Mike Holmes advice on how to declutter and organize a messy garage
Mike Holmes advice on how to declutter and organize a messy garage

How To Declutter And Best Organize Your Garage

By Mike Holmes

Mike’s Advice / Design & Renovation Inspiration

Thursday, July 7th, 2022 @ 11:27am

12 Easy Ideas To Organize Your Garage: Decluttering and Storage 

I love my garage and I’m a bit of a neat freak so it’s usually well organized. When I get busy filming and travelling sometimes things pile up and that is generally the case with most people. The floor of my garage becomes a dumping ground for items, leaving a cluttered workspace. Not to mention, there is no easy access to tool storage and inaccessible wall storage too. Few people think of utilizing the usable ceiling or overhead area of the garage. A messy garage floor becomes a potential hazard depending on what you store in your garage. That’s why I love a good garage organization solution! Here are some tips to consider to help you plan the layout and organize your garage.


Mike Holmes ultimate garage

My ultimate garage. I love spending time here.


Cleaning Before You Organize Your Garage 

No matter how busy I get, I always try to give it a good cleaning regularly. I dust and wipe down all the surfaces including the tops of my cabinets, shelves, and any exposed surfaces. I also suggest wiping down your garage walls and doors with warm water and mild detergent. After that, give the floor a good sweep or vacuum using a construction or workshop graded vacuum. And there you have it, a good foundation to start organizing your space.



The Complete Home Maintenance Checklist


Declutter the Ground and Tables in Your Garage

I am always getting new tools and products to test. However, they can often pile up in my garage. Every so often, I need to declutter and address the piles that have accumulated. The best advice I can give you is to remove everything off the floor. If it’s nice outside, put your items outside of your garage while you sort and reorganize everything.



Do’s and Don’t’s of Outdoor Home Projects


Make a List of Things You Keep in Your Garage

Garages are great for expanding your home’s storage space, but not every household item is suitable for garage storage. Typical items stored in a garage include car supplies, yard, and gardening tools. Some homeowners, also store sporting and recreational equipment, handyman tools, recycling, and seasonal décor.

Items like electronics, books, papers, clothing, and bedding should be stored in a basement or attic space instead or in the case of firewood outside but protected from the elements. Keep hazardous material or chemicals out of the garage or in a locked cabinet and dispose of them properly. It is better to be safe… 

To keep insects and vermin away, put things like pet food and bird seed in a mudroom or another area of your home.


Eliminate Packaging

I must admit, I’m the first one to leave things in the box. But if you eliminate the packaging and store items logically you will have a lot more space available to play with. Most packaging is used to safely ship the product but can take up a tremendous amount of space. Properly recycle the packaging and you will discover how much space is unnecessarily taken up with excess packaging.


Categorize Your Garage Stuff

I like using zones to keep things organized and your garage should be categorized into zones, or as the saying goes, everything should have a proper place. Designate areas or containers for your different needs like recycling, sports and recreational equipment, camping gear, automotive, seasonal decor, garden gear, and tools/workshop. 

Some garages are big enough to also have a man-cave zone, like mine when we did in season two of Holmes and Holmes.




Mike’s Ultimate Garage Breakdown


What is the Most Economical Way to Organize Your Garage?

Take advantage of the unused vertical space, build some simple shelves out of scrap wood, or invest in some plastic or metal shelving and buy some plastic bins. Use either clear or opaque heavy-duty plastic ones. They will protect the contents, and you can easily label them to help keep you organized, and clear bins will make it easier for you to review what you have. Either is an excellent option.


NewAge garage organization cabinets were installed in Holmes Family Rescue.

NewAge garage organization cabinets were installed in our latest project for Holmes Family Rescue.


Build up Wall Storage for Garage

The best way to maximize the space in your garage is to utilize every inch of it. This means going vertical and considering how you can use your ceiling, making sure that your structure can handle some additional weight. Installing a versatile storage system that makes the most of your garage’s available space allows you to create an organized, streamlined solution for your family’s needs and lifestyle. 

There are lots of storage solutions on the market, from stacking plastic bins with lids to more elaborate plastic and metal shelving to fully customizable storage solutions.  I love the storage solutions from NewAge. They are high-quality, durable, and allow you to create a space that is uniquely yours. From wall-mounted shelves and racks to storage cabinetry they have it all. And awesome service as well!


NewAge custom garage organization cabinets were installed in Frank Cozzolino's house on Holmes Family Rescue.

NewAge custom garage organization cabinets were installed in Frank’s house on our latest show Holmes Family Rescue.


