Full Episodes of Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford

Garage Organization Makeover

By: Danny Lipford
Garage before cleaning and organizing.

Garage before cleaning and organizing.

Watch as we help clean out and organize a cluttered garage to improve the look and add to the storage space.

Garage organization projects include:

  • Floor: Install interlocking, PVC floor tiles made from 100% recycled materials.
  • Storage Rack: Build a custom rack to hold plastic storage containers.
  • Pullout Drawer: Construct a large alcove storage drawer.
  • Hang Bikes: Attach closet rod brackets to hang bikes on the wall.
  • Pool Float Storage: Use a fishing net to corral pool floats above the garage door.
  • Pet Bath: Add a BoosterBath doggie bathtub for bathing pets.
  • Garage Door Opener: Find out about the features of the Genie TriloG 1500 garage door opener include close confirm, wall lock button, and wireless access keypad.

Read episode article to find out more.

Garage after cleaning and organizing.

Garage after cleaning and organizing.

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Danny Lipford: This week on Today’s Homeowner, we’re helping this couple get a grip on their garage. And this is a two-fisted job, so you don’t want to miss it.

Shelby Mitchell: Oh, my gosh, don’t look behind there, I don’t know what’s behind there! Holy wow, I haven’t seen this in like two years.

In most homes, the garage becomes the great dumping ground, and that’s exactly where Brent and Shelby find themselves.

Shelby Mitchell: There’s just stuff here I didn’t even know we had.

Danny Lipford: Three years ago they built this house on a large piece of property with lots of great spaces to relax because they both have very busy schedules. Shelby’s a popular local radio DJ and Brent’s a firefighter and paramedic.

Shelby Mitchell: I’m ninety to nothing for most of the day, and then when I’m downtime, it’s my downtime. I mean I like to read, I love to listen to music, I love to hang out with our dogs.

Danny Lipford: When these two married six years ago, they combined their stuff, and that’s contributed to the chaos in their garage. Which begs the question, whose garage is it?

Brent Becker: I think it’s definitely mine. But she gets to park her car in it, so I don’t know how that works, because everything else in it is just about mine.

Shelby Mitchell: No, what’s mine, is mine, and what’s yours is mine, so it’s mine.

Brent Becker: So it’s ours.

Shelby Mitchell: So you have the two workbenches, but they’re all full of junk…

Brent Becker: They’re good storage.

Shelby Mitchell: …so you had to buy another table to work.

Brent Becker: To do work. Which, actually, I do most of it on the tailgate of my pickup. I’m just saying.

Shelby Mitchell: I know, we have a problem.

Brent Becker: With all of the hobbies, every project or hobby has a little corner or a little piece of the garage.

Shelby Mitchell: Honey, what are you going to do with that lumber?

Brent Becker: I’m going to make bean bag games.

Shelby Mitchell: Oh, cool, like corn hole?

Brent Becker: Corn hole.

Shelby Mitchell: Oh, cool! When are you going to do that? He’s like me a lot. We both each will start a project and maybe not complete it. So I’ve been kind of making these little signs and stuff. Well, I started and then I kind of stopped.

Danny Lipford: So, what are their hopes for the garage?

Brent Becker: We talked about either a sink or some way to bathe the dogs, so that’s why we want hot and cold in the garage.

Shelby Mitchell: With a dog shower.

Brent Becker: And also, you know, just storage and getting things up off the floor.

Shelby Mitchell: I’d love cabinets.

Brent Becker: Cabinets and shelves.

Shelby Mitchell: Or whatever, or anything.

Brent Becker: And, you know, that kind of thing.

Shelby Mitchell: So all of that really doesn’t make sense to be together like that, but it’s just kind of where it ended up.

Danny Lipford: Now, what are they willing to give up?

Brent Becker: There are some things I think, that have to be used yet that I had planned for future projects. Because if someday I think that I can save the solar panel part or the bulb part.

Shelby Mitchell: Yeah. Yeah. This just drives me nuts.

Brent Becker: And assemble three or four of these broken ones back together.

