Ways to organize garage

Table of Contents

To-Do List: Organizing the Garage

  1. Set aside enough time to work on the project. Back-to-back days are recommended (like an entire weekend) so that items being sorted don’t have to sit out in piles for long. Tip: Try to plan for a dry weekend, because you’ll have to pull many items out of the shelter of the garage.
  2. Don’t tackle it by yourself. Hire an expert, or round up a team of helpers. Otherwise, it may turn into an overwhelming task that will be abandoned halfway through. Tip: Be sure you have a plan for directing your helpers through the process from start to finish.
  3. Categorize the items in your garage. Typical categories include recycling, sports and recreational equipment, camping gear, automotive, seasonal decor, garden gear and tools. Evaluate things like luggage and paint and see whether you can store them elsewhere. Tip: It’s much easier to tackle a garage after you’ve organized the rest of the house. Once you determine the purpose of your interior storage, many garage items can be relocated.
  4. Group the garage’s contents. Once you know the categories of the items that will live in your garage, begin grouping them into the categories in the driveway or the center of the garage. A few cardboard boxes will help you to group, because everything from huge paint cans to nuts and bolts will eventually need to be contained. Be sure to label the boxes. Tip: Don’t buy containers, bins, baskets and boxes to organize your items just yet. A big mistake is buying containers now and later discovering you don’t have the correct sizes or sturdiness.
  5. Trash or donate items that don’t fit the categories. Sometimes, random parts or items are discovered in the garage and you don’t know what to do with them. If you want to keep them, assign them to the most similar category or put them in a visible place so you remember that you have them. Otherwise, start your donation and trash piles now.
  6. Determine the best garage layout. Decide where you want each type of item to live, considering its frequency of use and the available space. For instance, recycling should live near the entrance to the home, and tools should live near the workbench. Tip: Think about “valuable real estate” when considering available space. Parking space and shelves at eye level or within reach are “valuable real estate.” Less valuable real estate would be very high or low shelves and should be reserved for less frequently used items.
  7. Install built-in cabinets or modular storage if needed. Now that you know what you’re keeping and how much space you have, determine what containers to use. Make the most of vertical space with wall-mounted pegboards and wire grids that hold everything from sports equipment to garden tools. Also take advantage of overhead space with sturdy shelves that mount to the ceiling.
  8. Relocate items to their new homes within the garage.
  9. Set an organizing schedule. Get your quarterly or biannual garage maintenance on your calendar. If it doesn’t make it onto your calendar, it’s less likely to happen. And remember to put things away promptly after using them.

Do a basic cleaning and give the floor a good once over with a broom or shop vac. Also look out for:

  • Nails and other small items on the floor
  • Oil or chemical stains
  • Cobwebs
  • Any evidence of furry or winged creatures that may have taken up residence in your home

As you are cleaning, you can begin the decluttering process by tossing anything you know right off the bat (and yes, our organizers have found both live and dead bats in garages) in the trash. This way you don’t have to deal with it during the decluttering/decision-making phase of what to toss and keep. As with any organizing project, you need to declutter before you can organize, and that means dividing items into familiar categories:

  • Toss
  • Keep
  • Donate
  • Trash

Ideally, Jumper advises clients to pull everything out of the space. “Putting everything out on the driveway and sorting into zones helps homeowners actually see how many of one item they may have. How many items are broken, outgrown or not used,” she says, “people generally are amazed how many items were actually stuffed into the garage.”
Sometimes there is not enough space to pull everything out onto the driveway, and in these cases, Lisa Mark works with clients to divide and conquer: “We often divide the garage into multiple organizing zones and organize each zone completely before moving on to the next.”
“You can organize a garage a bit at a time or even a wall at a time,” says Hoff.

In other words: choose a corner of the garage to start with, or choose a type of item (beach, sports, small tools, etc.) and declutter slowly.

Not sure whether to keep, toss, trash or donate an item? Jumper asks her clients the old stand-by question: “When was the last time you actually used this?”

20 Genius Ways to Organize Your Garage

By Dan Collins Published Jul. 5, 2018

It’s a fact as old as garages themselves: having one can be a messy affair. With the best will in the world, even the most compulsively neat garages can quickly succumb to entropy when a big project is in the works. For the messy folk among us, the problem can be even worse. You might think there’s nothing you can do about a jumbled garage; that not being able to track down the right screwdriver is just a fact of life; that your favourite torque wrench is gone forever; that tripping over scattered parts is inevitable.

The truth is, it doesn’t have to be this way. With these 20 genius organizational tips, you could soon be well on the way to a tidy garage that will be the envy of your friends or colleagues. Try one or two tips, or try them all – there’s something here to suit all budgets and experience levels, and big and small garages. Getting a garage in order can be a hugely cathartic experience, and we hope you enjoy putting these ideas into action – happy tidying!

1. The Right Toolbox for the Job

At the heart of every well-organized garage is a great toolbox. This one simple piece of kit will keep all the tools you need in one place, in good condition, and also has the advantage of making them more portable. Depending on the size of your garage and what equipment you need, you might consider a lot of different options. For larger spaces with a lot of tools to store, you might want to install a whole cabinet for tools, for instance. For added utility, this cabinet could have wheels on its base, allowing you to pull it around to where you need it – whether inside or outside the garage. For smaller spaces, choosing as compact a toolbox as possible is probably the best bet.

2. Keep it Comfortable

Nothing puts you off tidying like uncomfortable conditions. Give yourself a chance to put things away carefully by keeping your space toasty with a garage heater. A decent heater can be had for under $50, and it really is a sound investment for making the space more comfortable. When you aren’t freezing in the winter months, it’s far easier to keep your garage organized.

With a heater about, you won’t need to wear bulky coats and gloves, freeing up your hands to access and stow away tools, whilst having the option to turn up the thermostat out there will also help to keep temperature sensitive items – such as paint, and your car – in the best condition possible.

