When Spring rolls around, you may find what was once a home for your cars has now become a landfill for everything you own but don't use. It's important to define different spaces of your house, and the garage is no exception: it's just as functional as any other part of the home. However, it's meant to store your car and tools, not your Christmas tree. Therefore, it's best to solve the problem once and for all with a little garage organization that'll help keep things nice and tidy for the future. Follow our 5 easy steps to get the job done quickly and painlessly and enjoy your garage once again.
1. Plan of Attack
Don't enter alone. And use the buddy system—if for no other reason than you may get overwhelmed and lost in your own sea of debris. Friends, family, and the kids can all lend a hand to get the job done quicker and to help keep you on track: it's easy to get distracted rooting through the objects of your past.
The first goal of any garage organization is to create more floor space, so that's where you should begin as well. Get all the knick-knacks, the holiday decorations, and any other indoor-related storage out of there and into the attic. This area is for outdoor items only. Always keep this objective in mind: it'll help you decide what stays and what goes.
2. Divide and Conquer
Give each helper a section to cover. This should help the garage organization run smoother. And don't be clingy. If you haven't used something in over a year, or if you forgot it even existed, it's time to say goodbye. Give your stuff to charities, thrift stores, or maybe even make a trip to the dump. Or, better yet, make a separate pile for a future garage sale, allowing you to reap all the awards of your excavation. (However, don't procrastinate on this chore either. It's easy to say you'll have a garage sale and not follow through so as to keep putting off the inevitable.) Then, divide up the remaining possessions into categories—sports items, seasonal décor, gardening tools, car maintenance, etc.—to help with the next step.
3. Get Vertical
Once everything is cleaned and categorized, now it's time to rearrange. The best way to store your things is to make use of your vertical space.
- Get a pegboard for your tools.
- Put up some shelves for boxes.
- Heavy-duty hooks are great for shovels and rakes.
- Buy a magnetic strip for stray metal items, such as steel rulers or chisels.
If you have bikes, skis, or ladders, put them overhead in the rafters (or if you have a drywall ceiling, once again, heavy-duty hooks are great for hanging these heavy-duty items).
Remember that a garage is mainly used to store or work on your car or other vehicles so make sure you clear enough space to make this possible. Garage car lifts provide a great way for you to store a vehicle whilst still giving you floor space to move around in. You can get 2 post lifts which make it easy to work on your car and 4 post lifts which allow you to store 2 vehicles in one space.
Once you have as much as you can off the floor, it's now time to find additional storage. The easiest answer to this dilemma is a garage organizer.
- A multiple tier shelving unit is great for storing paint or varnishes.
- A cabinetry system for miscellaneous items is always handy.
- Maybe buy several Rubbermaid baskets to hang on the wall to help separate the recycling.
- Buy a crank to roll up that hose.
- Use garbage ties or bungee cords to keep your extension cords in line.
Whatever the need, investing in some form of garage organizer helps to maintain the floor space you've just created.
5. Items Big and Small Don't forget the little things.
If you save glass baby-food jars, clear film canisters, or milk cartons (to be cut in half), you'll now be able to store smaller items, such as nails, screws, or tacks. If these small containers aren't see through, they can also be easily labeled with masking tape. Another alternative garage organizer is an inexpensive tackle box to help contain the confusion. But what if it's your bigger items that are getting in the way? What if it's the necessary tools, such as snow blowers, lawn mowers, or edgers creating the clutter? Then consider building an extra shed in the backyard or a lean-to against the outside of the garage in order to produce additional square footage.
Don’t Let It Happen Again
The main thing to keep in mind is never let it get to this point again. If you take these steps, you should be able to keep up with your garage organization in the future. This is not to say that you won't have some occasional maintenance—some sweeping, scrubbing, or washing. But by simply taking the time to arrange the space, at least you'll no longer dread entering into it.