The main purpose of a garage is to protect your car from the elements, vandalism and theft, though garages often also double as a space for storage and hobbies like woodworking and painting. If you feel like you don’t have much space in your garage or you have too much stuff to park your vehicle inside, it may be time for a makeover.
Storing your car inside can keep it clean and in better condition. This garage organization guide covers the best ways to give your garage a makeover and increase your storage space.
How to Pick a Starting Point When Cleaning out Your Garage
The first step to giving your garage its much-needed makeover is choosing a starting point. Depending on how much work you need to do, you may need to set aside a full day or weekend — or a couple of weekends — to complete the job.
Choose a time to clean out your garage when your whole family can participate or when your friends can offer a helping hand. The more people involved, the faster the task will get done. Additionally, try to pick a dry weekend, so you can place items outside temporarily without exposing them to precipitation.
Coming up with a time to clean out your garage is key to scheduling any donations or yard sales. Once you know when you’ll have your garage cleaned out, you can decide when you will host a yard sale to sell your unwanted belongings. Donate or sell what you can, then determine how to dispose of what remains. YOu may be able to sell outgrown toys and things you forgot you had and haven’t used in years, but you should dispose of expired household chemicals and broken items.
What Not to Store in Your Garage
Due to safety and pest concerns, you may want to avoid storing these items in your garage:
- Books: To preserve your favorite books, store them somewhere other than the garage. Insects like silverfish are attracted to damp, dark spaces like garages and can destroy the glue that binds your books.
- Paint: Extreme temperatures can ruin paint, which many garages experience in the summer and winter. Instead, find a more temperate space to store your paint cans. Check paint can labels to review the recommended storage temperatures.
- Pet food: Keep pet food in your home rather than your garage to prevent animals and pests from sniffing it out. If you need to store pet food in your garage, keep it in a tightly sealed metal or plastic container. Avoid using cardboard or paper packaging, as rodents can chew through these materials.
- Propane: Keep propane tanks outside, as a spark could cause a fire in your garage if you keep tanks inside. If you keep your car in the garage, a leak from your propane tank can spell disaster. The ideal space for a propane tank is outside, where it won’t be exposed to high temperatures.
- Oily rags: Do not store rags soaked with oil in your garage. The combination of oily rags and trapped internal heat is a recipe for spontaneous combustion.
- Refrigerators: Unless your garage is air-conditioned, it’s not the best place to keep a refrigerator. A fridge can be a significant energy drain if kept in your garage.
- Paper goods: It’s best to keep paper goods in your house rather than your garage, as they can attract bugs and roaches.
- Sleeping bags: Fabrics shouldn’t be stored in spaces with fluctuating humidity and temperatures, which is common in a garage. Rodents could damage fabrics like sleeping bags, and they can grow moldy. Though you may want to store your sleeping bags with your other camping supplies, it’s best to keep your sleeping bags and clothing items inside the house.
If you’ve been storing any of these items in your garage, now is the time to reorganize.
15 Garage Organization Tips
The longer you live in your home, the more stuff you may accumulate in your garage. We often toss anything that we can’t find space for in our homes in the garage. This can quickly lead to a disorganized, nonfunctional space and the need for garage storage ideas. To help you organize a messy garage, we’ve compiled a list of our best ideas for garage organization.
1. Assess Your Garage’s Floor Plan
Before you purchase any storage bins or build any shelves, write down your garage’s dimensions and the locations and sizes of your doors, windows, receptacles and switches. It’s also helpful to note how much space your vehicle uses.
Figure out where you want to store your items in your garage. If you’re unsure where items would best be located, consider how frequently you use them and how much space you have available. For example, you’ll likely want to keep your tools near your workbench and your recycling bins close to your home.
Store infrequently used items on low or high shelves, leaving more easily accessible areas for the items you use regularly. For example, if you use your bike a lot, place it near the garage door. Place seasonal items in the hardest-to-reach areas, and group items you tend to use together, such as lawn chemicals and gardening tools. Put larger equipment like your lawnmower in corners so you won’t bump them or knock them over with your vehicle.
2. Sort Items
Sort the items in your garage according to whether you want to keep them, toss them, donate them or sell them. You can mark off spots on your driveway or lay out tarps to organize these items. Then sort the belongings you plan to keep. Categories could include:
- Hand tools
- Camping gear
- Seasonal decor
- Sports equipment
- Car cleaning products
- Lawn and garden equipment
You can either place items in marked cardboard boxes or stackable plastic bins. It’s best to wait to buy new storage bins since you won’t know what sizes or sturdiness you’ll require for long-term storage, so use whatever you have on hand.
Return the items you’re keeping back in the garage. If you struggle to let go of belongings with sentimental value, but you don’t need them anymore, take photos as keepsakes.
3. Stack Bins
Plastic bins are great for storage use in a garage, and you can save floor space by stacking bins vertically. However, stacking bins against a wall can make it difficult to access the containers on the bottom. Storage towers allow you to stack your bins vertically to save space while still giving you easy access to each bin.
