We all live differently, which means we use our homes differently so what do you store in your garage? Once upon a time as a new homeowner, I probably kept my car in the garage as there wasn't much else besides a small push lawn mower. As the years slipped by, it seems like we accumulate more and more stuff, so garage storage often becomes the primary function.
When we had our first child, my husband's workshop gave way to our son's bedroom, so the workbench and tools moved to the garage. In one house we owned, the original garage was converted to a family room and there was a detached garage which never got used except for gardening tools and the workshop moved to the basement.
When doing some research for this article, I was amazed to learn that 57% of respondents in one poll said they park their car in the garage every day. Guess that puts me in the minority. Curious though as to how you're using your garage — have you got your workbench and tools there? a potting corner and gardening supplies? sports equipment and bike, or even a kayak if you've got a nearby stream or pond?
Garage Storage Tips
You get the idea. Most of us have garages full of stuff and if they're not well organized, it can be really difficult finding what we know is stored there. So let's explore how we can organize our garage to get maximum use for everything we want to stuff in there.
First you'll want to take inventory of the things you want to store in the garage. Consider how often you need to reach things and who will be getting them, i.e. your kids need storage near the ground.
- Put shelving on one/both garage side walls. Pegboard is a great space saver, so you might use this on one side of the garage with deeper shelves on the other side.
- Baskets or buckets are great for grouping things so you can easily find things. This also makes it easier to put things back in the right place.
- Want to hide some of the clutter? Add cabinets on the walls just like your kitchen (great way to recycle old kitchen cabinets) or under a workbench.
- Shelving near the ceiling can be deeper for more storage. Add shelving around the perimeter of the garage or in the center (below right) where it's easier to access what you've stored there.
- Space permitting, include desk height work areas (multiple surfaces are great) with storage underneath.
There are so many great ways to organize that can be adapted to fit any lifestyle. The first thing to notice when you're reorganizing is where do you put things naturally? Most organization problems stem from not having a designated place to put things. Many homeowners find that adding shelving and hooks to hang things like rakes and gardening equipment can really improve their ongoing garage organization.
Another thing to think about is which items are used the most? The items you tend to look for most frequently should be easy to grab it when you need it, and put it away when you're done. These high-priority items might be the lawnmower, hedge clippers or even the croquet set if it's something you use fairly often. Low-priority items might be old paint cans or toys that your kids have grown out of. (We all have those…)
Treat your garage like a part of your home. You care about your home and work with your family to keep it looking its best. Your garage is no different! It is a helpful place that protects your equipment from the elements, and you need it. A garage just needs a bit of care each time you use it, and maintenance every now and again to catch up.
Most important, focus on keeping things organized so you can find what you want quickly. No one is going to inspect your garage until it's time to sell your home!
Summer is the perfect time to get your garage organized. Start planning now by putting your ideas on paper, and collecting the shelving and hardware you'll need to build or assemble shelves. Get help if you're not ready to do it all. Just sorting and organizing (read Garage Sales Turn Your Clutter Into Someone Else's Treasure) is challenging enough.