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The following article is by MPFJ staff writer, Miss T from Prairie Eco-Thrifter. If you want to learn how to live your dream life in a sustainable, healthy, and money savvy way, check out her site here.
To be honest with you, I never really thought about finding ways to save money in the garage.
I mean, it’s just a place for the car, yard tools, and to store things we don’t want in the house, right? I guess our garage looks pretty much like everyone else’s; full of all sorts of odds and ends, a bit of a mess – with only just enough room for the cars.
Getting Started – Cleaning it Out
It was when I got sick and tired of seeing the mess every day that I found there were in fact ways I could save some cash here. I decided to clean the whole thing out and I set aside a weekend to do the task. Let me tell you now, one weekend was not nearly enough time! We ended up with piles of sporting and camping equipment, bikes and scooters, old toys, boxes, tools and all manner of extraneous objects, spread all over the yard. Emptying the garage was the easy bit; we then had to sort, organize and repack things.
Anyway, I’m not here to tell you about the horror time I had cleaning out my garage. I want to tell you some of the ways I discovered I could save money there.
Money-Saving Idea #1 – Check for Proper Insulation
Firstly, it was high summer when I decided to clean out the space, and what I discovered was just how hot it was in there. It was more noticeable when the space was empty and the longer I was in there, the hotter it became. Compared to the rest of the house, the temperature in the garage had to have been between 10 and 15 degrees higher.
Looking around, I figured out why; there was absolutely no insulation in the space. This apparently is quite common; builders save money by cutting corners like this in a garage. There was no lining on the walls or ceiling at all and the heat just poured in. The garage door had gaps on either side and underneath which would let in both heat and cold drafts. When I checked the wall that was common to the house, I could feel the heat radiating through that inside wall. This meant, of course, that we were using extra power (i.e.: wasting money) to cool this room because of the heat passing through the wall from the garage. When I thought about it, I realized the same would be true in winter; the cold from the garage would be coming through this common wall as well and costing us extra to heat the house. So, making sure your garage is lined and/or insulated, and your garage door has draft strips fitted, are both great ways to save money.
One trip to the local hardware store later, and I had enough insulated lining boards to do the whole space. While I was there, I also bought supplies to fit a mezzanine shelf under half the ceiling to store some of the ‘stuff’ that we just had to keep. I figured this would help with the insulation as well as provide extra storage. I hope this will mean that the garage will be tidier in future. Being a bit of a home handyman, I was confident I could do the job myself, but I called in a friend to lend a hand. Even if you had to hire a tradesman, I think you would still be ahead financially, over time.
Money-Saving Idea #2 – Don’t Waste Money Buying Duplicate Items
During this extensive clean-up job, I realized one very important thing. Not only did we keep too much junk, but we also had multiples of some items. What did this mean? Obviously, because the garage was in such a mess, we didn’t know exactly what we had and therefore, had gone out and bought items that were already stored away in the messy garage! So, money-saving tip number two – a tidy, organized garage saves you money because you can see what you have. When the mezzanine was up, I wrote an inventory of what we stored up there, laminated it and stuck it to the garage wall. Now, we know exactly what is stored there and so we won’t waste money buying duplicate items.
Money-Saving Idea #3 – Hold a Yard/Garage Sale to Make Some Money from Your Excess Items
At the end of this exercise, we had loads of stuff left that we didn’t want to keep anymore, that the kids had outgrown or was broken. A neighbor suggested holding a garage sale to get rid of the excess. I wasn’t too sure about this, but the rest of the family decided it was a good idea – I think they all saw dollar signs in their eyes! Anyway, long story short, we did hold a garage sale which proved to be very popular. We put up notices about it around the neighborhood and in local shops and had a huge turnout on the day. Would you believe, we made more than $400!
So this is the final tip on how to save money in your garage; hold a yard sale and make money after de-cluttering and sorting out your garage. I’m certainly glad we did.
How about you all? Have you ever realized that more money than you thought was being wasted/spent in your garage? Have you used any of the tips above?
Share your experiences by commenting below!
***Photo courtesy of http://prairieecothrifter.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/iStock_000013133864XSmall.jpg