Organizing your garage in three easy steps

Clean, sort and organize your way to more room in the garage.
A well-organized garage can be a pleasure, and organizing your garage doesn't need to break your back--or the bank. Follow these easy steps and go from messy to marvelous in as little as a few hours.

1. Empty it out
  • Choose a day or weekend with little to no wind and no chance of rain and just move everything out onto the driveway.

  • Put on some music.

  • Sweep out those dead leaves and cobwebs.

  • Make any repairs to the floor or walls.

  • Consider a fresh coat of paint--pick a pretty color and you'll feel a mental lift every time you pass through your garage.

2. Sort it out
  • Give the kids the big, sloppy box of sports gear and send them onto the lawn to figure out what to keep and what to toss. They'll be tossing a ball within moments, and that'll let you focus on the task at hand.

  • Establish a pile of things to go in the trash.

  • Establish a pile for things to be recycled--magazines newspapers, those bags of paper towel rolls and egg cartons you've been saving for craft projects.

  • Establish a pile for things to be donated or sold--the plastic play kitchen, bikes that are too small, the camping gear that seemed like a good idea at the time.

  • Create a pile of things to keep and divide them into smaller piles.
    • Most garages can be divided into piles such as "lawn and garden equipment," "paint and home repair supplies," "tools," "sporting equipment," and "hobby and craft items." Is this already more than you want to handle? Find professional organizers who can do it for you.
3. Organize
  • Either put the "to keep" stuff back in the garage, keeping like items together in "stations" for easy access, and you're done.

  • Or, consider some of these organizational hints to really pump up the usability of your garage:

    • Peg boards: Hang peg boards around the garage and add hooks and shelves to hold tools and other items.

      Clear storage containers: Put like items in the same storage containers. Clearly label them and put them on shelves, with items you access more frequently and those that are heavy closer to the ground.

      Specially-designed shelves and hooks: Put bikes, garden hoses, tools, electrical cords and sporting equipment on shelves and hooks designed for these specific purposes.

      Utility cabinets: Add either free-standing or mounted utility cabinets.

      Extras: If you have the room, you can add a bench to make it easy to put on sports equipment or take off muddy shoes. You can also turn one area of the garage into a hobby area by adding a workbench or potting table and related items. Add appropriate storage and task lighting to the hobby area and you'll have a special retreat in a space you'll now use--and love.

      Professional help: Find pros to help you plan and implement a garage design that works for your lifestyle and budget.

Beyond the garage Don't have a car or care if it's put in the garage? Need extra space in your living quarters? Consider saying goodbye to the garage--and turning it into an addition to your home. Repurposed garages can make great family rooms, home offices, extra bedrooms, and more. Get a list of remodeling specialists who can get the job done.

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