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Make Over Your Messy Garage

The typical American garage is getting bigger -- and the vast majority of homes built these days has one.

But, more and more, many Americans are using all that garage space to -- store junk!

Many people have a house that's neat and organized, but whose garage is a mess. Those folks try to organize it, but ultimately, their garage reverts to chaos.

So, with growiong frequency, they're turning to professionals for help.

Garage organizing has become big-business. Including home workshops -- comprising everything from auto-repair equipment to upright tool chests -- garage gear has become a billion-dollar industry.

The Early Show visited a typical American family whose home is immaculate, but whose garage -- needed help.

David and Karen Mandleur (and their three kids!) have a tidy house in East Brunswick, N.J. But their garage was another story. They had sports equipment, a workshop, lawnmowers, and kids' toys and memorabilia, all seemingly rolled into one. They'd tried to straighten it out on their own, but most of the fixes were temporary: Shelves would fall off the wall, bikes didn't have a place, and toys would inevitably end up mixed in with the power tools.

So, they called in a company called Garage Tek -- part of a growing niche market that installs custom garage organization and storage systems. Garage Tek created a three-dimensional plan for the garage, came to the house, emptied the garage, and installed custom paneling and shelves -- all in two days. Garage Tek also installed a hopscotch game in the floor for the three kids!.

The Early Show was there for day one of the garage makeover, and on Monday, we were there as the Manleurs revealed their new garage -- by opening its door!

The typical garage re-do costs $8,000 to $12,000, but Garage Tek's Barbara Butensky had some tips on less expensive ways to get a garage organized, with a place for everything and everything in its place!

She says any commitment to organizing your garage is heading in the right direction. First, get everything out and sort it. Then, perhaps start with some new shelves, hooks, and tubs to get stuff off the floor -- making sure you have a system that's flexible and can grow with you, so you really can keep it organized over time."

"Make a commitment to the garage," Butensky says. "Recognize that it's a large room in your home, and that the neighbors see it. You use it as your front door."

Why is it important to have organized garage? Butensky says one reason is convenience -- it saves time: You stop spending hours going, "Where is that hammer?"

COMPANIES THAT SPECIALIZE IN GARAGE ORGANIZING

GarageTek www.garagetek.com

COST: Free consultation. $9,200-plus; the most comprehensive system we
looked at, three walks covered. Price doesn't include flooring.
WHAT IT OFFERS: Custom fit "TekPanel" (for as many or few walls as you
want), ceiling options such as overhead storage racks, and custom tile
flooring. Also offers an endless number of possible accessories from
cabinets to shoe racks to a wall-mounted work table.

California Closets www.californiaclosets.com
COST: Free consultation. $4,581 for one wall with a combination of slat
wall, shelving, bins and cabinets, plus another 30" of slat wall along a
piece of the back of the garage.
WHAT IT OFFERS: Cabinets, bins, shelves, slat wall. California Closets
doesn't manufacture the hooks and small bins that fit into the slat wall,
but directs you to Racorinc.com for those products.

GarageTek www.garagetek.com
COST: Free consultation. $9,200-plus; comprehensive system; three walks covered. Price doesn't include flooring.
WHAT IT OFFERS: Custom fit "TekPanel" (for as many or few walls as you
want), ceiling options such as overhead storage racks, and custom tile
flooring. Also offers an endless number of possible accessories from
cabinets to shoe racks to a wall-mounted work table.

ClosetMaid www.closetmaid.com
COST: $5 for the consultation. Project price determined by dealers and
"big box retailers," not available with online design.
WHAT IT OFFERS: Shelves, bins and cabinets along with do-it-yourself
instructions and a design team that charges $5 to make a plan (based on
its questionnaire). Then you order the products and install them. Recently
rolled out the MultiSuite program; dealers come to your house and design
your space.

Gladiator GarageWorks; www.gladiatorgw.com
COST: Free consultation. $3,019 includes 3 rows of GearTrack channels
installed with 1 tall cabinet, 2 30" wall cabinets, 2 30" shelves and $500
of hooks and baskets.
WHAT IT OFFERS: "GearWall panels," a good assortment of cabinets,
workbenches, hooks, bins and shelves. Also appliances and flooring.