Chances are, stuff has accumulated in your garage over the years. Every time you’ve added something new, you promised yourself a reorganization would soon follow. But when push came to shove, the thought of the amount of work and complexity involved in actually attempting to move everything around the garage crushed your enthusiasm.
Now, after years of putting it off, your garage is even messier and you need to reorganize simply to get to the things you need. But where do you even start? This article will take you through the most important steps in how to organize a garage.
Trim the Fat
The first thing you can do that will make the garage organization easier is to simply reduce the amount of stuff in your garage. Comb through everything, large and small, to determine if you still need each item for a specific purpose. If you don’t, throw it out, or better yet, donate it or sell it. Holding a garage sale a few weeks ahead of your planned reorganization can be a great way to get rid of tons of items while also turning a profit that can be put towards garage shelving, lighting, and storage later in the organization process.
Once you’re down to just the items you plan to keep in your garage, itemize everything either on paper or in a spreadsheet. Then begin moving items into categories – this will be the basis of your new organizational scheme. Categories can be based on use – for example, recreational equipment versus tools versus auto parts – on size, or on another categorization that works for you.
Once you’ve defined your categories and have an idea of how much space each category will take up, it’s time to think about how you can develop an effective organizational scheme. This is the most crucial step when you need to think outside the box about how items like shelving, vertical hangers, ceiling-mounted racks, and plastic storage bins can all work together to match your categories and create a home for every item. Be sure to err on the side of garage storage systems that offer space to expand, rather than end up being too small and leaving items without a place. If you plan to use your garage for DIY projects, you’ll also want to be certain to leave room for a workbench and to consider how garage lighting and ventilation systems, like special garage fans or vents, fit into your plans.
Clear the Space
Once you have your categories and plan in place, it’s time to actually begin moving your stuff. Rather than attempt to move it around piece by piece while simultaneously installing storage, lighting, and ventilation systems, make several piles or large cardboard boxes in the center of the garage or out on the driveway. Even now, it is better to stick with temporary solutions rather than plastic bins. Making these piles will enable you to gauge the sizes of bins you need, including multiple bins of different sizes for a single category of items, so you don’t end up with the wrong sizes.
This is the fun part – your new storage systems are ready and waiting, and your stuff is loosely organized already. Now you get to assign every item a home within the new organization scheme and enjoy the feeling of watching your garage transformed into an organized storeroom for your stuff.
Keep Up the Good Work
While the heavy lifting is done at this point, organization is an ongoing task. Set biannual calendar reminders – spring and fall cleaning, perhaps – to tidy up the garage and place things that have slipped out of the organizational system back where they belong. These biannual cleanings are also good opportunities to identify components within your storage system that don’t fit quite as well as you thought and swap them out for something better, or to address items that you’ve accumulated since your original organization.
Organizing your garage can be a tremendous amount of work, but the feeling of seeing your garage transformed from an unruly mess to an organized warehouse is hard to beat. These steps for how to organize your garage can make the process relatively painless.