Store Awkward Items as Easy as Gene Kelley's Dancing

Elegant Ways to Store Awkward Garage Items

Store Awkward Items as Easy as Gene Kelley's Dancing

C.H.I. mahogany garage doorsDo you also find it annoying when you have to move one thing to get at another? The ladder is in the way of the hardware drawers, or the kayak is on the floor and you keep tripping on it? I’d really like it if I didn’t have to move the bicycles every time I want to get to the garage vac.  But I realized that I don’t necessarily know the best ways to store over-sized garage items such as canoes, skis and lumber. How do I get these to a place where they’re not on the floor and not in my way?

So how do you store awkward garage items such as kayaks, skis, and fishing poles? What’s the best way to store long, heavy and awkward items like bikes, snowboards and shovels? Use a ceiling rack to store canoes and kayaks, but make sure they’re hull-side down. Put long-handled items like shovels and rakes in spring-loaded racks. Get racks specifically designed for snowboards and lumber, but don’t store snowboards on ski-racks, they’ll just get in the way. 

How to Store Bikes with Fat Tires, Wide Handlebars, Fenders, or Disc Brakes

Awkward bicycle problems

Well. That’s awkward.

If you’re storing bicycles then there’s a more you’ll find a bunch of great bicycle storage ideas here.

Today, I want to explore some unique bike storage product designs that I think deserve the spotlight for their ease of use when dealing with a bulky bicycle.

Besides bike frame size, when storing a bike you need to worry about tire diameter, tire width, handlebar size, bike fenders and disc brakes.

Not every bike storage solution can handle these bulky bike parts.  If your bike as fat tires, fenders, big handlebars, and disc brakes, you might need to modify a solution to get all of that awkwardness under control. Short of that, I have the solution for storing awkward bicycle parts.

Most Bike Storage Devices Don’t Handle Fat Tires: Here’s One that Does

Fat tire bike

Fat tires

If there’s one thing that most bike storage products lack is the ability to let you store fat tires in a rack, mount or hook. When a bike holder is wide enough for a fat tire, it’s too wide to hold the bike steady, too. That’s why it makes sense to store fat tire bikes by the frame.

Of course, you want rubber-coated arms to protect the frame paint and finish. And it’d be nice if the solution allowed for wide handlebars, too. I found a bike wall-mount that handles the fat tire problem, with a solution for wide handlebars built right in.

The mount holds the bike by the frame, and its main column adjusts away from the wall to account for wide handlebars.

Check out this fat tire bike storage find on our description page.

Bicycle Garage Wall Storage that Easily Handles Fenders and Disc Brakes

Bike tire width, disc brakes and fenders affect storage choices

Fenders

Bike fenderBikes are usually the biggest garage floor space hogs of anything we put in our garages. One reason is that they are really long.

Adult bikes are almost 6 ft. long, so even when they’re stored at an angle, they take up 5 to 6 ft. of garage floor space.

But bikes are only about 3.5 ft. high. When they’re on the wall, the 3.5 ft. part sticks out. On the floor, they take up that whole 6 ft. space. On the wall, they stick out 3.5 ft. That’s a lot of space-saving in a garage.

But if your bikes have disc brakes or your tires have fenders, you might be having a hard time finding a good garage wall bike storage solution.

The problem is, a lot of bike wall mounts are designed for bikes without disc brakes or fenders.

You can’t just widen those bike storage mount designs, because then they’d be too wide for regular tires. Regular bikes would be wobbly.

What you need is a bike wall mount with a simple design that accepts the bike tire and then hooks around the rim to hold the bike off the floor. This would give plenty of room to the fender and disc brakes, without letting go of the tire rim itself.

We found a sturdy bike mount that does exactly this, and you can read about this bike mount on our product description page here.

Have You Ever Had a Ceiling-Hooked Bike Fall on You?

Open ended ceiling bike hook

Ceiling hook bike storage

I have.

When I was growing up, we put bike hooks in the ceiling joists. To store a bike, you’d lift it over your head and aim toward the hook.

One time I aimed my bike for the hook. I did hook the rim, but for reasons I’ve never completely understood, it didn’t stay on the hook.

See, the problem with a hook is, it’s open-ended.

Instead of using an open-mouthed hook, wouldn’t it be better to clamp the rim with a closed loop? So that the bike couldn’t accidentally come off?

A clamp is much more secure than a hook, and one particular product has mastered the bike storage ceiling clamp design.

See our favorite bike clamp on our product description  page.

How to Solve the Mess When Handlebars Collide

Store Your Board adjustable 5 bike rack

Adjustable space for each bike

You can debate all day long whether long handle bars give you more agility. I just like that when my arms get tired, bigger handlebars give me more places to rest.

