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11 Garage Organization Tips, Tricks and Ideas
By Sherry Holmes
Mike’s Advice / Design
Wednesday, December 21st, 2022 @ 12:48pm
How To Keep Your Garage Organized & Decluttered
I’m a bit of a neat freak and so I find with the change of season there is always an opportunity to do a quick declutter and organization of my garage. We use different items in different seasons and there’s always going to be a bit of fallout from it, which is why it’s always a good time for seasonal organization of your garage. Now is the time to pack up any remaining fall items, and sort them properly so you can make room for your winter items, and perhaps even your car (clearing the snow off your car can get tedious). Here are some garage organization tips that will help you create a neat, clean, more functional garage.
Tip #1 – Determine How You Want To Use Your Garage
Just like my dad, I like using zones, especially when organizing a garage. As a first step, I suggest you do a walk around of the space and determine the purpose of each area. From here you can assign zones, and then organize each zone for the maximum capacity.
Set aside spaces or areas for your various needs, such as recycling, sporting and leisure equipment, camping supplies, automobiles, holiday decorations, garden supplies, and tools and workshops.
Ideas For Creating Different Zones In Your Garage
For people that live in regions where they get a lot of snow, having a vehicle zone is essential unless you like to scrape the ice and snow off your car in the winter. This also includes space for extra oil, antifreeze, cleaning supplies etc. Shelves or perhaps a locked cabinet would be great for storing these items.
If you are a gardener or even if you have a small lawn, you will still require a zone for your items, like rakes, shovels, planters etc. Try utilizing vertical wall space with pegboards or shelves. And if you are sporty, a sport and leisure zone will be necessary for bikes, sporting equipment etc., bins, shelves, and ceiling racks are all great ideas.
If you are handy then a tool and workstation zone might be your ticket —cabinets, drawers and pegboards are great. Finally, a storage zone is a must!
Tip #2 – Take Everything Out Before You Organize Your Garage
Ideally, organize your garage on a clear day, when you are able to take everything out of your garage. Give your floor a sweep and clean, drain and store outdoor hoses, check your garage door, and perhaps think about some additional storage solutions.
Tip #3 – Eliminate Unused Things in Your Garage
As you take out everything from your garage, make sure to sort it into three piles: to keep, give away or sell, and discard. They can be set up on tarps or in designated spots on your driveway. Outgrown toys, broken-beyond-repair objects, outdated home chemicals (which may require specific disposal), and anything you haven’t used in two years or more should all be thrown out.
Sort the items worth keeping into broad categories (such as sporting goods or hand tools), and then store them in clearly designated cardboard boxes or stackable clear plastic bins.
Donate freebies as soon as you can, or plan a yard sale to get rid of leftovers. If you have a lot of waste or garbage, consider using a disposal service.
Tip #4 – Figure Out A Layout For Your Garage
We recently partnered up with NewAge and I love their free space planning services to help you plan how to optimize your space and make it look good, organized, and functional.
Pro Tip: Before making any purchases, measure the size of your garage. Be sure to note the size and placement of any windows, doors, switches, or receptacles, and how much space your car occupies.
Once you have all the measurements you can book a consultation with one of their design experts and they will do a live demo with you to show you all the product offerings available to choose from. They will then create a 3D plan to help you visualize your space and choose colours and styles that complement your décor.
If you’re doing it on your own, you may want to draft a floor plan of your garage, designating a place for each of your zones. Here are some tips to keep in mind to help you with the planning:
The average two-car garage is typically 18 feet wide and 20 to 22 feet deep —just enough space for two automobiles to fit in your garage. Some can be slightly wider and deeper which is a good thing if you want to use your garage to store things. Alternatively, you could keep one of your cars in the driveway, if you really want to create a workspace garage that can accommodate your needs.
Tip #5 – Next Figure Out A Layout (Zones) For Your Garage
Zones can be anything you want them to be. But if you’re stuck and need some ideas, here are some common zones to have:
A Cleaning Zone
For convenience, you might want to consider an official cleaning zone. Wall cabinets are great for that so you can keep all your cleaning supplies tucked away out of sight but easy to reach.
You can even add a sink cabinet to clean up messes without traipsing them through the house or to the basement.
An Everyday Zone
I know many people have a recycling and garbage area near the garage door for convenience, especially if they don’t have a “mudroom.” This is also an excellent space for keeping your pet dog supplies, toys and leashes. Just remember not to keep dog food or bird seed in your garage, as it will attract critters you don’t want!
Hooks or shelves or racks are useful accessories to have in this zone, for dirty coats, boots etc.
