Things You Can Do to Make Your Garage Better in 2020

Here’s some motivation to get stuff off your garage floor; light your garage; clean your garage; control your garage’s temperature; make your garage more secure; make your garage more beautiful; make your garage more functional; make your garage healthier and safer; make your garage multi-purpose; and make your garage smarter!

This article was updated February 23, 2020 with new links and product models.

Get Stuff Off Your Garage Floor

The single best thing you can do to start rebooting your garage is to get things up off of the floor. Storing things on the floor is a huge waste of space and it makes it hard to keep your belongings clean when they are resting on the dusty cement.

Rhino Garage Shelf 4 ft. x 33.5 in. and 4 ft. x 20 in.
Rhino Garage Shelf 4 ft. x 33.5 in. and 4 ft. x 20 in.

Shiny Garage FloorIf a new year brings thoughts of better habits and a fresh start, there is no better place to look for changes than the oft-neglected garage. If your garage is a dusty disorganized mess — or even if it just needs some sprucing up — read on.

Of all the garage storage methods, garage shelves and cabinets will hold the heaviest amount of stuff. Rhino Shelf is one of the best wall shelves we have come across. Their shelves are ultra-strong and easy to install. Just grab some 2×4’s from your local lumber yard and you’re good to go. Rhino Shelf is really deep and really strong so feel free to load it to the max! Each 4 ft. section holds up to 650 lbs. so this is your go-to shelf for heavy things. Check out Rhino Shelf on Amazon.

Fleximounts Ceiling Storage Rack
Fleximounts Ceiling Rack

Fleximounts is a really great system in general and my favorite ceiling mounted storage system. Ceiling storage is perfect for all those not-too-heavy items that you only need occasionally, like holiday decorations or other seasonal items. Just be sure to spread the load across your joists and don’t overload them, it is a ceiling after all and gravity is not your friend here. So long as you do feel confident installing ceiling storage in your garage, Fleximounts is hands-down the best ceiling rack choice. Check out the latest prices here.

Ceiling racks aren’t the only game in town. They are plenty of ways to hang and store things from the ceiling, including winches and pulleys. But don’t buy just any winch or pulley, as only a few offer real quality construction. See the slideshow for our recommendations.

Suncast Wall Cabinet
Suncast Wall Cabinet

Cabinets are one of best ways to get garage stuff off the floor. They hold the items on the wall while protecting them from dust.  Wall mounted cabinets are great for smaller stuff that would otherwise roll off shelves or get lost in the shuffle and items that need securing such as weed killers, insecticides and other chemicals that should be kept from children and pets. Suncast makes the best garage cabinets. They’re incredibly strong, have adjustable shelves, and are easy to assemble. Check out their Commercial Wall Cabinet here.

Hobbyists should also consider workbenches with cabinets and drawers to create a great and organized workspace.

There are lots of garage wall organization systems to choose from and a lot of good things to say about many of them. The important thing to remember is: accessories! All brands have their own set of mini-shelves, hooks, and other attachments for specific purposes. So my advice is to find a system that meets your needs and stick with it. We really like Rubbermaid FastTrack and Gladiator GearTrack. Learn more about FastTrack and Gladiator, and view the slideshow for more wall storage ideas.

Light Your Garage

Honey Bay Linkable 4800 Lumens LED Lights
Honey Bay Linkable 4800 Lumens LED Lights

There are some great bright solutions for your lighting needs. Ultra bright LED is the way to go for garage lighting. New LED lights are bright and energy efficient and best of all they are inexpensive. The numbers on the box are less confusing than they first appear. View the slideshow to learn about watts, lumens, LED brightness, K and CRI.

We love the Honey Bay garage LED lights because they’re bright, cost effective, and you can link up to 20 of them together. This means that you only need to plug in one light. The other lights plug into each other. That saves a ton of wiring and annoyance when lighting your garage. Check out these garage lights on Amazon.

Having more light in the garage may inspire you to add a workbench or pursue a hobby. In any case, better lighting just makes your garage nicer looking and more cheerful and a better environment for any kind of pursuit.


Clean Your Garage

Now that you have a nice bright garage, you can see all that dust! Untreated garage floors are dusty by their nature.  Microscopic particles are constantly being abraded off the surface and kicked into the air. You breathe it in, it gets on everything, and you track it into the house. It’s just pretty gross; no wonder you don’t want to go into your garage unless you have to.