Shelby Mitchell: Can I see that for just one second? Can I see that for a second? OK, thanks.

Brent Becker: No, No! The solar panel’s good.

Danny Lipford: Early the next morning, Brent and I get started while Shelby is still at the radio station. I think what we need to do right now is before Shelby gets here, I know she’ll be here in a little while, is go ahead and maybe just make some piles out here on what you know is going to be thrown away. We’ll probably have some fun with that throwing some stuff in there that she doesn’t.

Brent Becker: Oh, yeah, I have some ideas.

Danny Lipford: “Throw Away.”

Brent Becker: You can make that smaller.

Danny Lipford: So we get busy moving the piles in the garage out to piles in the driveway.

Ironman, impressive.

Brent Becker: Long day. Probably, the longest day in my life besides my wedding. Except I…

Danny Lipford: You better watch it.

Brent Becker: All I had to do on the wedding day was show up.

Danny Lipford: But the throwaway pile isn’t getting big enough, fast enough.

Ah, you’re finally throwing something away.

Brent Becker: I might sneak out here tonight and grab two of them back. You have to have something in that pile.

Joe Truini: What do you do when you have a nut or bolt that’s stuck on there, and you can’t get it off? Well, there’s a couple of techniques.

First, you can try putting a little penetrating oil on the nut or bolt and see if that loosens it up. Next, you can use what’s called a cheater bar, which is simply a pipe that slips onto the wrench handle—gives you extra leverage.

I’ve tried both of those techniques, and I still can get this bolt off. So I’m going to—what I tried to do next was add some heat. I heated this nut up a couple of times already, and I’m going to do it one more time.

But the heat expands the nut or bolt, and then when it cools off it contracts. And you do it again, and it expands and contracts. And that expansion and contraction will often break the bond that’s holding the nut and bolt in place.

So all you need to do is get a propane torch and light it up. And heat up, in this case I have a bolt right there. And you usually have to heat it for at least three or four minutes; but, like I said, I’ve already done this twice before.

So I’ll just show you—you know I just put it right, put the flame within almost an inch away. Make sure it’s turned off all the way, and then try. I may need to use a cheater bar on this. There you go, it’s loosened up.

Now this tip works great, but remember you’re working with an open flame, so be sure there are no combustible materials anywhere near the work site.

Shelby Mitchell: Oh, my gosh, don’t look behind there! I don’t know what’s behind there.

Danny Lipford: This week, we’re helping homeowners Shelby and Brent get a grip on their garage.

Shelby Mitchell: There’s a car radio from like 1983, I think, that’s in there.

Brent Becker: You know that never got put in anything.

Danny Lipford: Shelby’s been at work while Brent and I cleared out the garage. So, she’s getting her first glimpse of it empty.

Shelby Mitchell: Hey, honey.

Brent Becker: I bet you haven’t seen the garage this empty in a long time. Look at that.

Shelby Mitchell: Oh, my gosh!

Brent Becker: We got it empty.

Oh, is that what all the stuff is?

Brent Becker: We kind of went through a lot of stuff, and got it ready to throw away. Because we’ve got the throwaway pile here.

Shelby Mitchell: Wait, wait a minute, those are my brand new cowboy boots.

Danny Lipford: He said you didn’t need those.

Shelby Mitchell: That is my animal fur vest!

Brent Becker: That’s just stuff you can do without.

Shelby Mitchell: This is my most favoritest ever!

Brent Becker: What…

Danny Lipford: Oh, he said you didn’t need any of this.

Brent Becker: I thought that looked like an old rug or something.

Shelby Mitchell: Whoa, no! And my purse and my sunglasses and my popcorn maker. You’re in, you’re in trouble. So, you were in on this together?

Danny Lipford: No, he made me do it.

Oh, my gosh, this is a lot of stuff!

Danny Lipford: But we’re going to continue going through this and some other things, but you’re about to go to carpentry school.

Shelby Mitchell: Okay.

Danny Lipford: And even though you have somewhat of a weak instructor with Allen. We’ll still give you a chance to help him build something that we think will help a lot on the inside.

