The garage is one of the places you toss stuff when company is about to arrive. And once out of sight, you often forget what's missing … proving you probably didn't need the stuff anyways. That's why it's a good idea to include cleaning out your garage as one of your annual cleaning/organizing projects. When you clean out the garage, you also want to look for better garage organization to avoid future clutter.
So let's start out looking at what people tend to keep in their garage, and then we'll share some of the new products coming out to help with garage organization.
- Cars, and roughly 50% of garages actually hold cars (never at my house though).
- Handyman workshop with tools and materials for car and home repairs.
- Sports equipment that's large and needs lots of space to store, and especially bicycles.
- Gardening tools and supplies, and often that includes a riding lawn mower that needs the garage door.
- Camping equipment which also needs lots of space if you've got a tent, sleeping bags and backpacks.
Garage Organization Depends on …
Think about your family room or a bedroom. There might be a closet but you need furniture to store books, games, electronics and clothing. And while it's become common(often a building code requirement) for garages to have drywall installed, the walls aren't always finished like other parts of your house.
Garages are rarely heated or cooled so take into account when deciding what to keep there, and many have taller ceilings. This means homeowners who want to maximize their storage space can then get creative about storing things along the walls plus hanging things from the ceiling.
5 Products Designed for Organizing Your Garage
There are standard pieces of furniture for your living room, bedroom or home office but no real standards (yet?) for garage furniture. And garage storage is more about being functional rather that fancy, and often you can build these items because you won't have to worry about mitered corners or hiding the screws used to assemble a piece of furniture.
#1, Rolling Workbench – One of my favorites garage organization tools, is the rolling handyman workshop pictured above from PlansNow.com. When you roll the workbench to where you're working, you're more likely to have the tool you want right there … and you'll put the tools back where they belong. Notice how they've used all 4 sides of this movable workbench with shelves and pegboard with hooks … and love the paper towel holder.
#2, Do It Yourself Workbench – Maybe you want something more substantial with a work area? You can design and build your own workbench, or you can buy this “workbench kit” from Amazon that makes it easy to assemble (you'll need to cut the boards to the length you want). For more strength, you'll want to add diagonal braces to the completed workbench, one on the back and to be extra safe, one on each side going in opposite directions.
#3, Ceiling Storage Shelves – When you're trying to maximize storage in your house, a garage with tall ceilings offers an opportunity to add shelving on the ceiling. Here's where it gets interesting – you need to create a floor plan for your garage, to decide on the height of shelving against the walls and where you can place one or more ceiling shelves.
In my garage we have tall shelving along the two side walls, with the workbench against the back wall. So our ceiling shelf ended up in the middle of the garage, and we built it to fit all the camping gear stored there, accessible from either side. Today there are many ceiling shelves you can buy (click to view), with accessories for hanging items like beach chairs, below the shelves. You'll want a shelving system with long brackets to secure the shelf system to the ceiling joists, with maximum flexibility on where you place the shelves.
#4, Pegboard Goes Plastic – Almost everyone has put pegboard up somewhere, and it's been a classic garage organization tool for years. You can buy traditional masonite pegboard and cut it to the size and shape you want, as long as you remember the spacers needed between the board and the wall, so you can slide the hooks into the holes. Now there's an alternative, this plastic pegboard with built-in wall spacers, the “Peg-A-System from Bulldog Hardware (get more info here).
#5, Gardening Tool Cart – By now you might realize that grouping tools, sports equipment or whatever you're storing in the garage together, makes a lot of sense. I'm also loving how many of these new garage organization tools are on wheels, increasing the odds that once you get organized, things will get put away so your garage stays neat and organized. So if you want to see a wide variety of garden organizing tools, click here … but remember, it's about staying organized (not pretty).