For approximately one out of four Americans, the garage is so unorganized it can't even fit one car, (according to an April 2015 homeowner survey from Gladiator®GarageWorks).
Another home organization study found that the garage is the most cluttered space in the home.
Sadly, the garage often becomes the dumping zone of unwanted toys, broken furniture and holiday decorations. If your garage has seen better days, it’s time to raise the bar (and the garage door!) and organize it.
ORGANIZING TIP: Maintain your garage as if it were another room in your house.
A clean and organized garage doesn’t have to be an oxymoron. A dear friend of mine once commented that if our neighborhood block party ever gets rained out, we could always hold it in my garage at the drop of a hat. Here are my best tips to get your garage in gear!
Best Garage Improvement Ideas
Paint the walls. Take it up a notch and treat your garage to a fresh coat of paint. It’s an inexpensive upgrade and I guarantee it will keep your garage looking new, neat and organized. If a space looks nice, you will tend to take better care of it.
Apply a floor coating. Hire a professional to treat your floors with a durable floor coating that will eliminate oil stains and other spills.
Add a garage wall storage track system. Wall systems are great for storing large items like rakes & shovels. They are also great for sporting goods, lawn chairs, hoses, ladders and more!
Add shelving and cabinets. The goal is to keep everything off the floor. Cabinets will keep your tools organized and dust free. Take advantage of the all the upper wall space and add shelves to store large bins and other bulky items.
Label cabinets & drawers. Make it easy for everyone in your family to find things and perhaps more importantly, know where to put them back.
Take Everything Out
It will be much easier to sort through what you need to keep or toss if you take everything out of the garage. If you have a large garage, you may need to do this in stages.
ORGANIZING TIP: Psychologically, it’s a lot easier to part with things if they are outside of their normal storage space.
Sort in Zones
Save time by sorting items into zones while you are moving things out of the garage. Start with these categories:
Recreational Equipment (bikes, camping, coolers, yard games, etc.)
Surplus Household Goods
Keep, Toss or Donate
Now that you can clearly see what you have, it’s easier to let go of empty paint cans, outgrown toys and broken or unused items.
ORGANIZING TIP: It’s really important to wait until you complete the sorting process before buying storage cabinets or storage bins. You need to know what you are storing before you can decide on storage options.
Assess & Add Storage Systems
Designate specific zones in your garage for each category above and keep like things together. Make a list of what you have – by category – so you can determine what type and size of storage you will need. It is much easier to keep your garage organized if you assign specific homes for your tools and supplies.
Add tall cabinets with adjustable shelves to gain more vertical storage space and use counter height cabinets or work benches to give you ample project working space. Cabinets will keep dust and dirt out and keeps often used items within easy reach.
Need help choosing storage containers? Large storage bins are great for bulky items like camping supplies, tarps, soil, fertilizer and seasonal items. Medium and small bins are best for paint brushes, gardening gloves, hand tools, bungee cords, etc.
Use wall storage systems. They are wonderful for long-handled gardening tools. The hooks are strong enough to hold leaf blowers and ladders and they have a variety of hooks and baskets that work well for sporting equipment.
Look up! Take advantage of empty upper wall space and install shelves for seasonal or infrequently used items.
Organize and Store
This is the fun part. Now that everything is divided into categories, give them each a home in specific bins. As a general rule, keep heavier items on the lower shelves and the tools and supplies you used most often at eye level so you can easily see and reach what you need.
ORGANIZING TIP: Keep the supplies and tools you only use outside in the garage and keep the supplies you need in your home inside the house.
Store supplies like light bulbs, paper towels and batteries in the house in a laundry room, hall closet or pantry, instead of the garage. That way, you won't always have to go out to the garage to retrieve them. I keep a small tool kit (hammer, 2 screwdrivers and a tape measure) in the house for small jobs like hanging a picture or tightening a drawer handle.
After cleaning out a garage or attic, most people are amazed at the amount of junk they have been storing needlessly. It’s a great feeling to finally have the storage space you need and a specific place to put everything.
So, go ahead and invite the neighbors over for an impromptu garage party and show off your newly organized space. When the party is over, smile knowing you will have plenty of room to store the most important thing – your car!