Shelby Mitchell: OK. Maybe I can teach him something.

Danny Lipford: There you go.

Allen Lyle: All right, so you need a storage, right?

Shelby Mitchell: Yes.

Allen Lyle: I’ve got eight of these things.

Shelby Mitchell: Oh, yeah!

Allen Lyle: But we don’t want just to stack these.

Shelby Mitchell: Okay.

Allen Lyle: Because you want to be able to get one and not to have to move everything else, right?

Shelby Mitchell: Right.

Allen Lyle: So you and I are going to build a container of sorts…

Shelby Mitchell: OK.

Allen Lyle: …that we’ll be able to slide these into individually.

Shelby Mitchell: A container for containers?

Allen Lyle: A container for containers.

Shelby Mitchell: OK.

Allen Lyle: And we’re going to surround your freezer with it.

Shelby Mitchell: Oh! I see, cool. So it could go to…

Allen Lyle: So it’ll go up each side.

Shelby Mitchell: …each side and…

Allen Lyle: And shelving on top. How about that?

Shelby Mitchell: Wow! That’s awesome!

Danny Lipford: After a little training on layout and power tool safety…

Shelby Mitchell: Bam, bam.

Allen Lyle: That’s it.

Danny Lipford: Shelby’s ready to go.

Allen Lyle: Now, if you want to make it easy…

Shelby Mitchell: Do you want me to sign this?

Allen Lyle: No, no, no.

Shelby Mitchell: OK. Just checking. OK.

Allen Lyle: There you go!

Shelby Mitchell: How’s that?

Allen Lyle: That’s good. I need two more of those.

Shelby Mitchell: Gosh! Do I get overtime?

Danny Lipford: Meanwhile, Brent and I are getting the garage ready for a cool addition.

This should be a lot of fun, and the only thing that you need to install this is this, this, and this. So, should be kind of interesting. Let’s see what this stuff looks like.

These PVC tiles from Norsk are great for a garage because they’re slip-resistant and tough. But they provide more cushion than a concrete slab, so there’s less fatigue when standing on them in the garage.

The interlocking design of these things make them very easy to install. Just tap them in place with a rubber mallet. Any necessary cuts can be made with a utility knife. But I have opted to speed it up a little bit with my table saw.

You see, if we go ahead and run that all the way down to the end, we can see if this is going to work out as well. This is definitely not going to work out to the eight-inch increments, we’re not that lucky, but I am impressed with this stuff. And the edging and all, that’s pretty cool, isn’t it?

Brent Becker: Yep, works pretty good.

Danny Lipford: Back outside, Allen and Shelby have made some great progress on the storage container racks. Once they have the two-by-four frames assembled and have attached the plywood shelves to connect them, they move on to a solution for that odd-shaped alcove that was full of inaccessible space.

Essentially, they’re building a big drawer from one-by-fours and plywood that’ll roll in and out of the alcove to give Brent and Shelby access to the back of the space. Meanwhile, Brent and I complete most of the flooring before he has to head back to the firehouse.

Allen Lyle: Hey, looking good in here.

Danny Lipford: Hey.

Shelby Mitchell: Wow, oh my gosh!

Danny Lipford: You’re not bringing in a stretcher, it hasn’t been that bad. Hey, it has been kind of lonely in here since Brent left a little while ago. What do you think about that?

Shelby Mitchell: That’s so cool, that is awesome!

Allen Lyle: What I’m going to do, Danny, is I’m going to attach that to the back. It’s got wings and actually they will act as a stop.

Danny Lipford: And then you’re going to measure down two legs.

Allen Lyle: Yeah.

Danny Lipford: Sounds pretty good. Well, I got two more pieces to cut…

Allen Lyle: OK.

Danny Lipford: And I’ll be through with this one.

Allen Lyle: Oh, very good.

Shelby Mitchell: Cool!

Danny Lipford: Once the drawer is complete…

Allen Lyle: All right, 19 and 7/8s and 19 and a half.

