If there’s no longer room to park, the junk is piling up or you spend far too much time searching for the items you need, it may be time to organize your garage. If that seems like an intimidating prospect, these tips will help you get started and put your efforts on the path to success.
Don’t forget to plan and prep
Before you rush to rearrange and dejunk your garage, you should put together a plan for how you’re going to proceed. Can you tackle the whole garage at once or do you need to split the task into multiple days or sections? Do you mainly need to get rid of unwanted items, or will you be changing the whole layout around? Where will everything go? Do you need to install new shelving or any other furnishings? Once you have a plan, make sure you also gather everything you need: garbage bags, cardboard boxes, plastic bins, organizers, cleaning supplies and anything else necessary to make your project a success.
Sorting through the mess
If your garage is especially cluttered or packed full, figuring out where to start can be intimidating. To sort through it all, start by putting everything in three different piles. The first pile should hold items you want to keep, the second pile should include things you intend to give away or sell and the third pile should be made up of everything you plan to discard. Be sure to have a plan for the things you’re getting rid of so they don’t continue taking up space after you’re done sorting.
What’s your system?
As you add to your “keep” pile, think about how you want to sort these things. You could store them by category (sports gear, lawn care, car care, tools), when you need them (winter, spring and so on), frequency of use or a combination of these approaches. Thinking this through will help you organize the garage more effectively — and keep it from getting messy again. For example, make sure frequently used items are easy to find and reach, while things you don’t use often can be placed in harder-to-reach areas.
What’s the best way to keep all your garage items organized? First, make sure you have plenty of bins and boxes on hand to hold everything. If possible, label these so you can easily find what you’re looking for. Second, save space by storing items off the ground as much as possible. Wall-mounted shelves, cabinets, pegboards, hooks and slotted wall panels are all solid organizational solutions, depending on your needs and your garage’s specific layout. Third, designate plenty of out-of-the-way space for bulkier items like lawn mowers, large tools and anything else you can’t shelve or hang.
As you organize your garage, one of your priorities should be safe storage conditions. If you have children, any hazardous chemicals or sharp tools should be locked away in a cabinet. Don’t keep propane tanks in the garage at all, as their fumes can ignite easily. Unless your garage is heated and air-conditioned, store temperature-sensitive items like paint cans elsewhere. Paper products and pet foods can be tempting for rodents, so keep those out of the garage as well.
With these tips in mind, you’ll be well-prepared to transform your garage into a useful, organized and roomy space for your belongings and vehicles.