The good news is there are lots of things you can do to make it better and some of them are pretty easy and affordable. Watch the slideshow to learn about garage floor densifying sealer and paint. Acrylic, urethane and epoxy sealers help keep dust from kicking up by bonding with the concrete surface and coating it. You can go with colors or just keep a natural look. This kind of surface coating will prevent other types of finish from adhering so be sure it’s what you want before you pull the trigger. Whatever you decide remember that prep work is the key to a long-lasting finish.

Epoxy paints and sealers require much more prep work than the average person is willing and able to do, so you might want professional help. But, if you’re after a high-gloss glass-like finish on your floor this is the way to go. Don’t kid yourself all those pictures of gleaming garage floors were done by pros.

Installed VacMaster VWM510
I installed the VacMaster VWM510 (now the VWMB5080101) vacuum cleaner in my garage. It is the best garage vacuum cleaner compared to 19 competitors in our tests.

Every garage should have a vacuum to keep it clean. Standard household vacuums are not designed for garage crud. After a lot of research, we found the best garage vacuum to be the Vac Master VWMB5080101 (formerly VWM510). Learn more about the VWMB5080101 (formerly VWM510) in the slideshow.

Control Your Garage’s Temperature

Guess who wants to work or play in a garage that’s too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter? Not me, and you neither I imagine.  Before we talk about heating and air conditioning, we have to address insulation. There’s no point in using energy to change the garage temperature if there’s a constant exchange of inside and outside air.

Insulating the garage does two things. It helps make the garage more comfortable and also makes your home more energy efficient as well. The less temperature fluctuation there is between the garage and the rest of the house, the easier it is to keep the house at a constant temperature. Contractors tend to cheap out on garage windows and connecting doors as well. In any case, there are probably many opportunities in your garage. Watch the slideshow to learn about garage door insulation and garage door seals.

Unless you complete insulate all aspects of the garage floor, doors, windows and ceiling, it’s going to be more difficult to heat or air condition a garage than a house. Inside and outside air will continue to mix, fighting your heating and cooling efforts. As long as you understand this, it can still be worth your while to run a heater in the winter and an air conditioner in the summer.

Fahrenheat garage heater
Forced hot air heaters do help keep you warm even in cold garages. Just be sure to get a plug-in type, as many like the one above are hard-wired.
Dimplex DGWH4031g Garage Forced Hot Air Heater
We recommend the Dimplex DGWH4031g Garage Forced Hot Air Heater

Unless the garage is small, you’re not going to change the entire garage climate. A space heater and an air conditioner will affect the air nearby without changing the climate of the entire garage. A portable air conditioner will cool nearby but it won’t cool a 2 car garage with a loft. If you’re working in the garage then both a heater and an air conditioner might be worthwhile. Just don’t expect these devices to be as effective as they are in a fully insulated house. Often a powerful fan works in the summer, and might be the way to go for your garage too.

Make Your Garage More Secure

Many garages are the weak link in an otherwise secure home, especially if you have an interior door. Here are some quick ways to make your garage less vulnerable.

AeroGarden - In-Home Garden System - $125 in Coupons

Secure the emergency pulls on your garage doors.  Check out this scary video about how easy it is to break into your garage here.

A surprising number of people have a false sense of security, thinking that because the garage door is locked the house is safe. Secure the garage’s interior door to the home. The best solution for an interior door is a push-button lock door handle with an auto lock feature. A few seconds after the door closes, the lock sets itself. You can’t get locked out as long as you know your push button code, so the auto lock protects your home without locking anyone out.

Schlage auto-lock garage door handle
This door handle locks itself without locking you out.

Sometimes burglars will break into your garage and wait for the police to come and, know they don’t normally check the garage, and then take their time breaking in through the connecting doors. Always assume a burglar might be in the garage, and keep that interior door locked.

There are a number of connected garage solutions that will alert you when the garage door opens and/or remind you to close the garage door.  If you have Apple computers, make sure the devices you get are Home Kit compatible. Home Kit has strict security guidelines meant to protect you against insecure devices that might be easily compromised.

