Organizers help garages become auto-friendly again

Has your garage become a storage room, leaving your poor car homeless? Well, have no fear, garage organizing is here.

Garage-organizing companies are eager to help and there are many such companies to choose from. Some specialize in general storage for normal household items such as sports equipment, simple tool organizing and cubbies for whatnots.

Some garage-storage-equipment firms specialize in other interests such as those that cater to the weekend auto mechanic with auto-repair paraphernalia. You should be able to find exactly what you need for that garage because the garage-gear business has blossomed into a billion-dollar industry with something for everyone.

So why are there so many garage-organizing companies these days? Our garages have grown in the last 16 years. From 1992 to 2002, the standard width of a two-car garage went from 18 to 20 feet and the height grew from 7 to 8 feet. The extra 2-foot width helps with some of the storage problems and the extra foot in height accommodates either taller vehicles or, again, more storage space. Also, many homes now have three-car garages instead of the previous norm of two, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

So, it seems our garages have gotten bigger and our capacity to fill them with “stuff” has also grown. What’s a homeowner to do?

Well, you can start organizing by going online to a few different garage-storage companies. Some companies will give you ideas for do-it-yourself projects. Most will want to set up an appointment to come to your home and discuss your specific needs. The appointments and consultations are usually free so you have the option of trying several companies before making a decision.

The storage companies offer a variety of options, from closet-type storage to high-tech-looking wall units. Most offer not only wall storage but also ceiling storage, while others can give you special soil- and stain-resistant floor coverings that can include games such as hopscotch, shuffleboard and other entertainment.

What does all this cost? As usual, it depends … on how much you want to store. An average price for custom storage, i.e., storage that will be made to your specific needs, will range in price from $4,000 up to $8,000. You can do just one wall of storage for less, and of course you can do your entire garage with a place for everything for more.

If interested, here are some Web sites to get you started:

* www.californiaclosets .com;

* www.closetmaid.com;

* www.garagetek.com;

* www.premiergarage.com;

* www.garagecabinets online.com;

* www.TheGarageDealer .com.

Does this sound like a good summer project? Just think: You might be able to help the homeless-car syndrome with just a few thousand dollars.

Rosemary Sadez Friedmann, an interior designer in Naples, Fla., is author of “Mystery of Color.”

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