This may seem like a no-brainer, but a garage was made to house our cars. It’s surprising then that only about 75% of people who own 2-car garages use them for cars. In fact, most people use it as a storage space, especially if they do not have a basement or attic.
A recent survey by the National Association of Professional Organizers found that 50% of homeowners said the garage was the most unorganized area in their home.
While it feels all too easy to pile up extra boxes filled with off-season decor against the garage walls or store your kids’ old toys in there until you can make it to the donation center, garages fill up quickly, leaving little room for parking, and even less space for organization.
Like most of us, you’ve probably found yourself digging through boxes in the garage in search of Christmas decorations or have tried to sort through garage clutter as part of your spring cleaning regimen. It can quickly become frustrating when you can’t find what you’re looking for.
The good news is that with a little bit of organization, your garage can turn into a space you can use effectively all year long- car parking included.
Let’s explore some of my favorite ways to organize your garage.
First, clean out the garage.
Before you begin to filter through ideas on precisely what to do with your garage space, rummage through the clutter and clean it all out, especially if you’ve been living in your home for a while.
Depending on how large and filled your garage is, consider setting aside a half to a full day to clean it out. It may be best to set aside an entire weekend to declutter and reorganize in one shot.
Invite family and friends to help. Go through every box and bin and toss anything you don’t need. Set aside what you’ll keep outside the garage if possible so that you can start organizing against an empty and clean slate.
If you have a lot in there, make three piles of keep, toss, and donate so that you know exactly where everything should go when you’re done cleaning it out.
After you have three piles, break down your keep piles into specific categories such as sporting goods, decorations, and gardening tools. Then, store them in appropriately labeled bins for easy access once they’re ready to go back into the garage or another part of your home.
To stay on top of safety, avoid storing the following items in your garage:
- Pet food
Create a garage floorplan.
Before or after you’ve had a chance to fully clean out your garage, it’s a good rule of thumb to devise a cohesive and organized floorplan to base your garage storage on.
It’s important to note that most garage-organizing manufacturers provide free layout plans when purchasing their storage items. Consider using this service to determine exactly where everything will go.
Consider these important ideas when creating your floor plan:
- Store all like items together in the same bins and/or area for easy access.
- Label all bins.
- Organize the interior of bins as you remove and add items.
- Store larger, bulkier items in corners away from where you’ll park your car.
- Move frequently used items closer to the garage door.
- Stow seasonal items in places that are harder to reach and out of the way.
Keep items off the floor.
Whenever possible, store things off of the garage floor. The floor should be as clutter-free as possible. Install wall organizers, work benches, and floor-to-ceiling storage cabinets to house all of your items instead of just placing the bins directly on the floor.
Take advantage of overhead space.
There is certainly a lot of overhead space in most garages that doesn’t get enough use by many. Take advantage of this space by installing overhead shelving to store items such as ladders, sports gear, and other flat yet bulky items.
After placement, ensure that there is enough space between the storage unit, items, and roof of your car to prevent any accidental damage.
Secure your space.
Garages are essentially another room in your home. The scary part is that this area that makes up 10% to 15% of your home is not nearly as secure as the rest of your home.
As you’re reorganizing your space, consider upping the security of it by:
- Investing in door and window locks
- Sealing the threshold
- Using a smart garage door opener
- Closing your garage door whenever it is not in use by you
Add the garage to your monthly cleaning plan.
As with any area of the home, the garage should be cleaned and maintained regularly. Although not necessarily a space to tidy up daily or weekly, it is a good idea to add it to your monthly cleaning checklist.
Something as simple as monthly maintenance can go a long way.
When cleaning, consider:
- Sweeping and hosing down the floors
- Reorganizing the tools and equipment
- Throwing away or donating any unwanted items
- Checking the perimeter for insects or other pests and using a natural pesticide to keep them away
Is a garage on your must-have list?
Whether you’re in the market for garage organization tips or hoping to add a garage to your dream home in the near future, we can help. As industry experts, we do our best to stay on top of the latest trends in home organization and the home purchasing market.