Spring is on its way and if you are like many people, your cars have been banished to the driveway because your garage is overrun with bikes, kids’ toys, garden tools, trashcans, and holiday decorations. Your garage serves as more of a storage unit than its intended purpose: housing parked cars. If you prefer a warm car to begin your morning commute, then it is time to reclaim your garage by making better use of your available space.
Tip 1: When beginning any home organizing project, the first step should be to throw away any damaged or broken items that cannot be repaired. Then, identify any items that you could sell or donate. As you organize the garage space, these "castaway" items should be placed in another location outside the garage. This will help give you a clear idea of the items you have left which will later be efficiently organized in the garage.
Tip 2: Take advantage of the vertical space in your garage. Vertical wall space is often under-utilized and can be a great place to install shelves. When selecting a shelf size, be sure to maximize the depth of the shelves while allowing enough space to walk around your car when it is parked in the garage. Shelves should be installed from floor to ceiling to again maximize the use of space. Be sure to put items that you use less frequently on higher shelves and more frequently accessed items on the middle to lower shelves. The top shelf is perfect for holiday decorations while the bottom shelf is perfect for the kid’s toy trucks or a bin full of garden tools.
Tip 3: Look up! Another often-overlooked storage area is above the garage doors and along the ceiling. Using simple shelves that hang
from the ceiling can provide a vast amount of storage. Ceiling shelves can be purchased at your neighborhood hardware, a building supply center, or at specialty home organizing stores like the Container Store. This space is perfect for holiday decorations, coolers, and folding chairs that are typically only used in the spring. Ceiling space is also great for storing bikes that can be hung from hooks above your cars.
Tip 4: Maximize the way that you organize your garden tools by hanging them along the wall. Hanging items frees the walkways along the walls. This also allows you to park your car closer to the wall which saves space in the center of your garage. Think about the pattern in which your family will exit the car and walk to the entry door. The wall with the least walking traffic is usually the best wall for garden tool storage.
Tip 5: Remember that not all garages are constructed the same, so available space may vary greatly from garage to garage. Some garages include a lot of floor space while others include nine or ten-foot ceilings with great vertical storage space. If you are working with a smaller garage, then efficiency needs to be paramount. Consider alternate storage places for some of your belongings. The holiday decorations may have to be stored in the attic, the paint may need to move to the basement, and the extension cords need to go in the coat closet.
An organized garage will expand storage space. However, when you can’t fit your car(s), it’s time to de-clutter. Once you’re finished, you’ll be able to start your morning commute in a warm car (or cool in the summer) and avoid the harsh elements.
Do you have a cluttered garage? Can you park your car(s) in your garage? Post pictures or tell us about it in the comments.