Shelby Mitchell: OK.

Allen Lyle: That’s our length.

Shelby Mitchell: 19 and 7/8s and 19 and a half.

Allen Lyle: That’s it.

Shelby Mitchell: Sweet. What was that again?

Danny Lipford: …Allen and Shelby can move onto finishing their new creations. All right, Shelby, I made it useful, you’ve got to make it pretty.

Shelby Mitchell: OK.

Allen Lyle: All right. So I’ve got a paint gun for you right here.

Danny Lipford: A paint sprayer’s ideal for painting things like these shelves because it gets into all those nooks and crannies that would take forever with a brush. This one from Wagner is what’s called a High Volume Low Pressure sprayer, and it puts out a lot of paint in a very controlled manner, so you can finish in no time at all.

After the primer goes on and dries, they’ll finish up both pieces with two coats of black paint to make these two pieces blend in with the new floor and make this garage look as good as it functions.

Jodi Marks: Well, I am in my favorite part of the store, I’m in the tool section, and I’m going to talk to you about a pretty common tool just about everybody has and that’s the hacksaw.

And the hacksaw is great for cutting plastic or metal. But you know what, sometimes you can’t get into those tight spots, so sometimes your little hacksaw can’t hack it. But take a look at this. DeWalt’s come out with a 5 in 1 hacksaw.

And again, it’s perfect—it works just like a hacksaw. But what I like best about it is that it converts actually into a jab saw right at your fingertips. Because this handle right here, when you take it apart, has a little blade right in here. You pop that on, and you can get some nice, rigid cuts with that.

This area right here also stores extra blades so they’re always at your fingertips. But what I really like about this is the fact that you can put this tension up to 330 pounds. With just a twist of this little knob right here, you can really increase the tension.

It can convert to a low profile saw. It can also be a long reach saw. It can convert very easily into a jab saw. So this is the perfect addition to your toolbox.

Danny Lipford: The first day of our garage project with Brent and Shelby went off without a hitch, and now we’re ready to put it all back together.

Hey, good morning. There you are.

Brent Becker: Good morning, good morning. It looks good.

Danny Lipford: So, you worked all night long? How was the shift at the firehouse?

Brent Becker: We got up a couple of times, but I’m all right.

Danny Lipford: You got a little bit of sleep?

Brent Becker: Got some sleep.

Danny Lipford: Good. Good. Well, we’re ready for day two. We got everything in good shape here. Allen’s already got most of the racks completely built, painted, paint’s dry enough.

Brent Becker: OK.

Danny Lipford: All we need to do is get this thing centered a little bit, and we’ll start bringing some of that stuff in.

Brent Becker: OK.

Danny Lipford: The size and shape of the rack makes it a little awkward to carry, but it’s light enough that the job is fairly easy.

Brent Becker: So how many times did my wife second guess you yesterday?

Allen Lyle: At least twice.

Brent Becker: That’s it? Oh, you got off easy.

Danny Lipford: Apparently, Allen had it right, though, because the storage bins fit into the rack like a glove. With the rack in place, we can begin experimenting with the placement of the other large items around it to get the most efficient use of the space.

Brent’s also getting his first look at the slide-out storage device Allen and Shelby finished after he left yesterday.

Allen Lyle: I’ve actually got some paint touch up to do on it.

Brent Becker: That’s going to work great!

Allen Lyle: I think it’ll be nice.

Brent Becker: It’s like a monster drawer.

Allen Lyle: Yeah, and then you pull it out, and see it stops. Pop, right there in place.

Brent Becker: Oh, yeah, that’s awesome.

Allen Lyle: So I’ll do a little paint touch up, then this will be ready.

Danny Lipford: And if things get rough inside the house, perfect bed for you there, Brent.

Brent Becker: It’s the bunk.

Danny Lipford: Pull it out, put your little pillow on there. I have a mattress hidden somewhere in one of these totes.

Danny Lipford: Hey, let me show you something I got going over here.

Brent Becker: OK.

