For a long time, we kept just about everything in our garage except for our car. The problem was, whenever we wanted something, it could take hours sifting through box after box. Many times we would not find what we wanted when we looked for it and would go out and buy another one only to find the missing items a few weeks later, stuck behind a pile of old junk.
Our staff was constantly being damaged from humidity or being crushed by other items because they were sloppily stored. We decided to make some changes. If you are ready to tackle your garage, here are some ideas to help you get organized.
The first thing you should do is set aside a weekend to go through everything. You will want to sort through all of your stuff and decide what you are getting rid of. The rules are simple: don’t keep anything that is damaged, that you don’t use at least once a year.
Throw things in the garbage, hold a yard sale, or give things away to friends or charities, but get rid of the unnecessary clutter. If you are really not sure about certain things, pack them away in a box, seal them, label them, and date it. If a year goes by and you haven’t needed anything in it, get rid of it.
Once you have decided what you are keeping, start sorting it into piles by category: tools, sporting goods, craft supplies, holiday decorations, etc. Keeping things categorized and assigning different areas of the garage for different uses or storage items will make it a lot easier for you to find what you need when you need it.
Decide which items you use regularly, so that you can keep them in a more convenient location, and which you use on occasion so that they can be packed out of the way.
Storage units are a big help if you want to keep your garage organized. Heavy-duty shelves, salvaged kitchen cabinets, and stackable plastic drawers are great options. They make it easier to utilize all of the readily available space on the upper walls so you can open up more floor space and keep things out of your way.
Another thing that comes in handy is lining a wall with a pegboard with assorted hooks and pegs in order to hang things you want to keep within easy reaches, such as tools. Heavy-duty hooks for bicycles or winter shovels also help open up valuable floor space.
If you make one initial investment in organizing your garage, make it in an assortment of plastic or rubber tote boxes with tight-fitting lids. Cardboard boxes get flimsy with age and can absorb humidity in the air, promoting mold growth within the box. Plastic or rubber boxes will not only be sturdier, last longer and keep your things neater, they will also keep out pests and excess moisture.
Get a variety of storage container sizes, from large ones that will accommodate a Christmas tree, to smaller ones for little items such as nails and screws. Clear boxes are great as they allow you to see the contents through the sides, but they aren’t necessary.
Make sure to make a list of all the contents as you pack each box. Give each box a number and put it at the top of the list, and write that number somewhere on the box with a permanent marker. Make a copy of the list, then tape one on the side of the box that will be facing outward. Keep the other in a file somewhere in your home, so that if the paper ever falls off of your box, you will have a copy and know which box it goes with.
We live in Florida, so in our garage, humidity has been a huge problem. If you have a lot of humidity in your garage, there is an easy solution. Get a couple of buckets and throw in some inexpensive charcoal, then set them somewhere out of the way. The charcoal will draw and absorb excess humidity. You’ll know to change the charcoal when the chunks or briquettes begin to fall apart.
An organized garage can make life easier. Once you have your garage in order, you might be surprised at just how much space is available in there. You might even find that you can fit your car in it!