The 6 Essentials for Every Garage


Safety Gear

Don’t put yourself in a bind in which you can’t find your safety glasses but need to work on a project, so you proceed without eye protection. Set up your shop with a dedicated area for safety equipment. You’re much more likely to actually don safety gear if you’re able to find it easily.

At the very least, you should keep two pairs of impact-rated safety glasses (one for yourself, one for an onlooker or a partner), safety goggles that wrap tight to your face for chemical splash protection, leather and/or mechanics gloves, disposable gloves, earplugs or earmuffs, a face shield (to be used with safety glasses) and a brand-name disposable respirator. You should also download and print out material safety and data sheets for any hazardous chemicals you use or store in your garage. Plus, keep a small first-aid kit handy.

 

Power Strips and Extension Cords

If you find yourself hunting for free power outlets, it’s time to think about power strips and extension cords. A 4-foot, 10-outlet power strip is perfect for placement on a workbench and can handle corded tools and cordless-tool battery chargers with ease. Use smaller power strips to make difficult-to-reach outlets more accessible. For the garage, use metal-encased power strips like the Yellow Jacket surge protector; they typically come with generous 15-foot cords.

 

General Storage

Pegboard, a garage staple, is by far the most economical way to store individual tools and pieces of equipment. There are different hooks available for hammers, extension cords and other tools.

 

Tool Chests

The more tools you own, the more important organization becomes—few things are as frustrating as spending an hour looking for a tool you need for a 15-minute project.

 

Workbench

A workbench is the first thing you should build or buy since it will be central to most of your projects.

A DIY workbench can be as simple as slapping an old solid-core door or plank of medium-density fiberboard (MDF) on top of two sawhorses. If you want something more sophisticated, though, there are hundreds of easy-to-build designs floating around the Web for workbenches constructed of 2 x 4s and 4 x 4s .

Lighting

Inadequate lighting can hurt the quality of your work and lead to time-consuming or costly mistakes. Luckily, it’s not too difficult or costly to upgrade your lighting with ceiling-mounted fluorescent light fixtures. Start by looking at 4-foot instant-on T8 bulb fixtures with wide reflectors or diffusers.

Hanging shop lights, such as this low-profile one by Lithonia, are single-, double- or four-bulb fixtures that drop down from above your workbench to provide illumination where you need it most. Sometimes just adding one of these lamps to an otherwise dimly lit garage can lead to noticeably better visibility.

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