10 Things People With Organized Garages Have in Common
We all know a neighbor or friend with a super-organized garage. Turns out people with tidy garages know these storage tricks.
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Don’t Treat the Garage Like a Storage Locker
Think twice about what you’re relegating to the garage. Limit what you keep there to things you actually use in the garage or outdoors.
“The biggest mistake I see people making that leads to a cluttered garage is using their garage as a storage unit for items that should be stored inside the home, like clothing, paperwork, sentimental items, books and other household items that do not fit indoors,” says Katherine Lawrence, a certified professional organizer and KonMari consultant with Space Matters LLC.
Standardize the Shelves
“So often, garages are messy because homeowners make do with the storage systems that were there when they moved in, or they are cobbled together from discarded furniture or found items that weren’t meant for garage storage,” says Melissa Keyser, a professional organizer and certified KonMari consultant.
People with organized garages invest in uniform shelving units that don’t scrimp on sturdiness. Look for a high weight capacity, adjustable shelves and a durable finish, like these Gladiator garage storage shelving units.
Use Matching Bins
It may sound trivial, but utilizing the same type of bin ensures they stack together neatly. Plus, uniformity creates less visual clutter.
In a space that isn’t climate-controlled, look for hardy storage bins. Suzanne O’Donnell, of My LA Organizer, recommends Weathertight Totes. The sturdy bins have an air- and weather-tight seal to protect contents from moisture, dirt and pests, and are available in various sizes.
Use Lots of Hooks
Awkward items that don’t fit neatly in a bin still need a designated storage space. Heavy-duty hooks utilize wall space for storage and raise items like bikes and long-handled tools off the floor. Pay attention to the weight limits and installation instructions to ensure the hooks are secured properly and will hold up.
Lawrence recommends a variety pack of hooks that can accommodate many different items. Longer hooks can house extension cords, while shorter hooks are well suited for shovels and rakes.
Pegboard is a garage organization staple that takes items off your workbench while keeping everything close at hand. Many people with organized garages step it up and install a metal pegboard system with hooks, shelves, bins and more.
Before going this route, take inventory of what you need to store and map out a plan. That way, you’ll know how many pegboards to purchase and what add-ons you’ll need. Include a little overage to accommodate future tool and hardware purchases.
Clean and Organize Regularly
Organized, clean garages don’t just magically stay that way. People with organized garages commit to cleaning up regularly, including after every project. They also set aside time seasonally to do a thorough cleaning and tackle any reorganization needs.
Lawrence recommends doing deep cleaning and decluttering sessions in the spring and fall. “Toss items that are dried up, rusted out or broken,” says Lawrence. “Donate items that are still in good condition but have not been used in some time and do not fit with your current projects.”
“It’s important that you clearly categorize and store your items in garage ‘zones’ such as garden, tools, kids, sports, camping and holiday,” says Amy Tokos, a certified professional organizer, owner of Freshly Organized, and president-elect of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals.
With sports equipment in one corner and gardening gear in another, you won’t have to dig past hockey sticks and sleds to reach shovels and rakes. Once your gear is organized in zones, Tokos recommends labeling bins and boxes, too, so you know exactly where to search for the items you need.
Go Vertical and High
Vertical space is typically in ample supply in a garage, and organized spaces tap into this asset.
“The high ceilings and tall walls of garages make the perfect space for hooks, tall shelving and overhead storage — anything that maximizes vertical space,” says Lawrence. “Overhead racks installed over the garage door are the ideal space for seasonal storage or rarely used, bulky items like holiday decor and camping equipment.”
People with organized garages consistently monitor what is in their garage and give themselves permission to purge when necessary.
“Be ruthlessly honest with yourself about what you really need to keep and store,” says Keyser. “If your garage is filled with tools or equipment you rarely use or only keep because ‘one day you might need it,’ consider renting or borrowing that item.” Utilize community tool libraries or ask a neighbor or a friend if you can borrow an item you may only need to use once, or even annually.
Invest in a System
Sets of heavy-duty shelves, pegboard and bins are good first steps, but people with organized garages take it to the next level with a full-fledged storage system.
Garage-specific systems provide storage options tailored to your exact garage needs, from the biggest pieces of sports equipment to the tiniest nails. Liz Jenkins, a certified professional organizer and founder of A Fresh Space, likes using the Elfa System from The Container Store. In addition to drawers, work surfaces and shelves, the system also offers wall tracks for hanging items like bikes and yard tools.