When I live in a place that does not have a garage, I complain about not having a garage! When I live in a place that does have a garage, I complain about having a garage! Yes, it seems I am never happy! But, not having a garage causes storage problems and having a garage causes organizational problems! If you have a garage, the secret is getting it organized!
Garages are not always there to be a garage. Living in Florida, we have no basements because the water table is inches below the surface of the ground. So, the garage becomes the basement. Some people use them simply for storing everything that doesn’t fit inside the house and others have fixed up their garages to be extra rooms, like a “man cave” or an arts and crafts room. Either way, like any room in your home, it needs to be organized so that you can at least walk through it.
Garages do pose a couple of problems in trying to design a layout that will work best and the main one is that one whole wall is dedicated to a door that opens across a ceiling. So, you lose wall space and half of the room’s ceiling space. But, with those design problems in mind the rest of the space is open territory.
So, to get started, the very first thing you have to do is throw stuff out! This is probably the hardest part because you put stuff in the garage to get rid of it or get it out of the way, but not in the garbage because you weren’t ready to throw it out. Well, now is the time. If it has been sitting in the garage for months, you are probably not going to use it, so toss it! Make a big pile of all of the things that are going to be thrown away and get it ready for garbage day. There may be some things you come across that should be sold and not thrown away. Make another pile of things to be sold. And then, there may be another pile that you should make and that one is called Donate. Anything that you don’t want to bother selling but don’t want to keep, then give it to a charity that can clean it up and sell it for their cause.
Now that you have gotten rid of the “junk”, you can take inventory of what is left and what you need to fit into your garage space. You will have to figure out a layout. You will have to determine what the space is going to be used for and then create areas for each space. If you will put your vehicle inside the garage, you will need to have space for doors to open on each side. If yu want a workshop, you should give enough space for not only tools but equipment and projects you will work on. If you want a workout space, calculate the amount of space that will be required to give you enough room to maneuver. Then, after you have created “zones”, then you can start moving the stuff into the area that best suits their need. Remember to have an area for storage!
You should also leave space for things such as recycling, sports equipment such as skis, racquets, inflatables and recreational equipment, camping gear, automotive, seasonal decor, garden gear and tools. Figure out space for things like luggage and paint and see whether you can store them in another location in the house.. If the rest of your home is organized, it will be easier to find extra storage for some of these things. Christmas decorations can be put on an upper shelf in a closet or in the attic and camping gear can be put under a bed.
Now that you have the areas that you want for certain activities figured out, begin putting things into each of the sections. Putting the things in groups in the driveway will help with the space inside that will be needed for organizing. One idea might be to put everything you want in one area in a large box out in the driveway. If you don’t get finished in one day, you have everything in one boxed group to be arranged and put away tomorrow. Also, label the boxes so you know what items they are and where they go.
Shelves are your friends and you will use lots of them. Invest in bins that either match in color or are clear so that you can see through them. Designate one area a certain color and every bin, box and organizer matches that area. If you have walls that can have things pounded into them, put up a pegboard with hooks. This works perfectly for tools or art supplies. You won’t have to dig through a box looking for something, instead it will be hanging on the board. Clean garbage cans can be used to put rakes and shovels, handle side down. Install cabinets if you can. These can be found for very little money on craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. Cabinets also give you counter space to work on once everything is set up! You can put mounts on the ceiling and create shelving or hang bicycles, skis, ladders and other tools. A motorized platform that goes down and then up to the ceiling is a unique way of storage This will give you lots more floor space.
The hardest part of organizing the garage is finding the time to do it all at once. You don’t want to tear everything apart and then leave it for days and weeks until you get to it again. If you set out a long weekend, the garage can come together all at once and you will only need to do touch ups once every six months or so, especially if you get into the habit of putting it all away after every use. Your garage can be an extra room in the house because you made it just so pretty!