The garage: a multi-purpose space with seemingly limitless potential for storage.

But how do you keep it organized, functional, and still spacious enough to actually house your car?


Sports Gear

Whether you ski every winter, dabble in golf every few months, or surf every weekend, the garage makes a practical, convenient space to store your sports equipment. Big items like surfboards, snowboards, and skis can lean against the walls of the your garage with the help of racks, or be placed on ceiling rafters.

J.B. Sassano, president of Mr. Handyman, recommends creating a makeshift shelving unit by laying plywood across exposed rafter beams.

“The extra space can be used to alternate storing your summer items and holiday decorations depending on the season,” said Sassano.

Smaller items like snorkel gear, tennis rackets, and basketballs can fit in oversized buckets or dual-purpose storage benches.


Seasonal Necessities

If you live in an area with four separate seasons, it’s likely you’ll need some equipment to get you through the year. To store long, tall items like brooms, rakes, and snow shovels, Seana Turner of The Seana Method recommends utilizing your wall space with the help of free-standing hooks, pegboards, or slat systems. Garage Tek and the Rubbermaid Wall Rail are both good options.

For bulk items like rock salt, fertilizer, or potting soil, Turner recommends a different approach.

“Painter’s buckets are easy to use, are cheap, and protect the contents from the weather,” whereas the large plastic bags bulk items come in “typically tear, collect dust, and are hard to store,” Turner said.


 Tools For Every Job

Even if you’re not a “roll up your sleeves and do it yourself” type of person, you’ll still need a few everyday tools to fix tiny household problems. The size and type of toolkit you buy will depend on your needs and your ability to use a hammer without harming yourself, but you’re likely to have a few staple items that need a good home.

You can use a pegboard to hang things like wrenches, hammers, screwdrivers, saws, and awls to keep them organized and easy to access.

“You need a bit of space behind the pegboard, so don’t mount it flush against dry wall,” Turner said.

For bigger tools that are too heavy to hang, opt for a structured shelving system.

“For cramped places like the garage, shelves are the more practical choice for any storage needs. They don’t require any additional space for swinging doors and they give you a full view of the contents,” Sassano said.

If you need a little extra space for DIY projects and work purposes, Turner recommends getting a workbench that folds up when not in use.


Emergency Supplies

For safety and emergency purposes, you’ll want to keep these basic items on hand: a fire extinguisher, flashlight, duct tape, at least one barrel of clean, safe drinking water, a first aid kit, an extra set of clothes and blankets, and a box of non-perishable food items.

You can also fill your emergency supply kit with candles, toiletries, copies of important documents, or personal items. Make sure to store it in an easily accessible place—like on an uncluttered shelf at eye-level—in your garage in case of emergency.

Store your first aid kit, flashlights, and other emergency items in plastic boxes with clearly marked labels and keep them at eye-level on an easy-to-each shelf.

gardening supplies

Cleaning and Gardening Supplies

The garage is a prime spot to store extra cleaning or gardening supplies. For those with a green thumb, consider hanging your spade, shovel, and hand tools on a pegboard then using sturdy tin boxes to hold any excess items.

Cleaning supplies can be separated and organized into clear plastic boxes by type of area—home, car, and yard, for example.

Quick Tips for Staying Organized

Storing your belongings by category is crucial to being able to find what you need. Turner advises storing your items in clear boxes and labeling everything, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant.

Katherine Tresize, the professional organizing expert behind Absolutely Organized, advises keeping everything in transparent bins or boxes to make things easier to find. She also recommends utilizing your garage walls to maximize space and make the area easier to clean.

“As much as possible, keep things off the garage floor,” Tresize said.

After all, you need a place for your car.

Paige Smith