Friday, February 1, 2013

taming the garage - ideas for storage and organization

taming the garage - ideas for storage and organization

(lots of photos below)

Taming the garage is one of those never ending battles; the more organized you get, the more space you create, the more stuff you store in the garage, the more crowded the garage gets! But, a well-organized garage is a thing of beauty - everything is out of the way, protected from the elements, and right where you need it, just when you need it.

Here are four simple rules of thumb to getting the most out of your garage:

1.) Vertical Storage. Your ideal storage space is up in the air - high enough that you aren't walking around it or bumping your car door against it. Anything you store at ground level makes your garage smaller - less space to park and move around in. Storage above six feet in the air is like free space, with no effect on your daily use.

2.) Containers. Having loose items everywhere is a recipe for clutter, where things get lost, ruined, or in the way. You can have big containers, small containers, flat containers, long containers - whatever you need. Keep similar stuff inside each container, and use a label maker to label what's inside.

3.) Purge. That $200 specialty tool that you use every few years? Sure, keep it (especially if it fits in a container) - it's too expensive to replace. But the $19 extended-length thingamajing that you haven't used since '04? Get rid of it! You want to keep stuff that you actually use. There's no reason to be a hoarder.

4.) Be Creative. Shelves, racks, hooks, peg boards, lofts, nets, color coding,  - anything is fair game. Take a spin around the internet (or home depot) and see what catches your eye.

Here are some ideas to get you started...

Shelving Units get stuff up off the floor, and come in lots of different styles - free standing, built into the wall, adjustable. Some can hold smaller items; others can hold several hundred pounds per shelf.


Bikes take up a ton of floor space. A good bike racking system can go a long way towards a clean and organized garage.

Overhead Shelves and Racks. These are my favorites - strong and sturdy, big, up and out of the way. I think every garage should have some of these..

Overhead shelves with Pulleys

Car Racking Systems. Maybe you have a car in the garage that you don't want to get rid of but that you rarely ever drive - have you considered "lifting" it up and out of the way?

Containers come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. (so do label makers!)


Peg Boards help give your tools a home. (again, up and out of the way..)


You could always go all-out and build a full on man cave.

Garage Door - I found these garage door stickers a few years ago and thought they were awesome. (I'm not sure your HOA would approve, though..)

OK, that's enough gratuitous pictures - you get the point. Give your garage a little thought and a little effort, and it will give back a lot of pride and usefulness. (and when it comes time to sell your home, a well-organized garage makes buyers ooh and ahh...)

What am I missing? What great garage ideas have you seen?

-Chris Butterworth