Spring cleaning is upon us and perhaps one of the most arduous and dreaded tasks is cleaning out the garage. For many, this part of the house becomes the family dumping ground. In fact, only 30 percent of Americans actually park their cars in their garages because the rest of the population can’t; theirs are too filled with clutter! Do you fall into that 70 percent? If so, this blog is for you. We recognize that often the hardest part of cleaning out a disorganized garage is getting started. Follow our four simple steps to make the leap into a cleaner garage storage space.
Make Time to Clean Out Your Garage
This is no small undertaking. Make sure you set aside enough time to get the job done correctly. Schedule a full day or even an entire weekend to remove everything from your garage so you can take an inventory of what you have versus what you need. From there, you can start fresh and organize your space properly.
Organize Your Belongings into Piles
Once the garage is cleared out, begin sorting your stuff into four primary piles: what you need, what you can sell, what you can donate, and what can be tossed. After you’ve decided what stays, assign them a permanent home by further organizing and categorizing these items.
- Items that are used frequently together should be housed together. For example, gardening tools, potting soil, and planters should be kept closely together while recreational equipment such as soccer balls, lacrosse sticks, and fishing equipment should be stored together.
- Keep bulky items in a corner, such as a lawn mower or snow blower, so they don’t have to be moved around regularly like Tetris pieces when trying to park your vehicle in the garage.
- Stash away seasonally or seldomly used items like holiday decor in harder-to-reach areas.
Draft a Storage Plan & Design
All custom closet designers and organizational specialists can help you determine what you need as opposed to what you think you want in terms of garage storage, and will help you develop a customized storage design as part of their service. Before getting attached to a certain storage system, jot down the dimensions of your garage—making note of where windows and doors are and how much space you will need for your cars and other large items like a lawn mower—and send it off to your storage specialist for an expert assessment.
Decide What Garage Storage Works Best
Now that you’ve sorted everything out and come up with a basic idea of what works with your space, decide on the storage system that works best for your lifestyle. Remember, the key to an organized garage is keeping as much stuff off the ground as possible! Here are some things to consider:
- A workbench with pegboard tool wall: A workbench is always handy, and a pegboard is a great way to visually organize tools conveniently above it, keeping the space clean and your tools—that would otherwise get misplaced—in plain site. While you should keep in mind that pegboards can only handle lightweight items, your walls stay free of miscalculations and mistaken nail holes. That’s worth something.
- Open shelving: If you need something sturdier, open shelving is a great addition. They are less expensive than more complex garage storage systems and they offer easy access to regularly used items.
- Closed cabinets: Another option that can bear heavier loads than pegboards is a closed cabinet system. We recommend cabinets with doors for two purposes: to store items that you want to keep out of eyesight for whatever reason or for safety by keeping things out of site and out of reach (perhaps from children) such as lawn care chemicals. If this is the case, we further recommend a lockable cabinet for added safety.
- Overhead space and hanging systems: If your garage ceiling is 10 feet tall or higher, it’s a great spot to hang occasional/seasonal-use items such as ladders and sporting gear (kayaks, surfboards, bikes.)
- Custom racks: Specialized racks are also highly efficient for storing specific needs: fishing poles, golf clubs, ice skates, gardening tools, you name it. Adding a custom rack or racks helps maximize your garage space no matter the storage need.
Keep in Mind
We like to tell our clients that creating a custom garage storage system can be tricky. Every family has different needs and when they realize the benefit of getting organized, they can go overboard by adding too much storage far beyond their needs. So, to stay on budget, we recommend creating a dedicated storage space in your garage rather than outfitting the entire space garage with open shelves, closed cabinets, overhead storage, and custom racks. Consult an expert and ask his or her opinion as to what works best. Another two tips we like to share are: If you can’t find a place for something, stow it away in a rubber storage tub. This keeps it out of site, while still keeping your space organized. The second tip is: If you have the space, turn a corner of your garage into a mudroom. This makes better use of your unoccupied space and keeps the interior of your house available for decoration and other use. We hope you’ve found this blog helpful as you venture forward with spring cleaning. Happy sprucing!