Did you know nearly 75% of people can’t put a car in their garage? I know, it’s shocking, isn’t it? I’m guessing that you had to have a garage to put the car in when you were house shopping. This is especially true of Canadians because clearing snow and ice off your car on cold, dark winter mornings is not fun. Isn’t that enough motivation to tackle the overwhelming clutter in the garage? It might seem a little soon, but spring will be upon us before you know it. As with any large project, you’ll need to follow a plan. My method for organizing the garage in five easy steps will help you create a space that works for you and has the proper storage solutions so that it stays organized.
Step 1 – Pull Everything Out
First, the bad news. You need to pull everything out of the garage if you don’t have room to move around. Then sort and purge. You know the drill; only keep what you know to be useful. Try to balance the amount of “someday-maybe” items with items that you currently use. The good news is that once you’ve completed this tedious step, the fun part of the project begins.
Step 2 – Designate Zones
Designate specific areas to store specific groups of items, often called setting up zones. Chances are you’ll need a household repair area to keep things such as lumber, nails and screws, extension cords, tools, and more. Then you’ll need a gardening or outdoor area to keep your lawnmower, snow blower, potting supplies, and gardening tools. You’ll also likely need a car zone to store off-season tires and cleaning supplies.
If you have children, you’ll need areas for their stuff. This may include a bicycle area where you store bikes and helmets. Then there will be an area for all the outdoor toys. Large round bins with handles but no tops work well for outdoor toys like balls, water toys, etc. Many people have outdoor sports gear for the family, including golf clubs, hockey gear, skates, and soccer equipment, and I could continue, but I think you get the idea.
Step 3 – Allow for a Mudroom Area
Some attached-garage projects I have worked on over the years include a mudroom area near the entrance to the house. Some simple organizing solutions include installing wire shoe shelves and deeper wire shelves with bins for all the winter hats and gloves (one per family member). Install some heavy-duty hooks for backpacks.
Step 4 – Set Up a Recycling Zone
You will also likely need to include a recycling area close to the door of the house, so it’s easy to access. Once, I had a carpenter build a nifty plywood box on wheels so the homeowners could stuff all their cardboard recycling into it. Otherwise, it would have been all over the floor, which is such a drag.
Step 5 – Go Shopping for What You Need
Now you get to go shopping, if necessary, for containers and systems. One of my favourite systems to use for garage organizing is called GridWall. This system installs fairly easily and includes components like shelves, baskets and hooks. What I really like is that you can move the accessories around as your needs change.
Take advantage of vertical height by building some overhead shelving. You can also purchase racks that suspend from the ceiling. It’s a great place to store off-season items such as camping equipment and holiday decorations (especially outdoor ones). Easy-to-assemble resin shelving can be an affordable and functional solution. It comes in different widths and depths to store a variety of bins and containers. Be sure to purchase the heavy-duty ones. Even though they cost more, they will last much longer. HDX is my preferred brand and is available at Home Depot.
Alright, now go ahead and use these five steps for organizing the garage! It’s time to dig out the camping gear and holiday decorations, so they will be accessible long before you need them. Please reach out if you need help figuring out the best solutions for your garage.