Store More in Your Garage

By Jan Soults Walker

If clutter crowds out cars in your garage, use these tips to gain control and get organized.

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A fresh start

Never fear if your garage looks more like a jungle of junk, overrun with too much stuff and no place for the car. Here's how to take command and create a dream garage where everything has its place and is easy to find.

Pick a weekend. If your garage is overflowing with belongings, you will likely need at least one uninterrupted weekend to get a handle on organizing. Choose a day when the weather is fair so you can pull everything into the driveway.

Sort your stuff. With everything out in the daylight, envision categories and begin sorting it all into piles. Some possible groups might be: sports, lawn and garden, tools and hobbies, auto, and seasonal decor.

Say goodbye. You'll also need a pile for things you no longer need or want, dividing them into two subcategories: rehome or toss. Sell or donate belongings that someone else might find useful. Anything beyond repair should go into the garbage.

Choose storage helpers. With the remaining categories, begin looking for storage solutions so that everything has its place. Make sure items you use frequently are easy to spot and access.

High places

The garage ceiling is an often-overlooked storage surface, and storing something high up doesn't necessarily make it difficult to access. Hooks, for example, can be used to hang bicycles to free up floor space but can leave the wheels within reach to lift and return to the floor when you want to ride. U-shaped brackets hung from ceiling joists can support lengths of lumber, conduit and pipe, or even a kayak. You can also add shelves to ceiling brackets to hold storage tubs and other bulky supplies.

Keep in mind that if your garage ceiling is finished with drywall, you'll need to find the joists and secure storage brackets and hooks to safely hold the load. Depending on the location of the ceiling storage, be sure to allow for clearance of the garage door when it's open.

Vertical space

California Closets
Your garage likely has three walls of vertical space just waiting to help you get organized. Hooks, pegs, shelves, and bins are just some of the items you can hang from the walls to create hardworking storage. Pegboard is a panel with evenly spaced holes that allow you to arrange and rearrange storage accessories to fit your needs. Use pegboard to hold everything from garden rakes and hoses to wrenches, hardware, and saw blades.

Similar to pegboard, another storage system offers a stylish series of horizontal planks with space between to hold an array of hooks, pegs, shelves, bins, and other accessories.

What's underfoot

Before bringing your things back into the garage, consider applying paint formulated for floors or have the floor professionally finished with an attractive, long-lasting epoxy coating. It will give your garage a new look and boost your desire to keep everything in order.

See our tips on How to Paint Concrete Floors.

For the most part, the only things you want on your garage floor (other than a fresh finish) are you, your vehicles, a workbench, and a selection of freestanding cabinets or shelves around the perimeter. You'll find cabinets in a variety of materials, outfitted with drawers as well as adjustable shelves. When possible, boost storage capacity using the inside of cabinet doors with the addition of racks, pegs, or hooks.

For more home design ideas and advice, check out:

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