Tips for organizing your garage

If you are like most people with a garage, it is a struggle to keep it organized. The garage is the place where most people throw things when cleaning the house for guests, and it is home to all items that aren’t immediately useful. It makes sense to store things like holiday decorations in the garage, because they are only used once a year and in the meantime you want them out of the way. But there are certainly belongings in the garage that most of us can give away because we don’t use them at all (or at least not in the last ten years!).

It is possible to organize your garage so that you can find your belongings easily when needed, and in a manner that looks tidy. You should be able to organize your garage in a weekend if you stay focused. Here are some useful tips to organizing your garage.

Tip #1:

  • Stand back and survey the situation in the garage. Are your belongings packed in boxes or is there a lot left out in the open? Try to determine which items you need easy access to on a regular basis, and those that you can store for longer periods. For example, if you play golf frequently, you will need easy access to your clubs. Create a mental image of how you want your garage to look.

Tip #2

  • Start the garage organizing project by sorting through items to see if you can give anything away or get rid of unused items. If you haven’t used something in several years, think about whether you really need to keep it. Go through any tools, old paint, garden supplies, books, memorabilia, etc. and start making stacks for things you will give away and those you will dispose of properly (toxic chemicals and paint need to go to the hazardous waste facility).
  • Use boxes and label them efficiently. This will come in handy later when you forget where you’ve put things.
  • Once you are done sorting, you will have a clearer picture of the amount of stuff you need to organize.

Tip #3

  • Make a plan. If you want to free up some floor space, you can build or buy shelves and wall storage organizers. Do some research either online or at your local hardware store about the type of garage organizing systems available, such as wall mounted bike racks, tool boxes/hooks, or shelving units. Do you want to build shelves yourself or would you rather buy a system that just needs mounting?
  • You don’t have to buy anything – you may chose to put your belongings in labeled boxes stacked them against the wall. That’s fine as long as you know where everything is located for easy access.
  • Next you’ll need to measure your garage to match the type of storage you want, and buy the materials.
  • If you decide to build shelves or wall mounts, you will likely need to move your stuff aside to access the wall. If you don’t have space inside the garage to move things to one side while you work, you may have to move them to the driveway or yard temporarily.

Tip #4

  • Make sure your garage is clean before you stack everything in its place. You can move everything to the driveway or yard, sweep out the garage, then patch and paint as needed.
  • Once the garage is clean, start moving your stuff into place. Try to put everything on the sides of the garage so you have room to walk or put a car inside. Place items you don’t use regularly up high or towards the back.  Place those things you use frequently within easy reach.

Tip #5

  • Stay focused – try to finish the project in one or two weekends. The more time you take, the less likely you are to finish. Keep at it until everything inside is where you want it, and the rest is removed and handled (e.g. make a trip to the donation station or hazardous waste site).


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