Maximizing Storage and Minimize Clutter in Your Garage

Garages come into this world as places for parking cars. In reality, garages often become a collection zone for stuff on its way to somewhere else, even if the car is parked in there also.

The convenient access provided by a garage door makes using this space for storage especially easy. In one survey, 85 percent of US homes with two-car garages said the space is not used to park the car. In many homes, storage space is the main use for a garage.

A cluttered and overflowing garage is overwhelming and a waste of time, especially if you need to find something. Cluttered garages can become a source of household friction, and they can even be a fire or pest hazard.

The solution is maximizing the storage space inside the garage by adding specialized shelving, racks, cabinets, worktables, and other creative space savers, giving you back floor space, as well as easy access to every stored item.

When considering a new storage system in your garage, start by having a long, close look at what it is you need to store. Design your new storage space with shelves, cabinets, and hooks for your specific needs.

Garden tools are easily organized by installing heavy-duty hooks directly into the framing of the wall and hanging shovels, rakes, and picks on them. Another option is a large, metal garbage can with a heavy weight in the bottom to keep it from tipping over. Garden tools can then be placed in the can with the working end facing up for easy access and organization.

Narrow shelves at eye level are a good place for small items, like garden hand tools, gloves, and boxes of fertilizer or other dangerous products that you want kept away from children and pets. These shelves can be made from a piece of two by six or two by eight inch lumber set on metal shelf brackets above a workbench or rack of garden tools.

Cans and jars of cleaners, paint, auto products, and similar supplies can also be stored in rotating corner cabinets with small compartments, similar to a lazy-Susan in a kitchen cabinet. This kind of cabinet can be bought ready-made or assembled as a DIY project in a day or two.

Boxes and bins do well stored on shelves, but get the containers first, then build or buy shelves that are the right size to accommodate them. Label containers on all sides, otherwise there is a good chance the container will get put away with the label not being visible.

If you use your garage as a workshop area, another great space-saver is a shallow, wall-mounted, folding door cabinet. Peg board paneling on the doors and the back of the cabinet give you lots of room for hanging wrenches, pliers, and hammers. The folding doors hide everything away when they are closed, while giving you more space for tool storage on the pegboard on the inside of the doors.

Bags of pet food are one kind of clutter often found in the garage. A wall-mounted pet food dispenser is a great solution for getting animal food off of the floor and making it more accessible. Half-sized metal garbage cans are another way of storing pet food and keeping it cleaner, away from pests, and less underfoot.

If you do park your car in the garage, or have bicycles, ATV, or other vehicles that take up a lot of room, two-tier shelves at eye-level save floor space. A narrower lower shelf gives you an easily accessible place for jars and cans of auto supplies, cleaning products, and other small items. A deeper upper shelf gives you room for storing gas cans, snow chains, and other bulky items that are not needed as frequently.

Whenever you are maximizing your garage storage space by adding shelves and cabinets, be sure these additions do not interfere with the operation of your garage door. Locate shelving so there is plenty of space around the garage door hinges and tracks, and never store anything over the tracks themselves. Also, be sure that access to the opener devise and emergency release lever is not obstructed.

Having your garage door inspected by a specialist to ensure that it is safe and functional is a good starting place when maximizing storage space and reducing clutter in your garage. It will make it easier for you to get your new storage system in place and to enjoy and use it after you are done.