Make Your Garage Work for You

How to find the best remedy for a garage that's bursting at the seams.

By Brian Winters

 

You always thought that owning a garage would solve all of your storage problems, but here you are again, with a garage that’s bursting at the seams and nowhere left to put your things. Here’s some news for you – your garage isn’t the overflow-of-the-overflow room, or at least it doesn’t have to be. It’s stealing valuable space from you that you could be effectively using for long-term, seasonal storage. But if you do things the right way, you may have ample space left over for a work or recreational space.

 

Conquer the Clutter

The primary destroyer of organization is wasting valuable space with useless clutter. So if your garage is past the point of no return – a no man’s land where knickknacks, odds and ends, outdated appliances, and old pieces of furniture go to languish, hibernate, or get lost forever – it’s time for an overhaul. Mark out a Saturday that you can commit to, and attack it head-on.

 

Garage inside
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Drag everything out into the driveway and start sorting things into zones by category, while keeping the following in mind:

 


• If you start playing with old tools or going through boxes of photographs, you’ll get to the end of your day having made a bigger mess than you started with. Don’t get too distracted with any single item – it’s not what you’re here for today.


• If you haven’t used it in over a year, it’s got to go. “I might use this someday” is the mentality that got everything here in the first place, so unless it’s an important sentimental item, you should toss it, donate it, or put it at the curb and mark it as “free.”


• If there are things that you really can’t get rid of but don’t ever use, you might want to consider affordable long-term storage to take back your functional space and put it to good use.

 

Storage: Empty Storage Unit
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Box Things Up

A set of stackable, plastic storage bins could go a very long way to consolidate small, loose items that are related to one another. For instance, your car washing fluid, chrome cleaner, sponges, scrubbing toothbrushes, chamois, and buckets could float around your garage, or they could go in a bin labeled “Car Wash” and stacked in the corner.

 

A photo of colorful plastic containers with blank labels
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One small hint – kids and lids don’t go together. For some reason, kids are far less likely to put things away if they have to open a lid in order to do it, so if you’re thinking about a place for sports balls and equipment, a netted bin with an open top might be a better option. Think cubbies or baskets for shoes, and hooks for lacrosse or hockey sticks.

 

Go Vertical

If you’re not getting creative with all of the wall space, I-beams, and even ceiling space in your garage, you’re missing out. Wall-mounted racks, hooks, and pegboards to hang tools, rakes, shovels, brooms, and bicycles can go a long way. You can even place sheets of plywood between the rafters to create a loft storage surface. You might also want to consider tall shelving units for items that must be readily available or that can’t be packed into stackable boxes.

 

Sorting Tubs and Bins Storage Cart
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Transform the Space

Once you get organized, you may find that there’s enough room left over to make a getaway space for yourself. Buy a space heater and set up a worktable for crafts or hobbies. Or pick up a mini-fridge, area rug, and corded overhead light fixture to create the perfect spot for your pool table. If your next project is designing a man cave or other living space in your garage, help is available online in House Tipster's 3D Virtual Rooms.

 

Portrait of a designer craftsman standing in his workshop studio
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All it takes is a little bit of planning and a few hours of your time to turn a cluttered, disastrous garage into a functional space that you might even want to spend some time in.

 

Have any other thoughts about getting organized? Let us know in the comments below.



Images used with permission, courtesy of www.bigstock.com and www.dreamstime.com

Next: Three Garage Floor Options to Consider