Another garage vulnerability is the code the automatic garage door opener uses. Garage door openers have been around for a surprisingly long time. In the 1960s they became popular enough that people realized that one opener could open all the doors for that brand. Burglars figured that out as well. Dip switched were the first attempt to thwart thieves and still allow homeowners to reprogram their remotes when they bought a new one. This technology is totally outdated and if you have an older garage door system you should really consider upgrading. You want to look for garage door openers that feature Rolling Code or similar technology like Intellicode, Hopping Codes or Security Plus, as these technologies are much harder to hack.

Consider window curtains or window glass frosting. Thieves like it when they can get a glimpse inside where they want to break in. If they can see expensive tools or other valuables they are much more likely to take the risk of breaking in.

Add cameras that turn on when motion is detected. Companies like Nest, Wyse, and others all make cameras that you can connect to your home Wi-Fi. They can be triggered by motion or an event like your garage door opening or your doorbell being rung. Some are also audio activated and allow you to interact with the person on the other side of the camera.

Make Your Garage More Beautiful

There are lots of different ways to make your garage more attractive. They range from having a shiny glass-like finish on the floor to simply having a clean well lighted place where it is easy to find the things you want and easy to pursue whatever hobbies interest you. The floor plays a major part in making your garage environment a place to be in. A dull floor sucks all the light out of the room while a decorative tile or stain can add that needed push to make the whole place come together.

FLir GEN 3
Be careful with painting the garage floor. Improper prep work and consumer-based materials can create inferior results. A professionally epoxy painted floor can last for decades whereas a consumer-based product may need to be applied after a few years. A professionally epoxied floor is amazing to look at but there are easier DIY ways to make your floor look extraordinary.
Swisstrax Garage Floor Tile
Swisstrax Garage Floor Tile

For a race car pit stop floor, install garage floor tile. Tile can be amazing to look at, and it will cover up a vast array of garage floor sins. Snap together tiles create a strong and very cool looking surface that requires zero prep work. Learn all about PVC and polypropylene garage floor tiles here, and look at how beautiful they can make your garage here.


A great alternative to painting is staining. Choose a water-based rather than an acid-based stain. Water stains offer a wider range of colors than acid. Water also offers more consistent results. This is because acid stains work by reacting to the free lime in the concrete and you have no control over that. Free lime diminishes over time making the resulting color appear less rich. Acid stains are also toxic and require more protective gear. They need to be neutralized after they are applied. All this makes water-based stains a much better choice, especially for DYIer.

Make Your Garage More Functional

Once you declutter and clean you’ll have some extra room to pursue your interests. Some folks add an indoor garden or workbench for building things.  If you have a hobby that you want to keep out of the house, the garage can be an ideal space for those activities.

Be aware that creating a play area or office probably means you are remodeling your garage. You will need proper insulation, drywall, electricity and possibly plumbing. Here are some garage remodeling ideas to think about.
Garage Play Room
Garage Play Room

Create a woodworking or art studio. The garage can offer the ideal space to have a hobby and craft area. Messy pastimes such as woodworking are best kept out of the house.

Create a playroom just for kids, just for men, just for women, or any mix you like. Entertain in the remodeled garage. Make it a man cave, a lady lair, a children’s playroom or a place to play poker.

Create an indoor garden. Use indoor lighting and hydroponics to grow your own vegetables.

Create a home gym with free weights and gym stations. Add a shower, a water fountain, and some good speakers.

Create a music studio with electricity, sound insulation, and proper lighting. Install a slatwall organization system to hang your instruments.

Create a bedroom. You’ll need electricity and plumbing for lighting and a bathroom.

Outdoor gas fire tables

Create a home office with carpeting, lighting and a phone system.

Make Your Garage Healthier and Safer

Garages are an oft-neglected source of allergens and other health and safety concerns. Dust and fumes can create breathing problems. Moisture buildup caused by extreme temperate changes can cause mold and mildew. Slippery stains make the floor unsafe for everyone.

Add an air cleaner to filter the garage’s fumes and dust, especially if you use it as a shop. You could use a home air cleaner in the garage if you wanted to but if you have a working garage and generate any amount of dust you’ll want to do better. I recommend Jet 3-Speed Air Cleaner with remote control. It can clean up to 1044 cubic feet per minute (cfm). Many other units can only do 400 cfm. These units come with eye hook mounts to hang it from the ceiling but you can also put it on your workbench, floor, or other surfaces. They have a dual filter system, 5 microns for bigger particles followed by a 1 micron for the finer ones as well as an outer electrostatic filter to attract particles. This machine is a real workhorse designed for home workshops and garages.

