A garage can be one of the most effective and essential spaces within a house...if it's used right. Yes, its primary function is to protect your vehicle from the elements. However, its status as a storage space offers a wealth of possibilities; the only downside is that for many, "storage space" signifies an incoherent mashup of miscellaneous items in which nothing can be easily found. The other roadblock is the fact that once your garage descends into chaos, it's easy to avoid addressing. For one, it's an industrial, unfinished part of the house that can easily be ignored and mentally disconnected from the rest; sometimes it's even separate from the main building. If everything is sparkling clean and organized except the garage, it's not hard to dismiss this one room as an external part of the puzzle — as long as the "real" house is taken care of, right? Wrong!
Organizing your garage is an essential step to organizing your home because you can store (and easily access) many more of your belongings within an orderly garage than you can in one that has no rhyme or reason to it. If you've been putting off this task because you don't know where to start or perhaps because you're looking at it as a daunting undertaking, we can help. Getting your garage into tip-top shape is not only immensely rewarding—it can even be fun. Here are 6 tips to help you get there!
If You Don't Have Labels and Boxes, Get Them Now
It's not often that we'll tell you the first step to organization is to go out and buy one more thing. But this one is bound to make the entire process of cleaning up your garage easier. A personal label maker will work for shelves and smaller boxes, but anything else will need large, hand-written labels or signs. Good old marker on cardboard boxes is okay and this is the most budget-friendly option, but plastic, stackable boxes are better. These plastic boxes are hardy and unaffected by moisture; plus, if you can find clear ones, it's easier to see the contents of each one.
Pull Everything Out Of The Garage
Working with a sea of objects around your feet is one way to approach things, but it's not ideal. Open up the garage door and utilize your driveway if you can. Use this space to sort items into three categories: keep, sell, and give away. The give away pile can be for items that you plan to take to the dump, leave at the curb, or give to a preferred charity. For the sell category, be willing to spend a few extra minutes appraising items and deciding what you think they're worth. Everything that doesn't fall into the sell and give away categories is by default, a "keep".
Make The Space Sparkle
Before you start placing the keepers back into the garage, you might want to freshen up the space. Soak up grease spots, scrape off rusty patches, and fill in and repair any cracks in the floor. You can choose to power wash, apply epoxy, and top coat — pick and choose the amount of refinishing you want to do. Adding a fresh coat of paint to cabinetry and shelving will round off your revitalization efforts.
Organize Your Keeps Into Categories
Once you've identified your "keeps", you'll want to sort them further into categories of interest and use. These often include sporting and outdoor gear, automotive equipment, and gardening tools and products. For your tools, designate a specific area for them; try to avoid having too many shelves or drawers for these because having to scrounge around for the right one won't make the advantages of your organization work very evident. When organizing your keeps into categories, try to choose a maximum of 6 categories; everything that doesn't fall within those 6 categories can be moved to an appropriate place within the home or perhaps into the "get rid of" pile. Doing this helps avoid any "miscellaneous" areas of the garage and keeps things structured and logical.
Install Storage Infrastructure If Necessary
Before you pull your keeps back into your shiny, glossy new space, check and mentally plan where you'll put them. If your garage is a bare-bones area with nothing already in place, you might consider installing a pegboard or slatwall for wall-mounted storage. Bike hooks on the ceiling, track systems, ceiling mounted racks, and slick cabinetry can all contribute to a super-efficient, beautifully displayed, and strategically methodical garage.
Bonus Tip: Make It A Party
Even with the exciting prospect of a spick-and-span garage worthy of online praise, the most organization-savvy homeowner might dread taking on this seemingly colossal task. The solution? Make it fun. Play music, call over friends or neighbors to help, and hook up the BBQ to add a social element to the process. Time will pass faster, you'll create great memories, and any potential stress will go right out the window. If you need that extra nudge to motivate you, transforming your task into a gathering or opportunity to catch up with others is the way to do it!