Four Steps to
Organize Your Garage

Learning how to get your garage organized is a big project, but don't worry, we’re going to make it as simple as possible by breaking it down into the following four steps…

  1. Decide what you will use it for and organize it accordingly
  2. Pull everything out and declutter by donating, tossing, or keeping
  3. Create categories for the items you keep
  4. Create a space for everything

Allot enough time to organize your garage. If you think you need a day or two, schedule one more day. You want to be sure to have enough time to organize your garage in one shot.

Make arrangements to dump all your cast offs with either the dump or your neighborhood pickup. Some cities participate in a neighborhood pickup where you can leave big trash items out on the street for pickup. Call your city to see if you have one and when it is, then schedule your garage organization around it.

Let's get started and organize your garage in four easy steps!

Organize Your Garage, the first step…

Think about what purpose(s) your garage is going serve. Here's some examples...

Will you park your car(s) in there?

Do you want a home gym in there?

Do you want a work shop in there?

Do you need it for storage? What items will you store in there?

Before you can organize your garage, you need to plan the space first. Ask yourself the questions above and design your garage space according to your answers.

Once you have a plan in place, write it down. It will then be concrete in your mind and you can organize your garage according to your plan's needs.

Organize Your Garage, the second step…

Pull everything out. I know this may sound tedious, but it will be a lot easier to go through stuff and organize it.

Declutter. To help, ask yourself these four questions

Do I want it?

Do I need it?

Do I use it?

Do I love it?

If the item passes any or all of these tests, then ask yourself another question… when was the last time I used this? If the answer is that you haven't used it in a couple of years, seriously think about getting rid of it.

You are going to do one of three things with the items you pull from the garage:

  • Toss
  • Donate
  • Keep and create a place for

I don’t recommend creating a garage sale pile. You will not have enough time to do a thorough garage organization and hold a garage sale in one weekend. The result will be all that stuff will just end up back in the garage, defeating your efforts to organize your garage.

Toss out anything that is broken, dirty beyond cleaning, or damaged. If you have a lot of “broken” items that you are “going” to fix someday, get real with yourself and just toss them as that someday is not going to come.

Donate anything that is in good shape that you do not have a use for. Items like baby clothes and gear are great for donations. Do not donate items that are in bad shape like moth eaten clothes, toss these. In other words, don’t donate your trash.

Do you have several cans of paint in the garage? I did and I discovered that paint stored in the garage is subject to temperature changes and is no good after a year.

In checking with my city, I was told to open and air dry cans of latex paint. Once the paint hardens; toss in the trash. For oil based paints, I was told to mix with kitty litter and take to the dump during a hazardous waste day. Check with your local city on their dumping regulations as it will be well worth getting rid of all those old paint cans cluttering up your garage.

But, what if I need paint for touch ups on my walls and woodwork? Simple, I use my own paint touch up kits. Once you’re done painting your home, simply put some of the paint into air tight glass jars and store in a temperature controlled part of your home. In the back of a cabinet is fine. You now have enough paint for touch ups and it’s not crowding up your garage floor. If stored properly, it will keep latex paint for five years.

Ok… Now you’ve gone through your stuff and it’s sorted into three piles of toss, donate, or keep.

Next you will need to clean out that garage. Start top to bottom clearing cobwebs and sweeping the floor. Finish with a good scrubbing of the floor with soap and water to remove grease and grime. Once you’ve cleaned everything up, you may want to paint the walls and concrete floor… the choice is yours, but be sure to use an excellent quality concrete paint on the floor to avoid chipping.

Organize Your Garage, the third and fourth steps…

Categorize and create a place for the kept items.

Group like items together.

Go back to the question what purpose(s) your garage serve and organize accordingly. Will you park your cars in there along with creating a home gym? Will the lawn mower and yard equipment be stored in there? Whatever the purpose(s) your garage will serve, create stations for each of these.

For instance, we park our cars in the garage and there’s a designated spot for that. My husband is an avid hiker and there’s a designated area for his hiking gear. I have baby gear such as strollers and wagons along with kid’s bikes that I need access to almost daily, and there’s a spot for these items.

  • Get an idea of what you are going to use your garage for
  • Create categories of items that are going into your garage
  • Designate a space for each category

Hang as much as you can to clear space off the floor.

As with any organizing project, store seldom used items up and out of the way. Store frequently used items on easy to reach shelves.

Same goes for toxic items such as pool chemicals and pesticides. If you have little kids, you will want to store these up and out of the way, preferably behind a locked cabinet.

When storing items on shelving, put as much as you can in boxes or plastic tubs and remember to label and categorize these. For example, paint supplies will go in one box while sprinkler supplies will go in another.

Tools

Store screws and nails with this innovative strategy my dad used. My dad took lids from baby food jars and nailed them to the underside of a shelf in his workshop. He then filled the jars with small items such as nails and screws and simply screwed the jars onto their lids.

Create his and her tool kits… My husband doesn't keep things organized. For my sanity, and so I can find a screwdriver when I need one, I store tools I access frequently in a plastic shoe box in the house. For less frequently used tools, I hang them from a peg board and in a metal tool box out in the garage along with his tools. Same goes for power tools, I have a drill I keep for myself and he has a drill outside in the garage.

Power cords are stored in old mounted hose hangers for easy access and to keep them tangle free.

Use whatever tool storage works for you; just put a organize your garage so that is functional for your family.


Sports equipment

Use shelving for helmets and ski gear. Hang skis and snowboards from special wall mounted racks. I have a designated shelf in the front of the garage over the cars that houses skis, snow boards, and boots. For a really cheap alternative, you can house skis between wall boards in your garage. Just secure with a bungee cord that is wrapped around nails in each wall board.

You can also store golf bags from either wall mounted or free standing racks. Rolling bins on wheels are great to store balls to keep them from rolling and bouncing around.

Store out of season sports equipment in big clear plastic containers that are clearly labeled. Deflate all pool toys and make sure they are dry and store in labeled clear plastic containers too. Stack these containers up to save some space.

Holiday ornaments

Store these in labeled big clear plastic tubs. I store all my Christmas decorations in a couple of tubs. So I don’t have a tangled mess of lights, I wrap them around square pieces of cardboard and store away. Since I have a lot of kids, I store their Halloween costumes in another tub with some cedar chips for insect protection. I save money by recycling Halloween costumes for the next kid.

You can organize your garage by spending a little or a lot of money. If you have money, spend some time and search out garage organizers that will work for your stuff. If you don’t have much money, then look around your home for stuff to use.

Do you have an old bookcase, use it for inexpensive shelving. Put it by the back door to store items like garbage bags you can quickly grab. What about an old dresser, take it to the garage and use the drawers to store items such as ski gloves, golf gloves, and knee pads. Just be careful with this one and remember to categorize items and don’t create a bunch of junk drawers!

Save floor space and use the walls to store things. Peg boards with hooks make a great inexpensive alternative to organize your garage.

for some excellent wall storage options for your garage.

You'll feel great when you organize your garage and can pull the car into a clutter free garage. Just remember to keep utilizing the systems of garage organization that you have created to maintain them.

Maintenance is an important part to organize your garage and keep it that way. I maintain my garage organization every couple of months or so. My pack rat husband, bless his heart, cannot stand to part with anything. So, when he’s away… I head on out to the garage to declutter and organize. Since I have a system of organization in place, it doesn’t take much time (an hour or less) for me to declutter and toss, donate, or put the keeper stuff back where it belongs.

You’ll get to this point and possibly will be even more disciplined and won’t have to maintain your garage organization as much as I do! Good luck and go for it.

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