As with any other space within your home, a well-organized garage always has a premeditated layout and design. Unfortunately, most people don’t give much thought about what goes into their garage and it frequently ends up becoming a dumping zone for all things unwanted, unused or loved.
In order to begin getting your garage in order, you need to determine what activities will take place in your garage. As with every other area in your home, you have to know what your end goals are before you begin to plan the layout. Perhaps you, like many others will have a laundry area, but will it also store sports equipment, garden supplies and holiday décor? Will it feature a workout or workshop area?
Take a walk through your garage. Check out what goodies have ended up there and then begin to visualize what items truly are goodies instead of things that are simply old, unloved and abandoned.
Once you have decided what items you will keep in your garage, you can create a practical plan for each zone you need to create within your space. For instance, if your washer and dryer are located in your garage. it makes sense to position the laundry area closest to the interior door. Gardening supplies and the lawnmower should be towards the front and side of the garage to keep the dirt toward the outer perimeter and away from the laundry zone. I will talk more about your laundry zone in a bit.
Every well- designed garage will include some type of storage. Does your garage have pre-existing shelving or cabinets? The ideal strategy is to use one entire wall for storage. The wall on the left side of the garage is typically good for shelves because you can set the perimeter to allow for your car door to open. Cabinets/shelves are typically 20-24 inches deep and should fit easily along the wall where you will park the car. Using this wall for storage will keep lawnmowers etc from banging into your car door. And yes – I am suggesting that you put your car back into the garage even if it hasn’t ever seen the inside of your garage! Your car is one of your largest investments, so it makes sense to give it a home within your home.
Open shelves on the wall closest to your home entrance will conveniently store household supplies bought in bulk.
Make sure to use every inch of vertical space, floor to ceiling and wall to wall. Buy the tallest available cabinets or shelves to totally optimize the space along your wall. If you still have overhead space after installing these cabinets, consider running another shelf above to hold holiday boxes or tax archives.
When you think your plan is complete, look again at the space above each zone. You can never have too much storage. Consider adding more shelving in the areas that have empty wall space or above the garage door. Holiday decorations should be grouped together and stored high and out of the way. There are companies that specialize in overhead garage door storage units. This storage area works well for large items like skis, extra lumber and building supplies. If you are a ‘do-it-yourselfer’, most home improvement stores sell kits for overhead storage shelving.
Garden supplies can be stacked neatly in two rows of large plastic bins with lids. Extra potting soil, mixes and pots can be stored in the two bottom bins. Tools, seeds and bulbs can be stored neatly within the top bins. Sectionalize your smaller items within the larger bins with ziplock baggies and smaller shoebox size bins. If you don’t have an existing potting station, keep an empty plastic bin on top of this stack to use for potting plants. By the time you have stacked three of these bins on top of each other, you have a convenient waist-high workstation.
Almost every garage needs a tool zone. Even if we are not that handy, we all need the occasional hammer and nail. Being a fan of organized spaces, even as a child, one of my favorite organizing solutions was when my Dad nailed the lids of old baby food jars to the underside of his tool cabinet. He used these jars to store his nails, screws and small parts within. When he needed a nail, he simply unscrewed the lid and removed the jar from it’s hanging space. I thought he was brilliant and I loved that solution so much that I always offered to help him screw the bottles back onto their lids.
So, think about what you want to accomplish within your garage and get going!
If you get stuck and want a jump start for getting your entire home organized, check out my online do-it-yourself course ~ Home Organizing Made Simple