50% of homeowners name the garage as the most disorganized area of the home (National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals) This statistic doesn’t surprise me because it is usually the area of which we ask the most and provide very little in the way of direction to get it done! Paint from four owners ago, holiday decorations, skis, beach gear, lawn tools, party supplies, overstock of household items, luggage, wrapping paper, collectibles, scooters, bikes, strollers, tools and, oh right, our cars. I once organized a garage with SIX leaf blowers!
How can you efficiently store ALL of this stuff while still being able to shelter the most valuable asset, the car?
Your first step is a very large purge. I promise you, if your garage is disorganized, there are many things you no longer need, want or knew you had hiding in that space. To perform an effective purge, you must pull out everything from the garage and sort it by category. This is likely going to take up the garage space as well as all of the driveway and possibly some of the lawn. Once you have placed all items into a category you can review to determine what you no longer need.
Once you have determined what is going to remain in the garage, you will need proper storage space. I have organized dozens of garages with a variety of different storage options and this is what I have learned.
Plastic Shelving Units – while this is a typical item I find in many garages, I don’t recommend them. The price point is low and they are better than nothing but they limit in what you can put on them because the shelf height isn’t adjustable, they can’t take much weight and shelf space is wasted with verticals.
Metal shelving units with plywood shelves – this is a common upgrade from the plastic shelving but in general, I don’t recommend these either. Although they are stronger than the plastic shelving, they are not inexpensive, the plywood warps and the shelf height is not adjustable in practice.
Overhead Racks – If you have the ceiling height, these are fantastic for seasonal items such as holiday decorations. However, I wouldn’t store anything up there you will want to access more than once per year. Trust me, you might get out the ladder to get the items down but you won’t get it again to return the items.
Gladiator or built-in cabinets – These work well if you are opposed to seeing open shelving in your garage and prefer to have everything behind closed doors. However, shelf depth will limit what you can store in the cabinets, shelf height is not always adjustable and widths are less efficient because of uprights.
Elfa Garage Shelving – Elfa shelving is installed with a track directly into the garage wall and vertical standards flush with the wall allow for easily adjusted shelf heights. The design of the shelving supports the storage of very heavy items and there are no vertical uprights to dictate the width of the space you can use.
Elfa Garage Features – Elfa also has a number of garage features that allows you to use every square inch of the garage. My favorite features include tracks to hang a variety of hooks and tool holders so you can keep folding chairs, golf clubs, lawn tools, balls and more organized along the sidewalls. If you like to putter in the garage, you can include a workstation with drawers, a work surface and specialized hooks and boxes on a utility board keeping everything you need at your fingertips.
Weathertight Bins – if you are keeping items in the garage, they are going to be exposed to the elements. These bins come in a variety of sizes and keep your items safe.
Open Bins – I like open plastic bins for items you access regularly so they are given a well-defined home on the shelf but getting things put away is as easy as tossing it in the bin.
The time you spend organizing will be well invested in a space you use nearly every day. If you don’t have time to get organized, call Imagine Home Organization and let us do it for you! 727.251.6449
- Posted by Imagine Home Organization
- On October 18, 2019