How to Organize Your Garage

How to Organize Your Garage

Time and time again, garage projects are started and never finished. Before you begin an organizational project with your garage, consider the time it may take and set aside more than necessary. Whether it is a long weekend or a late night, the time you set aside for this project can make or break it!. Garage projects can range from $0 to tens of thousands of dollars. Make sure you know what you’re willing to spend, and don’t break it! Storage bins, shelving, overhead space, etc., all range in price. Do your research and decide which items are most important to your project and which ones can be substituted for.

Section your garage up! Cut the work up into smaller sections. This strategy will allow you to feel accomplished with each section completed and make the project feel much more doable. It’s much less overwhelming to split the job up into sections than it is to take it on all at once. Your likelihood of quitting or running out of time halfway through will plummet. Another plus to this strategy is that breaks are inevitable! When sections are completed, you’ll naturally take a small break to prep for your next section. Take it one section at a time, and try not to move on until your current section is completed. If your garage organization project goes for multiple days, stop in between sections, it will make picking back up in the morning simpler and easier to start with a fresh section. 

You know how this goes! As you work your way through every section of your garage, reorganize your keeps, TOSS your throws, and set aside your donate for drop-off at a later time. This strategy clears space efficiently and can move very quickly if done right. Make sure to move fast and trust our first decision. If you decided to “throw” on an item, resist returning to it and changing your mind. Your first instinct is usually correct!. One of the biggest clutter habits in garages is floor space. It’s typical to set an item like a hose on the ground in a coil. This can be solved for almost any item with wall mounts. For example, move your hose from a pile on the ground to a cart or wall-mounted hose reel. Consider wall mounts for other clutter-causing items such as bottles, tools, tires, etc. Here are a few items we recommend.

You may run out of wall space or simply not enjoy the look of it. Move even higher up to your ceiling and invest in some ceiling storage. There are a few options for ceiling space, and it may depend on your ceiling height and your budget. Below we have listed three kinds of ceiling storage you can choose from based on your needs. When organizing your tabletop space, make sure to sort small items and ALWAYS have a “junk: container. This junk container will give you a place to put small parts that don’t necessarily have a permanent place in your garage yet. 

5-Step Guide to Cleaning Out Your Garage

Take Everything Out

The first step to decluttering your garage is to find out what’s in it. Pick a section of your garage to start with and pull everything out onto the driveway to sort through. Besides making it easier to work, this garage cleaning tip will also allow you to see what space you have to work with and what types of storage might work best when it’s time to organize the items you’re keeping.

Decide on Your ‘Keep’ Criteria

Once you’ve pulled everything out, it’s time to set some ground rules for deciding what to keep. This garage cleaning tip will speed up the process by preventing you from agonizing over each item. When deciding what to keep and what to throw away, ask yourself: “Is this item in the garage for a reason, or because I didn’t know what to do with it?” If it’s the latter, either find a use for it or get rid of it.

  • Items you’ve used more than once in the past year.
  • Things in working condition. Ditch all those gizmos you’ve been “meaning to fix.”
  • Tools you can’t easily rent or borrow.

Decide What to Do With the Garage Clutter

Whatever doesn’t make your “keep” list is, by default, clutter. So don’t let it hang around your garage any longer.

With your “keep” items set aside, start going through the rest of the stuff you pulled out of the garage. Identify items you’d like to sell or donate first. Have plastic bins, cardboard boxes or bags on hand so that you can pack up donation items as you work and stash them somewhere out of the way.

Bag up or box up junk that doesn’t make the “keep,” “sell”, or “donate” piles. If you’ve rented a dumpster for your weekend cleanout, toss the garbage bags into the container as you go.

Options for Getting Rid of Garage Clutter:

Donate It

As you’re cleaning out your garage, it’s a good idea to keep a shortlist of places to take your “donate” pile. Your local Goodwill, Salvation Army or Habitat for Humanity are a good place to start but always call ahead to make sure they can accept your donated items. If they can’t take your things, don’t give up; you might be surprised to see what donation opportunities your local community has to offer. For example, Leveling the Playing Field near Washington D.C. accepts sporting goods donations in order to give underprivileged children a chance to participate in athletics:

Sell It

If you’d like to make a little money off of your garage cleanout, consider hosting a yard sale or selling it online. Craigslist, Freecycle and Facebook Marketplace are all great places to list your items or advertise your yard sale. Do a little research online to help you decide how to price your items.

