pegboard. Buy plenty of hooks because pegboards can hold all sorts of things. When you’re renovating an old, detached garage and want to get bikes, knee pads, hoses and everything else off the floor, a few hooks and a pegboard will do the trick.
If you aren’t remodeling the garage into a bedroom, then you can use the garage attic for extra storage space. This is a great way to get seasonal clothes and decor out of the way.
Organize the trash and recycling bins
If you’re throwing every glass bottle and tin can into the same recycling bin as your newspaper and recycled paper, then you might not be recycling anything at all. All city recycling programs are different, and if you don’t sort your recycling, some cities may just toss it all in the dump anyway.
Most cities like Houston will accept:
- Newspapers and office papers
- Metal or aluminum cans
Remember, double check the label or container to make sure it’s recyclable. If it’s not, throw it out.
According to Houston’s city website, the Curbside Recycling Program will pick up “newspaper, magazines, color ad inserts, office paper, mail, telephone books, tin, aluminum, empty aerosol cans, plastic bottles and jugs (marked with a #1 – #5, and #7, recycling symbol).” They can all be placed in the same bin, but cardboard must be broken down to 3×3-foot squares.
If you have an attached garage, make it as easy as possible on you and your family to recycle. Create a recycling station (a bin and maybe a table or workbench to set it on) and put it right next to the door. When you need to recycle a can of soda, all you need to do is open the door and toss.
Clean and refinish the garage floor
If you’re renovating an old, detached garage, then the floor almost certainly needs a little TLC. With a little hard work and a good coat of paint, your garage floor could look good and new.
Here’s how to clean your garage floor:
- Clear everything that’s not anchored down from the garage and give the floor a good sweep.
- Protect electrical outlets from water damage by taping drop clothes over them.
- Use a degreaser, a deck broom and hose with a high-pressure nozzle on it to wash and clean the floor. Mix the degreaser into a bucket of warm water.
- Divide your garage floor into four sections and get to work. For extremely dirty floors, let the solution sit for a few minutes before you wash it away, but don’t let it dry.
- Wash away your degreaser.
This will get your garage floor in good condition, but there are other ways to tackle grease and rust stains in your garage floor has them.
Painted garage floors look fresher and more polished. They’re also easier to clean, and they provide added protection against mold, mildew and oil stains. If you’re renovating an old, detached garage, a paint job can revitalize the whole space.
Oil stains and dirt are inevitable with garages, but you don’t necessarily need to vacuum or refinish your garage floor every week or month. Keep your garage door closed when no one’s working inside it or around the yard. This will keep dirt from blowing in. Add floor mats near the doors to catch dirt.
Use green pest control to protect it
Now that you’re renovating your old, detached garage, you’re going to want to spend more time in it — but so will pests.
With green pest control however, you can keep pests out of your garage and protect it from infestations. Here are just a few green pest control solutions for your garage.
- Caulk your gaps: Your garage might have once had phone or cable wires running through it — back when you had a home phone. Now those holes are gateways for pests to come in, so make sure you fill them and use caulk for good measure.
- Inspect for any new holes or gaps: Repair any holes you may find in your walls or drywall.
- Use door seals and weather stripping: Not only will door seals and weather stripping keep the temperature in your garage where you want it (especially important if you have a heater), but the added protection is a green pest control solution for keeping small insects out.
- Pack away clothes, rags, newspapers and furniture into containers with lids: Remember how we said to install cabinets and use containers to store seasonal clothes and decor? Many pests, such as mice, love to build nests in old clothes, so if you are going to store anything like that in your garage, make sure it has a tight lip that snaps shut. All papers and newspapers should be recycled every week.
- Remove any food attractions: Do no keep your trash inside the garage. Recycling is one thing, but trash should be taken outside every time.
If you do find signs of an infestation — feces, chew marks on wood or evidence of a nest — call a green pest control expert immediately. A green pest control expert will help you determine what’s living in your garage and how to get rid of it — without using harmful chemicals. With green pest control, you can keep pests out of your garage for good.
Turn the garage attic into a living space
If you’re really renovating your old, detached garage or even an attached one, then you might consider remodeling the garage into a bedroom.
This added living space can be a welcome addition to a changing family. Some families have in-laws that can mostly take care of themselves, but should not live alone. By remodeling the garage into a bedroom, the garage can now act as a separate apartment for the in-law. Homeowners can add a bathroom and insulation to keep the in-law safe and comfortable. This is a great solution for older parents that want to retain some independence and working adult children who are juggling careers, children and spouses.
If you’re neighborhood permits it, your remodeling the garage into a bedroom can serve as potential rental income, depending on how big your renovation goes. If you have the space and are renovating an old, detached garage anyway, then you might consider turning it into a small apartment that can be rented out. This could benefit a student at Rice University or even a young professional who has just moved to Houston.
Both of these options can be great, but make sure you check with city and local zoning laws before you begin any major renovations like this. Now all neighborhoods in Houston are zoned for rental properties, and your neighborhood may have laws against turn your garage into an in-law suite or a rental property. Before you begin remodeling your garage into a bedroom, check with a professional contractor first.
Your garage can become an extension of your home. If you’ve just been using it to park cars and store some boxes, then you’re not letting it live up to its full potential. By clearing the space and adding your own little touches, you can make your garage both livable and functional.
Share with us: How do you plan to renovate your old, detached garage? Tell us in the comments, and let us know how green pest control can help you make your garage livable for you — not the pests.