If you’re like most people, a garage can become a storing place for unwanted household items, sports gear, hobbies and seasonal items. Over time, this can cause the garage to become cluttered and disorganized — leading to inefficient use of this space.
To help conquer the clutter and make your garage space more usable, you’ll need to organize your garage. While some homeowners will want to splash out and create a customized system, others will want to limit the cost of this home maintenance task. To help, here are organization ideas based on different budgets. Choose an option that works best with your needs and available funds.
If you want a cheap and cheerful way of organizing your garage, then your first stop is to pick up some stackable plastic bins with lids and a marker. Lay out the bins and start to sort. Try to keep one bin for each category of item, for instance, keep all the sports balls in one bin, all water sport gear in another bin, all holiday decorations in another bin. Once sorted, write down what each bin contains on the outside where it’s visible. This saves you from having to dig through each bin to find what you want.
But you’re not done yet. Once you’ve sorted and labeled each bin for all items in your garage, it’s time to stack and store these plastic bins. Locate a space in your garage where seasonal items can be stacked. Since these items are only accessed once each year, this spot in your garage should be the least accessible. Next, consider what items you use most, then start stacking and storing the bins, keeping these items and bins closest to you.
If you’re spending a bit more to organize your garage, you’ll still want to spend money on plastic bins with lids, but add a shelving unit or two, as well as better lighting.
With a shelving unit, you can maximize your vertical storage space without having to move each bin each time you want access to an item. Only add enough shelving units to accommodate the number of bins you need.
When buying a shelving unit, keep in mind what will be stored on the unit. If you have heavier items, you’ll probably want to spend a bit more on a metal shelving unit as these are stronger, sturdier and can hold heavier loads. If you’re storing lighter items, a plastic, free-standing shelving unit will work. If you’re unsure, talk to your local home hardware expert.
Another way to help organize your garage is to add better lighting. One reason why a garage can become cluttered and disorganized is that the incandescent lightbulb that is standard in most older garages isn’t always sufficient to see properly when searching for items or organizing the space. To help, add a LED light to one or more spots in the garage. If you want a seamless system — flick one switch and all lights turn on — you’ll need to spend a bit more to hire an electrician. To keep costs lower, consider purchasing battery-operated LED lights that are easily installed by any do-it-yourselfer and typically turn on with a simple push.
When you have $1,000 to spend on garage organization, you get a few more choices. While shelving units and plastic storage bins are still a fundamental part of garage organization, you can now include specialty storage systems, such as ceiling-mount bicycle or watersports storage, as well as wall-mounted sports or hobby-specific storage. One popular option is to install a pegboard with hooks that allow you to hang, organize and store smaller items in a systematic way.
If you’re willing to spend a bit more for garage organization, it’s possible to purchase and install more customized garage organization systems that can include cabinets, slat walls, heavy-load shelving or overhead storage systems, as well as custom garage flooring. This is where things can get quite expensive but the outcome is a magazine-worthy organization system that will probably prompt a bit of envy from your neighbors. Quite often, these systems are not DIY installations, but require a custom-build team to come and take measurements before building and installing the garage system.
If you’d rather stick to a DIY installation, talk to your local hardware specialist. There are still plenty of options that help you achieve that custom-garage organization look, without the more expensive price sticker. For instance, slatwalls can be purchased for about $200 through many hardware suppliers, while heavy-duty metal cabinets can cost $250 and up in price (depending on the type of storage needs you have). There are also stackable wall utility cabinets that start at $150 and allow you to create more efficient use of vertical storage space in your garage, while hiding clutter.
These days, your garage isn’t just a place to park your car anymore. Your garage can serve as a workshop and hobby center, an area for workbenches, garage cabinets and utility carts.
By putting a bit of thought into what you want to store and how you want to store it, you can create a garage storage system that offers structure and organization, and helps remove the clutter that makes life just a little bit easier.