Pitch It

For the garage clutter that can’t be donated or sold, it’s time to get rid of it. The best junk removal solution for your project will depend on how much stuff you have and the items you’re throwing away. Your garage cleanout may leave you with a pile of stuff that’s too big for the curb—especially if you’re getting rid of lots of large items such as old patio furniture or lawn care equipment. If you think you’ll end up with more than a couple of pickup truck loads, it might be easiest to rent a dumpster if you haven’t already.

Deep Clean the Space

While you’ve got your garage entirely cleaned out, it might be a good idea to scrub it down before putting things back. In general, the best way to clean up a garage is from top to bottom. Start by dusting off and wiping down the tops of your cabinets, shelves and refrigerator if you have one. Then, wipe down your garage walls and the doors of your fridge and cabinets with a warm, damp cloth and a mild household detergent. Next, sweep the floor to get rid of the dust you’ve shaken loose. Finish up by mopping and hosing off the floor. Allow the floors two to four hours to dry before putting things away.

Garage Cleaning Tips

  • Remove motor oil stains using cat litter, dish soap and a wire scrub brush.
  • Wipe away any mould using either bleach or vinegar diluted with warm water.
  • Use a sponge mop to clean garage walls from top to bottom.
  • Once finished, use a flat head mop with a microfiber cloth to dry the wall.
  • After mopping, use a floor fan to speed up the floor drying process. 

Get Organized

Now that you’ve whittled your inventory down and finished your garage cleanup seize the opportunity to keep clutter from building back up. So, what’s the best way to organize a garage? It depends on what exactly you need to store.

  • Use shelving units to keep frequently used items within easy each.
  • Use cabinets or closets for items you use less frequently.
  • Use a pegboard to organize hand tools such as hammers and hacksaws.
  • Use wall hooks to hold larger tools such as rakes and shovels, or stand these items up in a large, sturdy bin.
  • Group items by category so that you always know where to find what you need—and can easily put it back where it belongs when you’re done.

12 Garage Storage Ideas that Will Solve All of Your Organizing Problems

We’ll be the first to admit that the idea of garage organization doesn’t exactly get our blood pumping or our creativity sparking—it tends to be one of those annual chores that we love to avoid as long as possible. However, the very fact of a major garage cleanup becoming a summertime ritual just points to the fact that you might not be using the space in the most efficient and effective way—if you have organizational systems in place that are really working for you, you won’t be faced with a herculean task every August. Want to get your garage whipped into shape once and for all? We’re here to help.

As one of those de facto storage spaces (much like its cousin, the basement), garages often become dumping grounds for anything muddy, messy, or bulky that just doesn’t fit elsewhere in the home. This comes with pitfalls—it can easily be a space you prefer to avoid, thanks to the chaotic arrangement of lawn chemicals, deflated bike tubes, and half-finished DIY projects. But this also means that if your garage gets a facelift and starts *working* actually for you and your family, there’s a good chance it’ll make your home life easier throughout the house. (An organized system for tools, for instance, means less reason to put off essential repairs, which can save money and frustration over time.)

No matter what you’re looking to store in your garage—from bikes to power tools to gardening supplies—there’s a storage and organization system for you. Click through for our favourite space-saving (and sanity-saving) ideas for the most hardworking part of your home—the garage.

Get it Gleaming

Garages have a reputation of being dark, dingy, and not that pleasant to spend time in. So if your laundry setup is situated in the garage, avoiding the garage can end up becoming just one more reason to put off doing this weekly chore. This bright, functional laundry space totally reimagines what we picture when we hear the phrase “laundry in garage,” however, thanks to gleaming cabinetry, ample storage and drying space, and even a mini-mudroom in the form of a bench for boots and outdoor gear. Subway tile and a speckled floor covering lend a more “indoor” vibe to the space, making it nothing short of enticing to do your weekly washing.

