The very purpose of a garage is to store your vehicles in a clean, dry place when they’re not in use. Many people use their garage for exactly that but many of us only wish we did. When you open your garage door, do you see a mess of tools and items that are just laying around? Can’t even imagine getting a car in there? If you're like most people, your garage is a catch-all for all the things that don't have a place in the rest of your home. But it can be so much more than just a dumping ground for junk--it's an opportunity to organize and store everything from tools that would otherwise get lost, to toys, Christmas decorations, and sports equipment. It’s time to take action and organize your garage!
Here are some ideas for making the most out of this valuable storage space and make it more functional!
Start by sorting everything into three piles: keep, donate, and throw away.
Keep is what you plan to put back in the garage or keep in your home. Donate includes items that have value and can be sold at a garage sale or donated to charity. Throw away includes items that have no value and should be disposed of properly. Sort everything according to these categories before deciding whether it should stay or go. For example, if an item isn't needed but has some monetary value (for example, an old record player), it's best donated because it can help someone else rather than sitting around taking up space in your garage (or worse yet, being thrown away). How to choose what to keep? Ask yourself these questions: Do I use this item often? Is this item expensive? Is this item worth fixing up? Do I have space for this item? Do I like this item enough to keep? If you answered “no” to any of these questions, consider getting rid of the item instead of keeping it around just because it belonged to someone special or used to be important to you in some way (for example, an antique chair). Once you have all three categories separated and in piles, it’s time to decide how you will dispose of the throw away pile. If it’s too much to haul off to the dump yourself, consider a junk removal company or hire a guy with a truck. There are always people on Kijiji and Craig’s list more than willing to do a bulky pick up.
Garage storage can be tricky because there are so many different types of items that need to be stored there. You don't want to waste space by storing items that don't require much space, but you also want to make sure you have enough room for the larger items. Use hooks and peg boards. Hooks and peg boards work well for hanging tools and other small items that you use often enough that they need quick access but not so often that they should be kept in an upstairs closet. Use hooks in strategic places so that all the tools are easy to reach without having to move anything else out of the way first. For example, have one peg board with hooks for hammers or screwdrivers and another with hooks for saws or other long tools. Use hooks and peg boards. If you have enough wall space, use hooks on the garage walls to hang large items like bikes and garden tools. Hang child seats and snow sleds. If you have children or grandchildren who live nearby, consider hanging child seats on the walls of your garage so they're out of the way but still accessible when needed. Similarly, if you love winter sports (as most Canadians do), consider hanging up a pair of snow skis or snowboard so they're easy to grab when the weather gets cold again.
Bins are an organizers best friend. They’re cheap, stackable, they come in a variety of sizes and they’re easy to store. Bins can be used to store anything from tools to sports equipment, to seasonal items like Christmas decorations and Halloween costumes. And if you're looking for a way to store certain items together, coloured lids are great because they allow you to colour code them according to specific groups. Clear bins are one of my favourite types of bins because they allow me to see what's inside without having to open it up and dig around. This is especially helpful when storing tools or other things that might get mixed up if they were stored in a drawer or box.
Use metal or plastic racks and shelving to store items that don't fit into bins or boxes, or things that can’t be hung. This economical choice will help keep your garage looking neat and tidy. You can buy them at most hardware stores or home improvement centers. Separate and label the different types of items you store on the shelves so that they're easier to find when you need them. Inevitably, everyone winds up with an array of paint cans, gas cans, and automotive supplies that all need storing and the perfect spot for these items are on a shelf. Depending on the amount you have to store, many people choose to line two or more of the walls in their garage with shelving. The trick to keeping your shelving uncluttered is to resist the temptation to throw everything you don’t know what to do with, right on them. If you have the room, dedicate one shelf for gardening tools, one shelf for car accessories and one for toys. This will keep you organized for years to come!
It might seem odd to suggest buying a shed in a blog about organizing your garage but maybe people have found that relieving their garage from the added burden of garden tools, lawn mowers, pool equipment, outdoor furniture, and lawn games, have made a world of difference in keeping themselves organized. Once all these items have been removed from your garage, you may even find room for your car!
Sheds have come a long way in recent years and are even places people are choosing to spend a little time away from the house. They come in all shapes and sizes and can either be constructed for you or come ready to assemble yourself. Considering a shed as a way of keeping your garage clean and organized is not only smart, but also adds value to your property!