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5 Easy Tips for A Neat and Organized Garage

posted: 10/23/15
by: Blythe Copeland
picture of a neat garage
iStock

Whether you use your garage as your primary entryway or off-season storage, fall is the perfect time to get it organized before the winter: Make room for heavy winter gear and boots, or create space for storing your summer patio furniture with these simple organizing tips.

1. Give your garage a purpose.

First, decide how you want to use your garage: Are you planning to keep your car in it? Is it going to be a wood shop or work area? Is it primarily storage for off-season decorations, outdoor furniture, and kids' toys? Once you know how you want to make the space work for you, you can come up with the best way to organize it. Just keep your primary objective in mind: If you want to park in the garage and it's not big enough to also store your snowblower and lawn mower, you'll need a shed or other secondary storage space (or a landscaping/snow removal service).

2. Declutter and sort.

As with any organizing project, before you start rearranging your items into storage containers, you should get rid of anything that doesn't belong in the space. Start by sorting everything into piles based on whether you want to keep it in the garage, store it elsewhere, or get rid of it; then sort your "keep" pile by category (gardening items, kids' toys, tools and home improvement, outdoor games and activities are a few you might start with). This is also the time to sketch a rough layout of your end result: Make sure the items you use regularly are easy to access; heavy and bulky items have a safe and kid-proof spot; and seasonal or rarely-used items are more hidden.

3. Clear the floor.

When you're ready to plan your storage solutions, look up: The garage, more than maybe any other area in your home, is an ideal place to make use of storage that works on walls or ceilings. Hang bikes and sporting equipment from hooks and racks, install shelving for large plastic storage bins, and organize tools and other small items on pegboards. Use clips (or PVC piping) to keep lawn tools in line, and create a bungee cord cage to store soccer balls, basketballs, and footballs. A fold-down workbench will give you added workspace when you need it without a huge footprint when you don't.

4. Create cohesive storage.

Garages often look more messy than they are because they hold such a huge variety of items, from spare paper towels and jogging strollers to paint cans and hammers. Choosing a cohesive look for your organizers doesn't have to be expensive, but it can help cut down on the visual chaos. Solid color plastic bins will hide what's inside -- so you'll have to make sure they have detailed labels, or else you risk never finding the holiday lights when you need them. Clear bins may seem counterintuitive, but when packed and stacked neatly they can help you easily find everything from your extra box of nails to the kids' ski gear.

5. Dedicate a landing spot.

If you use your garage as your main entry to the house, dedicate a space to all the clutter that accumulates on your way to and from the car. Even a small piece of wall can hold a shoe organizer and a few coat hooks; with more space, you can create an ad-hoc mudroom complete with built-in cabinets and pretty storage. Painting the walls, adding wainscoting, refinishing the floor, and adding rugs or mats will make the space feel more finished -- so you're more inclined to keep it neat -- and having a set spot for everything from hats and mittens to hockey gear and dance bags will help your morning routine go more smoothly.