Consider adding tall vertical cabinets and shelving for quick access and to keep sporting equipment, uniforms, games, and sports bags kept in one location. Slatwall is useful for organizing balls, gloves, and toys.
Creating a seasonal zone will help you stay organized, especially if you embrace all the traditional and fun holidays. I think everyone knows my family embraces many of the holidays, especially Halloween and Christmas.
Consequently, we have tons of decorations that need storing every year. Consider vertical cabinets or shelving for clearly marked storage containers are great options. Seasonal items can also be placed in an overhead storage area.
If you are big gardeners, like Michael and his wife Lisa, but don’t have room for a garden shed, creating a garden zone may do the trick! Consider base cabinets for storing watering cans, planters or pots, and potting soil, with a work surface on top. Full-length cabinets are great for storing other gardening tools, like racks, shovels and other gardening tools.
This could also be a fun place for introducing your kids to gardening. I don’t really have a green thumb, but I think it would be really fun to see my girl’s reactions as they watch plants and flowers grow.
My dad and Uncle Billy love tinkering with vehicles, they love their cars, so they definitely have an automotive zone. Do you remember my dad’s Ultimate Garage?
Wall cabinets and base cabinets are great for storing your cleaning supplies, tool etc. You may also want to consider rolling cabinets with casters for convenience when working on your car, motorcycle, or anything else. They can be easily rolled back against the wall when not in use.
I love doing DIY projects. My garage at home is not super big but I’m fortunate to know people who have some great workspaces! My dad and my brother. However, thanks to modern garage-organizing system producers like NewAge, those of us short on space, can still set up a workshop area.
You can design a useful space, no matter how big or little, using a combination of wall and floor cabinets, mobile cabinets, shelves, and workstations. A workbench on the rear wall of your garage is useful. Don’t forget to include a slat wall for all of your tools if you’re handy, and for everyone’s safety, lock up any chemicals or other potentially hazardous things in cabinets.
Tip #6 – Decide What Types of Storage Your Garage Will Need
Lots of organizing requires a lot of cabinets, shelves and storage solutions. The best part of the NewAge Garage Storage and Organization system is that it is completely customizable and a perfect solution to take all your stuff and create a clean and organized space.
Floor and Wall Cabinets
Floor cabinets come in all shapes and sizes:
- For everyday storage choose a two-shelf unit
- For tool storage choose a tool drawer unit, ideal for small tools, screws and bolts
- Multi-functional units, can include a garbage bin section, and small parts drawer with containers
- Cabinet and sink sets, are ideal for washing buckets and cleaning up messes
Pro Tip: Most homes do have a water line in their garage. However, they must have a water shut-off in the basement and need to be treated like an exterior hose bib and water needs to be shut off during the winter months.
Locker-style cabinets are an excellent choice for locking up anything. They are great for storing chemicals, paints, oils or anything that can be toxic or poisonous to keep everyone safe, including pets and kids.
Caster Wheels, Great for Mobility
Add wheels for mobility. With the added convenience of caster wheels, cabinets can be moved easily so you can get to the contents conveniently whether you are in your garage or in your driveway.
Wall cabinets are another storage solution for utilizing your wall space. It also keeps your gear off the ground and makes it easy to keep your floor area clean and clear of debris. To maximize your wall space consider adding some corner cabinets as well.
The systems can support heavy objects since shelf standards are suspended from a single track that is fastened to wall studs; standards, hooks, shelves, and organisers are also simple to move.
Pro Tip: Make sure the slatwalls are straight and the wall is plumb for this system to work best.
Pegboards are great as they are widely accessible and simple to install. They can also be painted or even cut to size to create a custom look. A variety of manufacturers also produce matching hooks, shelves, and organizers, and can support hand tools, and other items.
An overhead garage storage rack is very safe, provided it is fitted properly and your ceiling can handle the weight. Manufacturers of storage products put their goods through extensive testing and rate them up to a certain weight limit.
The steel support cables in the NewAge Pro Series are made for aircraft, are tested to hold 3,000 pounds, and have an adjustable bolting mechanism. The strong frame is made of thick gauge steel and has a c-shaped front perimeter beam that can support up to 600 pounds.
Garage overhead storage is ideal for storing other out-of-season things including patio furniture, automobile roof racks, athletic and camping gear, and seasonal decorations. You can also keep storage containers in your overhead storage racks.
Hanging long, flat items you don’t use every day, like ladders and seasonal sports equipment, from the garage ceiling is another terrific idea.
Pro Tip: Make sure there is adequate space between any shelves you hang from the ceiling and the roof of your car to prevent them from obstructing the operation of your garage door.
