One of the most common complaints we see from homeowners here in the Washington, DC metro area is mice in the garage. If you have them, take heart; you are not alone, and you are not helpless in this situation. If you don’t have them, it’s still a good idea to think about how you can keep them away (while you still can!).
Closet America has been helping your neighbors with creating mouse-proof garage storage solutions for years, and we have some advice we’d like to share.
The Delicate Art of Mouse-Proof Garage Storage
You have to admire mice a bit. They can squeeze through ¼-inch holes, jump a foot into the air, and climb nearly smooth surfaces even higher than that. They have powerful teeth, extraordinary balance, and a super-keen sense of smell—and all of that makes them formidable home invaders.
The folk wisdom about the need for a better mousetrap remains true to this day: the options are horrible. Traditional mousetraps are inconvenient to use and ineffective. Poisons are dangerous—they make your home toxic and create the risk of mice dying in inaccessible places, like inside the walls. Glue traps are cruel and disgusting. Kinder, alternative folk remedies may work, but a garage that smells of essential oils (think peppermint, lavender and sage), plus mothballs and deodorant soap can be a lot to handle.
The best way to keep mice away is to create a garage storage solution that’s impossible for them to get into in the first place.
How to Be Mouse-Proof
You need to get your garage clean. Really clean. This is a great opportunity to sort through the clutter and free yourself from the needless possessions that unavoidably pile up through time, as well as the dust, grit, grime, and grease they accumulate. You are looking to eliminate nesting grounds, and that can be almost any place where the mice can curl up and sleep unnoticed. Less is more in mouse-proofing.
Next, scrub. All it takes to draw mice in is a few crumbs from the sandwich you were eating on the way to the car when you were running late or a little sticky spot you didn’t catch after a jar fell out of the grocery bag and broke three months ago.
Once you’ve gotten the garage into shape, all you have to do is maintain that cleanliness as you continue to use it. Treat food spills like a hazmat situation. Sweep (if not scrub) the floor regularly. Your garage is also a source of warmth and shelter, so keeping doors and windows closed is also a big help, especially in cold seasons. If your garage has a window, it’s a good idea to put a screen on it, and it is an absolute necessity for the garage door to have a rubber seal on the bottom. The side door should form a tight seal in the doorjamb as well.
Garage Storage That Resists Mice
Along with cleanliness, proper storage is the key to successful mouse-proofing. You are sure to have things in your garage pantry [link to “Putting a Pantry in the Garage” when live] that smell delicious to mice. It might be dog food, birdseed, garden seed, or your own food stocks. It doesn’t take a lot to feed mice, and they’ll smell even a small amount of potential food. Containerization is essential for those items. You need sturdy, airtight containers. Don’t even think about paper or cardboard. The mice will shred that up to make a nest behind the source of food. They’ll chew through plastic too if it’s thin enough.
Mice nest in dark, narrow places that are hard for larger animals to access. That’s why clutter is a mouse’s best friend. Now, after you’ve decluttered your garage, you almost surely have lots of stuff left in your garage. Clutter isn’t an amount, it’s a mode of storage. You can have a relatively small amount of stuff and it can still look like there may be wolves living in there. Or, with good organization, you can store practically anything, and as much of it as you need, safely and neatly.
Having an abundance of storage space will ensure that your possessions do not turn into clutter by providing ample space for their orderly storage without piling things up. This discourages mice by making it harder for them to remain unseen. It also helps you remain well organized. Mouse-proof garage organization solutions include:
Freestanding cabinets on legs with solid bottoms, adjustable shelves, and tight doors
Slatwalls to hold items on hooks or in racks or baskets far off the floor
Ceiling storage in the rafters or hanging in baskets is ideal for items that are rarely used
Shoe shelves to keep everyone’s footwear in order and, importantly, exposed to the light, where they will be a less tempting nesting place for mice
Besides discouraging mice, these organization systems will look nice and help keep your things in good condition.
Keeping Your Garage Storage Mouse-Free
A mouse-proof garage is both clean and attractive. Good design and quality systems will set you up to be permanently mouse-free. Begin by scheduling a free design consultation with a closet design expert who can work with you to create a design specifically for you that will protect your home and possessions from vermin and damage caused by improper storage.
To start making your garage both mouse-free and clutter-free, contact us today!