3. Light it up

A well-lit garage is a tidy garage, for a variety of reasons. Using the best garage lighting possible will make it easier to find your tools, and allow you to hang about without straining your eyes. When you think about it, this is one of the most basic steps you can take to keep yourself safe whilst working in your garage too. On top of this, properly installed overhead lighting is a real space-saver compared to haphazardly plugged-in lamps. Get this aspect of your garage right, and others will naturally follow.

4. Make it Easy to Access

Another way to make the most of your space is to choose the right garage door opener. Motorised doors can save a lot of effort over the years, keep your belongings safely stowed, and let light in with the flick of a switch.

Certain doors also provide a great opportunity for squeezing in extra storage space; the door tracks can sometimes be sturdy enough to attach hooks to, allowing you to hang long items such as ladders.

5. Make Friends with Wall Storage

For smaller garages in particular, wall storage solutions should be a close friend and ally in the battle against disorganization. Although it might seem easier in the short-term to heap items on the floor for storage, keeping them away from the ground actually comes with a lot of advantages:

  • Saves floor space for moving around, and parking your car
  • Storing items at a height reduces the risk of them being damaged by water
  • Items are far easier to organise on shelves than on the ground

The type of wall storage you use will depend very much on the size of your garage, but the possibilities are virtually endless. You might consider going green and using old crates as DIY box shelves, or head to your hardware store for some advice. One great way to maximise space is to install corner shelves. This can be a simple way to get the most out of those awkward corner spaces!

6. Try Overhead Storage

Another great way to keep items off the ground is to invest in some overhead storage. Most of us have things kicking around which we don’t use all that often – perhaps camping gear, or skis – so they don’t need to be as easily accessible as day-to-day equipment. This is where overhead storage comes in! There are several ways you can suspend items from the ceiling of your garage. You might wish to install ceiling tracks, which can hold tubs and boxes, or a simple rack. The latter can be made from PVC pipes by the average DIY enthusiast, for a very low cost. Simple ceiling mounted shelves can also be purchased from most good hardware stores. Finally, you might also think about investing in some spring-to-action claws for your ceiling. These claws automatically grip onto items pushed into their grasp, and can be a great way to tuck certain items, such as bikes, easily out of the way.

7. Try Storage Tubes for bigger Tools

In the same way you might store unusually shaped kitchen implements in a pot to prevent them from getting stuck in drawers, you can pop larger handheld tools into concrete forming tubes. Tools such as rakes, shovels, brushes, and hockey sticks can be slid in and out of these tubes with ease – no more tangled piles of equipment on the floor, or stacked precariously in a corner.

This is a cost-effective solution too: concrete forming tubes can be had from your local hardware store for less than $10 apiece. Try securing them to the garage wall with a plumbing strap screwed to the wall on either side of the tube. It’s a simple, cheap, effective way to keep differently shaped tools organized in one place.

8. Get Magnetized

We’ve already written about the wonders of magnetic tool holders, and it bears repeating here: these simple but effective pieces of kit are a really great way to keep your tools well-organized, yet easily accessible. These magnetic strips come in a variety of sizes, and can be either mounted on your wall with screws, or stuck onto another magnetic surface. They have the advantage of letting you see you tools, reducing the need to fumble around for them in drawers or boxes. They’re also another example of ways you can maximise the storage potential of your garage by using wall space.

Finally, because metal tools can simply be placed and pulled from the strip with virtually no effort, tidying your tools away becomes easy, so you’ll be more likely to actually do it!

9. Get Hooked

Hooks are an incredibly basic bit of kit, but one that no well-organized garage should be without. They’re versatile, cost-effective, and can be installed pretty much anywhere in your garage with minimal elbow grease. Below are just a few ideas for using the humble hook:

  • Hang up outdoor coats to prevent rain, snow, or mud being trailed into the house
  • Large hooks can be used to mount bigger items, such as a ladder or bike
  • Hanging certain tools; such as scissors and trowels
  • Keep car keys safe and accessible with a hook by the door into the house
  • Prevent cables tangling between uses by hanging them from hooks
  • Hang a binder clip onto a hook for hanging items such as gloves and rags
  • Hang goggles and sunglasses for easy access

10. Hoist your Bike out of the Way

One of the most challenging items to store in the tight space of a garage is your bike. They’re often heavy and awkwardly shaped, plus not every garage will have room for a proper bike rack. One solution to this age old problem is to raise your bike up, out of the way using a specially designed hoist. These devices can be had for as little as $10, and attach to your bike via a series of hooks.

The bike is then lifted upwards by a pulley system mounted on the wall or ceiling. They’re fairly straight-forward to install, and even easier to use. This solution allows you to keep your bike at a height even if you can’t manage to lift it over your head. The rope system means it can be easily raised and lowered with very little strength required.

11. Labels, labels, labels

It’s a simple trick, but one that’s worth remembering: when it comes to organization, labels are your friend! We all know the pain that comes with rummaging through countless boxes in search of one illusive item. More often than not, we give up the search and purchase a new one, only for its predecessor to miraculously reappear in a random location with no explanation. Label your boxes, bins, cupboards, drawers, and even shelves, to get the most out of your garage space. Investing in a label maker can be a massive help with this. Dynamo sell an excellent quality one for $60, and it’s definitely a better option than handwritten labels, which can smudge and peel off – if they’re even legible to anyone other than you in the first place!

12. Use your Joists

If you have joists on the ceiling of your garage, you can wrangle a lot of extra storage space! You can take advantage of your joists fairly easily by fitting attic decking panels between them. This basically gives you a whole extra layer of storage space – great for tucking away items which aren’t used so often. Creating a flat surface in this space also makes it more accessible – you’ll basically be creating a large, elevated shelf! When trying this trick, remember to check how much weight the joists can take before you get started. A knowledgeable building professional will be able to advise you, so you don’t end up overloading your new storage space.

