Is your garage a dumping ground for whatever doesn't seem to fit in your home? Organizing pros estimate that only 30 percent of homeowners store their cars in the garage, according to This Old House. If your car has been forced to take the backseat (no pun intended) to other household items, here are some DIY tips for getting your garage back to its original purpose.
The Clean Out
Possibly the most dreaded task of garage organization is tearing it out and making a bigger mess than you started with. Set aside at least a full day, possibly a full weekend, to complete this task. Go through everything, including storage boxes, to start the de-cluttering process.
- Sort all items into piles: keep, donate or sell, and toss. Get rid of anything you haven't used in the last two years or more. Keep in mind that certain items, such as paint or expired chemicals, may require special disposal.
- Sort your “keep” pile into broad categories, such as sports equipment, gardening tools, toys, etc.
- Certain items should be stored in areas other than the garage due to safety, home efficiency, and pest issues. These items include: propane tanks, paint, paper products, pet food, refrigerators, etc.
Develop a Floor Plan
Take into account how much space your car holds and then start assigning each item their own space, before purchasing any garage organization systems. Use these guidelines as a rule of thumb:
- Put bulkier equipment, like lawn mowers and snow blowers, in corners where they won't be disturbed.
- Place bikes, toys, and other frequently used items toward the garage door for easy access.
- Put rarely used or seasonal items in the places that are hardest to reach.
- Bulk items that are commonly used together in the same place, like gardening tools and fertilizers.
The Must-Have Items for Garage Storage
You don't have to spend a bundle on custom garage organization systems to get your belongings in order, but This Old House says these items will make the best of your limited space:
- Stackable clear plastic totes. You can easily locate items that are stored away.
- Clear jars. These are great for organizing loose ends, like hardware pieces and other small items that often end up on the floor.
- A lockable cabinet. If you have children, grandchildren, etc. it's a good idea to keep toxic items in a closed unit. Use a lockable cabinet for storing lawn chemicals, cleaning supplies, etc.
Options for Vertical Storage
The number one goal of garage organization? Keeping as much as possible off of the floor! Here are a few options for organizing above ground:
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