Garages can be useful places, or they can be a hub for mess and chaos. If your garage has gotten out of control and you want to make it useful again, we have some great garage ideas for you. Check out these organizing tips and unique ideas to make your garage an enjoyable and functional space.
It is hard to organize any area and set it up for maximum efficiency if you have no clue what you will do in it. The first step to organizing a garage is to define the room.
What do you want to use your garage for?
Let us assume that you do not want it to just be a space to pile junk. Instead, you want it to function as something, and there are many things that a garage can be used for in addition to parking your car or throwing some boxes in it. The following are just a few ways in which people use garages, but the possibilities are endless:
- A home office
- Laundry area
- Band practice
- Working out
- Tools and handyman work
- Storage for items bought in bulk
- Car lifting tools
- Sports hub
- Mud room
- Lawn and garden tool storage
- Holiday decoration storage
- Bicycles and other outdoor toys
- Art studio
- Sewing and crafting area
- And much more
Depending on the size of your garage, you can often use if for multiple activities. So, what do you want to use your garage for?
Be clear about any activities or work that you will be completing in the garage
Next, you need to be clear about all activities that naturally take place in the garage, and all the tasks you will complete that are connected to what you choose to use your garage for. For example, if you and your family take your shoes and coats off in the garage and hang them by the door, write that down. It is difficult to change habits, so it is better to leave these activities in the garage rather than trying to relocate them.
Also, if you plan to use your garage as an office or laundry area, write down all the activities associated with those such as folding the clothes, scanning documents, and so on. Listing all of this at the beginning will help when you are deciding what to put back in the garage.
Once you have defined it, you get to design it. Draft a floor plan. You do not have to be an architect. Simple circles, squares, rectangles, and stick figures are fine. As long as you know what it all is, that is all that matters.
Start by drawing the basic shape of the garage. Then add in shapes for items that are immobile, such as a hot water heater, and your car if you will still be parking it in there. From here, you will fill in shapes for items you need for your chosen activities, i.e. a desk, exercise equipment, and so on. The idea is to decide how you want everything placed now instead of figuring it out on the go.
The next step is to empty everything that can be moved out of the garage. You might want to see about paying a few teenagers in the neighborhood to help you out, just to make it faster. If it can be moved, get it out of the garage. It is so much easier to see and organize things when they are out of their regular place. Trying to organize inside of the garage will not be very successful.
After it is cleared out, go through all of the items and get rid of what you no longer need or want. The longer you have been piling things in your garage, the larger this number will be. And try not to be sentimental at this point. Do you really need your high school stuff? If it really is important to you, why is it in the garage? If you find items that you really do want to keep, get them out of the storage containers and move them into your home.
After the garage is as cleared out as it can be, clean it up. Scrub and hose down the floors, get any messes off the walls of the garage door, get the cobwebs off of the ceiling, and so on. Get it looking and feeling fresh so you are a little more motivated to keep going.
Set It Back Up
You are about to start setting it back up, but before you do, take a good look around. Are there any repairs that need to be done? Though this is not extensive, the following items can help tremendously:
- Update Lighting
Forget having one tiny light bulb to illuminate your entire garage. Put some fresh lighting in, and try to go for LED since they last longer and are easier on the electric bill.
- Freshen Paint
There is no rule requiring garages to be drab and dingy. Spruce it up with a fresh coat of paint, especially if you will be doing things in it. It will be much more exciting to work or craft or build with bright colors around you.
- Seal the floor
Garage floors tend to be really cool. That is great in the summer, but not in the winter. Try putting some sealant on the floors to help protect your floors and provide a little more warmth.
- Insulate it
As cold as garage floors can be, garages themselves can feel like ice boxes and cost a ton to heat. Insulate walls and floors with rugs or carpet, and other fabrics you can hang on the wall.
Here comes the fun part. You did all of the prep work. Now is the time to put it back together in the fresh new way you want it.
- Deciding what to keep in your garage
You have to determine what needs to stay in your garage, but guess what? You already know. Take out the paper on which you listed what activities will be carried out in the garage and those that naturally happen there. Items related to those activities are the only things you should be putting back in your cleared out space.
