Follow these tips to achieve your dream of a Pinterest-worthy organized garage.
Step One: Declutter
The first step to organizing your garage is to take everything out of your garage – after ensuring no rain is forecasted that day. Then, sort items into three groups: sell/donate, trash, and keep. Be ruthless during this process. If you come across an item that you’re unsure about, it may help to answer the following questions:
- Do I love it?
- Do I need it?
- When was the last time I used it?
- Do I own more than one of this exact item?
While you’re sorting through the clutter in an all-out effort to take back your garage, there are some items that should be stored anywhere else, but the garage. These items include paint; propone and other hazardous materials; pet food; paper products; and large appliances like a spare refrigerator or freezer.
Paint: Extreme cold or heat can ruin it. Store paint in a low-moisture, climate-controlled area, rather than the garage. Responsibly dispose of any left-over paint you don’t plan to use in the very near future.
Propane: A spark could ignite the fumes. Propane tanks should always be stored outside – away from the house. Always ensure the valve is fully in the “off” position after using the tank. Propane tanks also require responsible disposal.
Pet Food: Mice and other pests consider pet food – whether open or unopened – an open dinner invitation. This includes birdseed. Store pet food in sealed containers and place in a climate-controlled area.
Paper Goods: Another thing that may attract mice and other pests is paper goods (e.g., toilet paper, paper towels, paper plates, etc.). It’s a good idea to store these items in your pantry instead.
Refrigerator or Deep Freezer: In areas that are not climate-controlled, these appliances will battle against the ambient temperature to keep your food and/or drinks cold, thus using more energy than if they were stored in the house.
Step Two: Storage
Now that you’ve thrown away the junk and sold or donated anything of value that is no longer useful to you, you should have a better idea of how much storage you need, and what kind. Your objective in this step is to get as much as you can off the garage floor and onto the walls or shelves.
Storage-solutions ensure that there is a place for everything and that everything goes back in its place after use. Before going out and purchasing storage-solutions or the materials to make your own, it’s important to determine whether you prefer to store items behind closed doors, on shelving units or a mix of both.
Step Three: Layout
Cabinets: If you’d prefer to store items behind closed doors, consider thick, low-gauge steel cabinets with sliding doors for longevity. Sliding doors are preferable in a garage over swing out because they help to minimize potential dings to your car.
Pegboard: Pegboard (now also available in galvanized steel) with an array of hooks and baskets is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to store your most often used tools. Slat walls or track systems with hooks and baskets are two more viable options.
Shelving: Industrial strength storage units are perfect for storing large items. Combine with stackable clear-plastic bins with lids for loose or small items. Use mason jars or other clear jar for nuts, screws, and bolts.
Workbench: A built-in workbench is the perfect accessory to any garage. You can custom build a standing or fold-down workbench in little to no time … or you can buy one. Painting the top using chalkboard paint allows you to jot down quick measurements.
Overhead Storage Racks: An effective cluster-busting storage solution is overhead or ceiling-mounted storage racks. Installation is very easy and straightforward. Their ability to free up valuable floor space is why so many people choose them.
Use the following rules of thumb as you assign everything a home:
- Store similar items (e.g., camping, gardening, woodworking, vehicle maintenance, etc.) together and within reach of where you are likely to use these items.
- Put bulky items, like lawnmowers and trash receptacles, in corners where they won’t get bumped or knocked over.
- Store seasonal decorations towards the back of the shelving units. Rotate forward during the month you’ll be using them.
- Finally, the single, most important tip for ensuring you’re able to park your car in the garage is to keep items off the floor whenever possible.