13. Install Ball Ramps

If there’s one type of item which always seems to get in the way, it’s balls! Footballs, soccer balls, basket balls; all can contribute to a nasty trip, and clutter up your garage too. One genius way to store balls is to install simple ball ramps. These are basically angled shelves, made from a plank of wood angled upwards so a ball can be wedged in place. They can be installed anywhere – perhaps in some otherwise dead space. Since it’s easy to take balls in and out of the slots, kids are likely to get behind this storage method too. This is a simple way to keep the balls accessible but out of harm’s way.

14. Pegboards could be the Answer

The humble pegboard has as many storage applications as you can imagine. These boards, drilled with holes in a uniform pattern, can hold any number of hooks, which you can attach practically anything to.

They’re a great way to keep the tools and resources you need in sight and out of the way – much like a magnetic tool holder, but without the limitation of only being useful for metal items. Below are a few ideas for getting the most out of a pegboard:

  • Install hooks on it to hang tools from – it’s much easier to change around the configuration than if you drilled the hooks straight into the wall
  • Attach baskets for storing smaller items accessibly
  • Multiple hooks can be lined up for supporting larger items
  • Store your most frequently used items towards the centre of the board, where you’ll see them easily

Overall, pegboards are an incredibly flexible and cost-effective option for storing your stuff.

15. Have a Good old-fashioned clean out

As much as you may feel like putting it off, the single best thing you can do to organize your garage is to have a good sort. Set aside some time – ideally a whole weekend’s worth – when the weather is fine and you can take things outside to sort through. When you’re not sure whether to keep an item there are a few key questions to ask:

  • Have I used this in the last year?
  • Will I use it in the next year?
  • Will someone else in the house have a use for it soon?

If the answer to all three of these questions is a resounding “no”, then you’re better off getting rid of the item. It would be easy to get ruthless and simply stuff all your unwanted things into a skip, but this would be a real wasted opportunity. Items in good condition can be sold or given away, whilst other things can be recycled at your local facility.

This is why taking your time is important when undertaking this task – it allows you to dispose of unwanted items in the most environmentally friendly and useful way possible. Once you only have items left which you believe you’ll use, sort them into categories, such as “sports”, “car”, “camping”, or “garden”, to help inform where you store them. Storing items in distinct categories makes them easier to track down later on.

16. Try Tool Outlines

This simple but effective trick is probably most at home with pegboard storage. So you’ve worked out the optimum place for every tool on your pegboard or shelf – great! Now imagine you’re carrying out a task which requires multiple tools…how do you know where to put them back? This is where outlines come in. Simply draw around the items whilst they’re on the pegboard or shelf, and returning each to its ideal home will be easy. Remember to use a non-water soluble permanent marker or paint when you do this, to prevent any smudges or running. This tip can also work on the floor of your garage, where strips of tape can help to outline where certain items – for example children’s driving toys – should sit.

17. Squeeze in a Workbench by Making it fold up

Think you don’t have room for a workbench? Think again! You might actually have enough space to install a simple Murphy-bed style bench which folds away when it’s not in use. A decent DIY enthusiast can construct their own fold-away workbench fairly easily and cost effectively, but you can also purchase a ready-made one from a good hardware store.

To further the storage impact of the bench, you could even consider hanging smaller items on its underside – just be careful that they can stay firmly in place when the bench is lowered into position. This simple solution can be a great way to provide space for tasks which shouldn’t be carried out in the house.

18. Paint or coat the Garage Floor

Painting the garage floor isn’t exactly an organizational strategy, but it is vital to making the most of your garage. A standard concrete floor has some serious downsides, including how easily it stains, and how an uneven surface can let in bugs and leaves. You can give your coat an Epoxy coat for around $60, which will improve its appearance, make it easier to clean, and provide a grippy surface for your car – not to mention your shoes. You can easily coat the floor of the garage yourself over a weekend. Ensure you carry out the process when a few fine days are forecast, to ensure it has adequate time to dry. Having a nice floor under your feet will also improve the garage’s overall appearance to no end, and help encourage your future efforts to keep it as a paradigm of neatness.

19. Use the ubiquitous Bin

Another simple, but often overlooked, piece of organizational equipment is the humble storage bin. They can be stacked on shelves or the ground, used as drawers, sealed with lids, and more. They’re also very cheap to get hold of! When organizing your garage with bins, as obvious as it sounds, remember to store similar items together so you can find what you’re looking for more easily later. It’s also a good idea to label your bins, again, with a label maker for optimum legibility.

20. Organize Tapes with your own Tape Dispenser

Tape can be a tricky one to store. Rolls can get lost, ends can get stuck down, and once you drop one it can roll along the floor and out of your life forever. Most garages are practically overrun with tape of one kind or another, whether duct tape, masking tape, electrical tape, or run of the mill Scotch tape. That’s where a handy DIY tape dispenser comes in.

There are plenty of options for making one – the sturdiest of the bunch is a slotted wooden box, with a hacksaw blade mounted on the end for easily cutting pieces of tape. Another alternative is to steal the cutting strip from a roll of aluminum foil.

Brining it all Together

And there you have it! With very little time and money, and just a bit of effort, anyone can transform their garage into a serenely organized space. Many of the tips on this list focus on keeping your garage comfortable to work in, and maximising the space you do have with wall and overhead storage. With these two simple tenets, you can really make a difference to your garage.

Sources

  1. 51 brilliant ways to organize your garage, Family Handy Man
  2. Read this before you organize your garage, This old House
  3. 38 borderline genius ways to organize your garage, Buzzfeed

Read This Before You Organize Your Garage

The Best Reason to Tackle This Project

Illustration by Zohar Lazar

If you’re like most of us, your car is a five-figure investment that you can’t do without. Why leave it outdoors, where it can suffer damage from UV exposure, bird droppings, and tree sap? (And climbing into a scalding-hot vehicle in summertime is no fun.) Storing it in a garage will keep it a lot cleaner and could help prolong its life. Follow our DIY garage organization guide below for step-by-step instructions to rid your garage of clutter once and for all!

The Big Clean-Out: Getting Started

Photo by CW Images/Alamy

Organizing pros estimate that only 30 percent of us store our cars in the garage. The reason? Too much stuff. These garage storage ideas will help you get rid of anything you don’t need.

