People tend to store things in their attics, garages, and sheds as if those spaces were interchangeable. The fact is, as a storage space, your garage is fundamentally different from your attic. An attic should be used to store the things you wish to keep, and a garage is for storing the things you use. The only exceptions of course, are those items that may be sensitive to extreme cold or heat.
It all starts innocently enough. You’re in a hurry, so you toss a few empty cardboard boxes into the garage; or you’re ready to get going and you tell the kids to just park their bikes and hop in the car. Maybe you’ve just gotten back from a trip and you toss the empty suitcases on the garage floor or workshop bench because you had to get dinner going. All of these little things add up and before you know it, you are parking your car in the driveway. Doesn’t seem right, does it? A little time spent organizing can help to get the car back inside. That’s what garages are built for, after all.
To tackle this job, the first step is to empty the garage. A clean slate can do wonders when trying to decide where everything fits best. If that’s not possible, you could just move the bulkier items out and work on one half of the garage at a time. Either way, try to make your garage as empty as possible before beginning. As with most de-cluttering projects, you should separate what you bring out into four groups: what you need, what you can sell, what you can donate, and what should be tossed.
Once you’ve separated these things, put the “sell” pile aside for now. The “donate” items should go right in the car to be hauled away. Next, you should give the garage a good cleaning, since it probably won’t be empty like this for a while.
Bear in mind that a garage has more storage area on the walls then it does on the floor. Plan accordingly. Don’t overlook the ceiling, either. All of that overhead space is perfect for hanging ladders, bicycles and other sorts of gear that hog up valuable floor-space.
Depending on your storage needs, pegboard for small and large tools or shelving units for bins and boxes can be laid out along the walls. Here are a few tips to make the most out of the storage choices you make:
- If you choose freestanding shelves, choose shelving with wheels. For more versatility make sure they are adjustable to change with your needs.
- Use clear plastic bins and apply labels with the contents noted on the outside.
- To make your space appear even less cluttered, purchase garage cabinets or consider hanging curtains over shelving to conceal the stored items.
- Keep in mind this rule of thumb: Things that are used together should be stored together.
- Store loose items such as ice melt, birdseed, and dog food in sturdy metal trash cans. A measuring scoop can be inside of each one for convenience.
- Hang brooms and other long handled tools on hooks.
- If you find that your garage is full of lawn tools and equipment, consider building a small storage shed for these items. This will free up valuable floor-space.
- If you enter the house from the garage, a shoe and coat rack can keep a lot of clutter under control.
- If you store your garbage and recyclables in your garage, consider stackable recycling bins or a wheeled cart to hold your trash cans.
Do you have a hobby such as gardening or woodworking? If you plan to use the garage for hobbies like these, make sure that you designate a portion of the garage for that purpose first. Fulfill those storage needs with shelves, pegboard, etc., and plan the rest of your garage storage on the remaining walls.
Keep in mind that the purpose of a garage is to store your car and the things that you use. As long as you have organized things so that they are easy to find, then they should be just as easy to put back where they belong. Using that philosophy, and a little self-discipline, your garage should look organized and have plenty of room to park your car for a long time to come.
For all of your organizational needs, or if you would like to purchase garage cabinetry or shelving— even if you would like to tackle building them on your own, our staff is ready to answer your questions. We are ready to provide you with everything that you need to get your car back in the garage again.