Aside from your home, your vehicle usually counts as the largest single expenditure you have and the cost of it can range from $10K to $50K. It’s a big investment and should be taken care of. Yet, according to This Old House, only 30% of homeowners actually park their cars in the garage. The reason being a lack of space due to clutter. But it's not just your car that benefits if you get your garage organized. Your seasonal tools will finally find a home and you’ll have more space to move around in. If you're ready to tackle your garage, here are five tips to help get you started.
How Will You Use It?
Thoughts of car storage aside, you may have other reasons for wanting to clean out your garage. Your garage space can house other things like an arts or crafts studio, a workout room, or even an extra bedroom with the proper remodel. Think ahead in the process to make sure that however you're going to use the garage, you can do so to your benefit.
Set Aside Enough Time
You want at least a day, or maybe even a couple, to clean out clutter and get things in order. You might even ask family and friends to pitch in. Sort your stuff into piles, one for throwing away, one for donating, and one for selling. You'll have an additional pile of stuff you'll keep, but according to Marie Kondo, author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, you shouldn't necessarily concentrate on the keep pile until the getting-rid-of pile is done. If you're not sure which items to keep, Kondo recommends only keeping the items that bring you joy or that are truly useful. Doing your project this way will mean less work down the road because you won't keep trying to find space for all that stuff you don't really want around in the first place.
Store in Categories
Do you store tools in the garage? Sports equipment? Family heirlooms? Bikes? Make sure all items have a specific place and plan for those places ahead of time. The stuff that you use more often should be easy to access, be it sports equipment or gardening tools. Other more personal items can be stashed in the attic above the garage if there's space or on high shelves. Getting an industrial garage shelving system set up is a good option as well. These metal options are sturdy and their side-less design makes it easier for you to see what's how you've labeled your boxes: Make sure that even these boxed items are placed in the same area. All areas should be marked with some sort of sign so you can see what each area holds at a glance.
An article on Houzz.com suggests that instead of arranging supplies in an outward direction, build up instead. The walls count as an excellent space for you to hang tools like shovels, rakes, and other gardening equipment. You can also hang hand tools like hammers, hand saws, and screwdrivers on the wall. One clever way to make sure that each tool always has a home is to place it against the wall and draw around it. Put hooks in a strategic place so that the tools can hang in their proper spot.
These items need some special attention when it comes to storing stuff in your garage.
- Paint should be stashed away in an area that is less affected by radical temperature differences.
- Put your barbecue grill and other items that have fuel outside. The fumes are a fire hazard in a garage.
- Pet food attracts critters like raccoons. Seal it up in a container and store it in a closet in the house if possible.
The best bet you have for an organized garage is to plan out your space, get rid of what you don't actually need, and then organize your things according to type. It's also helpful to think about how you'll use the garage before you get started. That and throwing stuff away will help you eliminate stuff that you shouldn't be keeping around in the first place.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information on finding a good garage shelving system check out ideas here or contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan