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18 Cheap Garage Updates (Plus an Expensive One)

If you've been neglecting your garage, it's time to pay attention and give that hard-working space the makeover it deserves. With these DIY projects and ideas to inspire you, you can increase storage capacity, improve the lighting, paint the floor and much, much more.

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Garage Door MakeoverFamily Handyman

Garage Door Makeover

Many garage doors are unattractive and new doors can be crazy-expensive. What's a DIYer to do? With an inexpensive hardboard door, cedar boards and tongue-and-groove paneling you can create a custom door that's safe, sound and beautiful. Skeptical? Check out the step-by-step how-to right here. Check out our favorite garage door paint ideas.

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HH long handled yard tool pallet organization hackFamily Handyman

Use a Pallet to Store Lawn and Garden Equipment

If you have a yard or a garden, you know that there are a lot of long-handled tools involved. If you don’t have any pallets lying around, they are easy to get for free. This is a quick one-hour project and after you’re done, your tools will be organized and easy to reach.

You could easily attach this pallet to a fence, shed or to the exposed wall studs in your garage. No matter what you choose, you’ll want to make sure that your screws are long enough to go through both your pallet and the wall you are attaching it to. We drilled two screws into the pallet, one into each exposed wall stud. You won’t need a ton of screws or nails because the pallet isn’t all that heavy.

Looking for more ways to work smarter in your workshop? Here are 19 tips from a seasoned woodworker and do-it-yourselfer.

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Longer-Lasting Light for Garage Door OpenersFamily Handyman

Longer-Lasting Light for Garage Door Openers

Standard lightbulbs can't take much vibration, so they may not survive long in a garage door opener. The good news is, this LED was developed specifically for use in garage door openers. The bulb's electronics are shielded to prevent receiver interference with the opener's remote and the bulb is built to withstand vibration and low temperatures down to -22 degrees F. Plus, this bulb is rated for damp locations, unlike most LED's. Genie claims the bulb has a 25,000-hour life span, which is equivalent to about 17 years of use!

If you'd like to do more than just replace your garage door opener lightbulb, this collection of DIY troubleshooting and repair tips will help you get started.

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Epoxy Over PaintFamily Handyman

Epoxy Over Paint

You can apply epoxy over garage floor paint or over another coat of epoxy without removing it, but you have to prep the surface. Start by renting a floor buffer with a 60-grit sanding screen. Get extra screens and return the unused ones for credit. Run the buffer over the floor to remove loose paint and scuff the surface to create a texture for the epoxy to stick to. Sweep the floor clean. Then, just as important, clean the floor with a cleaner/degreaser, available at home centers. The cleaner/degreaser will break the molecular bond of the grease so it'll come off the floor. Epoxy won't stick to oil- or grease-contaminated floors. Let the floor dry for a full day, then apply the coat of epoxy. If your garage needs a new floor, here's a collection of options.

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sheet metal magnet board

Sheet Metal Magnet Board

Sheet metal or strips of galvanized flashing make great magnet boards in the workshop. Be sure to level the material on the wall and use self-tapping sheet metal screws to fasten it to studs.

Then put several magnets on the message board for hanging project plans, supply lists and even small metal tools such as a paint can opener or scissors. Above the workbench is a perfect place for mounting a magnet board. — Bill Jones

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Seal the HolesFamily Handyman

Seal the Holes

If you're drilling holes through top and bottom plates or running wires through a fire wall in the garage, you must seal those holes with a fire-resistant caulk or foam sealant to comply with fire and energy codes. Most building officials won't make you bust out large holes in ceilings and walls in order to access hard-to-reach holes, but check with your local official before you begin your project. Fire-blocking insulated foam sealant is sold at home centers and hardware stores. For more on working with foam sealant, check out this collection of helpful tips.

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Ceiling Storage BonanzaFamily Handyman

Ceiling Storage Bonanza

If all the stuff in your garage is within easy reach, you're probably wasting lots of storage space. The high spaces may not be prime real estate for often-used tools, but they're perfect for long-term storage. Deep shelving or cabinets near the ceiling can hold a ton of seasonal stuff like holiday decorations or camping gear.

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DIY paint boothFamily Handyman

10 minutes is all it takes

I needed a quick booth to paint some projects in my shop, a sun canopy with painter’s plastic taped around it worked great! There’s no exhaust fan, so it’s just for quick finishing, and I always wear a respirator. – George Doddington

Click here for some game-changing painting products.

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Repurposed laundry detergent jugs

Repurpose Containers and Label Everything

You can drop a few bills buying storage totes for supplies like nails, screws and plumbing parts. Or you can make your own with laundry detergent jugs and a utility knife. They're big, tough and mobile—and they'll make your workshop stink nice. Plus: Check out these 100 other uncommon uses for common household items.

