The garage is where most of us toss out everything that doesn’t have a place in the house. Some people make a mess out of their garages due to lack of organization. Organizing pros estimate that fewer people are actually using their garage as car storage because of too much stuff. Perhaps you do too.
Have you ever experienced searching in your garage for quite a long time, only to find out that your Phillips screwdriver is nowhere to be found and your power drill is screwed because it got under some heavy stuff? If this is a familiar situation, then it’s time to organize your garage tools. Here are some tips on how to do it:
Get rid of anything you don’t need.
It’s best to set aside at least a day or even a full weekend to do this. Go through everything, including boxes you haven’t unpacked yet when you moved in. Get help from your family members and collect all items that you need to let go of, such as those expired chemical products and items that are broken beyond repair. Keep them in plastic bags – sorted on the manner how they will be thrown away, since things like household chemicals might need special disposal.
Sort your items.
While collecting the throwables, you must be sorting out those to keep, sell or donate. Group them into categories like garden gear, sports equipment, seasonal stuff, tools and the like. Place them into labeled cardboard boxes, or better yet, stackable transparent plastic bins you can use as storage later.
Create a floor plan.
Don’t buy containers like baskets, boxes, bins or anything just yet. You might later discover that you don’t have the correct sizes or sturdiness. Plan it first. Take down your garage’s dimensions and note the size and location of doors, windows, switches and receptacles, and of course, how much space your car takes up. Divide your space so that it will be easier to find things and put them away faster. Here’s some rules of thumb as you assign places to store your stuff:
- Keep items off the floor as much as possible.
- Store the items you use together close to one another.
- Place frequently used items close to the garage door.
- Bulky equipment, like lawnmowers, must be put in corners where they won’t get knocked over by your car or bumped by anyone.
- Seasonal and rarely used items must be placed in hardest-to-reach spots.
Determine containers and storage materials to use.
Now that you know what you’re going to keep and how much space you have, it’s now time to choose what containers to use. Here are some of the must-have storage items for your garage:
1. Stackable-clear plastic bins with lids
Those stuff you gave categorized, such as Christmas decorations, toys, camping gear, cleaning solutions and chemicals must be placed together on one plastic bin with a lid. The cover would serve as protection against dust, dirt, pests and bugs.
2. Jars or other reusable containers
For storage of small items like nails, screws, bolts and studs, you need smaller containers where they can be sorted and easily seen. Simply reuse food jars and clean them out thoroughly before using. Or if you’re more frugal than that, you can cut tops out of milk gallons or laundry detergent containers, and use them to organize your small hardware items.
3. Lockable cabinet
The things you don’t want your kids to be holding or playing with must be stored in a locked cabinet, such as lawn chemicals or fertilizers. Also store in here the things that need to be protected from airborne dust and dirt.
4. Open shelves
For easy tracking and scanning of the items you have, the open shelves would be the best storage option, especially for hand tools you use a little more often. It’s better than installing closed cabinets because you won’t need that additional clearance space to swing the doors open. Plus, closed cabinets would give you an excuse to stay messy and disorganized with your stuff. Like what we mentioned earlier, closed and lockable cabinets are better used only with things that needs extra protection from the reach of children and airborne particles.
Meanwhile, here are other space-saving storage options that are brilliantly useful:
Pegboards are vital in the garage, especially to those with many tools. If you have a spacious wall free for hanging anything, the pegboard can be installed in there for better de-cluttering and storage. You can install a wide variety of compatible hooks, shelves and organizers so it can be used to hang small tool holders for wrenches, screwdrivers and pliers.
2. Wire baskets
These are perfect for items that won’t stay put on shelves and those that tend to tip and spill. These are convenient because they are lightweight and mobile – they can be hanged on hooks easily and it can be lifted whenever it’s needed.
These storage fixtures are cheap and sturdy, and they don’t collect dust like solid shelves. They are available in lengths up to 12 feet and depths of 12, 16 and 20 inches. You’ll get more shelving for your money if you would cut long sections using hacksaw or bolt cutters, than by buying shorter ones.
For those items that don’t fit in shelves, bins or baskets, use hooks and brackets. Tools like brooms, long-handled cleaning brushes, as well as foldable chairs can be hanged on the wall for safekeeping. Ceiling hooks on walls also work for hanging bikes. It won’t take you a lot of effort, plus it makes things easier to get and put away. This works best on plywood walls, where you can place hooks anywhere, but if you won’t be able to put them on plywood, then be sure to locate them at studs.
5. Wall racks
By just using two boards and a saw, you can make a garden tool rack for your shovel, hoe, rake and other similar long-handheld tools. You can also hold all of your screwdrivers into a DIY shelf using a piece of wood that is pre-drilled (so you can simply insert the shank) and is attached perpendicularly to a wall or to a side of a cabinet or shelf.
The garage ceiling is a perfect spot for storing long, flat items you use sparingly, like ladders and seasonal sports gear such as skis or the roller Christmas tree storage bag your artificial tree stays in most of the year. You can also put shelves or ceiling racks in there for rarely used items or other keepsakes. Just make sure that anything you hang from the ceiling doesn’t interfere with the garage door and has enough space from the roof of your vehicle to avoid scraping. Also, if you’re going to put heavy items in there, make sure the storage is study enough – you don’t want any bulky items to ruin your car roof.
7. Store tools within your workbench
If you’re an occasional DIY-er, then a garage workbench would very important to you. But if your garage is being tight on space, you can’t afford to have a bench that is always there to take up space. A DIY wall-mounted foldable workbench could tuck out of the way when not in use, and could also act as a tool storage at the same time.