Your garage is the catch-all storage space for all seasons. And while it’s great that you have a place to throw all your random items, it doesn’t take long for it to become overcrowded and disorganized. When it comes time to find the stuff you’re looking for, you’ll find yourself sifting through piles of junk, wondering why you ever threw it in there in the first place. That’s why it pays to be discerning about how you organize your garage.
So just how can you do that? It’s not quite time for spring cleaning, but with February just around the corner, why not partake in a little mid-winter purge?
What should you keep in your garage? While it may seem like a convenient holding space, not everything is fit to be kept in your garage. It’s not intended to hold the overflow that you can’t fit inside the house. Strictly speaking, you can use your garage for whatever you want… but it might not be as organized and as effective as you might like. Consider your garage as its own separate entity: it’s indoor/outdoor storage, and as such, its primary function is to hold outdoor use items.
The Car and All the Fixings
Next to your house, your car is probably the most valuable asset you own. It is in your best interest to keep your vehicle in good condition for as long as possible, and having a garage makes it much easier to do that. That’s what the garage was designed to do: store and protect your vehicle(s). And yet, somehow, many of us still fill up our garages with stuff, leaving no room for our most precious possession.
Stowing your car in your garage not only keeps it safer from theft and burglary – but it also helps prevent rust and weather damage, maintains the longevity of your paint and parts, and might even reduce costs associated with insurance and warranties. When possible, your garage is the best place to park your car, along with all of your other car-related supplies. Wiper fluid, tire pumps, winter tires – the whole kit and caboodle should ideally be stored together for ease of use.
Your garage is the perfect spot to stow all your yard and garden supplies. Shovels and spades, leaf and snow blowers, rakes, clippers, lawnmowers, hoses, power washers, outdoor extension cords, garbage bags, gardening supplies, bags of soil, rock salt – all of these and more are candidates for garage storage.
Of course, all of this can turn into a bit of a jumble if you’re not careful. Fortunately, organizational solutions help. Try a pegboard to hang all your tools and other small items. For bigger stuff, use an open shelving unit with large bins to group items by category.
Your backyard summer decor can’t stay out in the cold all winter, so into the garage it goes! Awnings, umbrellas, tables, chairs, portable planters, barbeques, bar carts, and all the rest should be stored in the garage.
If you have patio furniture with fabric cushions, tie them up in a plastic bag or stow them in a bin with a tight lid so rodents can’t chew on them. The nice thing about patio cushions is that they’re usually weather-resistant, so it’s okay to stow them in the garage. But you still need to take care of them, so store them appropriately during the offseason.
The key to organizing your garage is arranging items by frequency of use. It makes sense to stow things meant exclusively for summer or winter in the furthest corner during the seasonal changeover. You won’t be accessing them for at least four months, so keep them out of the way in the meantime. The same goes for things like bikes, sleds, and snowmobiles.
Keep large bulky items further back so you don’t accidentally bump them with the car, and try to maintain a clear path through all your stuff so you can access it when the time comes. And be sure to give your garage a good clean now and then: this is best accomplished during spring cleaning when you’re already reorganizing. Sweep the floor, dust off the shelves, and clear the cobwebs; it’ll make storage more manageable and pleasant year-round.
Brittany received her interior design degree in 2010 and recently earned her kitchen and bathroom certifications. She sees her job as much more than just picking out pretty colors and materials – it also involves exact measurements, plenty of planning, and determining how to have a space accurately reflect the lifestyle of its occupants.