Although you may have the best intentions for organizing and cleaning your garage, busy schedules can sometimes keep you from achieving this goal. If you find your garage space disappearing under clutter and you can no longer find your lawn chemicals, then it's time to organize it.
- The Big Clean-Out
Set aside ample time for cleaning and organizing your garage — this could be a full day or a weekend. Make de-cluttering and organizing a family and friends project to make the process faster and fun. Make sure to go through everything in your garage. A good idea is to start by taking out everything that is in your garage.
- Sort All Items into Categories
Once everything is outside, clean your garage thoroughly before putting anything back. Then sort all the items outside into four piles: Keep, sell, donate, and trash. Throw out outgrown toys, expired household chemicals, and items broken beyond repair.
Sort all the items you plan to keep into categories (think hand tools or car supplies) and place them in either stackable clear-plastic bins or well-marked boxes. Donate the giveaways and toss the trash items as soon as possible.
Remember to use overhead space wisely. Hang seasonal sports gear, ladders, and other items that you don't use every day. Make sure that these items don't scrape the roof of your car or interfere with your garage door's operation.
- Draft a Garage Floor Plan
Take down the dimensions of your garage and note the location and size of everything from switches and receptacles to windows and doors. Also, note how much space your car(s) takes up.
• Store items commonly used together, such as lawn chemicals and gardening tools, close to one another.
• Put bulky equipment such as lawn mowers in corners or areas they will not easily get knocked over.
• Place items you frequently use, like bikes, close to your garage door.
• Stash rarely used or seasonal items in the harder-to-reach spots.
Always think ahead when planning your garage. Leave some space for storing additional stuff or outdoor items such as summer toys and furniture during winter.
- Go Vertical
Think vertically when looking to store items inside your garage. This allows you to keep items off the ground and create more space. If you install ready-made shelving cabinets or units, ensure that they are raised on legs, which allows you to clean the garage floor easily. Suitable vertical organizing systems include Pegboards, track-based systems, and panel systems.
- Open Shelves vs Closed Cabinets
Open shelves are better for your garage than closed ones because:
• They allow easy access, so there is no need for added clearance space to swing cabinet doors open.
• Closed cabinets give you an excuse to remain disorganized because you can simply stash away everything and hide the evidence.
However, you need at least one lockable cabinet for storing sensitive or dangerous items, such as lawn chemicals, away from the reach of your kids. These cabinets are also suitable for storing items that need protection from airborne dirt and dust.
- Maintain Garage Organization
After cleaning and organizing your garage, do not neglect the space. Maintain your organization scheme and clean your garage regularly. This should be easy if the garage floor is easily accessible and everything is in its rightful place.
The Bottom Line
The garage is a high-traffic space that needs regular organizing and cleaning, which is why it's important to make it an ongoing concern. Always try and re-organize your garage once or twice a year.