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April 28, 2016

Organize Your Garage, Once and For All

Newsflash: Garages are for cars, not stuff.

If your garage is in disarray, it’s time for an overhaul. Follow our step-by-step instructions to clear the clutter and regain precious functional space. Your goal for this weekend project? Plenty of room for your vehicle to enjoy some R&R.

Step One | Seek inspiration.

Before you start, take a walk through your local home improvement store’s storage options, scroll through Pinterest, or Google search “garage organization hacks.” This exercise will help you get a feel for how to make the most of the space you have.

Step Two | Clear everything out.

Word of advice? Make sure your spouse can still make use of the driveway while you clear and sort. Better yet, enlist his or her help! 

Step Three | Categorize and sort.

First, here’s a word on what belongs in your garage:

  • Workbench + toolkits, building supplies and hardware
  • Lawn and gardening tools
  • Sports and outdoor equipment
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Automotive care products
  • Holiday decorations
  • Seasonal items (for example, a beach umbrella and collapsible chairs)

And here’s a word on what doesn’t: toys your kids no longer play with, boxes of old clothes (if they don’t fit in your closet, chances are you’re not wearing them), books, extra furniture, and any item that’s broken beyond repair.

Step Four | Make keep, donate, and toss piles.

Category by category, weed through what you need, what you don’t, and what’s trash. Be honest with yourself. If you’re a weekend warrior who loves to DIY, keep the scrap wood and paint samples from your last renovation. If you’d rather hire a handyman than change a shower head yourself, donate or recycle the leftovers.

Not sure what to save? our nifty flowchart can help you assess the detritus.


Step Five | Let it go.

The minute you’ve finished dividing your things, bring the “donate” pile to Goodwill and the trash to the dump. The longer you let unwanted items linger, the more likely they are to wind up right back in your garage. 

Step Six | Plan to park.

Measure the length and width of your garage, and note any windows or utilities. Measure your car too, and then use sidewalk chalk or painter’s tape to map your parking space. Be sure to leave yourself enough room to open the car doors.

Step Seven | Make a clean sweep.

Clear any cobwebs that may have been hiding behind your clutter. This is also the perfect time to tackle larger projects like painting the walls or removing stains from the floor.

Step Eight | Make it functional.

The space around the perimeter of your car is game for storage. Store seasonal items on upper shelving, gardening tools near the garage door, and sports equipment where it’s easy to grab on the way to practice.

With your inspiration in mind, install shelving, hooks and racks to get your things up and off the floor. Wall-mounted organization systems are your friends—just make sure to affix them to wall studs or anchors that can support the weight of your stuff. Clearly labeled, transparent plastic bins can also help you see what you have. If you’re feeling creative, pop by Goodwill to search for used furniture with a slim profile (bookcases, dressers, etc.). These pieces can be a cheap alternative to custom shelving.

Step Nine | Move in.  

Congrats! Your stuff has a home now. Once everything has been properly put away, park your car and enjoy.