Organize by Use

Part of the difficulty of organizing a garage is that it’s expected to do so many things—hold lawn and garden equipment, keep shoes and boots organized, store seasonal items…the list goes on and on. If this shelf system looks familiar, it’s probably because you’ve seen it used indoors or in closets—but it’s actually a garage MVP, as well. Large shelves for shoes mingle with hooks for bike helmets and clusters of cubbies for cleaning supplies, weed killers, and more. But the best part is that it holds those essentials that are easy to forget—reusable water bottles, rain boots, and folding chairs. It’s a landing pad (or launchpad, depending on whether you’re coming or going) for your home before you even step inside.

Make Room for Hobbies

Do a double-take: Yep, this space is a garage. Tricked out with a workspace and an impressive display case for the homeowner’s collection of guitars, it feels more like a cool-kid clubhouse than a place to park dirty bikes and lawnmowers. Bright overhead lights help the space feel crisp and clean, while the glass-front cabinets protect these impressive axes from the elements.

Start Simply

There’s no need to rush out and buy a bunch of organizing gizmos to get your garage in check. This space does more with less, making use of everyday bins, shelves, and wall hooks to keep things clutter-free. The difference is in the details, however: Transfers or stickers can be used to label the bins so you don’t have to drag them off the top shelf every time you’re searching for something. And clear plastic bins equipped with wheels snuggle in right under the shelf to keep basketballs and other sport equipment from rolling underfoot (or under the car).

Make It Feel Like Home

Function and fashion don’t need to be in conflict. If you live in a home where you regularly enter through the garage, dress it up a bit to make your first few minutes at home feel welcoming. This oversized entryway bench organizer is backless, allowing it to sit snugly against the wall (and let essential outlets and light switches show through). A durable woven fiber rug cozies up the space while keeping shoes mud-free, and perhaps most essentially, a special stroller hanger helps keep pathways clear until it’s time to stroll.

Make a Place for Everything with Pegboard

Pegboard is definitely the unsung hero of any well-organized garage space. Not only does this modular, versatile system make it adaptable for just about anything you need to organize, but it also creates a refreshing and cohesive look when painted, too.

Feeling bold? Try tricking out your pegboard in a dark jewel tone or even matte black paint to make your tools and other necessities really “pop”.

Sift Through Your Seasonal Stuff

If you’re still storing seasonal items like holiday decorations in your basement or closet, it’s time for an intervention. Putting them in the garage (where, chances are, you have more space to spread them out and separate them by time of year) makes much more sense. This shelving system with clear bins makes it easy to see which items are for the holidays and which are for springtime at a glance.

Tidy Up Your Timber

If you have a woodworker in the family, your storage needs may look a *bit* different than the average home’s. Storing planks, dowels, and other cut pieces of wood overhead not only keeps them up off the ground where moisture can warp or damage them, but it also prevents the classic clatter of a bunch of planks suddenly sliding to the floor—which means fewer accidents during those weekend woodworking projects.

Flip Your Perspective

Boots always flopping over or sitting in water? This is the solution for you. These handy boot hangers keep both your muck boots and rain boots upside down so they dry faster (and they keep the floor clear and tidy).

Go Vertical

Storing bikes is no easy feat. If you rely on their kickstands, you run the risk of causing a domino effect when one starts to tip. But if you store them suspended from the ceiling (as many suggest), it’s just one more hurdle between you and taking that spontaneous weekend ride. The solution? Store them vertically. They’ll be off the floor and out of the way, but they’ll be easy to pull down if the mood strikes you.

Practice the Laws of Attraction

The garage hack you didn’t know you needed: using industrial-strength magnets to put up baskets and shelves in seconds flat. Just attach to your garage fridge, freezer, or any other metal surface for a super-quick weekend organizational project that you can switch up anytime. (We especially love this idea for baskets of gear you may want to pull off the wall and take on a day trip.)

Start a System

A French cleat system can be the ultimate way to get your garage organized, no matter what you’re trying to store. There are a variety of hooks, shelves, and containers that fit into the “cleats” of these wooden or metal backings, so you can rearrange as needed and make room for new items season after season.

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