Having a garage can feel like both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, the space offers a storage solution for plenty of bulky or rarely used items. On the other, it can become a breeding ground for clutter. An organized garage can seem unattainable and overwhelming, but with the right organizing tools and a clear plan, you’ll have a garage ready to be flaunted.
The importance of keeping an organized garage
Oftentimes, a garage can be a neglected space in the home, despite its frequent usage for storing things. An organized garage can offer much-needed convenience and peace of mind.
“A garage serves as a welcoming point after a long day out. Ensure that it is inviting so that coming home is a joyful experience instead of added stress,” says Thompson. “Because it also serves as an exit point, ensure that you have access to sports equipment or gardening tools to not deter you from engaging in activities you love.”
Thompson’s offers simple tips for transforming your garage into a usable space and keeping it tidy long term.
Make a plan
Consider a vision for your space and how you want the space to support your lifestyle. Decide on how you intend to use your garage. Do you want a space for just your car? A space to store equipment? “These questions serve as a reminder that things serve a purpose in supporting the lives we like. Remembering this will help you be more intentional,” says Thompson.
For a more thoughtful plan, sketch or outline where you want your items to live. Thompson recommends thinking beyond the usual garage shelving and searching for innovative and useful products that can leave your garage looking both beautiful and organized.
Divide and conquer
Stress and time management are the biggest setbacks to successfully completing a DIY project. To avoid frustration, allow yourself to stretch out your garage organization over the course of a few days. You can also ask a friend or family member for an extra set of hands to speed up the process.
Think in zones
The most important part of making a plan is thinking about what and how many zones your items will be separated into.
“Take everything out of its hiding place. Some typical categories include: sports and recreational equipment, automotive, seasonal decor, garden gear, and tools,” says Thompson.
If you use some items or equipment less frequently, choose a zone that is higher up or further from the door. Frequently used items should be easily accessible and stored at eye level to create a better sense of convenience and functionality.
Clean, declutter, and categorize
Declutter by focusing on one category at a time, and sort into piles as you go.
It’s more efficient to consider what you want to keep instead of what you want to discard. “This will teach you what you love and what is meaningful to you (which frankly is way more fun!) and will improve your decision-making as you consider what items to bring into your garage space in the future,” says Thomspon.
Get storage solutions
Buy new organizing and storage products once you’ve decluttered. Once you know exactly what you’re storing, you can decide on the sizes and quantity of what you need to keep your garage tidy.
While organizing can be a cleansing process, the outcome can provide an aesthetically pleasing visual, especially in an area like a garage that we don’t normally think of as stylish. To achieve this, Thompson recommends storage solutions that are functional and look great.
Use open shelving
Open shelving and racks allow you to fully view your storage and make items easily accessible. These are also ideal for seasonal items that can be stored at the top and aren’t used frequently.
Always make sure these shelves are sturdy, flat, and mounted if needed.
Use wall storage
Wall-mounted racks are perfect for bikes, skis, and other sports-related equipment that you use more, but need out of the way. Keeping things off the floor is one of the most important keys to successful garage organization.
Explore overhead space
If you want to keep the center of the garage free for your car, you can always utilize that space by looking up.
“A ceiling mounted storage rack is superb for hanging long, flat items not used frequently while also keeping them out of the way, and makes use of space that would otherwise go unused,” says Thompson.
Hang oddly shaped items on pegboards
“A pegboard organizer is not only customizable and versatile, it can almost look like art,” says Thompson. “Whether you’re using hooks or shelves, they’re great for storing loose items.”
While pegboards are common for storage above a tool rack or cabinet, they have versatile uses for arts and crafts, gardening tools, and other miscellaneous items.
Avoid weather damage
If you live in a climate with seasonal temperature and humidity fluctuation, weathertight bins are a must. “Weathertight bins can withstand extreme temperatures, which is very important in a garage,” says Thompson.
These bins are optimal for delicate items that need to be stored in a dark, cool place such as off-season clothing, shoes, and linens. Weathertight bins can be an extension of your bedroom closet when you’re looking for more space.
Avoid opening every bin and container with a simple label. Be specific yet concise with your labeling to easily find items.
“Label everything!” says Thompson. “The last thing you want to do is to go into your garage, especially in the middle of winter or summer, and wander around because all the bins are stacked and organized but look exactly alike. Take the time to label everything so it’s easy in, easy out!”
You can opt for a fancy label maker or simply write on a piece of paper and seal it to the bin with clear tape.
Steel is strong and secure
“If you have the space, get a steel storage cabinet,” says Thompson. “It makes things look both sleek and finished.”
While open shelving is most convenient, a steel storage cabinet can be a great solution for items that you don’t want on display or need to keep in a dark space. If you’re looking for more privacy, be sure to get a cabinet with a lock and key.
While taking on the task of organizing your garage may seem intimidating, it is worth the convenience and sense of openness. Decluttering what could possibly be the most cluttered area in the home only takes a clear plan, a productive categorization system, and a hyperfocus on decluttering the items that no longer bring you joy.
“The purpose of tidying is to create a life full of joy,” says Thompson. “Declutter the things that would impact your lifestyle in the most positive way.”