If you’ve allowed belongings like tools, toys, old furniture, and workout equipment to slowly edge your car out of its intended parking space, it is probably time to get a fresh start. And don’t beat yourself up about the clutter. You are not alone. We all are in the habit of casting out items and leaving them to languish in the garage.
In fact, 57% of homeowners with two-car garages don’t have room to park their cars inside them – let alone cram anything else in. Most of us simply use the garage as a glorified shed. Where everything from knickknacks and seasonal decorations to sports gear and lawn equipment is stored. Our endless piles of belongings often render the space impossible to utilize for its intended purpose – protecting the vehicle we drive.
Suzanne O’Donnell, a professional organizer, shares her philosophy on creating a space that is functional and stress-free.
“My philosophy: If you want to get organized and stay organized you must create a home for everything. If you are not able to create a home for all that you have, then it’s time to edit. Your garage is a great place to store archival or long-term storage. Creating space in the garage for this category will allow more space in your home for all of those things you use on a regular basis. When choosing what you’ll store for an extended period of time, be ruthless, think about what you really wish to hang on to. And be sure to leave room to grow.”
Cleaning out and organizing your garage is not for the faint of heart. It can be downright overwhelming and intimidating to stare down a room full of boxes, odds and ends. But worry not, we are here to help you declutter like a pro. No need to keep shutting the door on your dreams of having a well-organized garage.
Clutter-Busting Guide for Your Garage
You’ll be shocked to find out that only 30% of Americans park their car in the garage. Why might you ask? Because of clutter. An overwhelming number of homeowners have pushed themselves out of their own garages because they have too much ‘stuff’.
Do you have crates of miscellaneous ‘junk’ or unmarked boxes piled high against the walls? Worry not, this is a common problem, and we’re here to help. But before we dish all of our garage organization tips, let’s prep your garage for its transformation.
Step 1: Start Throwing Things Out! It may seem easy, but for some people, it is the hardest part of organizing the garage. A good rule of thumb is to start separating things into 3 piles. Keep – Donate – Sell. If you haven’t worn or used something in years, are you actually going to start now? You can have a yard sale for items that still have value, but no longer serve a purpose in your life. Outgrown toys are a great item to purge because they can be recycled and given to a family with young children or donated. Expired paints, chemicals, and other household products that have been sitting collecting dust, it’s time to give them the old heave-ho.
Step 2: Remove Items That Should Not Be Stored in the Garage. There are certain things that you should probably not store in the garage to begin with. So if you see them, either toss it or find another home for them. Things like paint and propane tanks could emit fumes, explode or catch fire depending on the temperature. It’s best to store propane tanks outside and paint should be stored in a part of the home that is more temperate. Paper products and dog food attract insects and rodents. Both should be stored in sealed containers inside the pantry, mudroom or hall closet space.
Step 3: Sorting. It’s helpful to start out by making three piles that you’ll find useful during this step: store, get rid of, and trash. For the items you wish to get rid of, consider having a yard sale or donating to charity. The latter is tax-deductible. Once you’ve sorted out all of your items, we find it particularly beneficial, to sort “like with like.” We suggest sorting the items you wish to keep in the following categories:
- Sports gear and camping
- Lawn equipment and gardening
Step 4: Take Everything Out. Now that you have things sorted into categories, it’s time to remove the piles of stuff from your garage. Take out everything, right down to the last loose screw. An empty garage is the only way you’ll be able to rediscover all of the long lost treasures you may have missed when you were sorting through larger items. This makes cleaning, purging, sorting, and organizing more efficient; thus saving you time. Just make sure that if you’re going to make this a weekend project, that the valuables go back in each night.
Step 5: Deep Clean the Garage. Typically, the only room of the house exempt from routine, let alone deep cleaning is that of the garage. Because of this, the garage is often full of dust, and cobwebs. Gross! Now that you’ve removed all of the contents of your garage, it’s time to break out the dry vacuum, and pressure washer. After you’ve thoroughly vacuumed up all the dust bunnies and cobwebs, turn the pressure washer on full blast, and really let loose.
Step 6: Create a Floorplan & Layout. You don’t have to be a sketch artist or draftsman to draw a floorplan. Getting a rough idea of your new garage layout will help when it’s time to buy garage storage products, which is the next thing you’ll be doing. Helpful tip: You will find that most garage organizing systems and products will come with a free space planning template or an online system that you can use to draft a loose layout. Remember to notate the dimensions of your garage and the space your car would take up, so when it comes time to buy supplies you don’t run into a traffic jam. Keep convenience in mind when you’re designing the layout of your new, well-organized garage. Items that you frequently use like bikes should be stored close to the garage door for easy access.