But the problem with wide bars is, when parked with other bikes, they awkwardly lock into the bike next to them.

We need a bike storage solution that gives the wide handlebars some room, and gives the narrower bars less room. That’s a more efficient use of space, right?

I’m not the only one thinking this way. Here’s a wall storage solution for bicycles that lets you adjust how much space each bicycle gets. You use pins to move the bike hooks around. It’s simple, elegant and strong, and removes the annoyance of bigger bikes knocking into smaller ones.

Read about this adjustable bike rack on our product page.

5. Avoiding the Bike Tilt When Using a Floor Stand

Some tilting bikes

Eliminate tilting

One of my de-cluttering goals is not to feel like things are about to fall down.

Did you grow up with a ton of newspapers and magazines in your home? Magazines are slick. When piled up, they tend not to stay in a pile. Magazine piles are always just on the edge of tilting over and collapsing.

As much as not wanting to trip over a cord, de-cluttering is about removing this feeling of un-ease. Things are not de-cluttered if they’re about to fall over.

This is why so many front-tire bike racks don’t make the cut with me. The problem is, they have two points of contact with the bike rim. Like a three-legged stool with a leg missing, this leaves room for tilting behavior. Your bikes always look like they’re just about to teeter over.

Even if they’re not going to fall, it’s that feeling that they’re about to that removes the zen and adds the anxiety.

A bike storage solution should be strong and upright, so that you think, “Everything’s OK here!” when you go by.

I want a floor bike stand that really grips the tire, preferably at three points rather than two. The two-points of contact are  a recipe for failure.  I want a bike rack that handles fenders, disc brakes and fat tires, but I know I’m asking a lot.

I did find one with three points of contact, that holds the bike steadfast and upright.

While it is limited to bike tires up to 2.4 in. wide, it does handle disc brakes and fenders. Check out our favorite floor bike rack here.

Can a Snowboard Rack Be Beautiful, Too?

Wood Snowboards

snowboard as art

snowboard-shark

nice shark

How much time did you put into choosing your snowboards?

Did you base your decision just on size and shape?

Or did you think about how the art of the board affected you?

Did you look at the colors? The words? The graphics?

Garage storage is usually just a functional affair. Form rarely gets a say, and “beauty” is almost never mentioned.

As long as it works, it hangs.

But snowboards aren’t just functional. They’re works of art.

If you appreciate that, then you just might enjoy this snowboard rack I found that costs the same as the metal ones, but is so much nicer.

Wyle E. Coyote Awkward Move

Wyle E. Coyote Snowboard Storage

Owl and wolf snowboards

Owl and Wolf

Let’s talk about how it works, first, because without functionality, the snowboard rack is useless.

This rack adjusts from four to 6 ft. wide, so it can handle everyone’s board.

The arms are 9 inches long, giving your board plenty of resting area.

The arms have hooks for placing boots or bags, in case you want to make the rack do double duty.

It’s 46 inches tall, and made from a beautifully sanded light birch that looks a living room bookshelf.

This snowboard rack carries six boards and can hold 120 lb.

Show your snowboard some appreciation. Park it on a rack as beautiful as your board.

Check out this wonderful snowboard storage find here.

Can One Ski Rack Store Four Different Size Skis?

Awkward ski pose

Awkward skiing

How many types of skis do you have?

Do you have freestyle and mountain skis?

Do you store your racing skis with the bindings still on?

Are you storing both the kids’ skis as well as the adults’ skis?

Why aren’t more ski racks adjustable, to handle these different payloads?

To get a zen of storage, everything needs space around it. If you cluster the bigger skis in with the smaller ones, the whole rack is an anxiety attack waiting to pounce. Wide skis and bindings aren’t just a bigger thing to store. They’re in the way of the other skis you’re storing.

I’d rather have a ski rack with the right amount of room for each pair of skis. Wide skis get more room. Narrow skis get less.

I found a ski rack that allows you to adjust the hooks in one-inch increments all the way across the 46 inch wall-mounted rack. Changing the slot size is as simple as pulling and replacing a pin. The ski rack holds 40 lb. per hook, and you can read more about the best adjustable ski rack here.

Banish Awkward Workshop Lumber

Lumber storage is a problem

How do you store your workshop lumber?

Lumber storage on bikes

Because this is really awkward.

Now that we’re not tripping over skis and snowboards, what can we do about that workshop lumber?

Lumber is yet another awkward garage storage item.

Finding the right home for your woodworking lumber project is just as important as finding the right way to store your sports equipment.