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Add OutletsFamily Handyman

Add Outlets

Most electrical codes require only one outlet in the garage. And that's just what most builders give you — one measly outlet for all your tools and toys. If you have open studs, you can easily run wire and add outlets as long as you follow a few basic rules.  If your walls are covered, you don't need to cut into them to run wires. Instead you can mount metal or plastic wiring channels and outlet boxes right on the wall.

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Fishing Rod Organizer pool noodlesFamily Handyman

Fishing Rod Organizer

I got sick and tired of my fishing rods getting tangled, so I came up with this easy fishing rod organizer. All you need is a length of 3-in.-diameter PVC pipe and a foam swimming pool noodle. Drill 1-in. holes spaced every 4 in. in the PVC pipe. Use a utility knife to cut slits in the foam noodle, spacing them 4 in. apart. Line up the pool noodle on the wall so that at least two of the slits sit over studs. Pull those slits apart, slide in a fender washer, and screw the noodle to the wall with 2-in. screws. Then screw the PVC pipe to the wall beneath it at a comfortable height and insert your fishing rods. Look Ma, no more tangles!Also, check out our favorite camping hacks that you’ll wish you knew earlier.

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Neat and Tidy Pet Food DispenserFamily Handyman

Neat and Tidy Pet Food Dispenser

Build this bin and you can fill the dog dish with the flick of a finger and do away with that crumpled bag of dog food lying on the garage floor. This bin easily holds two 20-lb. bags of food and allows you to dispense it right into the dish. And you can store two types of food so the cat won't get jealous. Slide open the 'blast gate' and food falls into the dish. A hinged top allows easy refilling. Get the instructions to make your own pet food dispenser. Check out these 10 really cool pet products you'll want to pick up.

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compressor creeper

Compressor Creeper

I store my heavy air compressor on a mechanic’s creeper to make it easier to move around my shop and to take out to the garage or driveway. I bought my creeper at a yard sale for $15 and I love it. — Neal Halsey

If you don’t do your own car maintenance but have a mechanic’s creeper stowed away in your garage, this is another use for the handy rolling platform. Air compressors can be very heavy and cumbersome to haul around your workshop or garage, so putting it on wheels can save you a lot of sore muscles later on! And, depending on the size of your compressor, there may be enough room to store your compressor hose on the creeper, too.

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Keep Ladders Out of the Way

Keep Ladders Out of the Way

Hang ladders from the ceiling so they don't hog prime storage space. The rollers on this carriage let you easily slide in one end of the ladder, then the other. The materials are all inexpensive. Fasten the corner braces to ceiling joists with two-inch lag screws. Secure the ladder with an elastic cord so it can't roll out and fall.

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Insulate the Garage Door

Studies done by garage door manufacturers prove that an energy-efficient R-18 insulated garage door can keep your garage about 12 degrees warmer in winter months and about 25 degrees cooler in summer. That reduces energy loss along the insulated walls and ceiling. Here's how to do it yourself.

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pool noodle handy hint door ding

See Ya, Door Dings!

I noticed several dings on my car door from opening and banging it against the garage wall. My grandkids had outgrown their pool noodles and I was about to throw the pool noodles away, but then I thought, "Whoa, this could be the solution!"

I cut the pool noodle in half, the long way, with a utility knife and fit it onto the studs in my garage. The pool noodle should stay put on its own, but for a more permanent solution, you can adhere the pool noodle to the studs with construction cement or a couple of nails. — John Greene. Voila, no more door dings.

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Our Favorite Garage Wall SystemFamily Handyman

Our Favorite Garage Wall System

With this storage system, you can organize your garage in minutes using versatile French cleats. And this system can hold just about anything. Plus, you can quickly move hooks, shelves and bins around to find the most efficient arrangement as your needs change. The entire system is inexpensive and easy to build; you only need two power tools - a circular saw and a drill. Complete how-to instructions can be found here.

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bungee cord to hold trash can liner

Bungee Cord Trash Bag Holder

I am not a fan of bungee cords because they usually don’t hold well. Evidence of this is the number of cords that I’ve picked up along the highway during my runs. But I found a use for them as a means of holding trash can liners in place on my large workshop trash can. — Ed Hunkele

Simply overhang the trash bag along the top of the trash can and secure the bungee cord on top of the bag. You can hook two bungee cords together, if one isn’t long enough to go around the top of your trash can.

Check out 19 more handy hints for the workshop here.

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Space-Saving Sliding ShelvesFamily Handyman

Space-Saving Sliding Shelves

Rollout shelves and sliding bypass units can make more efficient use of the sidewalls of your garage. The bypass unit adds 50 percent more storage for long-handled tools and all sorts of items that take up too much wall space. You simply slide the shelves to either side to access the stuff behind. Check out more features of this system and get complete how-to-build instructions here.