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. This proves you probably didn't need the stuff or maybe you need better garage organization so you can find things easily?
It's a good idea to include cleaning out and organizing 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 ideas to avoid future clutter.
Garage Organization Starts with What's in The Garage
The best way to start organizing your garage is to survey what's in your garage – just a simple list of what's already in your garage. There may also be things you'd like to store there if you had enough room … and maybe a few things to toss or move elsewhere.
Here's what people tend to keep in their garage to help you put your list together … but if we're missing something you've got in the garage, let us know in comments below.
- Cars – roughly 50% of garages actually hold cars (rarely at my house). These car buffs are more likely to have tools and/or cleaning supplies to maintain their cars.
- Handyman workshop – for all DIYers, which include a workbench and enough storage for tools and assorted home repair materials.
- Sports equipment – can require lots of space for big things like bicycles, skis and all the little things for your favorite sports and the occasional trip to the beach.
- Gardening tools and supplies – might include a separate table for potting tools. Bigger tools may include a riding lawn mower that needs the garage door.
- Camping equipment – also needs lots of space for tents, sleeping bags, backpacks and more.
Garage Organization Depends on …
How you organize your garage depends on what you need to store and the available space. You'll also want to consider the following:
- Do the walls have drywall? Are they painted and finished like the rest of the house?
- How high are the ceilings? That's important for ceiling mounted racks that need a minimum of 18 inches and often, can be adjusted up to 42 inches in height.
- Consider what needs to be near a door like shoes near the door into the house or gardening bench near the side door.
- Remember that garages are rarely heated/cooled, so take this into account when deciding what to store there.
There are standard pieces of furniture for your living room, bedroom or home office but no real standards (yet?) for garage furniture. Garage storage is more about being functional than fancy. That makes it easy to build storage because you won't have to worry about mitered corners or hiding the screws used to assemble a piece of furniture.
Rolling Garage Storage Where You Need It
One of my favorites garage organization tools is the rolling storage cart shown above. It's perfect for storing the tools and materials used most often, all in one place. Then all you need to do is roll the cart to each project and get started.
You can roll the workbench to where you're working including inside your house (still need to build a ramp for this). Projects will go faster when you have the tools right where you need them, 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.
If you're not interested in building your own rolling cart, there are lots of rolling tool carts you can buy (Amazon or HomeDepot.com). There are many types of rolling tool boxes. Most of them have all the tools stored inside drawers to make it easy to move the box in/out of a truck (my old handyman business). My preference is to see all the tools and then that cute little green one meant for car repairs is fun because you can sit on it while working.
#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.
rolling handyman workshop pictured above from PlansNow.com.
#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. Don't forget that you need spacers 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, Sports and Gardening Storage - By now you might realize that grouping tools, sports equipment or whatever you're storing in the garage, 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.