This is your hobby, and it should be fun.

But you’re tripping over your supplies, and we need to fix that now.

Lumber presents a new set of challenges over skis and snowboards.

Yes, it’s long, but it’s also multiple sizes, thicknesses and weights.

And a decent pile of lumber gets heavy fast.

You know that if all of the lumber is one pile, it’s impossible to easily get to the bottom pieces.

So the first step is to section the lumber into different piles, making each one light enough to be sifted.

You also know that you don’t want the lumber on the ground, where it can pick up moisture (and be in the way).

To get all of these goals accomplished, we need a rack that screws into the wall studs for support.

I looked for a wood rack that would adjust to multiple board sizes.

It had to be able to handle the massive weight of the entire lumber pile.

And it had to easily latch to the wall for support.

I found a timber shelf that allows you to store different size boards.

It mounts to the wall (in the studs, please).

The arms adjust from 4 ft. to 6 ft. wide, and it’s OK  to let pieces hang over the edges.

Each rack holds 100 lb. and the hole unit carries 600 lb. Have a look at this adjustable wood holder here on the product page.

Should Canoes and Kayaks Get Stored on the Ceiling?

Awkward kayak waterfall

Kayaking can be awkward. Storing your kayaks can be elegant.

I’ve reviewed and soundly rejected many garage ceiling storage products, with two very good reasons.

First, ceiling joists are not as strong as wall studs. Ceilings just don’t hold as much weight as walls do.

And second, even well-engineered ceiling storage is more dangerous than wall storage, just because of the potential danger of it falling.

I’m OK with putting a tractor on a steel-frame ramp, but I’m not going to advocate hanging a tractor from a winch over your cars.

The ceiling is the right place to store items that are lightweight enough to not be a disaster should the storage system fail.

I put ladders, kayaks and canoes in this category. Store these on the ceiling to get them out of the way.

I found a ceiling rack which is a vertical pole with two  parallel cross bars. You can store 150 lb. across the two storage areas. The foam padding on the bars protects your gear from damage.

You use heavy-duty lag bolts to install the center bar. It then adjusts from 10 to 18 inches to store different size cargo. Personally, I would also use a few straps on my ceiling rack storage.

Kayaks and canoes can rest easily on the cross bars. Store them upside down, and distribute the weight evenly. Uneven weight distribution is the best way to warp your kayak.

If you’re storing the kayak or canoe over the winter, blow it out first. If it’s not really dry, the ice buildup could damage the hull.

This ceiling rack also works well for storing ladders. Mount it evenly across the bars. And I hope it’s not too obvious, but keep a step ladder at ground level, to get your bigger ladder down.

Read about our favorite kayak, canoe and ladder store ceiling rack here.

When Do Ladder, Canoe and Kayak Pulleys Make Sense?

Pay attention to your ladder

Pay attention to your ladder

I only like ceiling storage for awkward items when the entire setup is safe.

Is the object too heavy for the joists?

Is the ceiling storage hardware strong enough for the cargo?

Ladders, kayaks, canoes and bikes are light enough to store near the ceiling. But strangely enough, almost all of the ladder, bike and kayak pulleys I reviewed were not up to the job.

For instance, I found only a couple of “bike pulleys” that were up to the job. Many people complained that the rope frayed or the system failed.

Same with motorized kayak storage.

I don’t know about you, but I’d like my ceiling storage solutions to be over-engineered. Of course I want a good price, but not at the cost of increasing the possibility that heavy stuff will fall onto cars and people.

I did find one, though, that I am happy to recommend. And I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this pulley is from the same company that makes other products I’ve recommended here for garage storage. And no, I have no relationship with them, I just did the research.

Do you want to see the manual pulley I like for pulling bikes, ladders and kayaks to the garage ceiling? Check out our favorite ceiling pulley on our product page here.

Is There Really Such a Thing as “The Best Ladder Hook”?

Vertical ladder storage using the Art of Storage UH2000 Hook

Yes. This is the best ladder hook.

In my experience, people usually hang ladders on the garage wall. Ceiling storage is definitely a viable option, but wall storage has a much easier setup. Put the hook in the wall, hang the ladder, end of subject…. or maybe it’s not.

First of all, ladders can get heavy. I’ve seen plenty of hooks that lose their rubber coating or bend under the stress of too much weight.

And second, a ladder hook needs both breadth and depth to hold the ladder without wobbling.

I found my favorite ladder hook and wrote about it a while back. It has since become our most successful Reboot My Garage recommended product. See if you agree? Read about our favorite ladder hook here.

There’s a Better Way to Store Brooms

Awkward Harry Potter Broom

Turns out we have an awkward broom problem.

