An organized garage can serve a host of functions and provide many benefits for the homeowner.
Residential garages have the potential to be multi-purpose rooms. They can provide shelter for vehicles, storage space for household items, and space for social gatherings, hobbies, offices or workshops. However, since garages are large rooms, they tend to become a dumping ground for items that don’t have a specified place in the home. As a result, they can be the most difficult areas of the home to maintain. Piles of clutter can quickly become unmanageable and out of control, taking up valuable storage space and creating tripping hazards.
BENEFITS OF AN ORGANIZED GARAGE
You may have an extensive amount of cleaning, editing and organizing ahead of you, but keep these benefits in mind to motivate you:
1. Space for your vehicle:If you can sort, organize and properly store your belongings, you may free up enough space to store your vehicle inside the garage again and protect if from the elements.
2. Cut clutter:With a new organization system in place, clutter can be controlled. Remember, if the item doesn’t serve a purpose (either in functionality or sentimentality), part with it to make room for what really matters to you.
3. Easy access:When your belongings are stored away safely and properly labelled, you’ll know exactly where everything is and you’ll have an easier time accessing it all.
4. Increased available space:A more liveable, workable space will open up when clutter and excess items are removed and proper storage systems are in place.
5. Save time:No more wasted time searching through random boxes or piles on the floor once everything has its own designated place.
6. Increased safety:Store hazardous materials and sharp tools out of reach of children and pets, and take comfort knowing you’ve increased safety measures around your home.
7. Solve storage issues inside the house: An organized garage maximizes available space and may even gain more storage space. Awkward items being stored in the house could now be kept in the garage, thus solving storage issues inside your house too.
Bonus: Finally, perhaps one of the most beneficial aspects of having an organized garage is the freedom from the unnecessary burden that stems from holding onto things you do not need or use.
AN ORGANIZED GARAGE IN 5 STEPS
The good news?
You’re only 5 steps away from a functional,organized garage.
Once you begin the project, you may be pleasantly surprised by how much space you actually have. You may find you have room for a workshop, gym, or social gathering place in your freshly organized garage!
Step 1: Clean & Categorize
At least twice a year, gather the members of your household together and empty the garage contents onto the driveway to do a deep clean. Set aside a full day or two for this task.Tackle this job around the time that large items are accepted for garbage collection.
Once the garage is emptied, sweep and clean the floor, so that you are starting with a clean garage. You will have a better idea of the space you have to work with.
Next, sort through the items to determine what should and shouldn’t be kept. Make three piles: (1) Keep; (2) Donate; (3) Sell/Toss.
Once you’ve determined what to keep, categorize and group like things together so they can be found easily:
• Home repair
• Gardening equipment
• Holiday decorations
• Sporting gear
• Camping gear
• Seasonal gear
• Car care
“Thinking you might someday want to use something is not a good reason to keep it. Each item you keep that you do not use, love or truly need is taking up precious space in your home and in your life, space that could be used for something more worthwhile. Give it away, sell it, pass it on … let it go.” ~Laura Gaskill, 7-Day Plan: Get a Spotless, Beautifully Organized Garage
Step 2: Create A Floor Plan
Now that you have determined what items will be returning to the garage, carefully consider where these things should be placed, based on their purpose.
Take measurements, as you would with any other floor plan, to optimize the space and plan for storage. OrganizedLiving.com provides tips on How to Measure Your Garage For Custom Storage, as well as suggests dimensions and placement tips so you can create zones and maximize your space with Design Tips That Will Give You the Organized Garage You Deserve.
• Store cumbersome items like seasonal tires, and lawn mowers under a shelving unit out of the way.
• Situate frequently used items near the front for easy access.
• Store seasonal/hardly used items in those hard-to-reach spots.
• Leave ample room in your floor plan between the vehicles to allow for large items to be moved (ie garbage cans).
Step 3: Utilize Storage Systems
Consider your storage needs, your budget, and…consider what you already have. See if you already own something that could be re-purposed to help contain your items in a neat and organized fashion. Build your own racks and shelves if you are handy. Or, make use of the many storage systems on the market to help you attain an organized garage.
The goal is to get everything off the garage floor, if possible. Make use of wall and ceiling space using the following:
• Overhead storage – great for storing seasonal or rarely used items. If you build an overhead shelf, make sure that it doesn’t interfere with the operation of the garage door and opener.
• Shelves – allow for easy access, and a quick scan the shelf for what you’re looking for.
• Cabinets – are good for storing items that need protection from dust, and for warm-weather equipment. Use them sparingly though, as you need to allow clearance for opening cabinet doors. Be careful though. While doors may hide the contents nicely, you may be tempted to throw things in haphazardly, thus perpetuating the disorganization.
• Pegboard – simple and one of least expensive storage systems for hanging tools and lightweight objects.
• PVC Organizers – store your lawn and gardening tools.
• Wall racks – can be built to store long-handled tools.
• Stack-able storage bins – use clear bins that are well marked.
• Hooks for walls/ceilings – hang items like bikes up high to keep the floor clear.
• Bungee cord ball storage – coral those sports balls together.
• Clear jars of various sizes – for storing various pieces of hardware.
- Do not mix contents of your containers. Since you’ve gone to the trouble of sorting and organizing every item that you are keeping, store items in their proper bins so you can find them easily when you need them.
- Label everything, especially if you’re using opaque plastic storage bins. Consider a colour code system to easily identify contents.
- Avoid cardboard boxes if you can. Moisture, insects and other pests can destroy cardboard and possibly contents inside. Store items in clear, stack-able plastic containers that are clearly labelled.
Step 4: Do A Seasonal Switch-Out
Switch-out the seasonal items that are kept at the garage door entrance area to allow for easy access. Store the off-season equipment at the back of the garage in appropriate containers/shelves, to make room for gear that is relevant to the season you’re in. Do a seasonal-switch out twice a year to maintain an organized garage throughout the year.
Step 5: Consider Safety
A garage can be a hazardous environment with potential for many injuries or accidents to occur. Take precautionary measures to avoid potential accidents. Organize your garage with safety in mind.
- Store sharp gardening tools and items like chain saws in locked cabinets.
- Keep ladders stored in horizontal position to prevent children from climbing them.
- Collect hazardous materials like fertilizers, and pesticides and store out of reach of children.
- Designate a place for a fire extinguisher so it is readily available.
- Install carbon monoxide detectors.
- Disconnect power tools when not in use.
- Properly dispose of any incendiary material.
- Use special precautions with garage doors and follow safety tips regarding garage door operators and garage doors.
- Keep children safe around garage door systems. Make sure children do not play with them or garage door accessories.
- Break-ins via the garage are rare in our area, however if you are concerned and want more information regarding garage door security, the IDA released a checklist to address garage door safety and security which you can access here.
Remember, the key to an organized garage is to keep it clutter-free. Keep items off of the floor and properly stored whenever possible to free up space, avoid piles and tripping hazards.
Once you’ve completed your garage organization project, the garage door itself could use a little attention as well. Take preventative steps against rust and other unwanted damage to your garage door. Using a mild detergent, wash away the winter salt and debris that may have built up around the bottom of your garage door this past winter.
We’d also like to remind you about the importance of servicing your garage door system on a regular basis. If your garage door or opener is in need of service or a tune-up this spring, contact us today.