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Garage Organizing Tips from a Pro

Garage workbench an pegobard with tool storage

‘Tis the season to organize your garage. Before it gets hotter out. Before the humidity has you dripping with sweat. Before the mosquitoes decide you make a delicious snack. When deciding what to organize next, using the season to inform your choice is a winning strategy.

Categorize Garage Items First

The many potential items stored in a garage can make going through it overwhelming. If you have helpers to go through the garage with you, you could block out an entire day or weekend then pull everything out of the garage into the driveway and group it by category. Tools go in one area, garden supplies in another. Holiday decorations get piled together, as do sports and outdoor recreation gear.

This approach helps you see how much you have of each category so that you can decide how much storage space it needs and what kind of storage would work best. You might be tempted to shop for bins, shelves, pegboards, cabinets, or wall-mounted hangers for tools and brooms. Until you know how much to store and where you want it, shopping is a waste of time and money. Go through your garage instead.

Even if you don’t go through the entire garage at once, you will eventually want categories gathered together so you know how much room to give them and how to store them. To get there, you can go through one bin or one area at a time.

Declutter Next

Anytime you’re sorting items, decide whether to keep it or put it into trash, recycling, hazardous waste, or giveaway.

When deciding what to keep or get rid of, the first priority is to let go of things you don’t want or need and broken items. Then look for multiples of items, what condition things are in, and how long it’s been since you’ve used the item. Garages often house things that people think they’ll use someday or that they’re storing for someone else to have someday. Consider how much space you’re spending to keep these things and what you can’t store or do in the garage if you’re giving space to them.

If you’re not sure whether to keep something, you have two choices. Put it with the other items of that category or put it into a limbo bin instead of donations. If you’re still thinking about it the next day, put it with other like items. At the end of the week (or month) go through your limbo bin and donate anything you haven’t pulled out yet.

Decide Where to Store Each Category

Decluttering and categorizing your items is a great start. The goal is to get things sorted and grouped together in the area close to where they’ll be stored. To decide where to store things, think about where you’ll use them. If you’re taking items out to the yard or outside of your home, put them by the garage door. Think pool equipment, sports gear, or gardening supplies. If you’ll use items in the house, get them close to the door into the house. This might include kitchen appliances or roasting pans that aren’t often used, seasonal décor, or memorabilia. If you’ve got tools or workout equipment in the garage that you only use in the garage, you’ll want to create a space to use them.

Add Storage Solutions to Your Garage

You don’t need custom garage storage to maximize your storage. Increase your storage options by adding:

  • Shelves – wire shelving units come in various depths, widths, and heights and are cost-effective.
  • Cabinets
  • Utility carts
  • Workbenches
Overhead Storage
  • Ceiling racks
  • Ceiling hooks

Cardboard attracts bugs and rodents, so use plastic bins in the garage. Lidded bins allow you to stack items to group categories and subcategories together.

  • Opaque: solid colored bins limit visual chaos of being able to see everything in every bin.
  • Transparent bins allow you to see what’s inside and are easier to match and find in various sizes.
  • Color bins are great for color-coding holiday or otherwise grouping items and seeing all of a type together.

Labeling tip: Labels can peel off in the heat, An easy way to label containers in the garage is with a Sharpie marker. If you reuse the container, you can erase the marker with isopropyl alcohol or acetone, then relabel with marker.

Wall Storage

You can maximize your garage storage by using your vertical space with wall storage. You might put shelves or cabinets on a wall or hang specific storage-systems like slatwalls, pegboards, or wall-mounted racks.

Enjoy Your Organized Garage

An organized garage makes the room more functional and saves you time and frustration when you need to find something or work on a project. Maybe you’ll even be able to park in there!

Whether you tackle your garage organization all at once or bit by bit, the goal is to create a space that works for you. So, roll up your sleeves, declutter, and transform your garage into a functional and organized space you can enjoy all year round.

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