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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

5 pieces of advice to help with your storage problem

The worst part of our automotive obsession is that cars are big. Owning an extra car is a sizable commitment even before you factor in any tools, spares, or other items that naturally follow. Being smart with your storage can go a long way in making sure you have a positive and long-term relationship with your beloved car.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/maintenance-and-tech/5-pieces-of-advice-to-help-with-your-storage-prob...
49 REPLIES 49
Greg_I
Hagerty Employee

This pretty much covers all the bases. Having a father with a 30x40 heated barn has been a lifesaver and considering he is the world's worst enabler, I don't feel bad parking my stuff. That said, he could really consider that first piece of advice. He's got so many parts that go to projects that were sent down the road 10 years ago it isn't funny. We could easily fit another car or two in the spots taken up by parts.
avideo
Detailer

We're getting ready to see our C2 Corvette convertible in the next few months, and virtually everything we have associated with the car will be sold at local swap meets and in auto publication ads. The car is going to be replaced with a new C8 convertible sometime in 2022 - so no need to hang onto any C2 parts.
ShamrockRally
Pit Crew

Nice article representing a real garage.
A list/inventory is a great idea. Include part numbers. Sure, you know what the special part is, but if someone had to take over your collection would they know?
Also, do a check of the market before you jettison those old parts. As the years passed, availability and values may have changed.
mbr2000
Advanced Driver

Yes nice to see a real garage, unlike those fantasyland garages like Griot's, where every surface is devoid of tools and the floors are gleaming.
DUB6
Specialist

   I too am liking the "stashed-parts-list" suggestion.  Years ago, I could rattle off what all I had and knew exactly where it was.  The years have played havoc with the old memory cells, however, and I know I'm not alone.  If I had a dollar for every time either I or a friend has said, "I think I have one of those around here somewhere", I'd be able to afford a larger storage facility.  And would someone taking over my stash know what everything is?  Heck, I'm ready to admit that even I'm not sure about a few items!  I think the picture idea is really best - with descriptions and approximate value (at time of acquisition) noted digitally and stored on a thumb drive - being extra helpful for not only inheritors, but insurance people as well.

   The one suggestion Kyle makes that confuses me is prioritizing projects and storing stuff accordingly.  I have so many things stored that aren't even part of a planned project - but are "that'll come in handy someday" items - that I really have no ideas on what I'll be doing next (not to mention having a spouse that presents me with "I have something I want you to do for me" on a sporadic and unpredictable basis).  I doubt that I'd ever be able prioritize projects with any reliability.  😁

   I am lucky, however, in that I have a barn here on the ranch - and currently no animals large enough to have to use it for them.  So it's become mostly a storage facility (especially for winter).  It doesn't have power (it's a Code problem which would be very expensive to correct), so I remove batteries and take them into the garage workshop, where it's handy to have all the battery tenders all in one spot anyway.  In nicer weather, I often work on larger project out there, but in winter, I can take up 100% of the available space just to store things.

   I did have to clean out a couple of stalls for a granddaughter's horses when she was traveling through on the way to a competition this past spring, and I took the opportunity to rid myself of some "I don't REALLY need this" items, but other than that, I don't often find it in my DNA (or my wife's) to get rid of something once I've got it.  It's either a mental defect or a serious illness of some sort that my heirs will have to contend with when I'm gone.  So, I'm back to the thumb drive cataloging idea - that's gonna be fun come next spring!

