5 Garage Organization Tips

by Michael Franco
organized garage

Your garage can be an oasis of calm and organization — a functional space in which you can get tasks accomplished and find lesser-used items in a flash. Or, it can be a neglected wasteland of disorder and despair.

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Are you the kind of person who would prefer to have the first kind of garage? Then we're here to help with these five tips that'll help you get — and keep — everything in your garage nicely organized.

Look Up

Getting things off the floor in your garage can go a long way toward having more space to access and, therefore, less clutter to deal with. If your garage ceiling isn't too high, you can store long tools like rakes, ladders and shovels up there by nailing boards between exposed beams to create cubbies.

If your garage has a finished ceiling, you can mount storage racks beneath it to achieve the same effect (be sure they are mounted into studs, or you risk overloading them and causing serious damage to the ceiling and whatever is stored beneath the racks). There are also pulley systems that you can use that help you raise and lower items like bikes, kayaks, surfboards and ladders to keep them out of the way until they are needed.

Get Some Shelves

Depending on the layout of your garage, you'll want to have some shelves on hand to store things like paint cans, holiday decorations and other smaller items. Open shelves will force you to stay a little more organized than closed cabinets, and they also provide less of a haven for bugs and other critters. If you are going to use open shelves, storing items in plastic or metal bins that are labeled can help keep things extra organized and easy to find.

If you hang your shelves using shelf brackets meant to hold a clothes rod, you'll have an additional place to store items. These brackets have a J-shaped hook at the outer edges, which is the perfect place to store items like a weed eater or step stool. Additional hooks hanging from the bottom of the shelves can be used for storing smaller items like garden tools.

You can either install shelves on the walls themselves (again, be sure to anchor them into studs), or you can buy pre-made shelving units that sit on the floor. Wall shelves are more practical if you have a smaller garage as they allow you to save precious floor space.

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Use the Walls

If you don't have too much to store in your garage, you might do fine placing individual hooks around the walls to store items such as tools, garden hoses and even bikes and wheelbarrows. If you plan to think of your garage as more of a workshop, then you may want to look into some kind of wall-mounted storage system.

Peg board is lightweight and easy to install. Once the hole-filled panels are mounted to the walls, you simply insert a range of different hooks and holders to store the items you want. Peg board isn't super sturdy, though, so if you need to store heavier items, you'll want to look into a track-based system. These provide channels into which hanging accessories can be placed and are better equipped to handle the weight of things such as garden shovels, ladders and weed eaters. Both systems allow you the flexibility to move the hanging hardware around as your storage needs change.

Think About a Workbench

If you will be using your garage to execute home improvement projects involving cutting wood, painting, drilling, and sanding, then you'll likely want to have a workbench area handy. You can buy portable rolling workbenches that offer areas for tool storage beneath them, or you can build something more permanent. If you’re pressed for space, there are collapsible workbenches that you can call into service only when needed. This lets you park your car in the garage most of the time. When you need to do a project, you can leave the car outside, flip up the table and get busy.

Use Unlikely Spaces

One of the issues with garage storage is that, because the front wall of the room is always taken up by the garage door, you lose that entire space for storage ... or do you? There are actually solutions that let you hang items horizontally from the back of your garage door. These racks mount between the panels in four-panel garage doors and are ideal for storing long, lightweight items such as fishing poles and canoe or kayak oars.

You may also want to take advantage of the corners in your garage by installing corner shelving units. These specially designed holders turn tough-to-use real estate into the perfect place to store paint cans, caulk, solvents, stains and other smaller home helpers.

Getting Started

Before you organize your garage, it can be helpful to take its measurements and draw out a plan for how you'd like to get things organized. Then, you'll know exactly what kind of materials you'll need to buy when you head out to the home improvement store.