Complete Garage Organization in 6 Simple Steps
By Shannon Wells
Nearly 25 percent of Americans say their garage is too cluttered to fit their car inside. And, nearly a third keep the garage door closed so their neighbors won’t see the mess. In our experience, a messy garage is a two-part problem — too much stuff and not enough organization. Here’s our six-step solution to get rid of unnecessary junk and organize your garage like a pro.
Set Yourself Up for Success
We recommend giving yourself plenty of time to tackle a project like garage organization. Rather than cobbling together a few tired weeknights, try to pick a weekend with good weather and clear your schedule. Come Saturday morning, get a bright and early start so you don’t feel rushed or overwhelmed as the project wears on.
Label Donate, Sell, Trash and Keep
Take a page from Marie Kondo and take everything out of your garage. As you’re emptying your space, sort your possessions into four piles: donate, sell, trash and keep. Place items you’re donating directly into the boxes you’ll use to transport them to Goodwill or right into your car. Items you’re selling can also go in boxes or bags until you’re ready to list them. And, save yourself unnecessary work by making your ‘keep’ pile right by the door to the garage.
Break It into Zones
With your garage empty and your belongings pared down, you’re ready to get organized! Using a zone method makes it easy to find what you’re looking for quickly. Here are five examples to help you get started:
Car Maintenance (oil, wiper fluid, rags, roof rack)
Tools (hammers, nails, screws, ladders, saws, wrenches)
Sports and Recreation (extra patio furniture, outside toys, balls, soccer goals, tennis rackets)
Yard Maintenance (lawn and leaf bags, rakes, fertilizer, potting soil, planters, wheelbarrow)
Small Engine (lawn mower, snow blower, power washer)
Use hooks, stacks, racks, pegboards and shelving systems to make the most of your wall space. The more floor space you can keep clear, the easier it will be to keep your garage organized in the future. Here are some of the best ways to organize your vertical space:
Concrete Storage Tubes
Readily available, inexpensive and durable, concrete storage tubes are great for holding rakes, brooms and shovels. Just attach them to your studs.
Installing a pegboard is an excellent way to make use of otherwise inaccessible space. Use a variety of hooks and baskets to store small and large tools.
Shelving and Bins
Whether you choose a modular or custom garage shelving system, be sure to use clear bins when possible so you’re able to easily see everything. If you already have bins that aren’t see-through, make sure to label them.
Store Toxic and Hazardous Substances
Invest in a locking cabinet to store toxic and hazardous substances. Common items like ammonia, gasoline, insecticide and antifreeze should all be kept in their original containers and away from kids and pets. Along with knowing how to store these products, it’s also important to know what shouldn’t be stored in the garage.
Though it may be tempting to store your extra propane tanks out of sight, propane should never be stored indoors. You should know how to store propane to make sure your garage and property stay safe. If the tank were to leak, the highly flammable gas could fill an enclosed space, making your garage a fire hazard. Instead, consider keeping your propane tanks alongside your garage. Just be sure to keep any extras at least 10 feet from your grill. To keep your propane tank from falling over and damaging the valves, consider storing it inside a milk crate.
Paints and Stains
Extreme heat and extreme cold can ruin your paint. If your garage isn’t temperature controlled, store paints and stains elsewhere.
Play It Safe
Once you’ve made your garage a place you actually want to spend time, be sure to make it a safe place, too. If you don’t already have them, install a smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector. And, find an easily accessible location for an ABC-rated fire extinguisher, which can be used in both electrical and flammable liquid fires.
It’s not the easiest project, but garage organization can lead to some great things. At the very least, you’ll have an improved quality of life and a place to park your car. But, who knows? Perhaps with all of your newfound space, you’ll be able to have that workshop or extra living space you’ve always dreamed of.
Shannon Wells is a freelance writer, real estate agent and DIY enthusiast. She’s happiest when she’s in the middle of a home improvement project, which, lucky for her, is most of the time.