Tinkerah
Engineer

I can not like and ditto this enough! Other than the benefit of the barn I can relate to all of it.
WOJ
Intermediate Driver

I put the top down for a whole year on my convertibles. I slowly lower it and stopping before it is in the well to carefully remove any bunched top material and flatten it out to fold down evenly, also placing microfiber towels between the folds. I do this with both vinyl and cloth tops. When I raise them....I make sure they are warm...70+ degrees...outside in the sun is great. I DO NOT fix them to the header (windshield) until the are nice and warm and will seat without too much force which may take several hours. Doing this for 25 years and NO ill effects on the tops.
WOJ
Intermediate Driver

I also have to add that the top needs to be CLEAN...and I mean really CLEAN...Wash the top and completely dry it...next VACUUM the top....inside and outside...I recommend using an SV-DBSD1 ANTISTATIC BRUSH which was designed to clean toner powder from XEROX machines .......No one ever thinks about the INSIDE of the convertible top....next go over the whole top...both inside and out with a LINT ROLLER..cheap one from the dollar store works great....
DUB6
Specialist

You know, this all seems like a lot of - well, not work, exactly, but 'stuff' to do - but I surely can't argue with 25 years of success!  I've only ever owned one convertible in my life, and as it was used when I bought it, the top wasn't in primo condition from my first day with it (not to mention that I bought it in the dead of a bitter winter).  Perhaps if the prior owner had known these steps - and then told me about them - the top would have been much nicer when it went to its next home.  😉

Kyle
Moderator

Part numbers is a good idea! I've got some goofy NLA stuff for the old Hondas that would be nice to keep track of that way.
Michaelpapa
New Driver

Great ideas! In case I missed it I highly recommend unhooking your battery when storing your vehicle. Varmints can chew your wires causing a short end possibly a fire 🔥.
dbier
Intermediate Driver

I recently purchased a 4 post lift from a neighbor who was moving and plan to raise my Chevelle convertible up on it for winter storage - to allow some of the outdoor/summer items to be stored underneath. Due to the overhead door tracks, I can raise the car higher if I store it with the top lowered (but would cover the car with a car cover). HOWEVER, I worry that storing it with the top down would not be good for the top (e.g. creases, material not being stretched, etc). Anybody know?
mbr2000
Advanced Driver

Might want to check with actual top manufacturers to see what they say. Is there enough ceiling height to raise the garage door tracks? I've seen 9 and 10 ft ceilings with 7 ft garage doors installed with the openers and tracks only 7 ft above the floor, when they could be much higher.
Thorper007
New Driver

As mbr2000 already suggested, if there is the height in the garage most ‘Garage Door’ companies can re-position the door rails so you can benefit from having the lift with the car roof up.  I’m not quite clear on why having the roof up is a concern when the roof is only a few inches higher than the top of the windshield but you know better.  Even if your left the roof stowed away it’s really not a big deal.  Any creases come out when the top is up and exposed to the sun and heat.   In all likelihood with a convertible your probably not driving the car much with the roof up anyway…just saying🤠

dbier
Intermediate Driver

I should have clarified - it's actually the garage door opener/track that is the main obstacle. The windshield frame clears that when pulled in forward. Also with top down less chance I'd inadvertently raise the garage door into the roof of the car while on the lift. 

awfink55
Intermediate Driver

To dbier, I had the same problem. I removed the door opener for now. So, the door needs to be opened manually, which is no real problem. I plan to mount a "Sidewinder" opener shortly. It's mounted on the sidewall at the track and does not interfer with the lift. Hope this helps.
WOJ
Intermediate Driver

I put the top down for a whole year on my convertibles. I slowly lower it and stopping before it is in the well to carefully remove any bunched top material and flatten it out to fold down evenly, also placing microfiber towels between the folds. I do this with both vinyl and cloth tops. When I raise them....I make sure they are warm...70+ degrees...outside in the sun is great. I DO NOT fix them to the header (windshield) until the are nice and warm and will seat without too much force which may take several hours. Doing this for 25 years and NO ill effects on the tops.
WOJ
Intermediate Driver


I also have to add that the top needs to be CLEAN...and I mean really CLEAN...Wash the top and completely dry it...next VACUUM the top....inside and outside...I recommend using an SV-DBSD1 ANTISTATIC BRUSH which was designed to clean toner powder from XEROX machines .......No one ever thinks about the INSIDE of the convertible top....next go over the whole top...both inside and out with a LINT ROLLER..cheap one from the dollar store works great....
55Customline
Intermediate Driver

