Once Henry Ford’s Model T made automobile ownership commonplace, architects began designing homes with garages. According to this source “In the 1920s, garage design began to evolve and become more specialized. Garages began to be built with specific features such as windows, workbenches, and storage cabinets.”
Not-so-coincidentally, this was about the time problems started out in the garage.
There are many new home design trends, including homeowners embracing the less-is-more look, and these are showing up in the room that gets little attention – the garage. The clutter is giving way to innovative organizational strategies.
For anyone who has ever unsuccessfully searched for a Phillips screwdriver, Halloween decorations, or even the lawnmower, the garage is not the problem. It’s just a space. The problem is the homeowner, which, sad to say, is you. But fear not. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of ways to clean up that mess. Here is a dirty dozen to consider.
Savvy homeowners are transforming those oil-stained, messy garage spaces into clean, multifunctional rooms. Acme has home improvement products that can help with this process. Just click here and get those ideas flowing.
Here’s How to Organize the Garage
Take an Inventory
The road to decluttering starts with the first step. According to the experts at SpaceWise, “No matter how clean you think your garage is, there’s still a chance you might have items—like expired first-aid kits or broken tools—that you don’t need. One of the best garage organization ideas is to start by cleaning out the entire garage! Here are the steps to cleaning your garage:
- Take inventory of what you have.
- Throw out any expired or irreparable items.
- Organize the remaining items into three piles: keep, sell, and donate.
- Prepare your items for a garage sale.
- Figure out what to do with your belongings after decluttering.
- Sweep out any debris and wash and reseal your garage floor.
Let There Be Light
Shedding some light on the garage is an excellent way to make it more functional. If there is an existing window or space to install one, many homeowners are taking advantage of the natural light while maintaining the security that a traditional window lacks. This can be accomplished by installing glass block in place of windows.
As this article notes, “Glass block is a more traditional design material. It is manufactured by sealing two halves of glass and then stacking them for walls. The look can be composed of a variety of styles, from wavy lines to concentric circles and many other styles. All are translucent and play with natural light. This is why architects and designers enjoy working with them.”
Click here for information on Seves Glass Block.
Things Are Looking Up
A great way to get clutter off the garage floor is to hang it from the ceiling. The time-honored hack of using large hooks, screwed into a ceiling support board, is still as good as it’s been since some clever designer invented the hooks. They work for bicycles, toy wagons and those lawn care wagons that are used to haul soil and bricks around the yard. The best part of this strategy is the price. Homeowners can purchase six of these large hooks for less than $10.
Hang On for Wall Storage
One of the secrets to garage bliss involves using every millimeter of space, especially the walls. SpaceWise notes, “Using pegboards is an easy way to incorporate hanging storage in your garage for lightweight and smaller items. This garage storage solution is great for massive storage walls, keeping tools over a workbench, or adding a coat and bag rack next to your door. Customize and arrange your tools to your liking on a pegboard by including specialty hooks, shelves, baskets, and more.”
Stack Storage Bins Vertically
Just as high-rise apartments are found in heavily populated cities, using plastic bins arranged vertically can result in excellent space utilization in a garage. According to FamilyHandyman, “Plastic storage bins are one of the great garage storage systems to separate and organize your equipment by sport or season. Unfortunately, they usually get stacked against a wall somewhere, which makes getting to the bottom bins difficult, especially for your household’s littlest teammates.”
The storage solution is only a weekend away with the company’s storage towers. Having different color bins for each sport makes finding what you need a breeze, and you can utilize the sides of the wooden frame for wall-mounted accessory items such as fishing rod holders or utility hooks for lightweight equipment.
Coming Down to the Wire
According to SpaceWise, “If you’re looking for budget-friendly garage organization ideas, consider using wire shelves instead of cabinets in your garage! This garage organization tip is great for storing a variety of items, from gardening supplies to seasonal decor. Wire shelving units provide the strength of metal shelves but without the bulkiness. Regardless of whether you choose wire shelves or metal shelves for your garage, be sure there’s enough clearance underneath them to make sweeping your garage floor easier.
Roll-Out Bins Keep Clutter at Bay
This garage organization website suggests, “Rollout bins are one of the best garage storage drawers you can use to avoid leaving towels and oil rags lying around your garage workbench. Instead, install slide-out bins along the walls for easy access to your garage inventory. This garage storage option is particularly useful for creating dedicated space for messy items.
Warm It Up
If the garage is detached and not connected to the home’s heating system, it can be a cold place in the dead of winter. One way to solve this problem is to use outdoor heating systems such as the Bromic heaters in a cold garage. This heater can do double duty when winter visitors come over for dinner on the patio. Just roll it outside! Win/Win.
Bromic’s engineers have successfully developed and delivered highly effective radiant heating solutions with applications in commercial and residential markets alike. Designed to meet a wide array of real-world challenges such as weather, environment, and efficiency, the Smart-Heat™ range has literally become the hottest thing in smart outdoor heating solutions.
Keep Sports Gear in Its Place
While there is little research on the subject, anecdotal evidence suggests the biggest culprit in garage chaos is sports gear. Roller skates, skateboards, hockey sticks, fishing rods, and other sporting gear take up a lot of room. Editors at SpaceWise suggest making an area specifically for sports equipment storage to keep them organized and ensure a family member doesn’t trip over them! Keep basketballs, footballs, and volleyballs out of the way by hanging vertical racks, nets, or baskets on your available wall space to keep your garage floor obstacle-free.
A Great Hack for Large Lawn Equipment
Besides the family vehicles, nothing takes up as much space in a contemporary garage as large lawn care equipment. Fortunately, there are a couple good ideas for getting lawnmowers, snowblowers, weed whackers, snow shovels, and wheelbarrows off the floor. One garage storage solution for lawn care tools is a pulley shelving system where you can easily move heavier items from an upper shelving unit to the garage floor. Another garage storage idea for larger lawn equipment like trimmers is to utilize hooks and hang them on the wall vertically.
Small Hardware Takes Up Big Space
We’ve all heard the expression (attributed to Ben Franklin) “for want of a nail, the shoe was lost.” It’s true. Smaller hardware items like nails, screws, and washers are only important when you need them! Storing these little items can be accomplished by using a repurposed library card catalog or similar piece of furniture that has cabinets that are the perfect size for holding nuts and bolts, and you can further organize the cabinets with labels. Another simple garage organization idea is to utilize the compartments in a clear tackle box!
A Magnetic Attraction
Several websites suggested using a magnetic strip to keep smaller tools within arm’s reach of a workbench. Magnetic strips can be used to hold tools like wrenches, chisels, scissors, screwdrivers, and others above or along the side of a workbench. This helps the intrepid DIYer avoid digging through drawers by keeping their tools nearby and visible.
Let The Organizing Begin!
The task may seem daunting, but it is possible to have a tidy, well-functioning garage with a small investment in time and organizational equipment in one weekend. Actually, getting it cleaned up is only part of the challenge. KEEPING it organized is a completely different story! Good luck with both efforts.