- Deciding what to move elsewhere
Once you have separated what goes back into your garage, take a look at what is left. Is any of it worth moving into your home to deal with? If so, get it there. If not, either trash it, donate it, or announce you are having a yard sale to the neighbors who may already be watching what you are doing. You just might make some money.
- Choosing your storage methods
Now, you need to choose how you will store and organize the items that you are keeping in your garage, such as sports equipment and bicycles. In the next section, you will find some specific ideas of storage products.
- Categorize Items and Tasks
Make it as easy on yourself as possible. If you will be completing two similar activities in your garage, place the stations beside one another. This way, you can use the same supplies for both. Categorize the items and tasks so that you can put them together.
There are two main rules of organizing: keep like items or items related to one activity together, and organize items at the places they are already used. For instance, as I said before, if you take off your coat and shoes in the garage, do not try to move that station elsewhere. Instead, set up a nice drop off zone by where you normally take those items off. The more natural something feels, the more likely it will be done.
- Keep Items Off of the Floor
Another important organizing rule is to keep as much as you can off of the floor. Umbrellas that are hanging on a hook look much neater than those placed on the floor and leaned against the wall.
- Open Shelves or Closed Garage Cabinets?
Both can be useful in their own ways. For chemicals and dangerous things you do not want little ones or pets to get into, or just private items, a locked storage cabinet is best. For everything else, go for open shelves. They cost less and you do not have to worry about additional space for opening the doors. Also, since everyone else can see them as easily as you, you will be more likely to keep them straightened up.
- Put Ceiling Space to Work
Do not overlook the valuable ceiling space that garages offer. It is a great spot for items you do not need to get to regularly, such as holiday decorations, or things like ladders. In the next section, there are some great ideas for using that space.
- Utilize wall space for storage
The wall can provide great space too by using peg board and other items.
Must-Have Storage Products for Garages
The following list of items include some useful and interesting ways to organize your garage.
- Monkey Bars Wall Unit
- Gladiator Gear Wall
- Storage Tubs
- Garage ceiling track storage
- Coat/Umbrella Rack
- Adjustable Wall Racks
- Corner Shelves
Organizing Lawn and Garden Equipment
Unless you have an outside tool shed, you will likely be storing your lawn care tools in your garage. Here are a couple of ideas for doing so:
- Hook racks for gardening tools
The same hook racks people use for coat or those used to hang up brooms and such can be used to hang up your lawn and garden equipment.
- Set up a garage garden station
Use a rolling cart to store gardening supplies and place it near or under the hanging lawn tools. Then, when you want to go out and garden, you can simply roll your cart out and get what you need.
Organizing Sports Gear
There are a lot of fun ways to organize sports equipment. The most important thing to consider is how easy it will be for your kids or you to use. Try not to use anything with a lid. No one wants to come home from a game and put any effort into putting stuff away. However, if you have an open organization system that is between where you park your car and the door you go through, they can simply dump it off on their way by.
Organizing Camping and Outdoor Equipment
If you camp often, you want to keep your equipment somewhere easily accessible. If you only go once or twice a year, put it up higher and save you convenient space for things you use more often. Fishing rods are another outdoor items that tend to sit on a garage floor. Try instead having some type of cylindrical open barrel that you can slide them into, along with baseball bats, hockey sticks, and so on. Also, you do not have to leave bicycles on the floor. There are great ways to hang them on the ceiling or the wall.
Every home needs some tools, even if it is just a hammer and a screwdriver. Most homes, though, have many more tools than that. Here are a few ideas for those tools:
- Vertical Peg Boards
Hanging some vertical peg boards and different peg types on the wall give you multiple hanging sections for screwdrivers, hammers, and more.
- Squeeze in a Workbench
If you can squeeze a workbench in, that will help keep all of your tools organized. There are multiple styles and sizes, so you can likely find one to fit your available space. If you cannot, there are still many ways to organize tools.
- Kitchen Magnetic Knife Strip
The magnetic knife strips that hang in a kitchen can be used in a garage, as well. They are great for hanging up screwdrivers and other lightweight metal tools.