Great article! I've mastered the skill of packing away in all the nooks and crannies, but now the idea of having the list is resonating w/ me! Thanks!
MrThunder
Pit Crew

I finally let go of the motorcycles and Whizzer. I have 2 convertibles, and enjoy driving them as much or more than the motorcycles. Not to mention they are a lot safer. Also ditched parts and fluids for cars I no longer own. Duh! Garage space has improved immensely.
SCHNELL
Intermediate Driver

Final answer is build a larger garage
Tinkerah
Engineer

You would think, but we all know that's a temporary solution. It will be be just as crammed quicker than you would believe.
Kyle
Moderator

If only! I'm landlocked as it sits, and if I were to build there is a bunch of things Ii would want that would not be possible if I added onto the current spot. The house is worth staying for, so the current garage situation has to be tolerated for the foreseeable future.
Sundogstudio1
New Driver

Sounds like very good advice. I had that conversation with myself this summer after acquiring my '74 MGB. Storage became a priority, especially considering the need to be able to park the wife's car in the garage for the winter. I dreaded the idea of parking the MG outside during an Alberta winter under a flimsy car cover. After some experimenting I found I was able to park all three cars in the double garage with enough room to get in and out. Next spring I am building a shed behind the garage for the mower, snowblower, bikes and other small seasonal items that will free up space in the garage for just the vehicles. Reassessing and rearranging storage will free up space to make it more comfortable and perhaps enable me to be able to work on the project car over winter with an added heating system.
Kyle
Moderator

Getting all the small engine equipment out really adds up! I hate to leave my snowblower outside, but I'm not about to put the motorcycles out for the winter...
mbr2000
Advanced Driver

I have an attached 35x25 3-car garage, but as nice as that sounds I wish I had more linear wall space. One way to get that is to run shelving units down the center between car bays. But then you'd probably have room for only smaller vehicles. Even with my oversized garage, I bit the bullet and built a detached garage behind the house, leaving the main garage for daily drivers, house stuff, and seldom used tools like a pressure washer, and shelves full of parts I rarely need. A plus in the new garage is it's wired for mini-split AC/heater system. Any suggestions on that?
BigBlock17
New Driver

I have a mini-split AC/heater system for the conditioned storage and office in the loft of my barn. It works very well, but you may want to check the lowest heat setting available on the thermostat. Mine is a Mitsubishi system and the lowest heat set point is 59 degrees F. There are periods where I don't use that area much during the winter and would like to set the temp lower than that and cannot without shutting the system OFF (not desirable). If this is a concern or a desired function for you, I would suggest you research this feature before selecting the system you desire. I live in northern Michigan and the cost of heat is not cheap, so I try to be as economical as I can. When the outdoor temps drop below the efficiency range of the heat pump, the unit switches over to electric heat. Be aware of this, as well.

DUB6
Specialist

   If you can't learn something or get good advice at least weekly on this site, you are entirely too smart. 😉  @BigBlock17 brings up a great bit of info.  We have a rental that has a split unit in it, and it's currently uninhabited, with winter coming on.  I only just learned that the lowest setting is 61 degrees.  I'd like to be able to get it down lower - just enough to protect pipes and such - but looks like I'm forced to heat the place at 61 and pay the electric bill.  It's something to consider if you are looking into the split devises!

Kyle
Moderator

Can you use a different thermostat or is it proprietary? When I added heat to my garage (also in Northern Michigan) I used a basic Nest thermostat that allows me to set it all the way down to 50 degrees. It's a Modine Hot Dawg and is controlled like most furnaces so it'll play nice with a lot of different thermostats. 

