For some people, their garage ends up being a dumping ground for unwanted or unused items. And for others, it’s a place that’s desperately needed for storage, but a little assistance is required when it comes to organizing it in a functionally user-friendly way. Organizing your garage doesn’t have to be hard nor does it have to be a 100% DIY project. There are plenty of things you can easily do yourself in an effort to organize your garage, but don’t feel as if you have to do everything yourself.
How to Begin Organizing Your Garage
Before you begin, take some time to walk through your garage and think about what you have and how you want the end result to function. It’s best to either have a written organizational plan or a vision of where you want things to go based on how often each item is used and how it will be stored. Then you should divide your available space into zones for a more systematic means of organizing your things.
DIY Tips for Decluttering Your Garage
The easiest way to begin decluttering your garage is to set up a staging area. You can easily do this by creating zones for your staging area just like you did for your initial plan. Your zones can be set up in the middle of your garage, the driveway, your yard, or any other nearby area where you can systematically pile your things into groups before putting them into their permanent zone in your garage. The reason for this is that you might have one box full of things that should be stored in different zones based on how often you use them (like seasonal decorations, sporting equipment, etc.).
1. Assign your zones. For example, trash should go directly into a trash can, dumpster, Bagster, etc. so you only have to handle it once. You should make every effort to donate or throw away as many things as possible. This will make it easier to organize the things you do need in the most user- friendly way. Your other temporary zones could include a space for each member of your family, seasonal decorations, summer, winter, paint related items, dog stuff, etc.
You will probably also have a variety of items you aren’t quite sure what to do with. Put these in a separate zone of their own, so you can go back over them later after you’ve emptied out the rest of your garage.
2. Go through everything in your garage piece by piece and place each item in the temporary zones you created for organizing.
3. Once your garage has been emptied and everything is in a temporary organizing zone, you will then have an idea of what types of storage you need and be able to approximate how many storage bins, boxes, etc. you will need to put them in. This will also help you determine how big each permanent zone in your garage will need to be once you begin putting everything back in its designated space (zone).
Unique Ways to Free Up Space in Your Garage
Here are some great ways to create space in your garage using the areas you might not normally consider for storage.
- Build ceiling hugger shelves that will hang from the ceiling of your garage for long flat items such as ladders, wood, folding tables, etc.
- Install a fold-down desk. This is a desk that is stored upright against a wall, then folded down when you need a solid workspace, but it doesn’t take up valuable garage space when not in use.
- Put wheels on a freestanding workbench so it can be moved around when you need it. Then it can be put back into the corner or another storage area when you’re done. This could be a table that you put wheels on. Then a framed pegboard sheet can be nailed to the long side of it to hang your tools. With this idea, you can also build some shelving underneath the table for additional storage, which is great for shop vacs, air compressors, tool boxes, etc.
Professional Help for Organizing Your Garage
If you have the need for a more functional space in your garage than you can effectively do yourself, don’t hesitate to hire a contractor. Hiring a contractor to design and build out your garage into a functional space is one of the best ways to make the most of the limited space you have.
A contractor who does this for a living might very well have ideas you wouldn’t have otherwise thought of. Contractors are great for building custom cabinets, professional workbenches, tool storage walls, bins, customized compartments for hobbies, or building designated spaces for each member of your family, etc.
The Bottom Line
The best way to free up space in your garage is by getting rid of everything you don’t need or use, and trying to elevate as many things a possible by hanging them from the ceilings and walls. Additionally, you should also put some thought into the finished product prior to beginning, so you end up with a functional space that works for the entire family.
And, you should never hesitate to hire a contractor when you don’t have the time or the skills necessary to properly do the job yourself. Sometimes spending the money on a contractor is cheaper than trying to do everything yourself, especially if you don’t really have the expertise to do things right the first time around.