Danny Lipford: We could get one of the bikes and position it to where it’s still up off the ground, so that you have still the space underneath it. And we could mount this one here, one there, one there, one there, and you take care of two bicycles right here.

The closet rod brackets are easy to mount. And with a little bit of pipe wrap to protect the bike frame, they make a great solution.

Brent Becker: I like that. Gets it out of the way, up off the floor.

Danny Lipford: Yeah, it works great.

Brent Becker: It’s going to be good.

Danny Lipford: You know, Allen is just about finished with that painting over there. Don’t you think this work bench will look pretty good painted black?

Brent Becker: I think it’d be great painted black.

Danny Lipford: Hey, buddy. While Picasso does his thing, Brent and I are setting up a corner for lawn and garden tools with a plastic rack he already had, and a simple wall hanging bracket we picked up at the home center.

And once the painting is complete, Allen and Shelby can take on another project.

Allen Lyle: All right. You have a few floats here, Shelby.

Shelby Mitchell: Yes, can’t help it.

Allen Lyle: And you don’t want to deflate them.

Shelby Mitchell: No, because, honestly, we’re probably too lazy. But now we just, we have a lot of them. And my step son, my husband’s little boy, I mean, we’ve got the whole neighborhood…

Allen Lyle: Got you.

Shelby Mitchell: …that goes in the lake all the time so…

Allen Lyle: I have an idea.

Shelby Mitchell: OK.

Allen Lyle: We’re going to net them.

Shelby Mitchell: Hey!

Allen Lyle: You love that, right?

Shelby Mitchell: That’s pretty smart!

Allen Lyle: And I got a good spot for it.

Shelby Mitchell: OK, cool, yay!

Danny Lipford: Allen and Shelby are stringing that fishing net between two one-by-twos so that they can hang it from the ceiling above the garage door. So the floats are out of sight when the door is open and accessible when it’s closed.

Because Shelby’s house is so new, her garage door opener is, too. And that’s another great place to make a garage improvement. An opener with a screw drive operates more smoothly and quietly than one with a chain drive. And this one from Genie features a 140-volt DC motor that has plenty of power to open quickly.

A good unit automatically changes its code to protect you from code grabbing devices. But this one also features a lock on the wall control for extra security. If the power goes out, a battery backup is also a great addition. So is a wireless remote keypad which allows you access even when you forget your remote control.

And if your door fails to fully close because the opener’s sensor is tripped, a close confirm remote warns you before you get too far away. Now, back in Shelby’s garage, she’s trying to control a different kind of animal.

Shelby Mitchell: Gator.

Allen Lyle: Does gator have a name?

Shelby Mitchell: Yes, it’s Gator.

Allen Lyle: Gator, OK. Creative, very creative.

Shelby Mitchell: Thank you.

Allen Lyle: No wonder you’re on the radio.

Shelby Mitchell: What a great idea. Someone needs to get a raise for that one.

Allen Lyle: You think? Look at that.

Shelby Mitchell: Check it out. Wow!

Danny Lipford: Finally it’s time to put the pieces all back together, hopefully in a little better order than before.

Allen Lyle: So you’ll know what it is?

Shelby Mitchell: Bam!

Allen Lyle: I got you a label.

Shelby Mitchell: Yay, I love labels! Awesome, this is my paint. Beautiful! OK.

Danny Lipford: But now it’s time for one final surprise.

Allen Lyle: You may turn around.

Shelby Mitchell: Oh, my, OK.

Danny Lipford: Here you go.

Brent Becker: Oh, my gosh!

Shelby Mitchell: Oh, my gosh!

Danny Lipford: So you wanted to be able to bathe the dog, so this is…

Brent Becker: That is too cool.

Danny Lipford: Our friends at BoosterBath gave this to us, and we thought it was the neatest thing in the world.

Shelby Mitchell: That is so cool.

Danny Lipford: It’ll fit perfectly right in there.

Brent Becker: I’ll fit right in it.

Allen Lyle: Put them on the collar, so they can’t go anywhere.

Danny Lipford: They walk up.

