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.
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 – roughly 50% of garages actually hold cars (never at my house though) and these homeowners are likely to have tools and/or cleaning supplies to maintain their cars.
- Handyman workshop – usually includes a workbench and enough storage for tools and assorted home repair materials.
- Sports equipment – can require lots of space for big things like bicycles, skiing 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 and bigger tools that might include a riding lawn mower that needs the garage door.
- Camping equipment – 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 for clothes but you also need furniture to store books, games, electronics and more. 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 this into account when deciding what to keep there. If you have taller ceilings, some storage hanging off the ceiling might be useful and why not, as otherwise it's lost space.
All these ideas mean homeowners who want to maximize their storage space can 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. 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. 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.
#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.