If your home has a garage, you know how easy it is for it to become the “everything room.” If there’s not a better place for something (or, let’s be real, if the right place is too far away), it often ends up in the garage. Many homeowners find it frustrating and stressful to see a mess every time they pull into or out of their garage, and it can be even worse if the area also doubles as a workshop.
However, you’re not the first to have this problem. Many brilliant DIYers and home organizers have created their own solutions for getting your garage in shape, and there are many excellent products on the market now as well. Here are some of the simplest and most effective strategies and products you can use.
Zone it out.
A plan is the first step toward a well-organized garage. It’s a good idea to measure your garage, then sit down and create a diagram of where things could go. Plot out where you usually park and where you’re currently storing large equipment. Then, start figuring out how to consolidate and organize. However, don’t treat your original plan as something set in stone. It will most likely need to change and evolve as you go. Stay flexible and don’t worry if your first idea isn’t perfect.
Shelving is a basic need.
Just getting some basic metal shelving can be a huge upgrade for your garage or workshop. Four-pole steel shelving racks are inexpensive, widely available, and highly versatile. You can also utilize floor space even further by going with wall-mounted shelving. It’s a good idea, though, to implement shelving as one part of a larger plan. Shelving rarely solves a problem on its own, and it can become just as messy as the rest of your garage!
Use a pegboard or other hand tool storage solutions.
There’s a reason the pegboard is an iconic element of the garage or workshop area. It’s a great way to keep tools visible and easily accessible without sacrificing space. If you don’t have room for a pegboard, you can also consider using VELCRO® Brand Hook and Loop Fasteners on your smaller hand tools. A few quick applications of these sturdy fasteners can create an easy space to store and keep track of your screwdrivers, hammers, and other commonly-used tools.
Create a DIY mudroom to keep muddy shoes where they belong.
A mudroom is a great way to control mess in your home, particularly if you live in a climate with lots of precipitation (or have a very outdoorsy household.) You don’t even have to have an actual separate room for it. In many cases, just installing a basic coat rack and shoe rack by the entrance to your home is enough. For smaller households, you could just add a couple of 3M Command Hooks for coats and a small mat for shoes. As always, modify according to your needs!
Using something frequently? Put it on wheels.
This tip is particularly good for those who use their garage as a workshop. A rolling cart or toolbox is perfect for accessing all of your most frequently-needed items. Whether it’s a standard plastic cart or a professional-level rolling toolbox, the important thing is that it’s mobile!
Try a lattice rack for lumber and other long items.
Here’s an ingeniously simple DIY tip that can save you serious workshop space. It’s easy to turn a standard lattice into a wall-or-ceiling mounted rack that’s great for storing piping, lumber, or even fishing poles!
Get the little things organized.
As you probably know, drill bits, socket wrenches and other small and numerous items are highly prone to get lost. Invest in some good small-item organizers and label them well. Most are designed to be easy to stack and slot, so getting a small metal rack and going vertical is another great space saver here.
Labels, labels, labels.
Speaking of labels: Organization can only be so helpful when you don’t know where anything is! Invest in a label maker or even just use paper signs or writing on boxes. The important thing is to have a labelling system that’s easy to use and understand.
Make it critter-proof.
Much as we love our animal friends, there’s a time and place for them. For most people, the garage is not that place. It’s an easy afternoon’s work to inspect and replace your garage threshold to keep out stray animals.
Don’t forget the ceiling.
We’ve already discussed the power of vertical storage, but maybe you didn’t expect to go this vertical. If you’ve got some stuff you don’t use very often but need to keep around, ceiling racks are a surprisingly popular and efficient solution. Almost every home improvement store offers them, and they can fit a variety of standard-sized storage totes.
Tackle bulky items such as hoses and extension cords.
Bulky corded items such as hoses and extension cords can quickly turn into a tangled mess. What’s more, it’s easy to damage these items by not storing them correctly—they should be stored in a neat roll any time they’re not in use. Installing a few heavy-duty metal hooks on the walls is an easy way to get them into a manageable state, and cable straps and organizers will help keep the rolls together.
Utilize studs to build your own shelving.
Finally, make sure you’re using what your building gives you. If your garage is unfinished, you may have exposed studs. These actually present a great opportunity to build some high-utility shelving and save a lot of space. Take a look at one of the many guides to building between-the-studs shelving for ideas and inspiration!
Whether your garage looks like a war zone or just needs a little TLC to get its best look, it’s easier than you might think to get it under control. All of these projects involve commonly available materials, and only a few demand carpentry skills! Home organization and DIY are projects that anybody can tackle, and the garage is the perfect place to get started.
Author Bio: Halle Summers is a Marketing Coordinator for FASTENation Inc., a premier global manufacturer, technical converter, distributor, and designer of adhesive based fasteners and tapes. She has extensive knowledge of adhesives and fastener solutions, vendors, industry trends, and how they are used across various verticals. When she isn’t writing articles, she enjoys spending time in downtown Charleston, South Carolina and all the amazing food her hometown has to offer.