The way you treat your garage may soon be reflected in all your other assets. Your car maintenance is in direct correlation with this fact, and, seeing as how the majority of people use their garage as secondary storage, the rest of the household will also be affected. So, how do you organize your garage to utilize every single centimetre?
You need to measure your garage and put its layout on paper (or an appropriate digital equivalent). Once you have this, you need to do some drawing and figure out which items are essential. The base purpose of the garage is to serve as a shelter for your vehicle. Other than this, it also has a storage function. Some people also use it as a sort of workshop.
All in all, the size and your use of a garage will mandate which items are necessary and which are optional. Once you have the layout down, you need to start drawing the map of all your storage. Remember, you want to use every centimetre of space that you’ve got. This means utilising every centimetre of your walls and ceiling, as well as the regular shelf space. Racks are probably your best option, but you need to ensure that they’re properly mounted to not put anyone’s life in danger. This is especially true when it comes to ceiling racks. All-in-all, take your time and keep in mind that you also need to have some manoeuvring space.
Another thing you need to do is ensure that the space that you’re working with is clutter-free. Why? Well, because this will increase the efficiency of your organization, improve the visuals of the place and provide you with more space. Other than being distracting and creating obstacles, clutter also serves as a potential shelter for pests. So, by removing it, you’re also investing in the safety of your health and property. Lastly, check if you can sell, donate, or repurpose some of these items before you discard anything.
Some people use their garage as if it were a workshop. For this to work, you need to lay some proper infrastructure. You see, a workshop requires more than a workstation or a craftsman’s table. It also requires proper storage of materials and access to outlets for power tools. Since you also need to keep most of your devices there, you might want to consider investing in a sturdy aluminium toolbox. Still, keep in mind that a cordless might be a better option, considering how it reduces the amount of space you need, reduces a tripping hazard, and even a hazard of electrocution.
As for the flooring, this is a tad more complex than it seems. First of all, because your vehicles will spend a lot of time there, there’s a chance that, sooner or later, there will be an oil leak. This will, beyond any doubt, stain the surface below the vehicle. This is why you should carefully consider your garage flooring options. First, you have polished concrete flooring or stone flooring as the two most common (and most obvious) choices. Other than this, you can also go with rubber, vinyl, or even epoxy. Each of them has its own set of advantages and downsides.
Step By Step On How To Organizing The Garage From Top To Bottom
While many of us have the best intentions for keeping common spaces in our homes, like our garage, clean and organized, busy schedules throughout the year can sometimes keep us from staying on top of clutter.
If you can give your garage a full day of your attention, you’ll find the work to organize your garage goes by quickly, especially when you’ve got a plan in place. Pull out everything that’s in the way and create zones for items that can be trashed or recycled, donated, or that need to be organized and put back into space.
Step 1: Garage Goals
Yes, #garagegoals. Literally.
The first step to organizing the garage is a super easy one. You can do it in your nice, air-conditioned, spider-free living room.
Make a goal. How can your garage better serve your life?
Do you want to park in the garage so you don’t have to climb into a 150-degree car or scrape windshields?
How about setting up a home gym with equipment and floor mats.
Maybe you want a spot to hang with your crew and have a few drinks.
Could you create a dedicated area for your furniture refinishing side hustle?
Do a quick Pinterest search to gather ideas and inspiration. Forming goals before you will give you direction and motivation for organizing the garage.
Step 2: Start Organizing
Now that you’ve got some ideas for how you’d like your space to work for you, it’s time for the hardest step.
Don’t overthink it, just start. Literally, anywhere.
As you’re tackling your belongings…
- Throw out anything that’s garbage.
- Make a donate pile for items that could still be used.
- Look for common themes and group like items.
- Loosely place items where you think you might want them to go.
- Be a good human. Don’t dump hazardous materials. Make a trip to the recycling centre.
This step could take a long time. It will be tedious. But your garage didn’t get messy in a day, it probably won’t get organized in a day, either. Purging is very important, but it’s also hard. So keep this in mind: what will improve your quality of life, your #garagegoals or those 17 old paint cans?
Step 3: Placement
In the last step, I encouraged you to start sorting and loosely placing items around your garage. To expand on that, you’re going to want to put items you need handy in easy-to-reach spots. Put items you need less often, or you don’t need to grab quickly in less accessible spots.