• Set aside at least a full day, or even a full weekend or two, to get the job done.

• Make decluttering a family project and invite over a few friends to pitch in, and it’ll go a lot faster.

• Go through absolutely everything, including boxes you didn’t unpack when you moved in—you never know where that family heirloom might be lurking.

The Big Clean-Out: Continued

Photo by John Kernick

• Sort all items into three piles: keep, donate or sell, and toss. Lay them on dedicated tarps or mark off areas of your driveway with chalk and place them there. What should get the boot: outgrown toys, items that are broken beyond repair, expired household chemicals (which may need special disposal), and anything you haven’t used in two years or more. If you have a hard time letting go of things that have sentimental value, snap pictures as keepsakes.

• Sort the keepers into broad categories (for example, sports equipment, hand tools), and place them in well-marked cardboard boxes or, better yet, stackable clear-plastic bins you can use later. Put the keepers back in the garage for now.

• As soon as possible, donate giveaways and schedule a yard sale to get rid of castoffs. If you’ve got too much trash for your hauler to take, use a service such as Bagster (thebagster.com); simply buy the bag at a home store, pack it, and contact the company to schedule pickup and disposal (fees vary).

Store Elsewhere: Paint

Illustration by Zohar Lazar

Extreme cold or heat can ruin it. Store cans in a more temperate area.

Store Elsewhere: Propane

Illustration by Zohar Lazar

A spark could ignite the fumes. Tanks should always be kept outdoors.

Store Elsewhere: Paper Goods

Illustration by Zohar Lazar

They’re a magnet for roaches and other bugs. Move them to your pantry.

Store Elsewhere: Refrigerator

Illustration by Zohar Lazar

It’s a huge energy drain in spaces that are not air-conditioned.

Store Elsewhere: Pet Food

Illustration by Zohar Lazar

Possums and other critters will sniff it out. Keep it in a sealed container inside.

Don’t Skimp on Safety

Photo by Courtesy of homedepot.com

Most of us store lawn-mower gas in the garage, so be prepared for a fire. Get a 5- to 10-pound U.L.–listed extinguisher and mount it in an easy-to-access spot. It should carry an ABC rating, certifying that it’s effective against wood, oil, and electrical fires. Though we’re sure you know to open the garage door when your car’s engine is running (right?), installing a carbon monoxide detector will give you added peace of mind. And while you’re at it, check your garage-door opener to make sure it has a U.L.–listed motor and an auto-stop feature that will prevent the door from closing in case a child or pet tries to sneak underneath.

Draft a Floor Plan

Photo by trekandshoot/iStock

Most manufacturers of garage-organizing systems offer free space planning, so use their services as you research how to store all your gear. Before buying anything, take down your garage’s dimensions and note the size and location of windows, doors, switches, and receptacles, as well as how much space your car takes up. Then use the following rules of thumb as you assign things a home.

1. Items you use together, such as gardening tools and lawn chemicals, should be stored close to one another.

2. Put bulky equipment, like lawn mowers, in corners, where they won’t get bumped or knocked over by your car.

3. Place frequently used items, like bikes, close to the garage door.

4. Stash seasonal or rarely used items in the hardest-to-reach spots.

The Single Most-Important Clutter-Busting Tip

Photo by Eric Roth

Keep items off the floor whenever possible. You’ll free up much more room for your car and avoid sloppy, impossible-to-sort-through piles. If you purchase ready-made shelving units or cabinets, make sure they’re raised on legs so that you can clean the floor beneath them easily.

Must-Have Storage Products for Garages

Photo by Courtesy of Walmart.com

• Stackable clear-plastic bins with lids. (Rubbermaid Roughneck Clear containers, from about $7; walmart.com)

• Clear jars in different sizes for sorting hardware and small items. Simply save food jars and clean them out thoroughly before using.

More Must-Have Storage Products for Garages

Photo by Courtesy of Lowes.com

• A lockable cabinet for storing lawn chemicals and other stuff you don’t want your kids to get into. Enviro Elements 68-inch Resin Multipurpose Cabinet, about $80; lowes.com)

• A portable label maker (such as the Label Manager 260P, about $60; dymo.com) so that you don’t have to decipher sloppy handwriting.

Why Open Shelves are Usually Better Than Closed Cabinets

Photo by John Kernick

Shelves are less expensive, easier to access (you don’t need additional clearance to swing the doors open), and let you easily scan what you’ve stored. Cabinets with doors give you an excuse to stay disorganized because you can hide the evidence, so they can quickly become messy. Use them sparingly—like when the things you’re storing need to be protected from airborne dust and dirt.

Vertical Organizing Systems: Pegboard

Photo by Sean Justice/Corbis

Pros: Widely available and easy to install, it can be cut to size and even painted to customize the look; several manufacturers make a wide variety of compatible hooks, shelves, and organizers.

Cons: While pegboard can handle lightweight hand tools and other goods, it isn’t sturdy enough for hanging heavy objects, like bicycles.

Similar to shown: 48-by-96-inch white hardboard pegboard; lowes.com

Vertical Organizing Systems: Track-Based Systems

Photo by Courtesy of Containerstore.com

$$—$$$

Pros: Shelf standards hang from a single track affixed to wall studs, so these systems can bear the weight of heavier objects; standards, hooks, shelves, and organizers can be relocated easily.

Cons: You must make sure the track is level so that the standards hang straight; they’re best for garage walls that are finished and plumb.

Shown: elfa; containerstore.com

Vertical Organizing Systems: Panelized Systems

Photo by Courtesy of Garagetek.com

Pros: The entire wall is finished with slotted plastic panels that hold lock-in hooks, shelves, and cabinets so that every square inch of wall space can be put to use.

Cons: Some systems must be installed by trained professionals, adding to the cost; you’re limited to system-compatible organizing products.

Shown: TekPanels; garagetek.com

Use Overhead Space Wisely

Illustration by Zohar Lazar

The garage ceiling is a great spot for hanging long, flat stuff you don’t use every day, such as ladders and seasonal sports gear. Make sure that any shelves you hang from the ceiling don’t interfere with your garage door’s operation and that there is enough clearance to avoid scraping the roof of your car.

