Organizing the Garage

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organizing the garage

Often times the garage becomes the catch all for items that do not have a home inside the house or are not currently in use. As summer ends and fall begins, many clients will be ready to take inventory and organize the garage so in-season items are conveniently accessible.

The purpose of this article is to share tips and ideas to help you organize the garage.

The first place to start is by identifying the function and purpose of the garage. Some people intend to park cars in the garage as well as use it for excess surplus. Others will use the garage for extra storage or a workout area amongst many other ideas.

Secondly, take inventory of items stored in there. Since summer is ending, it’s time to evaluate the items that were and were not used this summer. The items that were not used and which your client doesn’t intend to use should go to a donation pile or trash if it’s in poor condition.

Once you’ve separated the summer items that are seasonally in use, start categorizing them. Put outdoor sports equipment and toys in a pile together, yard and garden items together, and workshop tools by the work area.

Pull out the fall and winter items that your client will need convenient access to all season long and set those aside for now. You will be storing them back in the garage for later use once the summer stuff has been organized.

As you take inventory, throw away all trash and expired items that are taking up space.

If your client plans on parking their car in the garage, your goal when finished is to clear all of the floor space so there is room for the car(s).

Next, break the garage into sections. You want the most used items in the most convenient locations.

For example, the left wall can be set up with a pegboard, slat wall, or shelving system to store car maintenance supplies, workshop, yard, and garden tools, which can be stored on hooks, shelves, and in baskets. Power equipment and workbench tools need to be located by an electrical outlet for convenient use. Lockers or caddy systems are perfect for holding baseball and other sports equipment.

The right wall can be utilized with a shelf system to hold excess household items, decorations, and seasonal toys.

If there is already a garage organization system in place you’re all set; you just need to utilize it by taking inventory of the items and categorizing them. If there’s no system in place, you can purchase garage organizers or build your own.

For large outdoor equipment such as canoes, kayaks, or bikes you can utilize an overhead system with a pulley for convenient accessibility. Outdoor toys can be placed in a plastic tote on a shelf.

Once all of the summer seasonal items are put up, go ahead and store fall/winter items in a conveniently accessible area, so your client won’t have to dig them out as needed.

Never store these items in the garage unless it is sealed and temperature-controlled (except for flammables).

  • Propane tanks or flammable liquids. These are best stored outside on cement blocks or a cement pad. You can utilize an outdoor shelving system for containers.
  • The fluctuation in temperature will ruin the paint or dry it out.
  • Photographs, important documents, and artwork. Moistness will cause damage to these items.
  • Food items. Odors, moistness, and rodents will make the food unsafe for consumption. If you are going to store dog food in the garage, make sure it is in a sealed container. A good recommendation is to store dog food in a metal garbage can with a lid in an extra closet or pantry in your home or where you store other animal feed.
  • Clothes for long term. They become susceptible to insect and rodent damage

It is not recommended to store valuable or perishable items in a garage that is not temperature controlled because they become vulnerable to environmental damage. Cardboard boxes should never be used for storage in the garage because they are vulnerable to rodents and insects, potentially damaging the items that they are storing. It is best to use plastic or Rubbermaid totes.

To keep rodents away from items you don’t want ruined, place a cotton ball that has been soaked in lavender or peppermint essential oil to repel them.

Once the garage is organized in a functional and appealing manner, take a picture and give it to your client. If the garage becomes cluttered or disorderly again, whoever is responsible for maintaining each section can look at the picture to to reinforce how it should be maintained.

Photo by Humphrey Muleba from Pexels

organizing the garage
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Crystal Schmid

Hi My name is Crystal Schmid. Mother of a 4 year old boy, 1 horse, 1 dog, and 1 cat. I run the Woodburn Home Organizers website. In my free time I like to write freelance articles about a variety of topics as well as keep my own chaos in the house under control.

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  1. Avatar Janet Schiesl on November 13, 2019 at 12:45 pm

    I love organizing a garage. You can gain so much space! Also, doing the work will sometimes allow you to get your expensive car under a roof. So smart since your car is probably your second most expensive purchase.

  2. Avatar Seana Turner on November 13, 2019 at 4:56 pm

    The garage is always a very rewarding space to organize! Usually you can get rid of a bunch of items that don’t have the same sentimental pull that objects inside the house often have. The other great thing is the wide variety of garage systems available these days. You can install anything from simple DIY to very upscale. I’ve even seen the resin floor put in, and they are gorgeous. A bit cold to work in the garage in my neck of the woods right now, but a great project to tackle come spring.

  3. Linda Samuels Linda Samuels on November 18, 2019 at 9:52 am

    I see that both Janet and Seana love organizing garages. I can’t say I feel the same way. Garages, basements and, attics are my least favorite spaces to work in. However, there is nothing quite as satisfying as taming a garage, which can easily become a dumping ground for all kinds of things that belong there or not. I didn’t know the trick about soaking cotton balls with peppermint or lavender to keep about pests. Great tip!

  4. Avatar Sabrina Quairoli on November 18, 2019 at 12:13 pm

    I’m not a fan of organizing the garage, especially in cold or really hot weather. It’s important to remember that bugs and rodents love piles of stuff. So, clearing out these areas first will reduce the critters that may come into the garage.

  5. Avatar Janet Barclay on November 18, 2019 at 12:29 pm

    It sounds like you either love it or hate it – I bet that’s true about most types of organizing. My favorite was paper, but I know many organizers who can’t stand it.

  6. Avatar Hilda Rodgers on November 24, 2019 at 7:25 pm

    I enjoy organizing garages… just did some maintenance on mine before winter. I think the most important point in this post is to have zones. So many garages are just dumping grounds with everything anywhere, but grouping like items makes it so much easier to maintain.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on November 25, 2019 at 12:39 pm

      I think you’re right! I bet most people have at least one area like that, whether it’s the garage, a spare room, or somewhere else.

  7. Avatar Matt on December 5, 2019 at 4:14 am

    Great read – thank you for sharing Crystal!

    Too often the garage ends up a dumping ground for junk. Maintaining organisation and keeping it in order makes a huge difference to your home.

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