DUB6
Specialist

The thermostat is internal on the system in our rental.  It has a handheld remote to set things, but it stops at its preset limit.  The settings show on a little LED panel on the unit, but short of trying to dig inside the unit, which I won't do (I'm no electrician, nor an HVAC guy), I can't see any way to get past the internal stops it has from the factory.

DougMeyer
Pit Crew

A good article, great advice, but also try this..... Almost everything in my garage is "on wheels". Tool boxes of course, engine stand. But you know those chrome wire racks with the adjustable shelf heights? They offer an amazing amount of vertical space. I have 8 of them around the periphery of the garage, all on casters with multiple shelves.. That includes bead blaster, grinders, some work space, jacks and stands, etc. When I have something apart, all the parts for that particular project are on a dedicated rack or racks. Recently, I wanted to re-paint my epoxy floor (after 10 years) and this enabled me to have the floor completely exposed, ready to clean, sand and paint in about 1/2
day. I just rolled all the stuff out onto the driveway (covered some of it with tarps in case it were to rain). All re-painted and "re-filled" in 4 days. Another "feature" is wheel "skates" on casters. My restored C2 does not go out in the winter so it sits on the skates which allow me to move it "sideways" over to an area not aligned with the overhead door.
Kyle
Moderator

I love that everything in my space is on wheels. In fact I just modified my workbench (again) so that they roll around. Now there is shelves to help add weight low and make them more stable.

I've been lusting after epoxy floors, but I know my old construction garage does not have a vapor barrier under the slab and I would bet that an epoxy floor would only last a few years before it starts to lift. The work to lay it down wouldn't be worth the time it would last for me unfortunately.
hyperv6
Racer

I made use of my space in all aspects. I have the attic finished to where I can use it all for storage.

I walked the garage with white vinyl peg board so I can hang things any place.

I use the ceiling for my air hoses and power cords to drop down. I also took my sons soap box derby cars and hung them wheels up to the ceiling for storage and decoration. You can do the same with parts and other items.

I retain a small wood barn to store all my yard tools and other non automotive items to clear space for my toys.

The other key is no matter how big you build a garage it will always be 6 feet too small. The key is add on more than you expect for work areas on the side and in front. I had the doors on the long side of my old garage. My new I turned it and out one large door on one end and a single on the other. It made for a much better floor plan.

I still have my vehicles in and enough room for a shop area and a sitting area to watch TV.

Finally put heat and water inside. Outlets every 6 feet on the wall. Outlets in the ceiling and plan it out.

 

I also keep the daily drivers up in the attached garage. Cuts down on moisture. Even then I have a fan vent that circulates the air to control the humidity. It was not overly expensive but it keeps the cars and tools dry. 

insulate everything no matter where you live. Mine is warm in the winter and keeps the heat out in the summer. Stable temps are your friend. 

bmarsh68
New Driver

I moved to Northern Wisconsin and have a smaller garage. I bought a set of floor dollies. Now in the winter I turn my Alfa sideways and push it to the back of the garage, leaving room for my other cars.
edselehr
New Driver

Making a comprehensive list of parts you have will also help you avoid the cost of time and money it takes to find that desperately needed part for your project...that you forgot you already purchased five years earlier. Please don't ask me how I came up with this advice.
motormark
New Driver

Focus is a key thing here. When you can decide to part with a bike or car and all the associated parts and literature, you have cleaned up your program. Plus, you are not hoarding stuff another person can use, getting some cash to put into what you are working on. (Make sure you label boxes you are stashing, and if there's an especially rare valuable part, tag it w a retail price.)

Regarding garage ceiling clearance, I have "jackshaft" door openers that lack the funky center track, chain drive to motor. All the mechanicals are right up at the front wall of the garage making the tracks the only protrusions. Getting a new door? Go with jackshaft openers.