If you have not found an idea you love yet, here are an additional 14 unique garage organization ideas:
1. Lawn tool storage using a pallet
In addition to all of the other fun and creative ways to use pallets, you can also turn on their side, screw them to your wall, and then slide your lawn tools in. You can spray paint it for a better look.
2. Panelized Walls
If you have never seen panelized walls and all that they can do for you, now is a great time to do so. Use them throughout your garage for a space to hang pretty much anything.
3. Use PVC Pipe to Organize Power Cords
PVC pipe is a pretty cheap way to organize a lot of things. They are great for holding power cords and keeping them from tangling up.
4. Make a Power Tool Charging Station
With just a few pieces of wood, you can create a small shelf to hang over a power outlet. When you are not using your power tools, put their batteries on the shelf and let the charge.
5. Use PVC Scraps to Hang Drills
Cut PVC pipes, or use scraps you already have, and screw them into the bottom of your charging station from the previous step. You can then slide your drills into the PVC pipe for them to hang until you need them again.
6. Turn an Old File Cabinet into a Storage Tub
Have an old filing cabinet you no longer use? Ditch the drawers and flip it on its back. Then, push it against your garage wall to use as an open store bin. You can always spray paint it to improve the look.
7. Set up a “Drop Off” Station
Though it has been mentioned above, a drop off station can be an incredible asset to any family. Definitely have the basics such as a place for umbrellas, keys, coats, shoes, and so on. Take it further, though, by making it unique to your family. Hang a mirror there for one last look before you go. Keep bottles of water extra phone chargers there, or anything else your family members tend to have to run back inside the house.
8. Make a Cage for Sports Balls
If you have a lot of basketballs, volleyballs, and so on, you need somewhere to store them that they will not roll away from. A ball cage is a fun way to do this.
9. Make a Tool Easel on Castors
Another way to store tools is with a tool easel. You can either buy and easel and attach peg board to both sides, or build one, then add castors to the bottom. That way you can easily move your tools around with you if you need to work on the opposite side of the garage or on your car.
10. Use over the door shoe organizers to store spray paint cans and other items
Purchase a shoe organizer with the plastic pockets and hang it on the wall. The pockets are a great size and shape to hold items like spray paint cans.
11. Make a Crafting/Sewing Storage Station
If you will be using your garage for crafting or sewing, you need to set up a space away from everything else so it will be uninterrupted place. You can hang small rods on the wall to hold thread and ribbons. If you can fit a small workbench for your crafting, go for it.
12. Put Cabinets on Castors so they are mobile
And cabinets and shelves you can most likely be put on wheels. If so, line them up side by side when you are not using them. When you need one, you can simply pull it from its space and get what you need, then slide it back in- similar to beside-the-fridge spice racks you see for kitchens.
13. Use Door Style Ironing Boards as Folding Workspaces
You might consider purchasing a couple of ironing boards that are made to screw onto doors. These can be used as worktables, then folded back to the door when not in use.
14. Use shower curtain rods to hang electrical and other tape
You can hang shower curtain rods or curtain rods on the wall and slide any tape you use on them.
After you have done all this work, you do not want to have to repeat it in a few months. Instead, follow these steps to keep it maintained.
Keep It Clean
- Hose down the floor
If you sealed your floor with something like epoxy, it is going to be simple to mop and keep clean. Still, if you find it getting a little too messy, you might hose it down occasionally, just to prevent heavy build up.
- Keep kitty litter for grease and oil spills
Kitty litter is great for soaking up oil and grease. Keep some handy so your fresh floor does not get ruined.
Keep It Decluttered
It is much easier to keep it decluttered than to have to go back and do it later. When you finish an activity, clean up any mess you made. Refuse to let anything that does not belong there stay there. Schedule a day once every month or two to do a good look through and make sure nothing has been overlooked. Most of all, be sure everyone is using the organization systems that you put into place.
Garages are often the place that gets ignored the most when it comes to cleaning and organizing, but they can also be one of the most useful spaces in a home. Take some time to clean out and organize your garage and make it a useful hub for your family. There are many ways to do so, but the garage ideas mentioned in this guide should give you some great places to start.