How to Squeeze in a Workbench

Photo by Courtesy of Homedepot.com

• For the occasional DIYer, a wall-mount fold-down model (such as the Ideal Wall-Mount Workbench, about $300; sears.com) offers a sturdy surface and tucks out of the way when not in use.

• Benches that have built-in tool drawers can be pricey. Instead, flank a simple worktable with shelves and add pegboard above to hold your gear.

• A set of casters turns any table into a mobile workstation; make sure they don’t create an uncomfortably tall table.

• Finish it off with a padded stool (such as the MotoGroup Adjustable Rolling Stool, $50; amazon.com) that fits under the table for safekeeping.

Shown: Husky; homedepot.com

Fill Air Leaks Between The Garage and House

Photo by Nat Rea

Before installing organizers, check for gaps in the wall your garage shares with your house and in the ceiling, if there’s a room above the garage. These are the spots where hot or cold air (and the moisture it carries) will seep inside. Seal small gaps with caulk, larger ones with expandable spray foam.

Invest in Good Door and Window Locks

Illustration by Zohar Lazar

Break-ins often happen when the garage door is left open and the door to the house is unlocked. Always secure the entry door with a dead bolt and keep garage windows locked. Put in a garage-door lock that bolts the door to the sidewalls, and use it when you’re away for an extended period. And always close the garage door—even if you’re mowing the lawn out back.

Worth-It Upgrade: Epoxy The Floor

Illustration by Kolin Smith

That dingy concrete slab will look even more drab once you’ve tidied up. An antiskid floor coating resists oil stains and wipes clean as easily as a kitchen countertop does—plus the color chips and paint disguise any imperfections. Pick up an all-inclusive kit (such as Quikrete’s Garage Floor Epoxy Kit, about $60; amazon.com), and plan to tackle the project when you’ll have a few days of temperate, 50- to 80-degree weather for adequate drying time. The key to success is diligent prep work—namely a clean, dry slab.

See the step-by-step How to Epoxy-Coat a Garage Floor.

Seal The Threshold

Photo by RonTech2000/iStock

Rain, windblown leaves, bugs, and mice will find their way inside if the bottom of your garage door doesn’t sit flush with the floor. Create a snug fit by attaching a rubberized strip to the floor where the door lands (Threshold Seal, about $70 for a 16-foot strip; griotsgarage.com)—you’ll save yourself some cleanup time.

Upgrade The Lighting and Electrical Systems

Photo by Car Culture/Getty

A bare bulb over each car bay won’t cut it. For ambient light, opt for 4-foot fluorescent fixtures with electronic ballasts, which give flicker-free light and work well in cold temps. Space them 4 feet apart and use as many as you need to see well at night. Swap out receptacles with ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) that cut the power when there’s a short in the system.

The Best Way to Pull In

Illustration by Zohar Lazar

Congratulations! You’ve now got room to park inside. Here’s how to make sure that your cars will always be a good fit:

1. Skip the motion sensors that tell you exactly how far to pull the car in; just hang a tennis ball on a string from the ceiling so that it taps the windshield when you’re in the right spot. Ideally, you should be able to walk between the garage’s back wall and your car.

2. Protect your car’s finish by attaching pieces of scrap carpeting to the walls in spots where the doors or bumper might hit them.

3. Leave the center aisle between two vehicles as wide as possible so that you can roll trash bins to the curb or move bulky objects around without interference.

4. If you have a minivan, back it into the garage with the sliding doors facing the center, then park your sedan next to it facing forward to allow easy access to both vehicles.

Keep It Clean for Good

Photo by Corbis Super RF/Alamy

• In spring and summer, keep insects at bay with a pesticide that relies on natural ingredients (Bugzilla, about $20 for 32 ounces; bugzillapesticide.com).

• Keep a bag of kitty litter handy for absorbing oil and grease spills. Place a broom and dustpan or a handheld vacuum near your workbench to tidy up after working on projects.

• Hose down the floor regularly.

• At least once a year, weed through your belongings and sell, donate, or toss what you don’t need.

According to the US Department of Energy, 25 percent of people with two-car garages don’t have room to park cars inside them and 32 percent only have room for one vehicle. If this sounds familiar, we can help! Here are ten tried-and-true tips to declutter and organize a garage and gain more space.

1. Take a full day or even a full weekend to organize your garage.

Cleaning and organizing your garage is going to take more than a few hours. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

2. Make a plan.

Before you jump into organization mode, make a plan for cleaning and assign jobs. This will help you stay on task and on target for completion.

3. Get everything out of your garage.

In order to organize effectively, take everything out of your garage and clean every nook and cranny. You can even paint your garage floor to make cleaning easier in the future and it helps prevent mildew!

4. Go through your items before you put it back.

Create three piles: keep, donate, or throw away. Sort your items accordingly.

5. Take an inventory.

Make note of all the items you will be keeping and storing in the garage. Start to plan out zones for storing. Think about convenience and frequency of use. If you are using an item more often, keep it at eye level instead of high up.
Garage Zone Infographic

6. Group like things together.

This will help you find things easier and don’t forget to label!

7. Maximize wall space.

freedomRail Garage will help you save precious floor space for parking your car in the garage or other items that need floor space. Plus you’ll stay super organized with shelving and accessories!

freedomRail Garage

8. Designate spots for bikes or toys for kids.

Assign a “parking spot” for bikes so everyone has a place to store their bike. Activity Organizers and Bike Hooks are perfect for getting bikes off the floor if you don’t have space to park bikes and toys on the floor.

9. Create a mudroom in your garage.

Stop clutter before it enters the home with a place for shoes and coats.

10. Recruit your friends and family to help you throughout the process.

Make games and have fun!

Visit the Organized Living Garage Pinterest board for hundreds of tips to organize any sports activity, hobby or DIY project.

