Garage organization can seem like an overwhelming activity. While well intended, the garage quickly becomes a throw zone of tools, bikes, and boxes. Reclaiming your garage will take effort and plan. This guide walks you through just that. From challenges and tips… to ideas and a step by step plan, its time transform your garage.
The Challenges of Achieving an Organized Garage
Depending on the amount of possessions you have in your garage, it can be overwhelming to pick a starting point on how to get it organized. Remember that Rome was not built in a day. In this case, you cannot organize your garage all in one day.
Remember these tips as you wade through the challenges of achieving an organized garage.
- Break up the garage organization into small tasks.
- Enlist the help of family and friends. All hands on deck for this project!
- Not every organization tip is going to work for your specific garage. Follow only the tips that will work for you!
- If you need additional guidance, ask your local home improvement store for organization recommendations!
Decluttering your garage is the foremost challenge in getting it completely organized. Over time, you have accumulated various possessions that may even have turned into clutter. Old papers inside bins, many books that have never been read, or even old and broken yard tools that still take up space in your garage. These are just some of the many examples of clutter that could be overtaking your garage.
Overcome the decluttering challenge by:
- Taking a day to remove everything from your garage and sort your belongings into categories.
- Discarding any broken items or possessions that have not been used in six or more months.
- If the item is still in good condition, consider paying it forward by donating it to your local thrift store.
- Once all of the items have been categorized and decided if it will be kept, discarded, or donated… put everything back into your garage grouped into said categories.
- Until you figure out your organization system, be sure that each category of items has its own zone in your garage for now.
Determining an Organization System
Determining an organization system could be challenging because you must analyze the quantity of items you own per category and figure out the best way to store them. For example if you only own 10 books, you are not going to purchase a whole book shelf to store them.
Select your organization system for each item category only after you have decluttered your entire garage. You do not want to make the mistake of over buying storage bins if you were to purchase them before you started decluttering.
Monica Mangin’s video on How to Organize a Garage details the best areas of the garage to place certain item categories. Her recommendations increases the functionality of your organization system.
When organizing your garage, try to place these item categories in these corresponding areas of your garage.
- For your overstock of refrigerated goods and pantry items, store this category nearby the entryway to your garage from inside your home.
- Any power tools and hardware should be placed in the back of your garage… so that it is out-of-the-way and not accessible to children.
- Items that are regularly accessed should be placed in the front of your garage. These should be the first things you see when you open it up. This could be sports equipment, bikes, and backyard toys if you have kids. If you are single or married or cohabiting with no kids, these items could be your lawn mower or gardening tools and supplies.
- Seasonal items can be stored in bins and either place on ceiling mounts or on shelving units in your chosen area of the garage. If you do not have ceiling mounts, put your shelving unit more towards the middle to back of your garage because the seasonal items may be access only once a year anyway.
Budgeting For Organization Solutions
Budgeting for your organization solutions can be troublesome if you have a tight budget. Consider trying mass retailer such as Walmart or Target for a variety of affordable organization solutions to fit almost any budget. Visit these stores if you need a good deal on storage bins and bookshelves.
If you need a workbench for your tools for storage solutions or for your gardening supplies, try Home Depot, Lowes, or Harbor Freight. No matter what store you visit, there are bound to be sales on your storage solutions. Look carefully and/or ask and employee about the current sales in the store and if any them are on the product you want. You may even find the gym and discover that the product you want is on clearance!
Maintaining the Garage Storage Systems
You may be reading this article because you want to turn your garage that is currently a dumping ground for clutter into an organized, functional system that can be readily accessed for you and your family.
Maintaining your garage storage systems could be difficult if you do not keep the space neat and decluttered. Say you attend four seasonal sales per year and stock up on items you’ll be storing for next year. If you just throw the bags in the garage without putting these items in their proper seasonal bins, it is the small start of a cluttered garage again.
Stay motivated and try your best to continually organized as you go in your garage throughout the year, so it does not get overwhelming at any point in time.
Garage Organization Ideas
Here are some great garage organization ideas to make the most out of your garage.
Garage Storage Cabinets
Garage storage cabinets such as these examples on the Home Depot website are beneficial because it gives you a great amount of space to store various items. Customize your organization system by purchasing multiple storage cabinets that will increase your chosen system’s efficiency.
Some key features include:
- Multiple shelves for optimal storage space.
- One or more holes in the back of the cabinet to charge power tools while being stored in the cabinet simultaneously.
- Heavy duty peg boards on each side of the cabinet doors that hold many pounds of smaller toys and accessories.
