Lessons in garage organization 101 everyone should take

Even a home that looks neat from the outside may be housing a disorganized mess behind the garage door. (Photo provided by Metro Creative)

Garages are coveted by homeowners across the country, offering a space to park a car and protect it from the elements. But many people do not park a car in their garage, only to find the garage become a home to clutter.

Garages tend to become the official catch-all of a home. When an item cannot be crammed into a hiding space elsewhere, it often ends up dumped into the garage, where it joins the long list of other abandoned items. It can be easy to let garages become a wasteland because everything put inside a garage is behind a closed door. That mess can quickly build up, and reclaiming your garage requires energy, time, organization, and a plan.

Organizing a garage will take some time. An entire weekend or two consecutive days may be necessary depending on the level of disarray. Taking everything out of the garage and going through the sorting process may take the most time. When sorting, separate any broken items, which can immediately be put at the curb for trash pick-up. Examine things that you have not used in some time. If you haven’t missed it, there’s a good chance that you can discard the item or donate it. Create separate piles for donations and trash.

Move the items that will be kept into a separate pile. After all of the trash and donations are removed from the premises, then you can look at what is remaining and begin planning out a more organized storage system.

There may be things in the “keep” pile that are simply out of place in the garage and may be better stored elsewhere. Think about which items can be moved to a basement or attic because of their infrequency of use, such as holiday decorations, suitcases, and collectibles. You may prefer to move lawn and garden items out of the garage and into a shed in the backyard.

After completing the sorting process, look at the garage as a blank space and measure out the room that you have. This will provide an empty canvas as a starting off point. To maximize the amount of space you have as a work area or a place to park your car, invest in as many tools as possible to utilize vertical space. Shelving, hooks and cabinetry will take things off of the floor, while storage units with doors can hide items that lack aesthetic appeal. Rolling tool caddies and cabinets can keep all tools neat and in organized drawers so you’re never hunting and pecking for a tool again. A cabinet that has a lock and key can be utilized for dangerous chemicals that need to be kept out of the hands of children and away from pets. Think about how the garage will appear from the curb when the door is raised and create a design that will be functional and neat.

Take the opportunity while the garage is empty to give walls and floors a fresh coat of paint and improve the lighting in the garage. A brighter garage makes for a better work station.

For those who can use a little extra help, there are professional garage organization companies that can come in and install custom cabinetry and work surfaces. This is an option if you desire a high-end garage.

When putting items back into the garage, label where everything is stored until you become accustomed to the new organization. This way you’ll be able to find everything easily.


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