How to control all the clutter that accumulates in your garage

Controlling Garage Clutter

by Chantal King

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Has your garage turned into a catch-all storage space for sports equipment, holiday decorations, the kids' outgrown toys and gardening supplies? Are the boxes stacked so high they are permanently in danger of toppling? Can you even squeeze your vehicles in to park them? Clutter could be the culprit.

Professional garage organizers like Dave Galt of Premier Garage in North Dakota will come in and customize a system designed with your needs in mind. He even uses a 3D CAD program that lets you visualize exactly what your new space will look like. He said, "Surprisingly, most garages can be completely organized for under $1,000."

If you long for a well-organized garage with plenty of storage space and even room to park, but don't have extra money laying around, try these easy tips to de-clutter your space.

  1. First, clear out everything. It is a good idea to pick a nice long weekend, so you don't have to rush.
  2. Mark off the room you need to park your cars with masking tape. Remember to leave room on the sides for opening doors. Many garages have a seam in the floor to use as a guide.
  3. Decide what else has to stay. You can make piles for selling items, donating and trash.
  4. Look at your available storage. If you have room along the sides, a set of narrow shelves can hold a variety of boxes or bins. Put things you don't need as often on the higher shelves, out of the way.
  5. Utilize overhead storage with hanging bike racks, shelves that hang from the ceilings, or use exposed rafters for lightweight items like sleds, holiday decorations, or anything else that is only used occasionally.
  6. If you've always wanted a workbench but don't have the square footage, buy or make one that folds flat against the wall. All you need are some sturdy hinges and folding legs. The standard height is 30 inches or counter height.
  7. Organize tools with a hanging wall system. You can buy a versatile ready-made system, or create your own with inexpensive pegboard, hooks, and nails. When everything has its place, you will instantly be able to find it when you need it.
  8. Group like items together. For instance, all your gardening tools and supplies could be on a shelf or sent outside to an attractive potting bench or shed. Outdoor furniture cushions can be stored in waterproof deck boxes, which is actually handier for those backyard cookouts. Hang bike helmets with the bikes, and the hockey gear in a sturdy duffle bag on a hook.
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  10. Arrange things by season. For example, make sure the lawn mower and bikes are in good working order and easily accessible in the spring. In the winter, the snow blower and shovels take center stage. Grabbing what you need when you need it is one of the perks of a well-organized garage.
  11. Keep a trashcan handy so your space doesn't become a garbage dump. Get in the habit of clearing out the car after each trip, so empty food wrappers don't pile up.
  12. Keep a big basket or tote in each vehicle, so that everything gets carried inside after every trip. You can also pack it for the next day to eliminate the morning madness.
  13. Now that your garage is clean and clutter free, keep it that way. Whenever you bring something in, take the old one out. Put things away in the proper place to avoid things piling up again.

Garages protect our vehicles and provide extra storage space. Don't let yours become cluttered and unusable. Use these inexpensive tips for controlling garage clutter and you could have the best garage on the block!

Reviewed June 2017

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