A workshop that occupies some of the space in your garage can be used for different purposes. It can be a small office where you do online work, a space for wood-working or metalcraft, or a personal hobby area. Although there are many suggestions available online, a comprehensive guide for organizing a safe, flexible, and user-friendly workshop in your garage may be just what you need.
Confused? Don’t know where to start? This article presents a seven-step process that considers various aspects of effective planning, space maximization, as well as personal safety and comfort.
1. Maximize: Plan out your Space
Clean Out And Paint:
The first step is to remove everything from your garage then complete a total cleaning-out from top to bottom. Dust, wipe, and vacuum including all corners and light fixtures.
- Address any need for maintenance such as mold, ant, or termite infestation.
- Then, complete necessary repairs or replacement for any cracked surfaces on walls and the floor as well as locks, handles, and mechanisms for doors and windows. The floor should even and completely free of cracks or bumps (this is required).
- Seal and sand all surfaces as necessary.
- Finally, choose a light or neutral color and paint the garage interior.
This should take from three to seven days to complete. When this step is completed, you a completely clean and fully functional garage that can be converted into a workshop. Rest and admire your work. Decide if you want to proceed to the next step.
Create A Floor Plan:
The first step is to measure the full dimensions of the garage including height, width, and depth.
- Graph paper: Print out a graphing paper that can be used as a floor plan. Each box on the graph paper should represent six (6) inches so that four boxes in a square translates to two (2) square feet. If the paper is not large enough, print out more copies and tape them together. The tape should be on the back surface, not on where you will be drawing.
- Note utilities: Use a pencil on the graph paper to create a floor plan of the garage. Indicate the locations of all other fixed elements such as doors, windows, electrical outlets, lights, faucets, sinks, and fuse box. Measure each of these elements and position them accurately on the graph paper. The remaining open space in the center of the garage is what you will apportion in the next step.
- Apportion space: If your garage is used for a vehicle, measure the length, width, and door widths of the vehicle. Draw this on the floor plan where you normally park the vehicle. Make sure there is enough space for you to stand between the bumper and the garage door. Indicate on the floor plan the space needed when the vehicle doors are open. Ideal space requirements should be:
- 60 percent for vehicle
- 10 percent for open vehicle doors and for you to move around
- 30 percent is the remaining space for workshop storage
This step should take no more than a day to be completed. This is when you stop and decide if your space is to be used as a woodworking or metalworking workshop.
2. Utilities: Plan out your Space
After you have decided on the purpose of the space conversion, examine the existing power supply, electrical outlets, and sizes (gauges) of the electrical cords. You do not want to strain an ordinary power outlet by plugging in a heavy-duty power saw or metal grinder.
- Power outlets: Position power outlets high off the ground in case of back pain or flooding, and locate them where you are not likely to cover them with cabinets, organizers, or tool storage systems. Think about the pros and cons of power outlets above your workspace instead of on the walls.
- Safety breaker: If you are using high-powered tools, you may want to plug them to power sources that do not affect the power supply of the rest of the house. Decide where you can position a power breaker so that you or a shorter person can easily flip the switch when necessary.
- Lighting height: Decide where you will install LED lights and how far they will be from the floor. Too low: You do not want to accidentally shatter a light bulb when you are maneuvering long pieces of wood or metal. Too high: You don’t want to be straining your eyes when working on small details and the light is not enough.
- Climate control: Decide where you will install exhaust fan(s), A/C, heater, and other climate control or air filtration devices of your choice. Most garage walls are not insulated. If you intend to work in your garage year-round, ask for professional help to insulate your garage walls and roof or ceiling.
- Soundproofing: If you will be working with high-decibel power tools, consider soundproofing the garage. You don’t want to disturb the rest of the house as well as the neighbors. Ask an expert about soundproofing for walls, as well as for doors and windows that can allow sound to escape and disturb others.
- Consult the experts: Contact a licensed electrician to install the necessary outlets, breakers, lights, lights, and other electrical appliances or equipment. If you need help with soundproofing and installation, contact competent persons to help you.
This step should be completed in about three weeks, including materials preparation, consultation with a professional electrician, and installation of fixed equipment. Now that you know where the A/C, exhaust, and power supply points are located, you can stop and rest. Use this time to think about tool organizers and materials storage that won’t cover these important utilities.
3. Organizers and Work Surfaces
If you have more than enough space, say you have one vehicle in a two-car garage, you can easily purchase ready-made workshop cabinets, organizers, and workbenches on wheels. Choose flexible, multi-use, non-bulky options. Also, choose wall-mounted storage using high shelves to maximize your work area.
If your garage has very limited space for a workshop, consider creating your own foldable, durable cabinets and workbenches or tables. You should have the following essentials:
- Organization & storage: Your tools and safety equipment must be stored in a way that is well-organized, easy to reach, flexible, and occupies the least possible space. Think vertical and narrow instead of wide and bulky.
- Reach and mobility: Earlier, you made sure that your floor is free of cracks and bumps because you will have everything on wheels for flexibility and ease. When you store and organize tools and equipment, storage units should be weight-bearing and sturdy, wheels should be heavy load-bearing, and the items should be at easy reach.
- Variety and range: Think of all the tools, materials, equipment, and supplies that you could possibly use at any given time, and how they might accumulate over the years. If you have different types of clamps, sandpaper, pliers, screwdrivers, and so on, you want to have a place for everything, and everything in its place.
4. Essential Furniture
- safety kit
- space-saving, folding, sturdy, weight-bearing workbench
- project center
- track horse
- miter saw stand
- table saw station
- woodworking bench
- utility bench
- metalworking bench
5. Easy Cleaning Systems
- dust collection system
- trash, shavings, cut ends
6. Bulk Storage
- large equipment
- bulky materials
Organizing a garage workshop extends your home’s usefulness quotient. With careful space planning, atmospheric and lighting controls, as well as power, safety, and waste controls, organizing a workshop in your garage can benefit your car, your wood- or metal-working hobby, as well as increase your property’s value.