Before you begin sifting through the clutter in your garage, make sure you’re armed with the right tools to store the stuff that you keep.
Putting a garage in proper order can be a major task, especially if you’ve been using the space as a dumping ground for all the stuff you don’t want in your home. Once you’ve gotten rid of what you don’t need, there’s a variety of storage equipment you can use to organize the remaining items.
Linda Deppa, a professional organizer in the Seattle, WA, area, said you can spend anywhere from a few hundred dollars for shelving to thousands of dollars on high-end modular cabinets that are designed to hide stored items from view and give your garage a finished look. Storage equipment for garages typically can be found at stores like Home Depot, Lowe’s and Costco.
Here are five storage tools to consider when organizing your garage.
1. Modular Storage Units
Lining one or more walls with modular cabinets and cupboards is a good way to get stored items out of sight, said Amy Trager, a professional organizer in Chicago, IL. Cabinets that can be locked are best for items that might need to be stored securely, such as expensive tools.
Modular units are popular “if you want a finished look, if you feel the garage will be another room in the house,” she said.
If you group the items your store by categories, such as tools, recreational equipment and holiday decorations, it’ll be easier for you to remember where things are. Julie Naylon, a professional organizer in the Los Angeles, CA, area, recommends labeling the unit doors or drawers so you can locate items more quickly.
2. Freestanding Shelves
Freestanding plastic and steel shelves often are placed against a wall. However, if you have the extra space, several shelves can be lined up in your garage to create storage aisles that provide easy access to your possessions. Just make sure you leave enough room to walk between rows of shelves. Also, you should buy sturdy shelves to help prevent accidents.
Deppa said you should stay away from any shelving that uses particle board, especially if there’s a chance that items in your garage will be exposed to moisture.
“Those types of shelves have a tendency to expand if they get moisture in them,” she said.
An inexpensive way to get organized is to place pegboards with hooks on at least one wall, Deppa said. These can be used to hang tools and other small items that you use frequently.
By relying on a pegboard rather than a toolbox, you can keep frequently used items in plain sight. One of her clients took the extra step of having her trace an outline of each tool on a pegboard so items always would be returned to the same place.
4. Wall-Mounted Tool Racks
Tool racks are useful for hanging garden tools, such as rakes, hoes, spades and shovels, Deppa said. They also can be used for hanging bicycles.
Tool racks are a good alternative to shelves, cabinets, boxes and plastic bins when you lack space in your garage. Just make sure they’re securely anchored to the wall.
“It is all about retrieval. You can find things quickly,” Deppa said.
5. Overhead Storage Units
Overhead storage units can be good for people with garages that are short on places to stash stuff, according to Deppa. Keep in mind that that these racks aren’t easy to reach. They should be used for items you won’t need frequently.
Make sure these units are installed properly so that they don’t fall from the ceiling. If you don’t have the skills to do this yourself, consider hiring a contractor.