Updated: Feb 12
The primary function of a garage is to park your car, yet approximately one out of four Americans with a 2-car garage do not park their cars in the garage. With one in three 2-car garages only having enough cleared space to fit one car inside. This is according to an April 2015 homeowner survey from Gladiator® GarageWorks, a leader in garage organization and storage systems.
On its best days, the garage is home to a car, maybe two, in addition to tools and outdoor supplies. Unfortunately, for many families, the garage has become a dumping ground of unwanted tools, garden supplies, toys and outgrown sporting equipment and has become the source of frustration and even embarrassment.
So, how do we create a highly functioning garage? Keep reading for my top 4 success tips.
1. Start With a Vision
The garage has many different functions, so it's important for the family to agree on the vision for the space. Is it a storage unit? Is it a tool shed? Is it a workshop? Is it a craft studio? Is it a place to park cars? Depending on how you answer the question will determine how you organize the space.
The starting point for every organizing project is the same - declutter. The best way to do this, especially in a garage, is to pull everything out so you are able to see and sort through all of the contents. The easiest way to sort through the items is to first put like items together (gloves with gloves, shovels with shovels, etc.). Then, one by one, go through the subcategories and determine which items you want to keep. Anything that no longer brings you joy or serves you can be recycled, donated, sold or put into the trash.
The decluttering step is crucial because many of us are not sure exactly what we have. According to the same survey by Gladiator® GarageWorks, one-third of homeowners don't know what's stored in the garage, which means it is likely that some of the items can easily be discarded and will open up some space.
3. Create Zones
Once you've decluttered, divide your garage into different zones with specific areas for lawn and garden equipment, sporting goods, toys, tools, other hobbies, etc. Depending upon what items you are storing and what zones you have, the organization solution will be different. For example, if you are a gardener and have lots of large tools like shovels and rakes used to tend to the garden, you will likely need a wall organizer to help you store those items. While if you are a mother with kids in various sports, your garage might be a place where you keep lots of sporting equipment and you will need storage solutions that hold bats, balls and the like. There is not a one-size-fits-all solution for organizing, especially in the garage.
4. Contain + Label
Once you've sketched out a plan by dividing your garage into zones, have purchased storage supplies like shelving, wall racks and bins, it's time to start organizing. For the smaller items in garages, I recommend using open bins like shown below. Using bins without a lid allows you to quickly get the items you need and easily put them back when you are finished with them. The ones below are made by Akro-Mills and they are sturdy plastic and I love that there is a place to put a label. It's crucial to label subcategories in the garage as it helps everyone in the family stay on the same page where things go.
The bins above are made by Akro-Mils. You can find the bins above by following the link below:
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