Garage organization is not difficult nor is it expensive. It is, however, essential if you want a clean space where everything is relatively easy to find. Whether you have a large garage or just a small space, there are many things that you can do to utilize that space and give yourself a bit of additional storage without taking up the area that you need for cars and other items.

For many, cleaning and organizing the garage is a mundane task that is so dreaded it simply never gets done. We have found a collection of different ways that you can easily and quickly get that garage in good order. Not only are these methods easy and effective, many of them will cost you nothing but a little time.

From hangers for your garden tools to adding a splash of color to brighten up your dull garage, we have just the tips that will make organizing and cleaning that area a joy and something that you will want to brag about when you are finished.

Table of Contents

Great Shove Rack for Organizing Garden Tools

Garage organization starts with getting large tools out of the way. You can build a great rack for rakes, shovels and other gardening tools and you only need a few pieces of wood and some nails. Just cut slots for the tools to stand in and you can get them off the floor and make them a bit more organized. Via: Familyhandyman – Garage Storage Project: Shovel Rack

Floor Tile as a Wall Covering

You can really clean up your garage space by simply adding something to the walls. Tile is a great choice, and you can find tile pieces really cheap at most hardware stores or you can check your local Dollar Store. Just apply the tile to the wall like you would to the floor and you have a great space that looks much better than it did with concrete walls. Via: Handmadecharlotte – Weekend DIY: Simple Tile Flooring For Your Garage

Garage Organization for Real Families

You can find tracks with hooks on them at your local hardware store and these are great for organizing the garage. Just hang the track on the wall and the hooks store all sorts of things. They are easily changeable, too so you can keep things organized no matter what the season. Via: Maryorganizes – Garage Organization for Real Families

Pretty Up Garage Space by Painting Steps

Your garage doesn’t necessarily have to look like a garage. You can paint and add a bit of color if you want to help brighten up that space. If you have steps going into your home for instance, you can paint them a bright color and add a little message to anyone who steps over them. This is a great way to brighten up an otherwise dull and boring space. Via: Landeeseelandeedo – Garage Steps Can Be Pretty Too

Easy Storage and Organization Solutions

A few strategically placed metal shelves and some plastic totes will really help you to get that garage organized. Plastic totes are really cheap and when you label them, you will always know what goes into them so you can find what you need much faster. Remember to stack things that can stack and use totes for things that cannot. Via: BHG – Budget-Friendly Bins

Add a Tool Tower Rack

A tower rack in the corner gives you the perfect storage solution for brooms and other long handled items. Many of these are on wheels so you can easily roll them wherever you need them or get a stationary one to keep in the corner for permanent storage. Shovels, rakes and other longer tools store perfectly. Via: Amazon.com – Rubbermaid 5E28 Deluxe Tool Tower Rack with Casters, Holds 40 Tools

Utilize Wall Space for Storage

You really don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on a garage organization system. You can make one yourself and save money, plus you get to make it exactly how you need it. Just adding a few shelves will help immensely with storage issues and when you utilize wall space, you have much more floor room for larger items. Via: Familyhandyman – Garage Storage Solutions: One-Weekend Wall of Storage

Hang Everything

The key to keeping your garage organized is having a place for everything. Hanging things takes up little to no floor space and utilizes wall space that is typically left forgotten. Putting up a few shelves and hanging systems gives you a place to store plastic bins with items in them as well as larger items like bikes that will hang right on the wall to save space. Via: Monkeybarstorage – Hang Everything

Ceiling Storage Saves Space

One of the best places to store things, if you want to save floor space that is, is the ceiling. You can easily create a sliding storage system that hangs from the ceiling and saves all of your wall and floor area for other things. A few plastic bins and a tracking system will instantly turn your garage ceiling into the perfect storage and organization solution and this system is easy to build so you can do it yourself. Via: Familyhandyman – Create a Sliding Storage System On the Garage Ceiling

Build a Mud Room

If you don’t already have a mud room, the garage is the perfect place to set one up. A few locker cabinets and some canvas totes give you the perfect place to keep jackets and muddy shoes from entering your home. You can set this system up just inside the garage door and save yourself from mopping every time someone comes in. Via: BHG – Cubbies for Kids

Install Cabinets

Cabinets are really not that difficult to install yourself and you can save a virtual fortune by doing so. You can purchase cabinets already built and then just hang them on the walls yourself. The cabinets are great for storing things and keeping the garage neat and tidy and depending on the size and number of cabinets that you get, you may be able to store everything away so that your garage always looks completely clean. Via: Familyhandyman – Installing Large Garage Cabinets

Make Use of Small Spaces

Even the smallest spaces can help you to get organized. If you have a narrow space beside the garage door, why not utilize that space with a metal cabinet or shelving system? The key is to use as much space as you can to get things put away. A rolling cart that will fit under a workbench is a great way to keep things handy when you need them and out of sight when you don’t. Via: BHG – Storage-Packed Space

Make a Garden Closet

If you tend to keep garden items in the garage, why not give them their own little home? In just one weekend you could build the perfect place to keep those garden items and get them completely out of your garage. The closet gives you space for larger garden tools, hanging plastic bins and a number of other things that you may need to store. Via: Familyhandyman – Garden Closet Storage Project

Consider an Add-On

If you just really don’t have enough space in your garage, you can add-on easily. You just have to ensure that you are set where building codes are concerned and then you can add just a small section to give you the extra storage that you need. A simple wooden foundation takes just a little time and is fairly inexpensive.Via: Familyhandyman – Get More Garage Storage With a Bump-Out Addition

Create a Peg Rail Organizer

Adding simple pegs to the wall or to boards to hang on the wall is a great way to get the garage organized. You can add different levels so that you have room to hang longer items and then keep shorter or smaller items closer to the floor. This keeps everything off the floor and makes it look much neater and tidier and, pegs are relatively inexpensive so you can hang as many as you need. Via: Marthastewart – Peg-Rail Organizer