To make items easy to find, you may want to consider color-coding your bins. You can also use the sides of the tower for additional storage with mounts or hooks.
4. Install Wall-Mounted Shelves
For many homeowners, one of the best garage storage ideas is installing wall-mounted shelves. You can use these shelves to maximize your storage space with a few affordable, simple shelves, hooks and baskets. If you’re an experienced DIYer, building and installing some garage storage shelves can take just a few hours.
5. Utilize Overhead Space
Overhead space is often overlooked, but this can also function as storage space in your garage. If you have lightweight or medium-weight camping gear or holiday decorations, the ceiling can be great for storing these items. You can easily DIY overhead storage by installing wood framing with screws and sliding your bins into place.
Alternatively, you can store bulky items by installing PVC pipes and fittings together to make a simple rack. For heavier loads, bolt a straight pipe to the joists on the ceiling. The smooth surface of the PVC makes loading and unloading easy. High space is best used to store seasonal items and ladders long-term.
6. Add Storage Cabinets
Storage cabinets are a popular choice for garage organization. These cabinets can provide you with valuable storage space at an affordable price. You can also modify them to fit the specific needs of your garage. If you plan on including storage cabinets in your garage, plan your configuration beforehand with masking tape on both the floors and the wall. Ensure that every cabinet has a minimum of one stud to fasten it to the wall securely.
7. Purchase Storage Tubes
Storage tubes can create an excellent spot to keep your baseball bats, tennis rackets and any long-handled tools. Prop these tubes up to keep them secure and dry, and use a strap to secure each tube. If you’re a sports-oriented family, these storage tubes can improve your storage and organization.
8. Install a Tool Rack or Pallet
A tool rack is another popular solution for storing tools with long handles like rakes and shovels. These tools can often be difficult to store in a way that is convenient and keeps them out of the way while still being accessible. You can either purchase a tool rack or make it a DIY project to hold several items.
Alternatively, you can also choose to install a pallet to store your garden and lawn equipment. A pallet can be easily attached to exposed wall studs, so this may be a great storage option for your garage if you have a pallet.
9. Get a Recycling Bin Rack
If you have recycling bins and they’re taking up a lot of floor space in your garage, installing a recycling bin rack can come in handy. With this rack, you can get your bins off the floor and store them on the wall out of the way. If you install this rack, be sure to place it near your home so the bins are easy to access.
10. Install Corner Shelves
Almost every homeowner could use more shelves in their garage, especially corner shelves. These types of shelves tend to be forgotten, but you can take advantage of the space in your corners with these shelves for extra storage. Adding corner shelves is affordable, easy and fast. If you have scrap plywood, you can easily make shelves and fit them between corner studs. Store smaller items on your corner shelves like lawn chemicals and hand tools.
11. Utilize Rod Organizers for Fishing Gear
If your fishing rods regularly get tangled up, now is a great time to get a rod organizer for your garage. You can purchase an organizer, or you can build one. If you want to make one yourself, you’ll need to drill holes in the rod holder, assemble the frame, add braces for extra stability and customize the holder according to your needs. You can add casters to the bottom to increase mobility, and you may want to sand and paint or stain the organizer.
12. Ask for Help
Ask your family and friends for help with your garage makeover. If no one you know has the time to help, you can hire an expert or a team who can help you with the task. Without adequate help, you may quickly find the job too overwhelming and abandon it altogether.
If you have help, plan how you can direct your helpers throughout the day or weekend to make the process more efficient. Be sure you also plan how you will thank your helpers for their time and effort.
13. Donate, Sell or Discard Unwanted Items
After you clean out your garage, it’s time to donate, sell or discard what you no longer want to keep. Remember that some of the belongings you want to get rid of may be recyclable. If you tend to use your garage as a catch-all storage space, clean out your belongings each year. Spring cleaning is the perfect time to do so.
14. Stick to an Organizing Schedule
After you have organized your garage, create a schedule for ongoing cleaning and organization. Add biannual or quarterly garage organization to your calendar. Putting it on your calendar will make you more likely to stick with your schedule. Additionally, throughout the year, try to put things back in their proper locations immediately after use. This will help keep your garage organized and create less work for you later on.
Keep your garage clean by regularly hosing the floor and using a pesticide in spring and summer to prevent insects from invading. If you have any spills or leaks, you can use cat litter to absorb grease and oil.
15. Get Storage Products From WG Wood Products
Implement cabinetry and storage products from WG Wood Products. Our recessed cabinets are an excellent option for any garage. We can customize our storage products to meet your exact needs for space.
Contact Us at WG Wood Products for Garage Organization and Storage
At WG Wood Products, we can help you with a garage and garage door makeover. Our products are made in the USA, and we offer free customizations, including custom sizes. Our variety of products can help you solve different organization and storage problems. You can gain much-needed storage space you didn’t even know you had with our cabinets, no matter how much stuff you have.
Our in-the-wall garage cabinets are available in more than 20 finish colors, including stain finishes and enamels. The door to the cabinet can open right or left or can be left off the cabinet if you need more space. Contact us at WG Wood Products or browse relevant products on our site.