Wall Mounted Shelves for Your Garage

Off-the-floor storage is ideal with the NewAge Pro Series Wall Mounted Shelves as they maximize the potential of your wall space. The series comes in 3 configurations, overhead, perimeter, and stacked. They can be used above doors, over windows, and around corners. 

Heavy-duty shelves are designed to provide maximum storage and are strong enough to hold 600 lbs of the stuff per shelf. Made from aircraft-grade support cables, the shelves come with a smart safety lip to keep your bins and gear secure so that they won’t slide off.



Pegboard for Garage Storage 

If you don’t need anything elaborate or you’re on a budget installing a pegboard is a great alternative to helping you stay organized. Because the hole spaces on the pegboard are quite close, it allows you to easily display smaller items, like individual screwdrivers. Also, because the holes are standard, the hooks and brackets all easily fit with any standard pegboard. 



You can also purchase pegboard kits that come with the boards and an assortment of hangers so you can easily customize your pegboard. 


Install Garage Slatwall – Better Wall Organization

An alternative to pegboard is the NewAge Slatwall. This comes in some really cool wall organization materials that include PVC Slatwall, steel Slatwall, and a Slatwall backsplash. I love it because this provides you with options so you can create an organized garage that is right for you!



PVC Slatwall for Garage

The PVC Slatwall may be arranged in a variety of ways, and you can create the storage and organization you need in your garage, retail space, home office, workshop, or any other place with our vast choice of available accessories. Most conventional hooks, baskets, and accessories work with our 3-inch on-center Slatwall.


Steel Slatwall and Backsplash for Garage 

The steel Slatwall and backsplash by NewAge is a wall protection product that allows you to custom-fit to your specific cabinet system. The steel Slatwall is strong enough to hold tools, blades, and machinery. It is also easy to install and works with many 3-inch on-center Slatwall hooks and accessories.


NewAge Steel Slatwall and backsplash from Frank Cozzolino’s garage install, in Holmes Family Rescue

NewAge Steel Slatwall and backsplash from Frank’s garage install, in Holmes Family Rescue


Overhead Storage – Make the Most of the Garage Space

Utilizing overhead storage space is an incredibly efficient organization solution and safe, as long as it’s placed properly and your garage ceiling can sustain the weight. Manufacturers of storage units put their goods through extensive testing and rating up to a certain weight limit to make sure it’s safe.  Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and make sure you properly screw into a wall stud.


Overhead Rack 

Overhead racking systems are a great way to maximize your storage options in your garage. If you are handy, you can build your own racks or purchase ones like the Pro Series wall-mounted steel shelves.  These are perfect, for storing outdoor gear, sports equipment, and seasonal things that you don’t use all the time. You can combine the shelves along the perimeter of your garage, or stack them vertically for multi-level wall organizing. 

Installing NewAge Overhead Racks on Holmes Family Rescue.

Installing NewAge Overhead Racks on one of our latest projects. Photo from Holmes Family Rescue.


What is great about the Pro Series, is that the steel support cables are made for aircraft and are tested to hold 3,000 pounds, and have an adjustable bolting mechanism. The sturdy frame is made of thick gauge steel and features a c-shaped front perimeter beam to withstand weights of up to 600 pounds. A 1-inch perimeter safety lip stops objects from falling down the edge, and the steel wire decks slide firmly into the cross beam supports for even weight distribution.


Invest in Garage Cabinet

In addition to wall-mounted and overhead shelving, having some sort of cabinet system is also a great option, if you have room in your garage. A garage that is clean and clutter-free means you will likely spend more time there if you find it welcoming and functional. 

Again, there are many different garage cabinetry options available but generally, you need something that is durable and provides the storage options and accessories you need, like a combination of cabinets and drawers. Not only will you be more organized but your stuff will be protected and will be less dusty and grimy.


Build a Workbench – Your Customized Workspace in Garage

Create a heavy-duty workbench and tool area that is unique to you. Laser-cut EVF foam tool tray inserts fit perfectly and are great to help you identify each piece of hardware, so you’ll always know which tools you’ve removed. 

NewAge tool storage solutions to help you stay organized.

NewAge tool storage solutions to help you stay organized.


If you’re looking to invest in NewAge cabinets, these cuts fit perfectly with the Pro Series tool cabinets. NewAge even has high-quality tool sets made of chromium-vanadium steel that are strong, corrosion-resistant, and durable. For those of you looking to invest in a full set of tools, these come in a socket set, a wrench set, and a screwdriver and plier set – a handyman’s dream!