Add an anti-slip surface to the garage floor.  Floors can get slippery when wet or oily, especially after applying a surface sealer or paint. Wait for the paint or sealer to fully cure before adding an anti-slip treatment.

Put down snow containment mats. Put one of these bad boys under where you park your car to keep road salts and snow from messing up your concrete floor.

Make Your Garage More Practical

Make sure your garage storage solutions work well and solve your problems. Making a “painting station” is a cool hack but if you only paint once every 5 years it’s a bit useless. Specific storage solutions for your needs abound! Start with what you love and work from there.

Whether you kayak or golf or store the gear for your kids’ little league team, there is certainly a specific storage product that will make your life easier and keep your expensive equipment from getting damaged.

For sports equipment you can install a kayak sling, a golf bag stand, ball cages, an ski hooks.

Store bicycles on wall mounts, ceiling hooks or a wall storage unit.

Store safety equipment in tilt-out clear plastic bins.

Store tools on pegboards or a wall storage system.

Store garden tools on a wall storage or a rail system.

Make Your Garage Multi-Purpose

Outdoor garden bench
Outdoor garden bench

Rather than remodeling the entire garage, you can add areas for specific tasks.

Add a potting station to prepare plantings, for instance.  In my youth I pursued archery and having a target in the rear of the garage was a great way to safely shoot my bow. We simply pulled the car out of the garage and voila! That’s also how I started to learn to drive but that’s another story.

Make Your Garage Smarter

Everything is smart nowadays, from refrigerators to toilets (don’t believe me?  Check this out.) So why not your garage? Smart garages can do lots of things like open the door as you approach and close the door as you leave. You can integrate your garage into other smart devices so that air conditioners and lights turn on when you get home. You can also integrate home security such as cameras.  The latest is allowing delivery people to put packages in your garage so they won’t get stolen.

If you have a smart home already, you’ll want to make sure the garage smart devices are compatible with what you already have. Also make sure they are compatible with what the garage door opener you currently have. Ironically the newer your garage door opener the less likely it will work with third-party products. Yellow “learn-buttons” and Purple Antenna are red flags.

Chamberlain is the granddaddy of smart garage doors. They invented the MyQ system, which allows you to monitor and schedule your garage door opening and closing. MyQ which is very easy to install (no wiring needed) and to integrate into your current wi-fi network and smart home system, but it does not work with Alexa. MyQ integrates with Nest, Xfinity Home, Wink, and Google Assistant. The subscription to work with Google Home and IFTTT is $10 per year. It integrates with Apple HomeKit without a subscription but you need to buy the MyQ Home Bridge to make it work. They also promise integration with Amazon Key in the near future.

GoGoGate 2 allows you to remotely control your garage doors and operate gates. It is one of the few products that remotely operates automated gates. It’s a low-cost garage controller that works with Amazon Alexa (without a subscription fee). It also will work with any wireless camera for added security. It also features temperature monitoring.

Garadget is a great contender if you want to make your current old garage learn new tricks. The best part is that Garadget is compatible with almost every home integration system including Smartthings, Alexa and Google Home, right out of the box. If you have a newer remote with a yellow “learn” button (aka Security 2.o) found on some Chamberlain/Lift Master products, you will have to do a workaround involving a simple bit of wiring to get Garadget and other brands to work with it. Just be warned. The Garadget folks can help you work around that.

Conclusion

Let this year be the year you begin making the garage of your dreams. You don’t have to do everything all at once. Start small and don’t be intimidated. Whether your garage is stuffed to the rafters with stuff you can’t even get to, or you have a functioning garage you want to make nicer, start from where you are. Know what your goals are and move towards them one step at a time.

People Also Ask

Should I insulate my garage? You should do a cost-benefit analysis, but the answer is probably “yes.” Just insulating the garage door can stabilize your garage’s temperature. Attached garages tax heating and cooling, especially at the wall where the home and garage meet. Learn how to assess your garage insulation options here.

Should I replace my garage door? A garage door cost-benefit analysis includes the cost of repairs versus the cost of replacement. Here’s a list of garage door features to consider before replacing or repairing your garage door.