Garages: Most people don’t even like to think about theirs. In most homes, garages tend to be catch-all storage rooms – the places we shove all sorts of junk we don’t want cluttering up our other living spaces. If you are like a large percentage of Americans, you can’t even park your car inside thanks to all the stuff that has piled up in your garage. Not only is your garage an inexcusable mess, but your expensive, indispensable vehicle is left outside, subject to damage from the elements and other people. It doesn’t make sense, logistically or financially.
It only takes a weekend or two to sort out your garage, transforming it into a practical storage space with enough room for your most valuable items, like your car. By devoting some time to getting rid of unnecessary belongings and completing some easy, cheap, DIY projects, you can have a garage to be proud of.
Before you even think about organizing your garage, you should spend some time sifting through your stored belongings and cleaning out the stuff you no longer need or want. The less you need to cram into your space, the easier it will be to organize and to maintain organization, so you should spend a day or two analyzing what you must keep and what you can donate, sell, or give away. Ideally, you will get rid of big, space-hogging items, like donating a family boat that hasn’t seen any water in years, but letting go of anything you can part with will make your goal of organization easier.
In your garage, every empty space can be useful for storage – even the ceiling. Ceiling-mounted racks are relatively unobtrusive ways to store items you don’t often need, like holiday decorations or seasonal clothes. However, store-bought ceiling racks can be expensive, whereas this DIY overhead sliding storage system from the Family Handyman is inexpensive and easier to use.
First, you should procure a few large, plastic bins or totes. These can be in any size to suit your needs, but they must have a rather sturdy lip at the top. Then, you will construct wooden carriages to hold them to the ceiling. You only need a measuring tape, plywood, wood glue, and screws to complete this project, which gets your belongings off the floor and out of sight.
More accessible than the ceiling but just as neatly tucked away, wall-mounted storage will give all your tools and equipment a proper space. The Family Handyman provides another tutorial for hanging bins from the wall to use as recycling containers, scrap holders, or receptacles for any other oft-needed item.
Additionally, you should dedicate one wall of your garage to pegboard. Endlessly variable, and therefore endlessly useful, pegboard is excellent for hanging all sorts of tools, from screwdrivers and hammers to rakes and shovels. Here’s a gallery of pegboard configurations to spark your imagination.
For many, a garage isn’t merely a storage area; it also functions as a craft space, where you can perform your favorite hobbies without cluttering up your home. You can be even more economical with your craft space by committing to a table that folds against a wall in your garage. This fold-up workbench takes less than a day to make, and it is sturdy enough to be used for woodworking, weightlifting, and other inherently heavy tasks.
You will need quite a lot of lumber to complete this project, so if you don’t have any saws of your own, you will need to commandeer the wood-cutting station at your local hardware store. To make the table less heavy (albeit slightly less sturdy, as well) you can replace the top 2x4s with plywood, but you should invest in good hardware, including folding shelf brackets and strong hinges, to ensure it lasts a lifetime.
This DIY doesn’t require wood of any kind, nor do you need to use power tools to put it together. Truly, all you need is a marker and a few sheets of paper – but you can get fancier if you wish. When all your belongings are tucked neatly away, it is nearly impossible to remember exactly where your stuff is located. Labels are underappreciated salvation from hours of searching through boxes.
You can be as simple or ornate as you like, as long as your labels are facing out and easy to read. Bob Vila offers some fun and creative DIY label options, including chalkboard paint and Washi tape.