It’s week 3 of my Top 15 Ways to Get Your Home in Shape for 2016! Over the last two weeks we covered 4 ways to shape up your kitchen, and 4 ways to shape up your bathroom. This week I’m taking you into the garbage, I mean, GARAGE! My word slip is to make a point—often the garage ends up becoming a garbaaaaage room, and it shouldn’t be!

I apply this notion to storage units as well—why pay for a unit to store what should really be put in the garbage, sold, or donated? Wasted dollars and space!

So this week I’ll show you how to get gaga over your garage because loving an attractive, neat, and well-appointed space will deter you from treating it like the family dumpsite.

Counting from last week’s tips 5 – 8 to improve your bathroom, here are 3 ways to shape up your garage!

Top 3 Ways to Improve Your Garage

9. Pull Everything Out

cluttered garage

UGH, I know, but look at these advantages that come from clearing the space:

  • You can really take a look at what you should keep and what you should can. Great time for a garage sale!
  • Sweep/vacuum/blower and hose down or mop the floor.
  • Inspect for cracks in the floor. Patch with concrete filler to help keep insects out.
  • Check the walls for water damage—you may have a leak somewhere and not even know about it because it’s hidden behind boxes!
  • Inspect signs of insect or rodent damage. Set bait traps accordingly!
  • Seal up any openings with Spackle or Great Stuff (like around plumbing holes and such).
  • You can paint the floor with a concrete paint to help create a surface that’s less porous and less likely to hold in dust and dirt.

Clean garage

Note: if you can’t handle an entire garage clean out at once, do it in sections, over the course of a few days.

10. Move It On Up

Neat garage tool hanging storage

When your stuff is off the floor it’s less cluttery (and you may be able to actually park your car in the garage again!). There’s a ton of unused space at the ceiling/rafters of garages. It’s also great to use wall hangers to organize your garage articles and maximize space.

Look at all of these products to get things up and out of the way:

  • Hanging garage storage racks
  • Vertical bike hooks
  • Adjustable utility wall racks
  • 250-lb. Garage Overhead Storage System with Heavy Lift Pulley

11. Easily Build And Install A Utility Bench


Photo credit: Bench Solution

Whether it’s gluing back together a broken knickknack, assembling a new toy, or refinishing a thrift store treasure, having an extra large and rugged surface will always come in handy. Here’s how you can easily build and install one.

FYI you can purchase a folding workbench like the one shown above if you need to access that space. They’re well designed but a bit pricey at about $350. The bench build I detail below costs around a hundred bucks.


  • 1 23/32″ x 4′ x 8′ Sanded Pine Plywood. Have it cut to a 3′ x 6′ at your home-center, having them cut the shorter length first (so you have a “scrap” length that’s 1′ x 6′)
  • Buy 20”x13” heavy-duty metal brackets
  • 1 pegboard or slatwall board and hooks
  • 2 ½” and ¾” wood screws
  • Wood primer and paint, semi-gloss finish (if paint finish is desired)
  • Construction adhesive (like Liquid Nails)


  • Prime and paint one side and edges of your 3′ x 6′ and 1′ x 6′ plywood and pegboard.
  • Dedicate a 6′ space along a wall. Find and pencil mark 3 studs. Measure up 36″ from the floor. Mark a horizontal level line at the 36″ height across them.
  • Install the brackets at each stud at that level line.
  • Place the plywood over the brackets, so it’s centered with the brackets from underneath, through the bracket holes, screw the 3′ x 6′ plywood in place.
  • To create a backsplash, put the 1′ x 6′ plank on the workbench. Apply a large squiggly bead of adhesive to the back of it and press it firmly up against the wall, making sure it lines up perfectly with the bench top. Put in a couple screws at the outer studs (using stud lines from beginning of the project). Let it dry.
  • Hang the pegboard on the wall above the backsplash.
  • Voila your workbench! Hang tools, tape, extension cords, etc. You can tuck a stool and 3-drawer supply cabinet underneath it too!

Stay tuned for next week’s home shape-up, as we head into… THE BEDROOM.

Norma sig

Got A DIY Question? Ask-The-Expert!

If you have a DIY home repair, maintenance or improvement question for Norma, now is your chance to ask-the-expert and have her answer. Your burning question may just be the “star” of an upcoming Fix-It Friday column.

Add your question to the comments section below or email it to Women You Should Know.

Fix-It Friday is an exclusive Women You Should Know® editorial series authored by seasoned veteran of home improvement, Norma Vally, the former host of Discovery Home Channel’s series “Toolbelt Diva” and a show on Sirius Satellite Radio by the same name. The weekly column is designed to inspire women – weekend warriors, aspiring handywomen, and even seasoned DIYers – to take on home repairs and maintenance projects with confidence and gusto.