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  • Rochelle Petersen

Tips on Streamlining your way to an Organized Garage

Determine Goals

What are your goals for the garage?  Do you want to park your car/cars inside?  Set it up for a workshop or a workspace? Own a business and need to maximize storage?


Gather Supplies

What supplies will you need to maximize your vertical space and keep you on track while you organize? Set yourself up for success.

Shelving: Measure all walls shelving will go on. Consider how much wall space you need to leave free for shoe racks, backpacks that need to be hung, tool pegboard/workspace etc.  Find shelving that maximizes your available wall space minus the areas you need to leave open. Amazon, Home Depot, Lowes and Costco are good places to look for shelving.

Bins: that fit your shelving.  Measure before purchasing. Buy bins that fit the shelving you have. It’s okay to have more than one bin for a category.  In fact, some categories will have several bins. Flip-top lid see-through bins typically can fit 3 across on a 48-inch wide shelving unit.  If you have small categories consider getting bins that stack on top of each other and still fit on the shelf maximizing depth OR you can combine categories if you prefer.  For now get options that fit the shelving you decided on and you can return what you don’t use.

Other: supplies you may need would be a pegboard or workbench, a track or hooks for long hanging things like ladders, brooms and rakes, ball storage if want those outside of bins, hooks for bags/backpacks, shoe racks or anything that could hold things you need quick access to right outside your door that wouldn’t be on regular shelving.  There are a variety of different size hooks that can hold varying weights so make sure you are getting the correct hook size and weight for what you want to hang. Bikes can be mounted on the wall or if you have a lot of them consider a bike rack if there is floor space for it that won’t block access to anything. If you have a garage fridge or freezer leave space for that. If you have a lot of garden and outdoor equipment consider getting a shed to keep these things in the backyard easily accessible where they will be used.

Post Its: to label categories as you go and help everyone keep on track.

Garbage bags: for donations and garbage.  If you haven’t gone through things in a while you may have more than you can fit in your normal weekly cans.

Labeler/labels: you can use painters tape as easy temporary labels if you don't have a labeler.


Day (or two) of Garage transformation

1. Start with emptying the garage out onto the driveway in categories. Most people need their whole driveway to work. You should have at least 2 people working on this to finish in a day and possibly will need a second day if you have a lot of things that have to be taken out and looked at to figure out where they go. Having enough time and people will ensure you finish instead of abandoning it partway through. You can use Post Its here to help everyone know what each pile is as you go. If you realize that a category you started has other items in the house that go with it now is a good time to bring them out. Set up a donation area for things you decide you don’t want anymore, bring your recycling and garbage can close to your work area to easily put things in as you go. Keep bags handy for donations and garbage. People walking by may think you are holding a garage sale because things will be out and organized.  This means you are doing it right.


Category Ideas

  • Decorations: Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Other

  • Sports Equipment: balls, cleats, games, ________________________

  • Beach and Boating

  • Camping Equipment

  • Painting Supplies

  • Car Care

  • Tools

  • Garden 

  • Chairs: Sports, Beach, other chairs

  • Old Files

  • Snow Clothes/Boots/Helmets

  • Luggage and Travel

  • Other ______________________________________


2. This is a great time to sweep out your garage and arrange shelving (if you haven’t already) and wall hanging spaces.  You can do this and the next step simultaneously if you have a team.


3. Next, put categories into bins.  Everything should go into a bin UNLESS it is too big for a bin OR if it is going on a pegboard or being hung on a wall. You may have 8 bins of Christmas and 5 bins of camping.  Put them into the bins like you would want to take them out and the way it makes sense to you. For example, for a bin of camping put all the cooking into the same bin or bins and label it Camping/Cooking. Put like things together.  (You can label bins when ALL bins are completed before putting back OR if they are see-through and easy to tell what they are then you can label all bins after everything is put away.) Take things out of unnecessary packaging to help things fit better.


4. Last put bins back into garage on shelving.  If you have left wall space for quick-grab as you leave items like shoes or sports bags or backpacks make sure those things are going where you planned and don’t get put in bins or on shelving.  Decide on where each category will go keeping the same category bins together. Because Christmas is once a year you shouldn’t put that category at the easiest access point. If you get into sports equipment a lot then that should be the easiest access and so on.  Top shelves should be reserved for things that are too big to fit in bins or odd-shaped things like luggage. Store heavier things on lower shelves for safer removal.



Maintenance

The best way to keep your garage organized is to put things back into their assigned place right after you are done with them.  If you buy more things that need to be stored in the garage make sure you get a bin and label right away to keep you from piling things in the garage.  Scheduling a regular maintenance cycle a couple of times a year to make sure everything is in the right place can help it from getting to be a dumping ground and out of control again. Interior home storage affects garage storage.  If things keep getting dumped into the garage without a place it may be a sign you need to take a closer look at how the inside of your home is organized.



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