How do you feel when you open your garage? Satisfaction? Mild embarrassment? Perhaps you don’t open your garage because it’s impossible to park a vehicle in there. No matter the current state of your garage this post will give you some ideas about how you can make it better.
I love organizing garages especially when the weather is mild. As the title implies I use what I call the Big Box Store Method for organizing garages. Big box is an often used nickname for stores such as Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart and Target.
Imagine that your garage is set up like a Big Box Store
The first step to organizing anything is visualizing your result. Sometimes you need a little help creating that vision. This is where the Big Box Method comes in. Think of your garage as one of those big box stores and divide it into departments or zones. Decide on what types of items you will be storing in your garage, then assign the items to the departments.
When you do this important planning, you are following what I call the Decision Rule: Everything you own needs a home. Can’t decide? If you were to go to one of those big box stores to buy the item, where in the store would you go? Here are some examples of departments or zones found in garages.
You may only need some of these zones in your garage
- Tool department
- Paint department
- Automotive department
- Lawn and Garden department
- Hardware and Electrical department
- Sporting Goods department
- Toy department
- Hobby and Crafts
- House wares and pantry department– for homes without adequate cabinet or pantry space.
- Trash & Recycling
Sort it all out
Your next step is to get several cardboard boxes and sort the contents of your garage into categories. Be sure to label the boxes.
As you fill boxes, close them up and begin another box with the same label. You will have several boxes for each department or zone.
I went into detail about how to use this de-cluttering processing in a previous post about organizing storage spaces.
Tidy up the space
With the sorting complete the next step is to tidy up by removing the trash and donating the give-aways. This is an important step. You need to see clear space for the next step.
Next it’s time to map out the locations of your big box store departments.
The zones or departments that contain frequently used items should be easy to access. Rarely used seasonal items can be a little harder to get to.
Use this planning time to decide what type of storage system will best fit your space and budget. It is also the time to decide what containers or bins to buy.
Planning all this in advance is a huge time and money saver when organizing a garage.
There is a system for every budget
There are many systems available for improving the look and function of your garage. One thing you should consider is budget. There are systems for every budget. You can spend a couple of hundred dollars or thousands of dollars.
Low budget? Consider these options.
Inexpensive plastic or metal shelving units are great for storing containers and large items. They are easy to assemble. Most of the metal shelving units will allow you to adjust the space between the shelves as you assemble the unit. You can find these at any big box store.
Pegboard works well for hanging the items that you want to grab in a hurry. Paint the pegboard to add some style to your garage. Pinterest is a great place to look for pegboard storage ideas.
There are plenty of mid-priced products available.
My favorite garage system is Gladiator Garage Works by Whirlpool. This is a versatile system that will meet any budget. The added benefit is that you can change it around as your needs change. Sears and Lowes both carry the Gladiator product. Sears has great sales on Gladiator products.
Gladiator uses a wall system with hooks, shelves, baskets, and cabinets. They have a system called GearWall that is a slat wall concept. It is tongue-and-groove and modular. The modules are eight feet long and one foot high. GearWall covers as much of the wall as you want. The hooks, baskets, and cabinets slide around on the wall system until you lock them into place. This locking ability is an important safety feature that Whirlpool has built into the Gladiator product.
Gladiator also has a track system called GearTrack. The tracks work the same as the GearWall, but they leave more of the wall exposed. Each track piece is four feet long and six inches high. GearWall accessories work on GearTrack too.
GearTrack can be installed onto concrete block walls without the addition of furring strips. I have a basement garage with concrete block walls. My husband and I installed GearTrack on two walls of our garage. The installation was easy and only took two hours.
I mentioned that some people use a combination of systems in their garages. I use GearTrack and Gladiator hooks in my garage but the wall shelving is another system called Elfa.
Elfa is a product that is owned and sold only by the Container Store. You can see the Elfa product line at The Container Store Website
Lowes and Home Depot carry the Rubbermaid FastTrack® rail system with hooks, baskets and shelving. It resembles Elfa but with a lower price tag.
Create a dream garage with a professionally installed system
Custom cabinets and wall systems are available through most Custom Storage Companies. You still need to do the sorting and discarding of unwanted items. They will plan and install a custom storage system for storing the items that you decide to keep.
Most of these companies carry spectacular garage flooring that will compliment your custom shelving.
You can expect to spend a few thousand to several thousand dollars on a custom installed garage storage system.
Now it’s your turn
So there you have it; a plan for organizing your garage. Use the Big Box Store Method to sort your contents. Then choose a price point for creating a storage system to get the stuff off the floor.
I would love to hear about your garage organizing projects. Share in the comments section below.
Remember I am in the business of rescuing busy people from clutter. If you find your project stalled and want to work with me, give me a call at 865-938-3882.