For example, this basket of bug spray and suntan lotion is immediately next to my back door. When we’re heading out, it’s super easy to grab what we need. When we come home from a day away, it’s easy to return these items to their home on my way back inside.
Be mindful of convenience. When systems are convenient, they’re easier to maintain.
Step 4: Create Zones
Now that you’ve got goals and have begun to sort and purge, it’s time to sort further and create zones.
Creating zones is helpful because it helps you determine a logical place when you’re organizing the garage. You can also use the same logic when you need to find an item.
Every home will have different zones. Here are some examples:
- beach items
- camping gear
- lawn equipment
- children’s toys
- sports equipment
Step 5: Bins and Shelves
Storage is essential in garages. However, if you have many belongings, it might be expensive to go out and buy all new. So instead, shop your home, ask your friends, or peruse garage sales. It’s better for the earth, and it’s better for your wallet.
Organize all the kids’ stuff in one place using easy to clean systems.
These are all. The. Toys. in our garage. These bins used to live in my 2nd-grade classroom, then my pantry, and now they live in the garage. The shelves were passed to me by a friend. And holy moly with the free frisbees. Labels weren’t really necessary here because you can clearly see what’s in the bins, but my 5-year-old insisted. Chalk labels and white markers were a quick and simple solution and one of my favourite labelling methods.
After shopping for your home, you may find you do need to purchase some bins when you’re organizing the garage. First, measure the items you’d like to bin up and measure the shelves where you plan to store the bins. Bins help contain small items and keep pests and dirt out of your stuff, but they won’t keep the weather out. If your garage has moisture issues, you may want to consider spending a little more on weathertight boxes.
Shelves add tons of vertical storage space and get things off the floor (always a goal in the garage).
Lighter, plastic shelving (as seen above) are inexpensive, simple to assemble and very functional, but the shelves don’t adjust, and you wouldn’t want to put very heavy items on them.
The shelves pictured here are heavy, solid, and a bit pricey–but they’re worth it if you have a need. The adjustable shelves are great for more oversized items. If you find yourself with lots of extensive tools or heavy car parts, lining a wall with these shelves is a solution.
Evaluate what you need to store and purchase accordingly.
This is our “home improvement” zone, which houses painting, staining, and tiling supplies, as well as my husband’s larger tools (on the neighbouring shelf).
Step 6: Other Storage Options
I’m all about using what you have and working within your budget, but sometimes, you just need to splurge and invest in some quality specialty organization.
Need more space? Look up. Most garages have high ceilings. Consider getting a shelf that attaches to the ceiling for items you don’t use very often. We purchased these Safe Racks a few years ago, and they’ve been amazing. They were about $200 each, so they were an investment, but they’ve provided so much extra space that they’re totally worth it. We don’t have a storage room in our home, so all of these seasonal items took up valuable real estate in our garage. It’s a little hard to get items up and down, given that the shelves are so high and the bins can be heavy, but since we only access them once or twice a year, it’s all good.
Another item that may be worth investing in when organizing the garage is toolboxes. Toolboxes are literally made for organizing tools and, if you get a good one, they last a lifetime. Pegboards can also be effective for tool organization. The system you go with will probably depend greatly on how many tools you have and what you do with them.
Step 7: Hang it Up
In addition to bins and shelves, hooks are essential elements to an organized garage. You want things off the floor. I’m going to say that again. It’s that important.
There are fewer places for critters to hide when items are off the floor, and it’s much easier to sweep or blow out. Plus, when one thing is left on the floor, it’s hard to resist putting a bunch of other things on the floor.
Regular hooks are only a few dollars at hardware stores and worth every penny. You can upgrade to specialty hooks made specifically for garden tools or fishing poles, or anything else you need.
Hang all the things.
Bike Racks, Fishing Pole Holders, U-Hooks, Command Hooks, Garden Tool Hanger, and Ladder Hooks are all useful for hanging items in the garage!
Step 8: Label It
As with any organizational space, labels in the garage are key, ESPECIALLY if you are using opaque bins and can’t see the contents. Labels do not have to be fancy to be effective. Masking tape and sharpie will do if you don’t have a label maker. Chalk tape and a white paint pen are also cheap and effective. If you want to be legit, go for the label maker label or even custom vinyl. Labels let you know what’s in a bin without having to search in multiple places. They also hold you (and others) accountable for returning items to their proper location—which always seems to be a challenge in a garage.
