For this part of our summer organization series, we are going to tackle your messy garage. Organizing your garage can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be that hard. We have pulled together a few helpful tips that will help you get your garage as neat an organized as you want.
Start Fresh: If at all possible, start with a clean garage. If you are moving into a new house, this is already done for you. If your garage is currently “well lived in”, then this may be the hardest part of organizing your garage. Try to find a nice sunny day, find somewhere else to park your car, and empty your garage as well as you can. If you think this project may extend over a couple weekends, consider renting a portable storage container to store your stuff in the driveway.
Categorize: This is probably the most important part of organizing your garage. The first categories you will want are garbage, recycling and donate piles. There is no sense in keeping things you no longer need. Other categories you may have in your garage could be for tools, holiday decorations, gardening, or automotive. Choose categories that work for what you will store in your garage. When you have like-items together, it will make it easier for you to find what you are looking for.
Boxes and containers: Try to pick only about three standard sizes of boxes or containers. You will probably need large boxes or containers for things like winter blankets or large holiday decorations. Medium boxes or containers can fit the widest variety of items. Heavier items should be placed in smaller containers. If you have shelving, be sure to measure the dimensions available for your containers prior to purchasing them. If you will be stacking your boxes or containers, then make sure that they were designed to be stacked. Do not over pack the boxes. You can find more packing tips here.
Pegboard and Shelving: This is where you may have to make an investment. On the economical side, you can easily install simple cheap pegboard for easy quick access to your tools and regularly used items. Peg board is inexpensive, and also works with a variety of accessories, hooks, bins, small shelves and even whole sets with custom hooks for specific tools. DIY Network has instructions on installing pegboards here.
You can also find affordable shelving that will hold your containers and boxes. If you are willing to spend more, the sky is the limit with businesses who can install full storage and shelving systems, or custom cabinets to fit whatever you are keeping in your garage.
Placement: Once you get to this point, the true hard work is already done. For ease of access you should probably put your most commonly used items between waist height and eye level. Above and below you may want to put seasonal items or other things you don’t need to access very often. Also, remember not to place heavy items up high or leave them improperly secured in a way that they could fall on someone. Another safety note: if you are storing automotive or gardening chemicals, or other flammable items, then please read the label as they may need a ventilated space or have other storage requirements.
If all of this seems like a lot to do, don’t worry; you can take it in steps. One weekend, get rid of the things you don’t need and repack those that you do. The next weekend, install some shelves or pegboard. After that, you can put all of your items into their new neat and organized home. You will be surprised at how easy it is to have the organized and easy to use garage you have always wanted. Perhaps once you are done you will be ready to organize other parts of your home. Read our summer organization articles here for organizing your child’s bedroom, kitchen and living room.