Shelby Mitchell: Oh, that’s a great idea!

Danny Lipford: This little drain that will run right out into the flower bed right there.

Shelby Mitchell: Yeah, yeah.

Brent Becker: That is perfect.

Shelby Mitchell: Oh my gosh, that is cool!

Brent Becker: We didn’t have to tear up any concrete or anything.

Shelby Mitchell: That is awesome. That’s awesome.

Danny Lipford: Anyway, thought you might like that.

Shelby Mitchell: Oh, I love that!

Brent Becker: That’s too perfect.

Shelby Mitchell: That is the best thing ever.

Danny Lipford: And plus, you know, we’ve really helped Brent out here because now he has a bed…

Brent Becker: And a bath.

Danny Lipford: …and a bath. And so, we’re good.

Danny Lipford: Melissa says, “Our wood steps get very slippery. What can I do to keep them safe for my family?”

Anytime you have wood outside—whether it’s a set of steps like this, or a wood deck, or a walkway—sooner or later it’s going to get dirty and that means it’s going to get slick and dangerous.

So the first step in preventing any slip and fall is to clean it thoroughly with a deck cleaner or a deck brightener. That’ll open up the pores of the wood and naturally will make it have a little more traction and keep it from being so slippery.

But you can also add some of these peel and stick abrasive strips that go right along the front of the steps. That’ll help quite a bit. Or you can use some of the larger sizes that are available, too, some even with a little fluorescent strip.

But I’m also seeing a lot of manufacturers creating an anti-slip, slip-resistant coating that’s perfectly clear. And after everything’s nice and clean, you spray this over the treads. And that’s a very inexpensive way to make your stairs a lot safer.

Like most homeowners Brent and Shelby had a garage that was out of control. There was too much stuff to begin with and along the way their attempts to organize just ran out of steam and space.

After two pretty intense days of work, we’ve given them back some space; and we’ve created the organization they wanted so desperately. The tools and the materials they need are arranged so that they can be used. The storage space in that alcove can finally be accessed, and there’s plenty of room for the hobbies that make their downtime so enjoyable.

So I’ll tell you, Brent, with all of this space that you have, you have no excuse now not to get some of those projects done.

Brent Becker: Well, we found my workbench, so I guess that means I have to go to work.

Danny Lipford: Absolutely. Absolutely. Now, Shelby, the process, did it take longer than you actually thought or maybe a little harder to part with some of those things?

Shelby Mitchell: No, absolutely not. I mean once we kind of had everything in its proper space and everything organized, it really took a lot shorter than we thought.

Allen Lyle: How about your favorite new feature?

Shelby Mitchell: Gosh, there’s so many. You know from the room that we really didn’t realize that we had. The hammock that we did for the outside lake toys.

Allen Lyle: Up above the garage door.

Shelby Mitchell: Yeah, up above the garage door, that was awesome. But probably, I don’t know, it’s a tie because everything was so awesome; but this beautiful shelving system that I built with your help was amazing. And the fact that we painted the workbenches that we already had.

Allen Lyle: Oh, yeah.

It just looks great. It matches the floor is awesome. So, everything is really, really great.

Danny Lipford: But your absolute favorite?

Shelby Mitchell: But my absolute favorite has to be the doggy bath.

Allen Lyle: I love that, that’s going to be fun to see that.

Shelby Mitchell: Yeah.
Danny Lipford: Brent and Shelby did something here that a lot of people have a real hard time doing, and that’s parting with a lot of things they’ve had for a lot of years. But that’s the first step when you’re organizing any area of your home, is to make sure you get rid of a few things.

And we have a lot more organizational tips on our website at todayshomeowner.com. I’m Danny Lipford. Hope to see you next week right here at Today’s Homeowner.

Shelby Mitchell: We did go to the driving range one time. Yeah, there’s Brent’s putter right there.

Brent Becker: That way I don’t miss.

Shelby Mitchell: The wedge.

Brent Becker: My driver, my wedge.

Camera Man: Whoa! Whoa, easy.



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