While a garage’s main purpose is to park a vehicle, most of us end up storing a wide variety of other items in the garage as well. It may start with just a few items – the tools or the bikes – then a few more, and suddenly, our garage space is a mess, it’s hard to find anything, and the car may even end up parked on the street!
Your car is likely one of your most valuable possessions after your house. That’s why it makes sense to park it in a garage to protect it from accidents, weather, kids playing outside, or vandals that can potentially damage your shiny four-wheeled beauty.
If you are well organized, the garage can be a great space for both parking and storage. Here are our tips cleaning and organizing your garage so that you can have plenty of room for everything.
Plan and prepare
Before you start the project, you should have a plan. Once you get everything out of the garage and sort it on the driveway, what do you do with it? If you plan to do any repairs, paint or get shelves installed while everything is out of the garage, you need a storage solution for your items while the work is being done. A good way to solve it could be to have a storage pod delivered. If you know there is going to be a lot of waste you might need to hire a waste removal company or rent a trailer so you have a way to transport waste to a landfill or recycling center. It’s a good idea to plan and prepare for these things before you start!
BEFORE: Do you have a cluttered garage? It’s time to get organized and get more out of your garage space!
Sort it out
One of the first steps is to figure out what you have in the garage. When going through your garage, think about the purpose of the space. What belongs in the garage, and what does not belong there?
- First, get an overview of everything you have stored in your garage.
- Make piles for different categories, for example, sports equipment, tools, gardening supplies, camping gear, etc.
- If you can get rid of items, you will have more room in the garage. Before placing something in a pile, consider if this is an item you want to keep, sell, throw away or donate (make piles for that too).
What should you keep?
- Things that you have used once or more the past year.
- Items that you use that are in working condition.
- Smaller tools that you may not use that often, but can be super handy when you need them.
What should you get rid of?
- Things that you never, or rarely, use.
- Big tools that you rarely use that can be rented or borrowed.
- Things that are broken or can’t be repaired.
Now, when everything is out of shelves, corners and other places that are normally difficult to access, you have a rare opportunity to clean your garage before you put everything back where it belongs. In other words, it’s time to bring out weapons like water, soap, a sponge, and a mop!
Garage cleaning tips
- Start from the top and work your way to the bottom.
- Start by cleaning the tops of your cabinets and shelves. Work your way down.
- Clean walls and doors with a damp cloth and detergent.
- Sweep the floor.
- Mop the floor.
- It there are any motor oil stains on the floor, try to use cat litter or an oil remover, soap, and a scrub brush.
Garages have to take a lot of abuse, which means the interior can be damaged. When the garage is clean and empty, it’s easier to add a layer of paint, fix cracks or repair the door. If the garage looks great and serves more like an extension of your home, you may find it easier to keep it nicer in the future.
Improve the storage
What storage potential does your garage have? Can you add shelves or cabinets? Where can you put a workbench? What items can you get off the floor? Would it make sense to add a pegboard to the wall for tools? You can also use ceiling space wisely – great for long flat items like surfboards and planks. Remember to make sure there’s enough room around the car so that you can open the doors and easily get out without hitting a shelf or cabinet.
If you want to save yourself some time and work, we recommend making a floor plan to try out ideas With the RoomSketcher App, you can draw your floor plan and visualize options in 2D and 3D before you decide what you are going for in real life.
VISUALIZE FIRST: Before you start to put things back in place, it’s wise to have a plan. A floor plan helps you find the best solutions for your space.
- The items that you use most often should be the easiest to access.
- Use open shelving units to more easily locate the things that you use more frequently.
- Use cabinets or closets for items that you use less frequently.
- Be creative and figure out how you can make the most out of the available space. If you’re handy, consider creating your solutions instead of buying everything.
- Store items so that you can see them. For example, use clear boxes.
- Store long items vertically when possible. Planks, shovels, brooms, fishing rods, and skis take up less space if they are stored vertically. You can use hooks on the walls, put things in a bin, or use racks.
- Think season – snow shovels and salt only need to be easily accessible for the winter and can switch places with the lawnmower in the summer.
- If you want to find things easily, group items by category – if you store all your ski gear together, you will spend less time looking for gear and more time skiing!
Here’s some inspiration on how you can organize your garage
In this example, we have designed a table that allows you to conveniently stow the lawnmower and grill underneath. The front sections slide so that you can reach every corner or object. The table does double-duty as a room divider and work area.
In the images below, you can see that firewood is stored to the right of the back entrance. Next to the firewood are open shelves with boxes for storage. A small work table adjoins and serves as a temporary drop zone for items that you are about to put into the extra freezer. To the left of the garage door, there is a cabinet with doors for a neat and tidy overall impression.
The workshop is next to a large window to provide natural light, and has many storage options and work surfaces:
Notice the wall hooks to hang the ladder (shown above) and the bicycles are hung on the wall (shown below) to clear space on the floor:
Introduce a system
Have a system that is easy to understand for everyone that uses the garage. You may remember the proper location for each item, but your partner or kids may have no idea unless you have a logical system. Use a marker to label shelves, drawers, boxes, and all your other storage gear to know what goes where. This not only helps you find your stuff when you need it but also helps you remember where to put things back so your garage doesn’t get un-organized again!
Enjoy your new garage
Once you’ve finished, it’s time to benefit from your new garage. Place your cars back inside where they belong, easily access your bikes and sports gear on the weekends, and work on that project at your clear and organized workbench!
Download the RoomSketcher App for free and start planning your garage today.