Use a Pegboard to Make Space

If you have little room to park your car, cleaning up and getting things organized will help immensely. You can hang a pegboard, which are really inexpensive by the way, and make more floor space. Just get a few hooks to hang tools and garden supplies. You can also hang baskets and small totes from hooks to keep smaller items put away. Via: MSN – Reclaim Your Parking Space

Add a Wall Organizer

If you have brooms, mops or garden supplies that you want to hang out of the way, an inexpensive wall organizer is a great choice. You just attach it to the wall and slide items in by their handles. This is a great way to keep brooms and other cleaning tools off the floor and keep them easy to access.
Via: Amazon.com – Evriholder Magic Holder 5-Position Wall Organizer

Add Color by Staining Your Concrete Floor

Staining a concrete floor is not difficult and does not have to be expensive. It can however, help you to add just a little color that will make your garage seem much more organized and neat. You just have to choose your color, move everything out and get to work. Remember to clean the floor well before you begin. Via: Younghouselove – How To Stain A Concrete Floor

Hanging, Boxing and Sorting

Before you can begin cleaning and organizing the garage, you have to sort what you have stored in there. Grab a lot of boxes and start organizing things by similarity. Once you know what you have and what you need to store, you can hang hooks, put up shelves to hold plastic bins and otherwise get everything perfectly organized. Via: Abowlfulloflemons – Home Organization 101: Week 2 “The Garage”

Create a Complete Pegboard System

Ok, so we’ve mentioned pegboards a few times but they are honestly the easiest and most efficient way to organize garage items. You just have to hang the board on the wall and add the included hardware for storing just about anything. Some systems even include hooks and small bins to keep you completely organized from start to finish.
Via: Amazon.com – The Bulldog Hardware 131588 Peg-A-System Ultimate Kit

Update Your Garage Doors

Just adding a little style to your garage doors will instantly transform them. You can actually give those doors the carriage house door look without spending hundreds on actual carriage house doors. Many home improvement stores sell kits that allow you to instantly transform your doors and the kits are relatively inexpensive and really easy to install. Via: Garrdenoflove – Garage Door Makeover

Magnetic Strips Can Hold Tools

If you have loads of smaller tools and drill bits and you don’t really have room for an extra-large toolbox, you can just add a small magnetic strip to the wall or just wherever you have room. This strip will keep those drill bits perfectly organized and handy so that you can just grab one when you need it. If you have a tool bench, this is the perfect way to keep drill bits close at hand and out of the way. Via: BHG – Every Little Bit

Steel Pegboards for Tool Storage

Steel pegboards are functional and they look great in the garage. If you need a handy solution for tool storage and you want to stick with the steel look, these are great and they are inexpensive. You just mount the pegboard to the wall and hang tools from steel hooks. You can also add smaller bins and baskets for nail and screw storage. Via: Amazon.com – Wall Control 30-WGL-200GVB Galvanized Steel Pegboard Tool Organizer

Grab a FastTrack Organization System

Rubbermaid, as well as a few other companies, make systems that you can hang on the wall to organize tools, garden supplies and other items in the garage. You just mount the system and use hooks to hang things up. This is a great way to make more floor space in the garage and keep it well-organized at the same time. Via: Flickr

Make Over Your Mud Room

Shoe organizers, plastic bins or baskets and a few strategically placed hooks and shelves will help you to create a beautiful mud room area even if you don’t have a traditional mud room. If you have a space near the door of your garage, you can create a mud room where all of your coats and jackets as well as muddy shoes and other items can be stored. Via: Eastcoastcreativeblog – Garage Mudroom Makeover {For the REAL Family}

Make a Dispenser for Tape

Ok, so you’re bound to have duct tape in your garage. If you have several rolls of differently colored tapes or different types of tape, you can easily create a dispenser that mounts to the wall and keeps your tapes perfectly organized. A few boards and a hacksaw blade are all you need to create a great dispenser that not only keeps your tape organized, it cuts it the perfect length every time. Via: Americanwoodworker – Jumbo Tape Dispenser

Organize Paint and So Much More

A few shelves, a pegboard and some mason jars will go a long way in helping you to get your garage organized. If you have cans of leftover paint that you don’t really want to throw out, put it in mason jars. Just label the lids with the type of paint and color and you can keep those jars on a shelf to organize them and to give your garage a little color. Pegboards are great for keeping tools and even paintbrushes organized. Via: Hisugarplum – {Organized} Garage (the paint & tools)

Hang Bikes on Walls

Whether you have loads of bikes in your garage, garden tools or any other larger items, you can easily organize them by just hanging them on the walls. Even if you have concrete walls, hooks are relatively easy to install and you can use those hooks to keep your garage clutter-free. Utilizing wall space is a great way to keep things organized and still have room to park your cars. Via: Organizingmadefun – Interview with a Professional Organizer

Plastic Tubs and Grouping

When you begin organizing, it is important that you group like items together. This ensures that you can easily find what you are looking for. Don’t forget the labels as well. You can keep things in plastic tubs and when you label those tubs, you will always know where everything is. Tubs will stack or fit into most shelving units which make them a great choice for overall organization. Via: Rookietorockstar – Garage Organization

Use Your Studs

The wall studs, that is. If your garage walls are partially unfinished and you have studs that you can utilize, this is a great way to keep things organized. Use those studs to hang heavier items or add a few boards to the front to make a semi-shelving unit. A few bungee cords hung on studs gives you a great place to store all sorts of sports equipment. Via: Designedtodwell – Making Use of Some Studs!

Hang Jars Under Shelves

Keeping nails and screws, as well as other small items, organized is easy when you simply take empty jars and mount them underneath shelving. You just use a screw through the lid of the jar and then the jar screws onto the lid. This not only keeps those smaller items within reach, it helps to give you more shelf space for other things. Via: Chezlarsson – Screw Organizing!

