While garages are designed as a place to park vehicles, they often become places to store possessions we do not want to get rid of but have no immediate need to use. It doesn’t take long for the garage to become so cluttered not only can a car not be parked in it, but that snow shovel is buried when it is needed most.
Obviously there needs to be some organization, and the solution can be easier than it seems.
The first step is to clean out the garage and remove everything from inside if possible. This way, decisions can be made as to what is necessary to keep and what can be tossed away or donated. Keep only what you will use. For many, getting rid of anything can be the hardest step, but it is necessary.
Next, divide the garage into zones based on activities in which the family likes to take part. Getting each family involved in any areas they will have an interest in is also recommended so they will know where to find the tools or toys. It might be useful to draw up a floor plan ahead of time to make things go more smoothly.
Make sure to keep anything that will get used on a regular basis near a door and in a position where they can be reached easily. The next step would be to map out areas for seasonal items.
At this point, it might be wise to start considering some organizational aids, such as bins and other containers, shelving and racks to hold particular items. Plastic totes make great containers for some various possessions. While a color code system can be useful, such as all Christmas items going in red or green totes, it can also be useful to use clear containers so their contents can be easily viewed. If non-clear bins are used, make sure to label the containers.
While developing the plan and deciding which forms of storage to use, consideration needs to be given to any special activities enjoyed by the family.
For example, for those that enjoy gardening, a rolling garden tool organizer will not only help while the planting is being done, it will be a storage aid. They can be found at any of the major home improvement stores. The carts have slots good for storing long-handled items like rakes and shovels and pouches for keeping gloves and pruners. There is also a place for small hand tools.
If gardening is only done during a particular season, smaller tools can be stored in a tote so it can be put out of the way in the off season. Wall-mounted storage units would then be better to keep shovels and rakes.
For the family that loves sports quite a bit of thought needs to be put into who will use which piece of equipment. Adults can pull their bikes off of ceiling hooks, but children would constantly need help. Their bikes and other gear should be positioned near the door for easy access.
Sporting equipment like bats, balls or helmets may require an organizer which has compartments capable of storing different types of gear. For lighter items, such as inflatable pool toys, a hammock can be strung from the ceiling and overtop of the car.
Many holiday decorations are also lighter and can be stored in a system of wire racks hung on the walls around the garage. Other items can be stored in totes.
For safety, fertilizer, paints or any other potentially harmful chemicals should be stored in a locked steel cabinet or at least out of reach of children.
Organizing the garage will not seem so daunting if a plan is devised ahead of time and everyone is involved in the process. Once everything is in its place, family activities will be more fun because they won’t be such a hassle to begin.