Installing NewAge Garage Workbench with laser-cut EVF accessories

Installing NewAge Garage Workbench with laser-cut EVF accessories


What I also love about the NewAge workbenches is that they are strong and can handle a load capacity of 2,000 lbs. of equipment and materials. Colour matched and height-adjustable these work benched can easily coordinate with any of their cabinet systems.


Subscribe To Make It Right Newsletter


Avoid Air Leaks between the Garage and the House

A garage door that allows you to enter your home needs to be fire-rated and made of insulated steel. It must also be tight-fitting with a  weather-stripped barrier to stop the passage of gases and exhaust fumes. 

Garage doors should also come with a self-closing or automatic-closing mechanism. This is part of the Ontario building code, but please always check with your local building authority, to make sure you are safe and doing it Right!

Here are some tips from Chad from Canadian Door Doctor on how to test your garage door sensors and make sure they are working properly, as they should.




Garage Doors Problems & Maintenance Tips


Invest In Door and Window Locks

Most people use their garages for their vehicles but they also store stuff that can add up in value, like sporting equipment, bikes, camping equipment, etc. —all the things I’ve been talking about. 

In order to protect your belongings, I suggest installing a Schlage Dead-Bolt Lock on your garage entry doors. It’s so convenient with the built-in alarm, auto-locking system, and lighted touchpad. You don’t even have to carry your keys anymore as it can all be controlled through your phone. I definitely recommend checking it out.


Mike Holmes has a Schlage Smart Lock Installed on all his projects!

We have a Schlage Smart Lock Installed on all our projects!


With the Schlage Sense Wifi Adaptor, you can lock and unlock your garage door from anywhere. Plus, I can store up to 30 programmable codes for individual people, like each of my kids and crew members. I can also track who and when someone has gone into my garage or tool shed as I get a notification on my phone. It’s a smart solution that I love!

For added security, I recommend adding your garage to your whole home security system. It’s just another level of protection for your home and your belongings.

Get The Full Cybersecurity Guide From Eaton.



Your Safe Smart Home Protecting Yourself From Hacks
5 Easy Ways to Create a Smart Home that Works For You


Garage Flooring

Generally, garage floors are concrete, however, there are many other options to choose from depending on your needs and budget. The most common options are polished concrete, epoxy, rubber tile, vinyl, and stone. 

I’ve used polished concrete and epoxy on several of our jobs. Recently on Holmes Family Rescue we used the Sikafloor®-510 N LPL. It has a super glossy look that I love.

Polished concrete is resistant to a wide range of harmful chemicals and compounds, making it an excellent choice for garage flooring. It’s also great because it reflects light. Another alternative is epoxy flooring. It is cheaper than polished concrete, water and chemical resistant, and non-slippery but can scratch easily. 




Garage Door Safety Tips


Lighting and Electrical Systems in Your Garage

It’s important to have a well-lit garage for safe movement and adequate task lighting, particularly near work areas. Also, all outlets need to be GFCI according to Ontario Building Code (but always check with your local building authority). 

Garage door openers should also have their own receptacles. Remember, extension cords are only temporary solutions and should be used with caution. You should always put them away after use as they can be a tripping hazard. 


Best Lighting For Your Garage

The quantity of light your garage requires is determined by its size, the number of windows, and the type of lighting you choose. Lumens are used to measure light output. Typically what is recommended is 50 lumens per square foot for ambient lighting, 300 lumens per square foot for work lighting, and 75 lumens per square foot for accent lighting.

I recommend traditional ceiling lights to provide sufficient light in a typically dark room. LED lights are useful in the garage since they are energy efficient and emit strong light. To get the most out of your garage lighting, check out Philips’ LED spotlights.


Add undermount smart LED light strips to brighten your workstation. The great thing about smart lighting is that it can provide you with significantly greater control over your lighting. They are still powered by your home’s electricity, but you can control each smart bulb or light strip directly from your phone, tablet, or smart assistants —such as Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. There are also several other advantages to smart lightings, such as energy efficiency, communication, and automation. I love it!   


When upgrading your garage always consult with a LEC (licensed electrical contracting business) to make sure the job is done right and safely.




How to Install an EV Charging Station at Home


Garages can be just for housing your vehicles and recycling, but if organized correctly can offer you so much more. Take the time to create a plan with zones and get items off the ground. Introduce proper lighting, shelving, cabinets, or plastic bins and lids, and properly store your stuff to make the most out of your garage.



Outdoor Lighting Guide: Best Exterior Lighting Tips For Your Home
Garage Door Problems & Maintenance Tips
Selecting a Front Door | A Guide


Make It Right®