There are many houses with a two car garage that have never had two cars in them. Instead of using that space to shield cars from the sun and harsh weather, the garage has become home to a collection of gardening and lawn equipment, tools, woodworking equipment, cast-off furniture and things that are no longer used, but are not throw away.
Finding items that are needed in a cluttered garage is a complicated process. Usually, it starts with edging between the stacks of boxes and miscellaneous equipment. If the home owner’s lucky, they may remember where this particular item was last, or which box it might be in. More often, it’s a process of elimination that involves knowing what went into the garage during which time period and playing ‘hot, hot, cold’ until that person what they’re looking for.
Garages used to be a place to store your vehicle. These days, garages have become an extension of the house. They’re used as catch-all storage units, workshops, laundry rooms, offices and outbuildings. If the garage mentioned before sounds familiar, here are some tips to help you get a handle on organizing your garage into a successful storage area for all the things you need.
Getting Back to Basics
Organizing your garage storage starts with having the right tools. In the case of organization, the tools of the trade include hooks, shelves, closets and storage bins.
- Get rid of useless clutter.
Use the two year method. If there is something in your garage that you have not used in two years, chances are good you will never use it again. Spend a day sorting through the clutter in your garage and deciding what to keep and what to get rid of. Once you’ve got it all sorted, pack it into your trunk and take it to the recycling center, thrift store or have a garage sale. When you’re done, you’ll have a far better idea of just what you have to tackle.
- Start with a plan.
Measure your space before you start buying so that you have an idea of how much space you have to work with. There’s no sense in buying shelves and storage boxes that won’t fit the space you have available.
- Decide on storage options that suit what you have to store.
Vertical storage is a great space-saver. That means getting boxes and equipment up off the floor whenever possible. Invest in storage shelves that turn your wall space into storage space. Hooks are another way to get things up off the floor. Specialized hangers that hold handles of gardening equipment are a great way to get hoes, spades and rakes out of that tangled and dangerous mess in the corner.
- Invest in utility cabinets to hold smaller items.
Need somewhere to store those jars of nails and screws, extra glass coffee pots and other things that you’re holding onto? Utility cabinets with adjustable shelves will let you arrange your important clutter in a way that makes sense for you. While you’re at it, pick up an inexpensive labeler so that you can label shelves and make it easy for others to keep your space neat, too.
- Collect and Organize tools.
If you use your garage as a workshop, organize with tool boxes and tool chests,
and a workshop table that’s designed with storage in mind.
- Step back to the past.
for an excellent and very low cost method of storing tiny screws, nails and other
essentials. Mount a board above your work space and nail baby food jar lids to the
board. Screw the jars into the tops and voila! Neat, easy to find, and up out of the
- Don’t waste the space above your head.
There are a variety of ways that you can turn unused space overhead into useful
storage space. One of the easiest is with a set of overhead metal hangers that hang
from the ceiling joists. They’re ideal for big and bulky items like lengths of
plywood. Look for specialized hangers for things like bicycles and sports
- Make use of garage rafters.
The second way that you can use overhead storage space is to make use of the
garage rafters. Just slide board over them to provide ‘floor’ space and you’ll have
created a ready-to-use attic to store things like Christmas decorations up and out
of the way.