How to Organize in Your Garage

When you can't find your weed eater, hammer, painting supplies or golf clubs, it's time to take action. Instead of wasting another second searching for misplaced items in a disheveled garage, get it organized. You might even find extra space for that garage workshop you've always wanted.

Tools hanging on pegboard
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A well-organized garage has a designated spot for everything.

Place each article into one of four piles -- keep, trash, donate or sell. Sort the items in the keep pile into categories containing like objects.

Plan of Attack

Before physically moving items from one random spot in your garage to another, create a plan of attack to methodically organize the space. It will save you time and effort over the long haul. Define your garage space by determining how you can best use the area for you and your family. Typical garage needs include parking places for one or more vehicles and storage space for a variety of home-related items – seasonal decor, sports equipment, lawn tools and other household articles. You may also decide to carve out a spot for that workshop or for other special activities, such as physical training, repairing automobiles or lounging. After assessing your specific needs, measure the length and width of your garage to determine the available floor space. Transfer those dimensions to a sheet of graph paper and draw a pencil sketch to scale, using one graph block to equal 12 inches. Designate specific areas on the sketch for your predetermined needs.

Clear the Premises

Clear out everything in your garage to help you sort and purge its contents. Start in one of the garage corners nearest your driveway and work your way toward the house. As you pick up each object, make an immediate decision as to whether you'd like to keep the item or get rid of it. Place each article into one of four piles -- keep, trash, donate or sell. Sort the items in the keep pile into categories containing like objects. For example, arrange the tools together, painting supplies in another stack and sporting equipment in a separate group. If you anticipate a lot of items going into the trash, consider renting a dumpster to conveniently dispose of them. When your garage organization is a multiday project, acquire a temporary, mobile storage unit to house items in a secure spot where they are protected from the elements.

Time to Regroup

After sorting and purging garage items, it's time to regroup. Before moving articles back into your garage, wipe down the walls, doors and window sills with a damp cloth to remove cobwebs, dust and dirt. Sweep the floor to remove loose debris. Apply a fresh coat of paint to the walls. Take a good look at each subgroup in the keep pile, and view your pencil sketch to match up garage zones created for each one. Determine the best type of organizational storage for objects in each zone. For example, wall pegboards are ideal for hanging small tools; drawing an outline of each tool on the pegboard can help you quickly return it to an assigned storage spot. Use the ceiling for hanging bulky items, such as bikes, kayaks or camping equipment. Overhead ceiling racks with metal shelves work well for storing seldom-used, seasonal items. Clear plastic bins with lids allow you see the contents without opening each container. By storing paint, household chemicals and other toxic substances in locked storage cabinets, you keep them out of the reach of small children. Free-standing shelving units allow you to maximize the vertical space in your garage, while wall storage systems give you adjustable hooks to customize your storage needs.

Mary Cockrill

Mary Cockrill's education and certifications in interior design and home staging have allowed her to author numerous home-related articles. Cockrill has been a top design consultant for a renowned home store and is the owner of Starwood Home & Gifts, LLC, an interior design, decorating and home staging business. She holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education with a comprehensive major in office administration.