If you started with this article, you might not be aware that we started Reboot My Garage as a way to research how to clean up our own disaster of a garage. This whole site is a research project into fixing our own garage.

So I was looking at our annoying rake storage and thought, I need to find a better way to store these long-handled bulky items that always seem to be crashing into each other.

Our rakes are stored on hooks that are so high up we had to use a ladder to install them. Rakes are pretty thin, so we found that we could put two or three rakes on each hook.

We put the hook with shovels one stud over, and hung them by their handles from the same height as the rakes.

Over the years, we replaced worn out rakes with wider ones. We didn’t buy wider rakes on purpose. They were just wider.

Last spring when we put the shovels away, they overlapped with the wider rakes.

Each shovel handle was actually pushing the rakes closer to the wall.

This was happening 8 ft over our heads, we weren’t actually aware of the new situation.

Until the fall, when we pulled the rakes, and the shovels came down too.

The least zen thing in a garage is pulling your rakes and having your shovels fall down around you.

I shouldn’t have been surprised that there’s a better way to store handled items like rakes, shovels and brooms. We’re not the first people to have shovels crash on our heads.

Storing rakes, shovels and brooms doesn’t have to be an annoying mess of entanglement and falling tools. We found a better broom, shovel and rake storage  that you can view on our product page.

The Awkward Fishing Pole, and How to Tame It

Awkward fishing pole bird attack

An awkward fishing pole situation.

Singing fish

Not related. I just love this picture.

Fishing poles are about the most awkward storage problem I know.

The reels make them bulky, they’re very long, and they don’t balance on their own two feet.

One of the fishing rod storage solutions I found will work fine for your lightweight rods, but don’t use it for anything heavier. It’s a rack that attaches to your garage door interior. It allows you to take advantage of the unused space on your garage door as if it were a storage wall.

The warning is, garage doors are balanced, and if you change the weight the springs are pulling, the door spring’s will become mis-calibrated.  So that’s a nice solution if you have light rods.

If you have bigger rods, or just want a portable solution you can stow on your truck or even in the boat, then you can use a lightweight fishing rod rack. I found a lightweight but balanced rack that holds 12-15 rods with reels, or 24 rods without reels.

If you’d rather store the poles out of the way of the garage door and floor/wall, how about putting them on the ceiling? Fishing reels are probably the safest garage ceiling storage items we’ve discussed. They’re lightweight enough not to tax any ceiling joist.

The nicest ceiling rack I found for fishing pole ceiling storage is ironically designed to look like a set of fishing hooks. So you can catch your own reels.

Check out all three fishing pole storage solutions here.

How to Get the Bike, Ladder and Kayak off the Floor at the Flip of a Switch

The best garage electric winchAfter viewing over a dozen manual and electric bike and kayak pulleys, I realized that very few dedicated storage solutions are very well engineered. (The exception is Store Your Board. That’s a good brand.)

But I also discovered that these bike-storage, ladder-storage and kayak-storage solutions are really generic solutions with someone’s label pasted on. An electric bike hoist is a winch with a strap to hold the bike. I can attach a strap to a winch. I don’t need a specific tool dedicated to bike storage.

In fact, I found a very highly-rated winch that comes with two mongo straps that will easily carry any bicycle or ladder. And the price on this winch is so much better than the dedicated bike-winch or ladder-winch solutions. Check out my favorite make-your-own bike-ladder-kayak electric hoist here.

One Simple Method to Store All Your Awkward Stuff

RaceDeck Garage Floor Tile

Either the garage is where you keep your stuff, or the garage is where you keep your cars.

Did your brooms and skis cost more than your car?

If not, why are they in your garage, while your car gets pelted by sun and snow in the driveway?

I researched sheds for their strength, longevity, and ability to store stuff.

For instance, we have two cars and an antique pickup truck.

RaceDeck Garage Floor TileIn the summer, the truck lives in the garage.

In the winter, it lives in the backyard pop up garage shed.

The riding lawn tractor used to be in the garage, getting in the way of my getting into the house.

Now it gets parked in the shed, out of my way, and out of my car’s way.

There are two shed types large enough to handle the big stuff we need out of our garages.

There’s the resin blow-moulded sheds that look like little houses.

And there is the pop up garage tent sheds that are much lighter but maybe not as attractive.

Either of these sheds is perfect for storing everything from kayaks, long-handled brooms, lawn mowers, tractors and ATV’s.

And antique pickup trucks.

If you’re ready to prioritize your car over your brooms, get a shed to give everything the space it needs.

Check out our favorite shed choices here.


Best Garage Products

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