Updated June 3, 2021 . AmFam Team
The garage is often a neglected area of the home, used for parking and storing valuable items that just don’t fit in your home anymore. But there’s so much potential in a garage for building a space tailored to fit your needs. You just have to find it buried beneath all that clutter. Start with these simple tips on how to organize your garage and open up the space and its possibilities.
It’s hard to organize when you’re not even sure what you’re organizing. Go through your garage and separate what you plan to keep from what can be tossed or sold. This is where a good old-fashioned garage sale can work wonders. You wouldn’t have to do much. Just open up the door, and let curious customers do the hard work for you.
Now that you have space, determine what you’ll use it for. Whether it’s for a man cave or home gym, there are lots of options for using this new-found space!
Whatever hobbies may unfurl in your now clutter-free garage, start by zoning the space based on what you’ll use it for, so you can make the most of it. Take a look at these suggestions for organizing your garage, and make the space your own.
Keep it scalable. When working on your storage concept, it’s important to remember that your needs and items in your garage will change over time. By working with pegboard, or other materials that easily adjust to fit new configurations, you’ll invest once in a system that can conform to your evolving home improvement and storage needs.
Get the heavy-duty shelving in play. Although heavy and definitely requiring a “team lift” to get from the store home, each garage has a place for storing heavy items. Pick up coated, durable industrial-grade shelves that adjust in height. Mount them permanently to the wall by bolting through the shelving to the studs. Find them online, and save your back by getting them delivered to your door.
Consider the bin first. You’ll need to commit to a bin if you’re going to be storing kid’s sports equipment, gardening materials, car-care products or other household items. Pick up several bins of the same size, and build custom-sized shelving units so the bins stack neatly in them. You’ll make great use of your vertical space by going four or five bins high.
Install Sono tubes to the wall for vertical storage. Attach several four-foot lengths of Sono tube to one another, then attach them into the wall studs. Easily access rakes, brooms, baseball bats, and other long-handled items.
Hang garden implements from wall studs. Attach two 18” x 18" pieces of ¾ inch plywood to either side of an exposed stud, about 7 feet off the ground. Be sure that the outside edges of the plywood are parallel and they tip up slightly. Then, slide the neck of upside-down brooms, rakes, and shovels in. There you have it: space, saved — and you’re ready for your landscaping projects.
Much like reorganizing your kitchen storage, how you utilize storage in your garage will make a big difference. Use brackets and hooks to mount bikes and other sports equipment to the wall or garage ceiling.
Hang tools, cords, holiday lights and other tabletop and drawer clutter from a pegboard on the wall. You’ll find almost everything you need to make the most of your space at local hardware stores like Home Depot or Menards. Try some of these suggestions for a better organized and functional garage.
Consult with an expert. You can find great organization ideas at stores like The Container Store which can really help you square away your space. Check in with a professional organizer in for a quick sidebar before buying materials.
Leverage closet storage systems. Your garage is a closet for your car, and everything else you keep in there. Organize it all with shelving brackets and other space-saving ideas you’ll find at those big box closet-organizing retail stores.
Know what’s what. When packing items into boxes and bins, it’s a good idea to label the outside of the containers to make finding things convenient in the future. Labeling drawers, jars and canisters is also a time saver.
Group items according to activity. Keep your stuff stored so that everything you’ll need for one interest is centrally located. Place all your fishing gear, tackle, nets, vests, etc. into an easily accessible area. When the bug hits and you want to get on the water, you’ll have everything you need right there.
Consider a FastTrack system. This is one commercially-available storage answer worth considering. You’ll find a heavy duty, scalable storage system that can vertically store everything from bicycles to snow blowers is a great answer.
It’s important to utilize more than just garage floor space. Overhead racks are shelves that hang from the ceiling and hold a variety of things, including storage bins and boxes. Storing from the ground up will create additional room for cars and other items.
Build a ceiling storage track for bins. You’ll likely need to get on a ladder to access these, so use caution. Gain more space by building a T track that fits the width of the bin’s outside lip. Slide the closed bins into place. Then, when the time’s right — grab that camping gear and hit the road!
Create storage space with 2” PVC piping. Cement elbows and T’s together to build several four foot by eight foot “E-shaped” sections. Mount them with the three “tines” facing up, attaching them to the rafters with a carriage bolt. In no time at all you have storage for bulky items like picnic table umbrellas, and long lengths of wood and pipe.
Pick up a few closet rod-holding shelf brackets. Mount closet shelving brackets that come with the extra J hook in front — that’s usually used to hold a hanger rod. Use that hook to vertically store weed trimmers, brooms or other long-handled items and attach plywood across the top for efficient storage of other things.
Lock out the elements with weatherproof canvas bags. Store seasonal décor in weatherproof bags, and hang them from the walls in your garage. This can free up precious basement space and your holiday guests will never know the difference!
Wire steel shelving is a good answer. Low cost, easily available, wire steel shelving can help to make the most of narrow areas that extend from the floor to the roof. Measure and cut the shelving to fit, and score a win for extra cubic feet of storage.
Consider reusing things from around the house, or better yet, items you found in your garage while decluttering. Use screws to fix the lids of old jars underneath cabinets so the jars are floating. This is a great place to store small items like nails, tacks and buttons, and keep shelves and tabletops clear. Here are a few garage storage solutions to make space in your garage from recycled materials.
Reuse yesterday’s wall-mounted kitchen cabinets. Resellers of used kitchen cabinets can be an affordable resource for stocking your garage with usable cabinets. Install casters under each floor unit and keep them mobile. Or, mount them to the wall and pick up the old countertops as well. You’ll have a great, durable workbench in minutes.
Repurpose the kid’s toy storage. After they outgrow their toy bins, get another life out of them in the garage. Store sporting goods, garden tools, golf supplies in these — all without spending another dime!
Get creative. The compartments of a hanging shoe rack are good for organizing tools or art supplies. A sturdy paper towel holder can make it easy to dispense items like heavy-duty trash bags, or spools of ribbon or tape. Old cans, door knobs and rods can also be useful.
Organizing your garage is just one way to keep your home maintained. Our home maintenance hub offers more tips and resources for keeping your home in great shape all year long. Check it out!
Once you’ve organized, bring in furniture and art work to give your new workshop or studio an added personal touch and complete functionality. It won’t be long before the garage is your new favorite room in the house. Did you know we have great solutions to organize your insurance too? Download the MyAmFam app or log into My Account (Opens in a new tab) to manage your insurance needs at the palm of your hand.