Garages become a catchall for everything you don’t want to bring into the house. We often store a lot of stuff that isn’t intended to be there. After all, garages are supposed to keep vehicles, but many are just too full to accommodate even a motorcycle or scooter.
Organizing your garage can seem overwhelming, especially if you have a lot in it. If you can’t set aside a significant amount of time, like an entire weekend, to work on it, do what you can with the time you have. Get everyone in the family to help. The key is to get started and gain momentum. This will motivate you to finish and make the task easier.
To help you get started, we’ve got some tips to help you organize your garage and keep it organized, no matter how much stuff you have.
1. Start by decluttering
The first step to organizing your garage is cleaning out the stuff you don’t want or need anymore. You’ll need to go through everything, so set aside a good chunk of time, if possible. Bring everything out of the garage and assess each item objectively. Create three areas to sort stuff: what you want to keep, what to throw away, and what to donate or sell. Make sure you quickly get rid of things once you’ve sorted them. Schedule a trash or charity pick up or hold a garage sale as soon as possible to prevent things from lying around and taking up space.
You can safely get rid of the following items:
- Old toys
- Broken items
- Expired or old chemicals (you may need to use particular disposal for these)
- Things you no longer use
2. Sort your stuff by categories
It’s best to store like items or items you use together in the same area. Categorizing your items also helps you identify duplicate items. Categories may include sports, gardening, tools, décor, or seasonal items.
3. Create work/play stations
Now that your stuff is sorted into categories plan to store like items together, creating a work or play station for each type. For example, you can make a gardening station with all your tools, soils, fertilizers, etc., surrounding a small worktable. Or cover your workbench with all your tools. Kids can also have their own stations, storing sports stuff and toys together.
4. General storage rules
Before you start returning stuff to the garage, keep these “rules” in mind:
- Paint, propane, and gasoline shouldn’t be stored in the garage due to variable temperature swings and toxic fumes.
- Store bulky items in corners that won’t interfere with parking your car or other activities.
- Frequently used items should be stored close to the door.
- Store seasonal or rarely used items in hard-to-reach places.
- Open shelves are easier to use than closed shelves. They allow you to see everything and easily access your stuff. And you don’t need extra space to accommodate doors.
- The garage is a great place to reuse kitchen cabinets after a remodel. Repurpose them to store stuff and help separate your workstations.
5. Go vertical
Since there is only limited floor space, storing stuff on the walls and the ceiling is a great way to increase the capacity of your garage. Use vertical storage systems, like pegboards, track-based systems, or panelized systems, to increase your garage’s capacity.
6. Build or buy a workbench
If you like to use tools or enjoy gardening, a workbench is an excellent addition to your garage if you don’t already have one. There are many options, including ones that fold up for storage, or you can build your own. Adding caster wheels makes your bench mobile, which can be very convenient when working on projects.
7. Keep it up
To keep your garage clean and organized, plan to sort through everything at least once a year. Take this time to clean anything dirty, restore stuff to its rightful place, and declutter by throwing or giving away the things you no longer need.
With the help of these tips, you can keep your garage clean and organized year-round. DIYers and gardeners will appreciate the organization and the creation of unique places to do what they love.