Is your garage a glorified storage room? Is it packed to the gills with unlabeled boxes and bins overflowing with old garage sale items, Christmas decorations, beach toys, and Halloween décor? Is it nearly impossible to find a rake or shovel or edger when you need it? Are your tools scattered here and there? Do you have to shove aside stacks of torn and bent window screens in order to get to your lawn mower or bike or stroller? Has your garage become so overstuffed you can’t even park your car in it? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s high time you organized your garage.
If you can get your garage organized and cleaned, you’d be able to put your car inside it. Imagine that! Having a place where your car is protected from the elements, a place where you can enter and exit your car and stay dry and warm or cool, depending upon the weather. Aren’t these all reasons the garage was built in the first place? Not just as a storage place but to actually house…or garage… a car?! Here are some ways to help reclaim your garage and make the most of it once more.
First, determine the primary purpose or purposes of the garage and what types of things you would like to store there. For example, is the purpose of the garage to house or store your vehicle or vehicles and nothing else? Will your garage house a wood workshop or workout area? Does it need to serve as a storage area for lawn and gardening tools, bikes, strollers, scooters, ride-on toys, sports equipment or maybe off-season yard/house decorations?
It is important to make a list of all the things you want to use your garage for and all the things you would like to store there. Then, using that information, identify which part of the garage will be used for which function and what types of things you would like stored in various locations within the garage. List any additional tools or materials you may need to accomplish this. For example, do you need to purchase any shelving, storage bins, bike racks, tool organizers, peg boards, hooks, etc. And then what tools, if any, you will need to install these items.
Set aside a specific time to start sorting and categorizing items. Setting a specific date and time will help you actually start doing things rather than keeping putting it off. Use containers or designated areas on your driveway to help you sort and organize. The key is to empty your garage completely and sort items with like items. This will give you the opportunity to really look at how much stuff you have and help you identify items that are broken or no longer wanted and get rid of those things. Make sure to properly dispose of any old paint cans and batteries or other hazardous solvents properly. Give your empty garage a good sweeping or cleaning too. You want a nice clean surface to work with.
Now, in organizing your garage, you should also take note of the amount of available space. If storage is an issue, remember to make use of vertical space. The walls and ceiling are a great way to increase available storage. There are many types of shelving from free standing to floating, organization grids, cabinet systems, hanging bin systems and hanging bike racks available to help maximize storage capacity.
After sorting items into their respective categories, make sure to place each category back into the garage by keeping in mind how much it is used. For example, children’s toys should be stored within their reach and in a manner that makes it easy for them to access and put away those toys. It is also helpful to place small items in system drawers or if you have more time, you can also create toolkits with proper labels from buckets or jars for your tapes, knives, switches, screws, nails, or anything that you use on a regular basis.
By following the steps above not only will you have a place to store your vehicle again, you will be able to know exactly what you have and enjoy the ability to find what you want, when you want. Imagine your sense of accomplishment and pride every time you walk into your clean and organized garage and know that you did it all on your own.