Your garage is a valuable asset for your home. Not only does it provide a safe space for your car (keeping it protected from theft and from the natural elements), but it also gives you space to store your extra items, like holiday decorations or yard equipment. You can even set up a workspace in your garage, creating wood-working projects or working on other hobbies.
Many people take all that extra space for granted. They stockpile all their extra belongings, creating huge piles of clutter. They put all their extra tools and equipment in the garage, creating safety hazards and making it hard to find the things they need. The area soon becomes a cluttered mess.
You need to keep your garage organized in order to protect the space and all the things you store in it. When there is so much clutter, you can easily break things. Dirt and grime can accumulate, tools can rest, and the area can attract pests and rodents. It is important to keep everything clean and in its proper place.
When you’re looking at the cluttered mess, you may feel a little overwhelmed and not know where to begin. Here are a few tips for how to get your garage organized:
Clear Out Old Items
The first step to reducing the clutter in your garage is to clean everything out that you no longer need. Get rid of that margarita maker that you haven’t used in two years. Take out those skis that you bought for that one trip but haven’t used again. Be honest with yourself when assessing your belongings, and remove everything that you are not actively using and know you will have no use for again anytime soon. Box these items up to take to Goodwill or have a yard sale to raise some cash.
When your tools and other belongings spend years sitting on shelves in the garage, they can collect a lot of dust and grime. Not only will this accumulation of debris contribute to rust and other damage to your belongings, but it will also make the space smell and attract pests.
After you have cleared out the belongings you no longer want or need, you should clean all the items that are remaining. Some may just need a good dusting, but you may have to take soap and water to some. Use oil and a soft cloth to clean any tools.
Sort Things by Category
Sorting your possessions into categories can help you get them better organized and make it easier to find them later. Create piles or groupings of all your things. Some common categories include tools, holiday decorations, paperwork, cleaning supplies, old clothes, paint and lawn equipment. Once you have the categories sorted, you can create labels and determine the best storage solutions for each grouping.
Add Shelves and Other Storage Solutions
You have many choices for storing and organizing your belongings. Shelving is the most common choice, and it is the easiest to install. You can put boxes on the shelves, or you can stack items like paint cans or decorations. Try to put as much as you can inside boxes or clear Tupperware bins. Then label all the boxes and bins directly, or put labels on the shelves in front of them.
Hang cork boards or peg boards to deal with smaller items and tools. For example, you can hang hammers, pliers and other hand tools on pegs on the boards. You won’t have to rummage through a toolbox to find the things you need. They will be in clear sight and easy to find.
Put up hangars for items like rakes, shovels, brooms and mops. You’ll keep them off the floor, and you won’t have to deal with a corner full of things propped against the wall.
Hang ropes or netting on the ceiling of the garage, and put items like surfboards or other sports equipment there. Items that are oversized and rarely used will stay out of sight but will still be easily accessible.
Cabinets are a great solution for garage organization. They keep everything in place while also keeping it out of sight. You can install base and wall cabinets just like in your kitchen, or you can buy big wall units that you can move just like other furniture. Either way, you can take advantage of the shelf space and drawers to organize your things.
Be sure to label all your cabinet doors and shelves to keep your things organized. Make sure that everything is ordered inside the cabinets and not just shoved inside. Regularly go through the cabinets to clear out any items that are no longer needed, and make sure you keep the area cleaned. Don’t let your cabinets go the way of closets, where you don’t mind the mess since it is out of sight and out of mind.
Keeping your garage organized is not just a matter of keeping the space clean, though that is important. It is also a matter of protecting your investment, both in your home and in the belongings that you have stored there. Dirt, water and pests can all damage your belongings and your structure, causing significant losses in replacements and repairs. Use these tips to keep your space clean and organized, helping you to protect your investment and to make it easier to find the things you need.