May 28 2009
As the largest room in most homes, the garage has plenty of potential to be one of the most usable spaces. However, in many homes, the garage is more of a cluttered catchall for everything from tools and toys to holiday decorations and sporting equipment, and if you are one of the lucky ones, there may even be room to squeeze a car in there too. But for those who use the garage mainly for storage, after several years of buildup it becomes harder and harder to find and access the things you need without knocking down a pile of boxes or tripping over a skateboard. So, take charge of your garage using these helpful tips to get things organized.
Sort Everything: Begin by sorting everything in your garage. Make piles for similar items such as woodworking tools, lawn and garden supplies/equipment, clothing, spark plugs and air filters, toys and sporting equipment. After you’ve made your plies, take everything that doesn’t belong in the garage and put it in its proper place. This includes returning barrowed items to the neighbors.
Sort Again: Now take the piles you’ve made and sort them again by season or activity. This will help you group your belongings and separate them into bins or cabinets making everything easy to find. Group all of the ball gloves, baseballs and bats together. Put soccer cleats and the soccer ball together. Your rakes and leaf blower should be in a separate pile. Do the same for toys, clothing, seasonal items and auto supplies and tools.
Get Rid of Unwanted Items: After you’ve organized everything you want to keep, get rid of the things you don’t need. Sell these items on line, have a garage sale, refurbish items that can be reused, take recyclable items to the recycling center instead of putting them in the trash and donate the rest to charity or throw it away.
Evaluate the Open Space: After all that sorting, chances are you have much more usable space than you thought you might. Take a look at the open area. Determine how much space you need for parking the family vehicles and mark it off on the floor. Now look at the remaining space and the piles of sorted items. Determine which piles are best stored or organized in bins, cabinets or other storage containers, on shelving units or on hooks hanging from the wall or ceiling. How much organizational storage space do you need? Will floor cabinets work? Tall shelving units? Overhead cabinets? Can you add a counter along the wall that can serve as a workbench? What works best for bikes and bike helmets, skateboards, and your hunting gear?
Choose and Install Organizational Units: You are in the home stretch. Choose the storage units that will work best in the available space in your garage. There is a wide range of shelves, lockers, bins, hooks, cabinets and more designed specifically for garage storage. Gladiator GarageWorks by Whirlpool and Harley-Davidson Storage Systems by Stack-On are two popular garage storage systems available in a variety of units and sizes that can be arranged to suit your specific needs. For more ideas about storage systems, check with your local home improvement store, a garage design company or search garage storage systems on the web to find what is right for you. Once you’ve selected the organizational storage units you’ll need, it is time to install them. Depending on your experience, you may need help from a friend or neighbor, or you might want to hire a professional to handle the installation.
Store Your Stuff and Park the Car: After all of the organizational units are installed in your garage, store all of your belongings according to the piles you sorted at the beginning of the project. Label bins, cabinet doors, etc., making it easy to find the things you need. Then, pull the cars into that big empty space in the middle and feel good knowing you’ve taken the necessary steps to organize your garage and give you car a safe place to park.
With a little effort and determination, you can efficiently organize your garage and turn it into a very usable extension of your living space that the whole family can access.