This last holiday season one of us finally bit the bullet and purchased an artificial Christmas tree. Turns out it was one of the best moves he’s ever made – even though it was his wife’s idea. Aside from not having to shell out a large chunk of change every year, the tree, which stands ten feet and comes in four sections, has collapsible branches that are pre-wired with hundreds of twinkle lights. The prospect of never having to string another set of lights or add water to the reservoir was all that it took to clinch the deal.
One month later, the new tree survived the holidays just fine and, in contrast to previous cut trees, when it came time to pull the decorating plug, the artificial tree looked as good as the day it was put up. The tree came apart the same way that it was assembled and in a matter of minutes it was laying neatly on the garage floor. It was at that moment that he began to panic. Where in heavens name was this tree going to spend the other eleven months of the year?
The two-car garage was already sufficiently cluttered so as to barely accommodate only one vehicle. Storage had never before been an issue since the tree always ended up at the curb awaiting collection by a local Boy Scout Troop. In short order, what had only moments before been a marvelous find, quickly became the enemy as it threatened a man’s final frontier and most sacred of all places – the garage.
Necessity is the mother of invention and the tree was the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back. It was time to win back the garage and the tree was the impetus. The garage walls were already lined from floor to ceiling and wall to wall with boxes of all shapes and sizes. The mission — make room for the tree and as many of the existing boxes as possible. In his case, the answer was to convert dead attic space above the finished garage into a storage area.
He accomplished this by cutting a hole in the garage ceiling and installing a pull-down attic staircase – along with several sheets of plywood flooring atop the ceiling joist. Since the underside of a pull-down attic staircase usually consists of plywood and is, therefore, not fireproof, he was able to preserve the fireproof configuration by installing a solid core fire door at the ceiling, which must first be opened to reveal the pull-down staircase. Quite a clever detail! In addition to storing his Christmas tree, he was able to relocate all of the other “stuff” into the attic making room in the garage for a second car.
Unfortunately, not all “storage stories” have such a happy ending. Often, a garage ceiling is either unfinished of consists of pre-manufactured roof trusses, which make it virtually impossible to use the area for storage. Recently we came across a new product that offers a unique storage solution for those who are “space challenged.” HyLoft overhead storage (www.hyloftusa.com <http://www.hyloftusa.com>) converts otherwise useless overhead garage space into valuable storage real estate.
The system consists of one 4’ by 4’ wire grid shelf unit that hangs from the ceiling of the garage. The lightweight grid sits atop two metal support bars that are fastened to four downrods that are in turn anchored to the underside of two ceiling joist. A previous “home made” incarnation of this system consisted of 2 by 4’s and plywood, which were, unfortunately exceedingly heavy, thus reducing the weight of the items to be stored. The four downrods on the HyLoft system can be adjusted from 16 to 28 inches from the ceiling. One aspect that makes this system especially appealing is that it can be installed immediately above a garage door – provide there is a minimum of 17 inches in the clear. Properly installed, the system will not interfere either with garage doors or openers.
One 4’ by 4’ overhead storage system will provide about 35 cubic feet of storage and is warranted to hold a maximum of 250 lbs., evenly distributed. In order to adequately disperse the stored load, not more than two HyLoft units should be installed on any two ceiling joist. The installation is as easy as locating the ceiling joist, measuring the bracket locations and anchoring the brackets to the ceiling joist with the screws provided. Complete the job by fastening the downrods and attaching the cross bar supports. Voila, instant storage in a location that may have otherwise forevermore gone unused. You may obtain more information on the HyLoft overhead storage system by telephoning the manufacturer at 1-800-990-6003.