The best part about modern garage-organizing systems is that they are completely customizable and you can reposition all the cabinets to suit your needs.
Tip #7 – Avoid Air Leaks between Your Garage and the House
All penetrations into the neighbouring living space’s garage walls, ceilings, and other surfaces must be gas-tight and adhere to the fire code to keep you and your family safe. Check for gaps in the wall before installing any overhead storage support and seal with caulk or expanded spray foam.
An easy way to determine if you have air leaks in your garage is to light an incense stick and carefully pass it around the edges of common leak sites. Wherever the smoke wavers or is sucked out of or blown into the room, there’s a draft. You can also use a damp hand to locate leaks; any drafts will feel cool on your hand.
Tip #8 – Garage Door Separating the Garage from the Interior of the Home
In order to prevent potentially toxic fumes from stored items or carbon monoxide from cars entering the living space —your garage door should be weatherstripped, sealed, and equipped with an auto-closing device.
For maximum energy efficiency, the door should also be insulated as well as a fire-rated door. A metal plate with a fire rating will also be present on the hinge side of a solid wood door. This is necessary to lessen the chance that a fire may spread quickly into the residential area. It should be noted that these specifications also apply to any shared walls between the finished living space and the garage.
Tip #9 – Garage Door Locks
We love Schlage door locks and we install Encode Locks on all our job sites – with both key, keypad entry and WIFI so I can lock and unlock right from the Schlage Home app on my phone.
These locks come with a deadbolt grade 1 rating to give you the strength you can depend on to keep your family safe. I love my Schlage smart locks, they are so convenient, especially when running around after two little ones. The best part, I can control and monitor everything from my phone. All I do is provide my friends and family with the unique code to enter my front door when they arrive or they can just message me and I can let them in with my app.
I can even use voice commands with Google Home or Alexa. My smart lock gives me peace of mind, knowing my front door is secure without the need to physically check it. They are easy to install yourself, all you need is a screwdriver.
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Tip #10 – Flooring for Your Garage
We all know that items will pile up and at times you can see very little of your garage floor. So, I recommend when you are reorganizing, take the time to vacuum, sweep and clean the floor. Patch any holes or cracks in the floor. If you are really feeling energetic a new coat of paint will certainly brighten up the space.
Polished concrete floors or painted concrete floors are the most common and most economical. They are durable and resist staining.
Epoxy Flooring For Your Garage
Epoxy (or polyurethane) floors are another great option as they reduce slippage, resist fire, and withstand significant impact. This is also an excellent solution for covering up any cracks or staining on your concrete floor. We used Sika Floor in Angela’s garage project on Holmes Family Rescue and the result was great —plus it was simple to use with a high-quality finish.
Tip #11 – Electrical Considerations for Your Garage
Garages have their own special needs when it comes to electrical, especially if you have grand plans for your garage. Garage electrical usually comes with the basics. However, it’s best to determine what tasks you intend to perform in the garage that requires power first when planning your electrical system.
A few regular outlets will be fine if you are using your garage for storage and parking your car. However, if you plan to install laundry appliances, a water heater, do automobile or woodworking, or get an electric vehicle, you’ll need to make sure your electric system can handle that load.
Make sure you allow for the necessary wiring of the equipment. If you want to run a lot of equipment at once, it is best to set up 240 volts with higher gauge (thickness) wiring. This is important to prevent the system from overloading and tripping breakers.
What Type Of Outlets Do You Need For Your Garage
Therefore, safety outlets with Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) are required. These are the outlets you can find in bathrooms and kitchens. They essentially guard against electrocution if you use an item near water.
You’ll also require outlets that are at the same height above the counter as in a kitchen if you intend to add workbenches along the walls. You won’t have to drop a cord below the bench top if you do it this way.
Who Should You Hire For Your Electric Work
Sounds overwhelming? I bet it does. That’s why I always consult with a Licensed Electrical Contracting business. They will ensure you have everything you need, and it will be done safely and to code. Don’t forget about permits, especially if you intend on installing an EV Charger – permits are required!
To find a licensed electrical contractor near you visit: myhome.eaton.com or if you are in Ontario, Canada visit findacontractor.esasafe.com
A garage is first and foremost to house and protect your vehicles from precipitation. If it’s equipped with the proper locks, it will also protect your car, home, and assets from theft and vandalism. However, most garages today perform many functions, including storage for seasonal products, recreational goods, gardening tools, and much more. They can also serve as workshops for woodworking and automotive maintenance and repairs. To create your ultimate garage, get organized and consider investing in storage solutions to help you make the most of your garage space.
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