A garage is often so much more than just a place to park your car. It can also double as a workshop, a painting studio, a home gym, a sports bar, a storage unit, and even a home office — or all of the above.
These days — and especially during the COVID-19 pandemic — garages are basically an extension of a home’s living space, offering extra semi-climate controlled square footage when you need just a little more room.
A more affordable (and environmentally friendly!) option is to source these garage must-haves from thrift shops, estate sales, yard sales, recycling facilities, and other secondhand stores. To figure out which garage items are the best secondhand contenders, we consulted home stagers, who spend much of their time shopping and hunting down items that will help their clients sell their homes. Read on for their secondhand garage picks.
Gardening and Landscaping Tools
If you’ve got a garage, chances are, you’ve got a yard. And that yard needs regular maintenance, including watering, mowing, raking, and planting. Instead of trekking to the hardware store for a new shovel and rake, hit up a secondhand shop or a garage sale, recommends John Forslund, owner of Unjumbold, a New Jersey home and lifestyle store that also offers home-staging services. As an added bonus, vintage garden tools (that are still functional) can double as rustic garage or outdoor decor.
“Neither need to be purchased new, when the vintage ones work the same,” he says. “Keep them around, feature them on a sleek wall rack system, or lean them against the shed and let them live out their days in peace.”
The mechanics of wheelbarrows are pretty simple, which is why they’re good contenders for buying secondhand, Forslund says.
“Why buy a brand-new boring wheelbarrow when you can go online and most likely find a charming metal and wood wheelbarrow for a few dollars?” he says. “They function the same, are oftentimes built better than today’s foam or rubber products, and they look timeless. A little rust never did a wheelbarrow any harm — and if you ever decide to trade up, they make great planters in a large-scale landscaping plot.”
Even if you plan to call a handyman for most, if not all, of your household repairs and upgrades, everyone can benefit from having a few basic tools around for emergencies. Sometimes it’s best to buy brand-new tools to get the most up-to-date safety features, but other times, you can get away with buying secondhand, says Forslund. Keep an eye out for standard, tried-and-true tools like hammers, screwdrivers, wrenches, and even some saws the next time you’re out thrifting.
Garages are handy places to store holiday decorations, all your random childhood keepsakes you don’t want to get rid of, and pretty much everything in between. The next time you’re scouring a garage sale or your local thrift shop, keep your eye out for storage bins and crates of all shapes and sizes, says Candance Toscano, a home stager in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Along the same lines, secondhand shelves, wall hooks, and ceiling hooks are essential for organizing the garage, Toscano says.
“The garage seems to be the catch-all of the house, so really getting things under control in this area requires getting organized and making great use of storage, without breaking the bank,” she says.