- A lock and key for safe keeping when items in the cabinet are not in use.
Plastic Storage Bins
Plastic storage bins are versatile for any organizing project including getting your garage in order. You can also purchase bin labels to smartly label all of your storage. This way, you will not have to open up multiple containers to find the items you seek.
For overflow pantry items, consider clear storage bins as a solution. Make sure to get ones with tightly closing lids. These two key features help to keep moisture, rodents, and pests that could possibly invade your garage out of your containers, and you can also see what you already have on hand before going to the grocery store.
For seasonal items, try a color coordinating system so that it is easier to find your decorations and supplies for that holiday or season. Color coding will also make your organizing project more fun.
For example, maybe get a green bin for Christmas decor, a yellow bin for Easter decorations and basket fillers, an orange bin for Halloween candy and costumes, and etcetera. This is recommended for the die-hard stockpilers that always like to shop end-of-holiday clearance sales.
Ceiling or Wall-Mounted Solutions
Consider building your own garage ceiling track storage area on your ceiling. Be sure that you only store bins that contain lightweight items such as seasonal decorations so that your ceiling track does not detach because of heavy weight. Having a ceiling track increases the use of vertical space that may otherwise not be used in your organization system. It is also simple and cost-effective to build which could save you hundreds overall when creating your perfect organization system.
If you would rather not build your own ceiling track system, try out ceiling mounts for your plastic storage bins. All you have to do is install them into your ceiling using screws in a power drill, make sure the mounts are tightly secure, and place your bins accordingly.
Placing shelving for your walls is an alternative option to purchasing storage cabinets. If you have less supplies to organize, a few wall-mounted shelves can get the job done. Wall-mounted shelves display your most used items and keeps them within reach.
For example, if you are a gardener, you may store flower pots, potting soil, and flower seeds on these shelves. Maybe you’re a sports fanatic and want your memorabilia displayed in your garage turned man cave. Perhaps your kids are playing team sports and need their sports equipment and uniforms within reach throughout the week.
Pegboard with Hooks
Like storage bins and cabinets, using a pegboard with hooks is another versatile organizing option. You can create an organized workstation for almost any type of creative project.
For example, place a pegboard with hooks above your workbench to work on your DIY projects (ie building a dog house for Fido). If you are an artist, try hanging clear jewelry storage bags or other clear bags to have space for your paints, paint brushes, and pallets.
Command hooks can be a great option as well. Check out the ultimate guide to command hooks for fresh ideas.
Yard Tool Organizers
Do you have too many yard tools propped up against the corners of your garage? Get them up off the ground and organized neatly. Yard tool organizers have universal slots that can fit almost any yard tools such as rakes, hoes, and etcetera.
If you would prefer her not to purchase a yard tool organizer from a retailer, you can make your own. Consider purchasing an expensive cardboard concrete-forming tubes to store yard tools or even make a section for sports equipment, too! Try creating your own yard tool organizer by using leftover PVC pipes from your previous DIY project.
Executing Your Organization Plan
Now that you have learned the challenges and received some garage organization ideas, it is now time to execute your organization plan. Follow these steps to get your garage transformed in an organized fashion!
1. Declutter Your Garage
As mentioned earlier in the article, decluttering your garage will make it easier to transition into your organization system. Take one day to remove everything from your garage and go through each item. Sort the items into a keep pile, a trash pile, and a donate pile. This way, you will have less to work with when it comes time for the organization process.
2. Make an Overall Blueprint of Each Item Category’s Home
You do not have to be an artist or landscaper to do this step. Making a plan for where all of your items will go before you start organizing will make the project more efficient. Take a piece of paper, draw some squares to represent each bin or cabinet, and write in the names of each category. Think of this as your game plan before you begin organizing.
3. Organize One Section at a Time
You do not want to dive in headfirst and try to organize your whole garage in one day. This will lead to burn out and disappointment when you begin to lose energy.
Based on the amount of item categories that you have, take one day to focus on organizing one item category. Work on getting your seasonal items into the proper bins one day. The next day, get your yard tools organized in their section of the garage. On the third day, work on organizing your overflow refrigerated and pantry food storage. And so on.
On the back of your blueprint paper, write a sequential list of which item category you will work on each day until you are finished the entire project.
Revisit Your Organization System as Needed
Organization systems continually need revisiting because it could come to a point that your current system may not end up working for one of your item categories in the future. For example, if you have no more room for the seasonal items on clearance that you just purchased, you will either have to purchase another bin and/or declutter your current supplies in order for those items to fit.