How to Organize A Garage: Garage Organization Ideas, Tips, and Tricks
For many households, the garage isn’t just a place to park the car; it’s valuable, much-needed storage space. Odds and ends, old furniture, bulky camping gear, seasonal and holiday decorations, and large items that don’t fit in your closet — chances are, they’ve ended up in your garage. After years of accumulating all this stuff and mindlessly finding a place for it in your garage, you may not even know exactly what’s in there anymore.
The lack of space and mess in your garage is likely annoying or frustrating at best, but you may not realize the negative effects it has on your health. Too much clutter can decrease focus and productivity, contribute to unhealthy eating habits, and even increase feelings of stress and depression. Even though you might not spend as much time in your garage as you do in the other rooms of your home, the disorganized clutter may still be weighing you down.
Organizing your garage might sound like a daunting task, but you don’t need professional help to do it. While it may not be the most enjoyable way to spend a weekend, it’s worth the effort. Here’s how you can better organize and store things in your garage:
Decide What to Keep
Before anything else, you need to see what items you already have and decide which ones you want to keep. After all, there’s no use in organizing things you might never use. In addition, you won’t be able to determine how to best store the things you do want to keep if you’re overwhelmed or distracted by junk you don’t want. This pruning can also make it easier to downsize to a smaller home in the future.
Many people have trouble parting with their things, even if they don’t want to keep it or haven’t used it for a long time, because they form emotional attachments to the items. If you have difficulties getting rid of things, try taking a picture of it first. A recent study found that photographing an item made it easier for people to get rid of it, as they still had a keepsake to remember it by. This is an especially useful strategy for items that have sentimental value. You don’t have to embrace the minimalist lifestyle if you don’t want to, but you’d be surprised at how freeing it is to get rid of things you don’t need anymore.
Go through each and every single item in your garage, and decide whether or not you need (or want) to hold onto it. Create three piles: one for the items you want to keep, one for the items you don’t, and one for trash. Once you’ve gone through all of your things, dispose of the garbage, and figure out what to do with the items you’re getting rid of. Good options include giving things to family members or friends who would appreciate them, donating them to a thrift store, or selling them online.
Use Space Wisely
After you’ve decided what you’re going to keep, don’t simply toss everything back in its old place. Instead, think outside of the box and get creative with how you use space. Do your best to use the vertical space in your garage. This method also works well for organizing out-of-control closets and makes use of existing space that you can’t otherwise use.
Put up shelves on your walls and store your holiday and seasonal decor and other infrequently used items up high, and reserve lower shelves for things you use more often. Even hooks and small racks on your walls can help you take advantage of unused space. On a similar note, consider hanging things from the ceiling. This is a great way to store bicycles, kayaks, snow tires, and other bulky gear items that you don’t use every day.
Consider Extra Storage
Despite your best efforts, you may still not have enough space in the garage. In that case, it may be worth using a personal storage facility to hold some of your infrequently used items. In fact, about 65 percent of self-storage renters have a garage, but still choose to rent a unit. This way, you can still use your garage for its intended purpose without getting rid of items you want or need to keep.
Organizing your garage doesn’t have to be a big undertaking, and though it may feel like a Herculean task at first, it will move along quickly once you get started. You can even ask your family members or children to help clean up. Not only will this speed up the process, having company is simply more enjoyable, especially as you look at things that bring back old memories or have sentimental value.
One final tip: Don’t wait too long to re-organize your garage. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel once it’s taken care of, and then you’re free to enjoy this space however you want to.