Tinkerah
Engineer

Cord and hose reels are the greatest invention since Vise-Grips(TM)! I assembled my 3hp horizontal air compressor in the basement behind the furnace, dug a trench for a 1" PVC air line out to the detached garage and mounted a hose reel on a pair of old car door hinges just inside a bay door. The compressor is always on but a switch in the garage opens a ball valve in the house to pressurize the line. This took a LOT of work some 25 years ago but the satisfaction I get every time I flick that switch has been indescribable.
Tinkerah
Engineer

I see acres of available floor space there Kyle! My garage is so cluttered I already know how I'm going to die: I'll misplace a step dancing from one clear spot on the floor to the next, trip, fall and knock myself out and bleed to death before anyone misses me.
DUB6
Specialist

@Tinkerah : one more unfinished project then, huh? 😁

Tinkerah
Engineer

Ugh - if only, DUB6. The automotive projects are usually straight forward and get handled promptly but I get a special kick out of wacky projects that make good use of my "imagineering" skills. Like converting one of my snowblowers to run on a 3-phase electric motor. Yes, with a long cable. I can't wait to know what a snowblower sounds like when you can't hear the motor. Whether it will work or not, the gathered hardware and bracketry under way comprise plenty of tripping hazards.

jaysalserVW
Advanced Driver

Kyle...I would disagree with you about spare parts and/or parts for future up-grades. Selling now will ensure that one will pay much more later. Storage for parts certainly can be easier than locating storage for a car. The other thing which endangers your proposals is that now-available space thwarts the earlier proposal to enjoy less cluttered quarters. "Space" tends to fill--no matter. Only my old and infirm 83 years has quelled the urge to fill available space! Yep! It's true. But, a lot of my vehicle-oriented friends do not sense my urgency to disperse my goods before the inevitable comes to pass.
DUB6
Specialist

@jaysalserVW makes a good point.  Someone else can use all of my spares and "someday" items after I've stored them and tripped over them (like Tinkerah) for 30 or 40 years.  Until then, they're mine, doggone it, and if anyone else needs or wants them (highly questionable, if you saw my junk), they're gonna have to wait their turn!  😁

Kyle
Moderator

There is spares, and then there is spares on spares. Being honest and realistic about what your plans are can often lead to finding out that your parts stash has items you will never touch and could help others with their projects. I understand plans change, but I personally am not going to hoard parts for every possible outcome of my project. That doesn't make financial or space sense for me.
corvairich
New Driver

Kyle, I'm in Michigan and could be interested in those manual Corvair parts! Where are the listed?
Kyle
Moderator

I sent you a private message, let's get in touch. 

TG
Technician

Borrowed storage space is a slippery slope. If the friend's situation changes, you could end up with an emergent storage conundrum very quickly. I have seen this happen more than once... If you can't store it yourself, don't buy it
One bay in my garage never had a functioning roll-up door, and I walled it off pretty early on for parts storage and storage for non-car garage stuff (woodworking tools, exercise equipment). Best decision I ever made. if I could have gotten a car in it, I would have
Kyle
Moderator

That is a fair point regarding borrowed space. My particular situation is very stable, but I recognize not everyone has that luck. 

eighthtry
Advanced Driver

A simple and very elegant solution to the problem is to build a bigger garage. Mine was a requirement. The Queen expected to park inside under all conditions. A definition of conditions was not in her wheelhouse. On top of that I had to air condition/heat because The Queen could not understand the reason for the temperature differential between the house and the garage. Nor could she understand why she could not open the hatch on her Yukon XL inside of the garage. Nor could she understand why she had to be careful of the cars or walls, which meant more space. So, my five cars, trainset, radial arm saw, wheel barrow, golf clubs and miscellaneous parts (including some I have no car for them to fit), other household items typically garaged, etc. ended up at 1700+ square feet with 10 and 14 foot ceilings (a lift and serious shelving was needed). Seemed like a good idea at the time but now it needs to be cleaned out. Go figure. I am still trying to understand who Pavlov is.
DUB6
Specialist

I would say that the Force must be strong with your Queen.  😁