Step 9: Sort the small stuff
Waaaaaay back in step 2, I told you it wasn’t time to sort the small stuff. Now, with all the big stuff purged, sorted into zones, binned, shelved, placed, hung, and labelled, it’s finally time to sort the small stuff. This could actually be done much sooner than now, but it can be tedious, and I prefer to get all the big stuff out of the way first.
Step 10 (optional): Upgrade the Floor
I know what you’re going to say. It’s a garage. It doesn’t need nice flooring. BUT. First off, it looks nice and automatically makes the garage look cleaner and fresher. Second, it stops spills from leaking into the concrete and staining it. Third, painting or coating the floor makes it much easier to clean. Finally, if you’re organizing everything else, you might as well take care of the floor, too!
Epoxy paint is one option. You can either DIY or hire out. We chose a more unorthodox route: peel and stick tiles. We only did one section of our garage and spent about $1/sq ft. They have gotten a bit scuffed, and you wouldn’t want to park on it, but they’ve stayed stuck for about three years now, and they’re easy to clean (which I did not do for this picture, as you can tell because it’s a garage).
5 Benefits of An Organized Garage
If you’ve ever looked around to see who’s outside before opening the garage door, you’re not alone. This part of the house collects everything from toys and sports equipment to tools and garden supplies—some of which probably haven’t been used in years. Fortunately, garage storage solutions change everything. So when you’re finished organizing, you might even have room inside for your car!
The Whole Garage Looks Cleaner and More Spacious
Yours isn’t the only home on the block with a messy garage. It makes sense, really—the space is merely a pass-through from your car (if you’re lucky and you’ve got room for it) to your house and a place to keep outdoor equipment. So its tidiness (or lack thereof) doesn’t affect your lifestyle as much as a messy house would. That’s a bad combination, but one that’s easy to remedy.
Clutter looks dirty no matter how many times you sweep the floor, and it can also attract creepy crawling critters such as bugs and mice! However, when you organize your garage, the whole space looks neat and stays dirt and bug-free.
If a tidy garage looks more spacious, that’s because it is. Stacks of boxes and loose items lying about take up more room than wall mounted storage systems, cabinets and shelves that take advantage of wall space and keep things off the floor.
Expensive Things Stay Protected
For such a messy space, the garage certainly does hold some expensive things. Bicycles don’t come cheap, and neither do power tools or lawn and garden equipment. And then there’s the most expensive one: your vehicle.
With an organized garage, expensive things stay protected. For example, your car’s paint won’t get chipped from a bicycle falling against it or from your kids “accidentally” riding their scooter, electric toy car or tricycle into it. During the process of organizing your garage, you’ll get rid of toys your kids have grown out of, and you’ll find a safe spot for what they still use.
Other tools, outdoor furniture and lawn equipment, can be safely stored inside cabinets or on wall mounted storage accessories to not fall off a shelf or land in a heap in the corner.
Dangerous Tools and Equipment Stay Safe
Garages also have some dangerous equipment that you want to keep safe from children’s prying eyes and little hands. Think about any gas or electric garden tools that you own, such as a chainsaw or hedge trimmer. Power tools, such as drills and circular saws, also need safeguarding. Not to mention any fertilizers or rock salt that you store in this space.
You Can Find Everything Easier
Remember the last time you looked for a Phillips head screwdriver, roll of duct tape or the cleaning attachments for your utility vacuum? In a messy garage, little things can hide in plain sight. But, when the space is tidy, things are just in plain sight.
Your storage options are almost limitless—small baskets, bins and hooks on a slat wall system, or cabinets and drawers as part of an organized workbench. That means less time spent looking for your things. You might even save money on duplicate items such as weed trimmer lines, nails, tape and screws, all because you can now find what you already have.
Make Good Choices Simpler
Anyone can get organized. It’s staying organized. That’s the bigger trick. When something is convenient, you’re more likely to do it. That applies to practically everything from hanging up your coat and sorting the mail to putting things away in the garage.
Convenient storage encourages kids to put their toys away instead of tossing them on the garage floor and makes it easier for you to put the drill back in its spot and set all of the vacuum tools on the shelf where they belong.
In many homes, warm weather makes the garage practically a revolving door. Kids run in and out grabbing bikes and balls, and you’ll spend weekends working on projects and probably washing the car. Wouldn’t it be great to open the door and not worry about what the neighbours might think? Much more important, imagine a space where everything has a place, and there’s room left over for a vehicle or two.