Labels Make All the Difference

Any time you decide to begin organizing, it is important that you think about labeling things. Without labels you are not likely to know what goes in what container. You can use labels on shelves, boxes and plastic bins or for smaller items like sidewalk chalk, label small buckets and hang them from the wall or the front of a shelf. There are many ways that labels can help you to become more organized. Via: Iammommahearmeroar – Garage Organization Tips

Make a Pallet Bike Rack

Have old pallets that you need to get rid of? Why not make a bike rack to get your garage organized? Even if you don’t have a couple of pallets laying around, they are really inexpensive and give you the perfect opportunity to better organize those bicycles. You just have to lean the pallets together, one on the ground and one on the wall. Then just park your bikes into the open sections. Via: Flickr

Use Nylon Tool Holders

Nylon tool holders on a pegboard give you the perfect place to store all sorts of things. You can hang your small garden shovels and other tools as well as brooms, mops and just about anything that is hang worthy. Add a pencil caddy to keep garden gloves organized and you will have a wall that contains everything you need when it comes time to get outside and get that garden going. Via: BHG – Hooked on Holders

Great Tool Storage Ideas

Magnetic strips are great for tool storage. If you have garden trowels or other items that you need to keep handy, you can add magnetic strips to a shelf or the wall to keep these tools within reach. You can also put many tools on hooks on a pegboard or keep them in a labeled plastic tote for better organization. Via: BHG – Organize this: garage gear!

10 Ways to Organize the Garage

Whether you are looking to keep tools neat and tidy, need a solution for bikes and other large items or you simply want a great way to clean up, there are a number of ways that you can organize your garage. Shelves are always great, especially when you add labeled totes. You can also use pegboards, hooks and even build a recycling center from a few strips of wood and plastic bins. Via: Babble – 10 Ways to Organize the Garage

Create a Garden Center

Dividing all of your storage into zones is a great way to really get organized. You can easily create a garden center by simply adding metal shelving and hooks. The hooks are great for storing garden tools and you can keep corral pots and other items on the shelves. A magnetic message board helps you to keep track of planting and harvesting schedules. Via: BHG – Garden Zone

Create a Workbench Space

You can build a workbench out of a few pieces of leftover wood and when you add a pegboard, you can get your space perfectly organized. Hang baskets from the pegboard to keep smaller items in place and you can even hang plants and other things from it for décor and organization in one project.Via: Thedesignfiles – Kim Victoria

6 Garage Zones for Maximum Organization

The zone system works well for keeping your garage organized. Instead of simply putting everything together on a shelf, create different zones based on what you use certain items for and how often. Frequently used things for instance, could go into the same zone. Larger items should be grouped together and so on. This will help you to keep everything in its place and ensure that you have a place for everything. Via: Easyclosets – 6 Garage Zones for Maximum Organization

Create Rolling Cabinets for Tool Storage

Tools are the most unorganized items in most garages. If you have a lot of tools, you may find that you have little room for anything else. Creating rolling cabinets for storing those tools is a great way to save space and keep things neat and tidy. You just roll the cabinet out when you need something and keep it neatly closed when you don’t. Via: Hometalk – I finally got tired of having all my tools scattered all over my garage

Metal Racks Hold Wrenches Securely

You can purchase, if you don’t already have a spare, a metal clothing rack from any store and use it for keeping your wrenches organized. Just hang the rack on the wall and the wrenches will fit on the hangers. This is a cheap and very easy way to keep those wrenches within reach but out of the way. Via: Familyhandyman – Clever Tool Storage Ideas

One Well-Organized Wall

Organizing the garage does not mean that you have to use all of the walls for storage. You can utilize just one wall and create a great organization center for practically anything that you need to store. Metal cabinets and shelves are a good start and you can add labeled totes or baskets for items that need a permanent home. Via: Versastyledesign – Shelving that works hard and looks great!

Plastic Cups on a Pegboard

Plastic cups that you can pick up for $1 for 3 are a great way to organize tools and other items. You just have to mount them on the wall or better yet, on a pegboard. Just drill 2 holes in each cup and secure to the pegboard using zip ties. You can create an entire board filled with cup storage to keep all of those smaller items organized. Via: Flickr

Paint the Floor Decoratively

If you really want to dress up your garage space, why not paint a decorative pattern on the floor? No matter what your garage flooring is made of, you can paint it – unless of course it’s carpeting but why would you have carpet in your garage? Anyway, painting gives the garage a fresh new look and if you choose to stencil in a few designs, it will look like you’ve had it customized. Via: Paisleywallpaper – Renovation

Label Metal Planters for Storage

Metal planters look great in the garage and when you add whimsical labeling, they create an attractive yet very functional organization center. Just label each planter with whatever you plan to put inside. Labeling is essential in organization and the planters can be painted if you want to make them perfectly match other shelving or whatever you have in the garage. Via: Housetohome – Modern utility room decorating ideas – 7 of the best

Add Inexpensive Storage Baskets

If you have a Dollar Store in your area, you can pick up these really cheap metal storage baskets that are great for getting the garage organized. Just mount them to the wall and then add a label or two. You can keep loads of smaller items in them so you can always find what you need. Via: Familyhandyman – DIY Tips for Your Garage

Use Colorful Duct Tape

Ok, so duct tape comes in so many different patterns and colors today that it is just as much fun as it is functional. You can get sheets of colorful duct tape and use it to dress up boxes in your garage. Instead of boring, white or cardboard boxes, you get colorful fun boxes that will help to make your storage a bit less boring and a bit more attractive. Via: Diyhshp – Duct Tape Fun

Choose a Corner for Organization

One single corner can help you to completely organize your entire garage. Just add a workbench, shelving or whatever type of storage that you need. be sure that you utilize wall space with hanging baskets or pegboards and before you know it, you will have a perfectly organized garage where you can find what you need quickly and easily. Via: BHG – Workshop Zone

Get a Gear Track

Tracks are a great way to keep things organized and out of the way. Whether you hang them high on the wall or on the ceiling, they allow you to utilize space that would otherwise be wasted. You just have to mount the track and then add whatever you want to store. The hooks are great for keeping larger items like bicycles organized or you can hang bins or baskets from them for smaller items. Via: Amazon.com – Gladiator GarageWorks GAGPUB2PPY Geartrack Pack for Garages