It is that time of year–time to open the doors and windows and air out the home from the stale, chilly winter months. Spring is also the traditional time to get organized and expand the living spaces to include porches, patios, sunrooms and garages. It is a time when the adults in the home can get away to new sanctuaries separate from the main house.

Although you may dream of a home improvement project that rivals the Taj Mahal, enlarging your garage to include an extra bay or new sunroom may not be a financially feasible option. Why not use an existing garage to create your own special retreat for a budget-friendly project? A garage does not have to be used for just parking the car or tossing an endless array of junk into. This space can make a great room in which to relax and watch a game, open to the breeze and sit shaded from the sun with a cocktail in hand, or to work on home projects.

Make good use of the walls

The walls of the garage are a blank canvass ready to be used for organizational purposes. There are wonderful products made specifically to hang on the walls to create a place to hang rakes and shovels, bicycles, tools, and just about anything else that you can think of. The Suncast slat wall is made specifically to mount to any drywall or studs. The slat wall works great on the side walls of a garage where it might be tight when pulling a car in. It comes in four foot sections so you can buy as many as you require to cover almost any area. Purchase and hang the Suncast moveable basket and hook components to store your things neatly in order to achieve an organized garage.

Tarzian Hardware
193 7th Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11215
(718) 788-4120

Price: 4 ft Slat Wall $19.99, Baskets $13.99 – $23.99, Hooks $6.99 – $13.99
Hours: Mon to Fri -8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sat -9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Sun -11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Shelving units to sweep the floor clean

Bulkier items like boxes and toys will weigh down a slat wall. Strong shelving units are wonderful to use in a garage to keep heavier items organized. You can usually find room at the back of the garage for a space to fit a shelving unit. The Gorilla Rack Shelving Unit is a wonderful and versatile system. It can be assembled as a five foot high shelf unit or as a workbench. Made out of steel, it is easy to assemble without the hassle of nuts and bolts, and the shelves are adjustable enabling you to position them where needed. Each shelf can hold up to 200 pounds, so this unit will certainly take care of your storage and work area needs.

Rainbow Ace Hardware
1449 1st Ave (between 75th St & 76th St)
New York, NY 10021
(212) 288-4868

Price: Gorilla Rack Shelving Unit $54.99
Hours: Mon to Fri -8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sat -9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sun -10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Store up

Inevitably, garages are almost always stocked full of piping, lumber and other items you feel a need to save for possible future use. (The moment you get rid of anything, you will undoubtedly need it.) Tripping over old 2x4s and fishing poles can get frustrating and just creates more stuff to get in the way of the sanctuary you are creating. It is time to go to new heights with storage solutions. Use the ceiling to get these items neatly stored out of the way. The Crawford Adjustable Overhead Storage Hanger is the perfect storage solution. Purchase a couple to mount on the ceiling to create storage shelving dropped from above. It will hold up to 50 pounds on a 10 inch shelf, and the hanger has a foam arm to protect items from being marred.

Leopoldi Hardware
415 5th Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11215
(718) 499-6563

Price: 2- Way Crawford Adjustable Overhead Storage Hanger $15.99
Hours: Mon to Sat -7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sat -6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sun -9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

A treasure chest

Every handyman treasures his tools. Whether it’s a fine set of chisels or a special hammer handed down for generations, your tools deserve a place to call their own. Get a tool chest large enough to accommodate your entire tool needs and make a safe haven neatly organized to prevent losing and misplacing these precious items. The waterloo tool chest makes the perfect addition to your workbench area. The easy-rolling casters make it the ultimate in portability. Keep it stored away and then easily pull it out as the center of attention to any project.

Yellowstone Hardware
71-54 Yellowstone Blvd.Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 261-5718

Price: Waterloo 5-Drawer 26-Inch Tool Chest $136.99
Hours: Mon to Fri -7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sat -9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Let in the breeze, but not the bugs

Enhance the garage space with a painted floor, a TV on the wall and some light furniture to create the ultimate party room or man cave. The best part of using the garage as an additional living space is that when the doors are open, it creates an entire wall opened to invite the lovely outdoors in. Take advantage of the great outdoors without letting in the pesky bugs. Add a garage door screen to ward off the predators from the open sanctuary. Invite over friends and sit back to enjoy a game on the TV.

Resolute Retractable Screens
84 Granite Ave.
Staten Island, NY 10303
(718) 305-1649

Hours: Make a request for a free estimate

Carol Ruth Weber began her career as a Theatrical Costume and Set Designer and segued into the world of Interior Design. As an interior designer she has twenty-eight years of experience in all phases of the business. You can read more of her work on and she can also be contacted at WeberLifeDesign.

Watch & Listen LIVE