Are you afraid to even open the garage door for fear of being crushed by piles of holiday decorations, sports equipment, and tools? Is there so much stuff packed inside that you can’t even fit your car inside? If so, you aren’t alone. Overstuffed, cluttered garages are common, and it’s easy to fill them up quickly. And sometimes, your attempts to clear out space only makes things worse, causing more clutter thanks to ineffective and impractical storage and organization solutions.
That doesn’t mean you can’t have a well-organized, clean garage though. By avoiding a few common mistakes, and implementing garage storage ideas properly, you can have a neat and tidy garage that even has room for your vehicle.
How to Keep Your Garage Organized
Don’t Neglect Vertical Space
One of the most common causes of a messy and disorganized garage is ignoring all the vertical space, and trying to store everything on the floor. Not only does leaving items on the floor cause clutter and take up space, it can also lead to damage or even injuries as things fall over.
By adding shelves, racks, and hooks on the walls and ceilings of the garage, you can potentially double or even triple the available storage space, creating more room for your car and reducing the likelihood of damage from being on the floor. Anything on wheels (such as bicycles and skateboards) should be hung up, as well as garden tools like rakes, shovels, and hoes. Adding shelving, and store items like sports equipment, toys, and seasonal gear in well-marked bins. Items that aren’t used very often, like seasonal decor, can be stored in the rafters.
Wall storage isn’t only for large items, either. If you use the space as a workshop, or you have smaller tools, hang a pegboard or slat board to store frequently used items on the wall, so they are easy to find and won’t get lost in the clutter.
Don’t Store the Wrong Things in the Garage
Another common cause of overstuffed garages is making a habit of storing things in the space that are better stored elsewhere. Certain items don’t belong out in the garage, especially if it’s not climate-controlled. Family photos, for instance, don’t belong out there where they are vulnerable to damage from moisture or excess heat. Other items that don’t belong in the garage include:
- Paint and solvents
- Propane tanks
- Car batteries and tires
- Important documents
All of these items are vulnerable to damage from changes in temperature, moisture, and pests, and in some cases, can be dangerous. Removing them creates more space, and helps you get a better sense of what needs to be organized.
Don’t Waste Money on the Wrong Storage
Many homeowners begin a garage organization project with their hearts in the right place and end up spending hundreds of dollars on organizational systems that don’t work in their space. They may be too large or too small, or too impractical for their lifestyles. The end result is a partially organized space (at best) or more clutter (at worst.)
Before purchasing anything to organize the garage — other than garbage bags to use in the cleanout — you need to organize your belongings and take an inventory of what you have and what needs to be stored. Then you can choose the ideal solution, and avoid wasting space and time. Don’t feel like you have to spend a lot on garage storage, either. Again, simple pegboards, hooks, and shelves will get the job done and don’t require a major investment.
Give Everything a Place
Even once you’ve organized your garage, it won’t stay that way if you don’t put things away when you’re done with them. Remember the adage, “A place for everything and everything in its place.” When cleaning out and organizing, designate a specific location for everything, and commit to putting items away in those spots when you’re done with them. Any time you bring something new into the garage, create space for it, whether a bin, hooks, drawer, or cabinet. Not allowing clutter to build upon the garage floor is the best way to keep the space clean and ensure that you can find what you need when you need it.
Keeping your garage clean and organized can save you time and money (no need to repurchase items that you can’t find in the mess!) and allows you to make the most of all your home’s space. Avoid making these mistakes, and your garage will be well-organized and the envy of all the neighbors. At the very least, you can open the door without fearing for your life.