Step 7: Buy Garage Storage Products. Using your garage layout plan, mark off what kind of storage units you need to purchase and where they will go in the garage. Measure all spaces. You’ll want to make room for things like open shelving, tall lockable cabinets, pegboards for hanging tools, and clear plastic bins that will be clearly labeled.
5 Garage Storage Products for Optimal Garage Organization
Now the real fun begins. You’ve got your garage cleared out and supplies ready to be mounted and installed. Let’s dive into the most popular garage storage ideas for keeping your garage organized year-round.
- Overhead Storage – Overhead storage is one of the easiest ways to create more floor space in your garage. There is oddly an abundance of space in the ceiling of your garage, so put it to good use. There are thousands of DIY instructions to create your own overhead shelving and storage space. This is ideal for seasonal items like ski equipment, camping gear, sports equipment, and the ever-present holiday decorations.
- Freestanding Shelves – Open shelving or freestanding shelves have become popular in garages as well as some modern kitchens. This makes items easy to see and access. One huge advantage of freestanding shelves in your garage is that they are adjustable and customizable. You can adjust them to suit any sized items you may have. Stay away from close cabinets. This just offers another door to hide things behind.
- Pegboards – Everyone knows the old garage pegboard trick. Pegboard is especially useful for the handyman, or woman, in your life. The versatility of pegboards is what makes them so popular. Great for hanging tools, fishing rods, and other handheld equipment. One neat trick is to draw an outline around your tools so that when you go to hang them back on the wall, you remember where they go.
- Cabinets – There is an exception to the open shelving situation. Cabinets do take up more space, but can be a great addition if you can spare the square footage. This is especially helpful for items that you want locked away from the younger people in your family. Things like pesticides, chainsaws, and tool replacement blades should all be safely stored away from curious kiddos.
Assembling Your New & Improved Garage
With your stock of storage supplies, bins, and shelving, it’s time to start assembling your dream garage. Here is how to knock it out so that you don’t get overwhelmed.
- Install Storage Units First – For this step, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve accurately measured your garage’s width, height, and length to ensure any shelving units you purchase will fit, and not hinder your ability to park in the garage. Use these measurements to purchase and install appropriately sized storage shelves, drawer units, bike racks, pegboards, and cabinets. Don’t forget to purchase lots of clear storage bins and labels.
- Bring Everything Back In – The aforementioned storage items will restore order to your garage by providing you with a specific place – where everything must return – for your belongings. Ideally, the only things taking up floor space, should be your car and items such as your lawnmower. At this point, you should have a map of where your belongings are going, and where they’re hopefully going to stay. Just remember to place frequently used items within easy reach and less frequently used items further away from your reach.
- Don’t Skimp on Safety – With room to park your car in your newly organized garage, it’s important to not scrimp on safety, particularly since you’ll be using your garage door an average of four times per day. Optimally functioning garage door components (e.g. springs, pulleys, cables, rollers, etc.) are vital for ensuring your safety. Precision Garage Door Las Vegas can be there in an instant to inspect your existing garage door and perform a full garage door inspection. After all, your safety, and the safety of your family, is the most important thing.
Organize Your Garage in Three Weekends
If you don’t feel like putting your back, brain, and brain through the intensive garage cleaning process all in one day, or even one weekend, you can opt to break it up into three different weekends. This approach can help diminish the stress of doing it all at once. Breaking it up is pretty straightforward, you’ll just need to rearrange some of the steps to accommodate the slower pace.
- 1st Weekend – For the first weekend of your garage organizing mission you can just concentrate on Steps 1-3, then take a breather.
- 2nd Weekend – During your second weekend of decluttering your garage, you’ll want to pick back up at Step 4 and stop after Step 6. Hold on Step 7 until the third weekend. But here is the trick. Since you are breaking up the process, after you deep clean your garage and decide on a layout. You’ll have to put forth a little extra effort to bring your sorted items back into the garage for safekeeping while you wait for the final round of garage clean up and organizing.
- 3rd Weekend – You’re in the homestretch. Time to buy your supplies and garage storage products as defined in Step 7. When you return from gathering your storage supplies, you’ll then bring the well-organized piles back out into the driveway to clear a space for you to begin installing the shelving, cabinets, bins, and pegboards as outlined in ‘Assembling Your New & Improved Garage.’ Follow the remainder of the steps and you’ll be astonished at what a difference a well-organized garage can do to make your daily life easier.
And there you have it! Outfitted with this guide and a large dose of motivation, you should have an organized garage in no time. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Assign simple tasks to people in the family and make it a group task, or invite friends over to offer a helping hand. And remember to utilize your garage storage space appropriately so things don’t get out of hand again. You can do it!
If you need a new garage door to go with your newly cleaned garage to keep your car and valuables safe, call Precision Door Las Vegas. For assistance, use our interactive Garage Door Designer or contact us directly at 702-637-2700. Our garage door installation experts can answer your questions or schedule a free in-home estimate.