Compared to the rest of the house, your garage does a lot of work without getting a lot of attention. In addition to protecting your car from the elements, your garage serves as a catch-all storage space for all of those items you can’t find room for in your house or don’t want to store in your regular living space (unless you happen to be one of those people who doesn’t mind the scent of motor oil in your dining room). Since the garage is the place for all those items we need but don’t want to see all of the time, that means we often take an “out of sight, out of mind” approach. As a result, we typically don’t spend as much time thinking about the “feng shui” of our garages the way we do our living rooms and kitchens.
The problem is, this attitude can lead to our garages being one big mess, with items dumped, dropped and stashed anywhere there’s room. That means we can spend long, frustrating afternoons digging through the piles of belongings looking for the patio umbrella or the Christmas decorations. Ironically, by treating the garage like we want to spend as little time in it as possible, we could end up spending way more time in it than we would like.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be that way. Taking the time to properly organize your garage can do more than take care of that cluttered look. Organizing your garage can cut down on stress and frustration by making everything much easier to find when you need it. By spending an afternoon straightening up your garage, you’ll make much better use of your space and create a storage system that could make your life more organized. Here are five of the best ideas for keeping your garage organized and clean so you don’t have to worry about it.
IDEA NO. 1 — ADD STORAGE
It’s funny that for a space that has virtually no other purpose than storage, garages don’t come with any. Kitchens and bathrooms are loaded with cabinets, drawers and cubbies to hold and organize our items, but garages often are big empty cubes. It’s no wonder we tend to just stack items on the floor. One important step toward a cleaner, more organized garage is adding places to put everything. Whether you install shelves, racks, cabinets, drawers or some combination of all of those items, adding more storage to your garage will make it easier for you to come up with a system for where everything goes. It also has the benefit of keeping most objects out of sight, helping cut down on the cluttered, chaotic look of most garages.
IDEA NO. 2 — KEEP THE OUTSIDE ON THE OUTSIDE
One of the biggest contributing factors to the sorry state of many garages is that although they’re technically considered “indoors,” many of them don’t really live up to that claim. Because they’re not intended for much more than storage, garages don’t get the same level of protection from the outdoors as the rest of our homes. They can be too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer, and the situation gets worse when there’s a gap between the garage door and the floor. A gap allows rain, snow and dirt to sneak in, not to mention allowing all kinds of vermin — from insects to rats — a means of getting in and setting up housekeeping in the garage. Investing in a garage door seal, such as the ones manufactured by Garadry, helps protect your garage from unwanted incursions from the outside. Thus, making it a more hospitable space for you while helping to keep your belongings safer.
IDEA NO. 3 — ADD OVERHEAD STORAGE UNITS
Many of the objects we store in our garages are there because we don’t need them often. For those items we need maybe once a year, storing them in the usual spots can take space that might put them in the way of items we need to use more often. Yet there’s also a lot of space in your garage that you’re probably not using at all — i.e., the space above your head. Installing overhead storage bins or compartments can be a great way to get most of those little-used items up and out of the way, freeing more space on the floor for tools you use all the time.
IDEA NO. 4 — CONSOLIDATE SIMILAR ITEMS
One of the most frustrating aspects about a cluttered garage for many is that you never know where anything is. You might find your snow shovel in one corner, but spend another 20 minutes digging around for your snow-shovelling gloves. Getting organized not only means finding a place for everything, but making sure those places make sense. By grouping items you use in the same general area, you’ll make it much easier to find everything you need for a specific task.
IDEA NO. 5 — CREATE A TOOL RACK
Tools can take a lot of space in a garage, and stuffing them into drawers and cabinets can make it difficult to find the exact tool you need. However, if you go vertical by creating a tool rack on your wall, you’ll not only get those tools out of the way, but you’ll make it much easier to find what you need. Whether you use a pegboard or put hooks in your wall, a place to get your tools up and out of the way can make a huge difference in organizing and un-cluttering your garage.
Your garage might never be more than a place for storage, but that doesn’t mean it has to look like an episode of “Storage Wars.” These tips should give you a head start on organizing and cleaning your garage. With a little work, you’ll have a garage that won’t make your life any more stressful than it needs to be.