Have you taken a moment to look at the state of your garage? The fact that you store your car and lawn equipment in this space daily doesn’t mean you pay much attention to how clean or organized your garage is.
According to the National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals, 50% of homeowners surveyed said the garage was the most disorganized area of their house. We’re guessing that’s because it’s a virtually unseen area that’s become synonymous with storing discarded holiday decorations, sports equipment, tools, bikes, and more.
In the past, we’ve discussed some quick tips for garage organization. But it’s time we dove a bit deeper and flushed out some of our previous advice so your garage can become more than just a utility catch-all.
Your dedicated Merry Maids® team is here to help with this comprehensive garage organization and cleaning guide. With these tips and tricks, we hope to inspire you to start making some impactful changes to your garage today.
Garage Organization Starts with Cleaning
Before you can organize your garage, you need to clean and declutter so that you can determine what can stay and what needs to go. This part might seem overwhelming, which is why we have some ideas to help the process go faster (without you losing your sanity along the way).
- Set aside an entire day or two or three – Cleaning your garage (when you have years of personal possessions, tools, and other items stored there) can take more than a couple of hours to go through. Pick a Friday or Saturday or the entire weekend to clean and sort items to get a better sense of the situation. After all, it took you more than a day to accumulate everything, so it’s going to take some time to clean and organize it all.
- Put on some music – Turning on your favorite cleaning music is a great way to make the time pass faster and have fun while you’re getting your garage spic and span. We recommend checking out our Spotify playlist with upbeat tunes to help stimulate those endorphins and put you in the mood to take on the world (or, at least, your garage).
- Get help from others – We love to use the phrase, “teamwork makes the dream work!” When it comes to a major undertaking like cleaning your garage, recruiting friends and family to help will make all the difference.
Items to Avoid Storing in Your Garage
Garages don’t usually come with instruction manuals or dos and don’ts for garage maintenance. Most of us just watch what dear old dad does and immolate that in our own garages. However, several toxic and hazardous items are not suitable for storing inside your garage (regardless of what dad says). A good rule of thumb is to avoid storing materials that temperature fluctuations could damage, solutions that could be flammable, and belongings that moisture and humidity might destroy.
For example, keep the following items out of your garage long-term:
- Propane tanks [GU1] [SB2]
- Cardboard boxes
- Alcohol or wine
- Vintage photos
- Rare paintings
- Irreplaceable documents
- Delicate clothing
5 Tips to Organize Your Garage on a Budget
If you want your garage to be more efficient and useful for your lifestyle, we have a few organizational ideas that anyone can integrate and won’t break the bank.
1. Incorporate Open Shelving
Knowing what’s in your garage is one of the first things to help maintain your garage organization. Items on open shelving will keep you from storing things without a designated home inside a cabinet and hoping it doesn’t all spill out later. [GU3] [SB4] Some open shelving options you can incorporate into your garage could include:
- An overhead storage rack to utilize ceiling space
- 3- to 4-shelf plastic units to get items off the ground
- Wall-mounted ball storage to house sporting equipment
2. Keep Items Off the Floor
Your garage floors are never a good place to store things. There’s always the potential that valuable equipment could be damaged or broken. When you start planning out your garage layout (after the tedious cleaning is done), pick up items previously kept on the floor and put them somewhere safe and out of the way.
3. Use Pegboards for Vertical Storage
Many homeowners have already jumped on this versatile wall organizing hack. When you have oddly shaped items that won’t fit in a draw or storage bin, mounting them to the wall keeps them off the floor and easily accessible. You can use pegboards for various things, including power tools, sporting equipment, bikes, lawn care equipment, and more.
4. Add Labels to Plastic Bins
While clear plastic bins are an ideal storage option for things you don’t use daily, sometimes, being able to see what’s inside a bin isn’t enough. Labeling boxes, bins, or buckets is a sure-fire way to level up to “organizational guru” and help your entire family keep from cluttering the garage again. Before you start, make sure to label containers with items you or your family use often. For instance, sports equipment or sidewalk chalk are great for labeled storage containers because they’re used often and have a designated spot in your garage that everyone is privy to.
5. Purchase a Small Drawer System for Loose Items
Your garage tends to be the space for large tools and tiny objects like nails, washers, and screws. Home improvement and craft stores sell mini drawer units to store these small yet easily misplaced objects. When you invest time in organizing these loose items, you make finding them easier and losing them virtually impossible.