10 Steps to Get Your Garage Ready for Winter

Winter is coming, and you better get your home ready to withstand the season. And that includes one of the most oft-overlooked clutter magnets in the house—your garage!

  1. Ready, Set, Winter!

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    Cleaning the garage for winter

    Too often, chaos greets us whenever we open the garage door. Spend a little time this fall getting this hardworking space back in shape. If you take these 10 steps now to make your garage winter-proof and clutter-free, you'll be able to enjoy a season of energy savings and peace of mind.

    Related: 12 Ideas to Steal from the Most Organized Garages

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  2. Reduce and Reorder

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    Organizing garage for winter

    Do your garage “spring cleaning” this fall. Start by donating anything you no longer need. Then get busy organizing. Install wall racks so your shovels, skis, and winter gear will be easily accessible. Mount additional shelving so you can move any remaining items off the floor. Finish up by sweeping the floor and checking for cracks, leaks, and evidence of pests. 

    Related: 12 Things to Toss ASAP When You Clean Out Your Garage

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  3. Weatherize

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    Weatherizing garage for winter

    Replace old weatherstripping, which can get brittle and shrink over time, and recaulk doors and windows to ensure a tight seal. Check your garage door cables and rollers for wear and tear, then use a lubricating spray on all moving parts.

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  4. Insulate Big Areas

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    Insulate garage for winter

    If your garage is unfinished, install fiberglass batt insulation to keep the cold out. Cover any exposed pipes with foil or fiberglass insulation. Seal windows with weatherproof plastic tarps.

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  5. Seal Small Openings

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    Seal outlets in garage winter

    After you tackle weatherstripping and insulation, make sure smaller openings are sealed up too. This includes electrical outlets, which allow cold air to leak into your garage. Use fire-blocking caulk as an easy DIY way to seal outlets.

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  6. Conserve Energy

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    Cover water heater in winter

    If you have an older water heater (or one that’s warm to the touch), you’ll want to cover it with a water heater blanket to conserve heat and reduce energy costs. The Department of Energy estimates that this simple step can save you 7 to 16 percent in water-heating costs.

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  7. Get a (Better) Grip

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    Refinish garage floors winter

    Consider refinishing your garage floor with a coating made from liquid stone or epoxy. A no-slip floor provides extra traction and a better grip for your vehicle (and feet) when slush, ice, and mud make surfaces treacherous.

    Related: The 10 Best Things You Can Do for Your Garage

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  8. Protect Liquids and Chemicals

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    Protect liquids in garage for winter

    Place any liquids or cleaning chemicals in cabinets or temperature-controlled spaces so they won’t freeze. Wrap extra car batteries in insulation to prevent freezing and cracking. Protect metal tools and parts from moisture by safely storing in a toolbox or well-sealed drawer.

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  9. Dispose of Old Chemicals

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    Dispose of chemicals in garage

    Fluctuating temps and freezing weather can cause liquids to expand and contract and their containers to warp and shatter, leading to chemical spills. Take old paint, dead car batteries, and other potentially toxic items to a hazardous waste disposal site.

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  10. Prepare Tools and Supplies

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    Clean tools in winter

    Clean and maintain your lawn mower and hedge cutter, and bring them indoors for the winter. Make sure your snow blower is in good working order. Stock up on supplies like sand, salt, and bottled water in case of a storm.

    Related: 11 Things Never to Keep in Your Garage

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  11. Invest in Comfort and Safety

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    Garage safety in winter

    Keep safety and security in mind as you prepare your home for winter. Pick up a few sturdy new mats to help soak up snow and ice when the messy weather arrives. If you don't already have them, install motion-sensing lights to brighten the exterior of your home in the dark winter evenings. And if you work in your garage during the winter, invest in an energy-efficient space heater. You'll appreciate the warmth come January!

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