Think about it. You’ve got a kitchen catch-all drawer full of rubber bands, coupons, scotch tape, a small hammer and several types of screwdrivers —except, unfortunately, the kind served in a glass. There are more unmatched socks on your dryer than condiments in your fridge. And, most annoyingly, you know you have to organize a small garage that’s filled with so much stuff you have to park the car outside.
Some people might glance at the chaos and feel like they’re slowly losing their grip on homeownership. In reality, you’re looking at the stuff of healthy, well-lived days full of activity.
If you need to regain your sense of control, a couple of days of hard work will be all it takes to tackle those stacks of boxes, piles of bikes and dusty tools. Here’s how to organize a small garage so that everything fits, including your car.
Get Your Head in The Game
Before you start to take measurements and comparison shop for shelves and bins, do yourself a favor and visualize the finished product. Picture the organized storage. Imagine pulling out a power tool without causing an avalanche, wheeling your recycle bins to the curb on an unobstructed path — loading up the car on a rainy day without getting wet.
Give yourself a pep talk and maintain mental focus. You’ve got this.
Create a Timeline
Bolster your new confidence and enthusiasm with a timeline. Clear at least two days at the get-go to pull everything out and sort. Enlist the help of friends. Creating a definitive start and completion date, as well as inviting support in the way of extra hands, lends the project a shared sense of accountability.
No backing out, no excuses.
Haul and Sort
As much as you’re hankering to create your dream space, it’s best to start with a blank slate. That means hauling every item out of your garage and putting it in one of three piles:
- Donate or Sell
Your friends will be pivotal here, because you may have to check your emotions at the door when deciding what to keep. If a toy is broken, even if it was a favorite, take a picture and move on.
Make sure to check expiration dates on all household chemicals, batteries and pesticides. Follow the guidelines in your area regarding safe disposal.
Map Floor Plan with Dimensions
Once your garage is empty, grab the tape measure and map out a potential floor plan. Note the size and location of windows, doors and light switches.
Pro-Tip: Block out your car’s measure with the doors open and keep access to electrical panels clear.
Use Vertical Space
Finally, it’s time to shop and create! Remember your drawn plan reflects only the length and width of the available storage area. Maximize three-dimensional space by using height to your advantage. Look for the tallest shelving feasible. Try to find sealed storage bins to sit snug along their length.
Hang pegboards in narrow spots, or brackets for heavier items. Consider hoisting ladders, kayaks, surfboards and contained sports equipment — like golf and hockey bags — up on ceiling hooks.
Organize By Compartment
Place frequently used pieces by the door and tuck seasonal items away towards the back. Put gardening tools in one area, and hand tools in another. Hide traditionally messy equipment such as extension cords in a clearly-marked sealed bin.
Find spots other than your garage for:
- Second refrigerator – drains too much energy in hot weather.
- Gas or propane – year-round fire hazard.
- Paint – affected by extreme temperatures.
- Pet food – attracts raccoons and possums.
- Paper goods – attract bugs and roaches.
Safe at Home Base
Game over. Many of your most-used possessions — including the car — are safely stored and a snap to find. Now that you know how to successfully organize a small garage, how hard can that kitchen drawer be?