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.

I had to have a conversation with myself recently about my current storage situation. After a short buying spree this fall, I found myself confronted with a dozen machines in the garage—not counting the lawn equipment. My two-and-a-half car garage was literally bursting at the seams. While my solution to this problem is not universal, I have gleaned a few tips that you can apply to your particular situation.

Send off the parts you won’t need (or can easily replace)

Kyle's garage corner shelf
It’s a lot of shelf space, but there are certainly parts I don’t really need to be holding onto in here. Kyle Smith

It’s so easy to become a hoarder of parts, especially if you are a fanatic about one particular make or model. Corvair parts overflow from bins, shelves, and corners of my garage as if they are duplicating themselves whenever I turn off the lights. Take stock of  your goals and use that as a guide to trim down the parts hoard. I had everything to convert a Powerglide Corvair to a four-speed manual, without any long-term plans to buy another Corvair. Those are parts that aren’t incredibly rare, so I can reacquire some when/if I actually pursue that project. For now they are listed for sale.

Reassess your relationships

Kyle's garage motorcycles
Lots of cool bikes, but when it comes down to it, there are a couple that could go without me missing them. Kyle Smith

By reassess your relationships, I’m not referring to the one you have with your significant other, who is asking where to park her car all winter, but the relationships with the vehicles you keep. Second to my Corvair obsession are Honda XR motorcycles. There were five in the garage, and when I took a step back and assessed the situation, the XR200R looked like the obvious choice to change addresses. I bought the bike in the spring so I could use the front end for the Trials portion of Six Ways to Sunday is really fun, but I often loaded up the XR250R instead when I was trail-bound on a Saturday. So why was I keeping the 200 around? It is a great loaner machine, but when it came down to the thought of maintaining and storing another bike just for the two or three times per year I would bring a friend along doesn’t make sense. So it went off to a new home.

Check in with your enablers

car being pushed into place in garage

I have a lot of storage space at home, certianly enough to be dangerous. The deal negotiated with my lovely fiancée is that her car gets parked inside during the winter. Outside all summer is fine, but she is not very tolerant of scraping ice and snow first thing in the morning. To maintain that agreement I have space reserved in a friend’s pole barn. It’s not a commercial operation; he only rents space to a few friends for just enough money to cover his property taxes on the building. So when I called and asked about my chances of putting three motorcycles in with the agreed-upon one car, it wasn’t a big deal. You probably have a friend or five who are enablers to your hobby. Call them up and see what they are willing to do to help you out—permanently or temporarily.

Get smart

Kyle's garage 2021
Lots of stuff to shuffle this time of year. Kyle Smith

Organizing your space is not a new concept, but if you are going through your storage situation for the winter season like I am, make a list of what projects you are prioritizing for the season and keep those easy to access. That makes it easier to find the stuff you will need and also allows you to …

… Bury the rest

That’s right. Take what you know you aren’t going to need anytime soon, package it well, and then stuff it all in the nooks and crannies of your space. Stack things on top of whatever you can. Hang the light stuff in the rafters. Make it disappear BUT—and this is a big but—make a list of what you have and where it is located. This helps two ways: It keeps you from going crazy looking endlessly in tubs and bins if you end up needing something that you tucked away two years ago, and should anything happen to your shop (like a fire) you have a comprehensive inventory that you can take to your insurance provider awhen filing a claim. Bonus points if you photograph items.

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