The garage is usually the one place in the home where anything (and everything) goes – from the bulky set of luggage you’ve just used on holiday, to the blow-up mattresses you haul out every time the kids have a sleepover. Luckily there’s no time like the present to get it all organised. Here’s how…
Have a plan – What are your priorities for your garage? To park your car? To exercise? To dabble with a bit of DIY? To store your camping gear? Maybe a bit of everything? Knowing what you need from the space will help you to plan and organise it better.
Start with a clean slate – Begin by clearing out the garage completely. Lay everything out on sheets, blankets or tarps on the lawn or driveway. Give the inside a good scrub from top to bottom – even give the walls a fresh coat of paint.
Sort ‘like with like’ – Group like items together as you clear out the garage (from garden equipment and DIY tools to pool paraphernalia, craft supplies and biking accessories etc). This will help a lot when it’s time to pack it all back.
Keep, donate, bin or recycle – Once you’ve got your piles of like items together, you’ll be able to sort through it properly and see what you really need and what you can do without. Get rid of anything that is broken (bin) or things you haven’t used in a year or more (donate). Recycle what you can (bottles, containers, boxes), get rid of duplicates and return anything that you may have borrowed. Every little bit of decluttering helps. If you struggle with this part, ask yourself these questions: ‘Do I really need this?’ and ‘Do I use it (and how often)?’ Now you’re ready to organise your garage…
Map out zones – At the beginning you assessed your priorities and came up with a plan for how to best use your garage space. This will help you now as you divide the space into the appropriate areas. Tape off the various ‘zones’ using masking tape or draw a diagram on paper to work from. And don’t just work with the floor space – section off the walls (for shelving and cabinets) and even the ceiling (for hanging things using heavy-duty hooks). Storing items on the walls and ceiling saves room on the floor for bigger items (like your car), as well as things you use every day.
Handy storage tips
● Get as much as possible up and off of the garage floor.
● Keep any dangerous chemicals, pesticides and the like under lock and key in a well-ventilated cupboard to guard against spills and inquisitive little hands.
● Make the most of the often-neglected area above your garage door by installing overhead shelving. Use this space to store items you use only once or twice a year (like holiday decorations).
● Label everything, right down to the jar you keep the nuts and bolts in and the drawer that holds the hosepipe connections. It may take some time and seem like a real pain, but it will absolutely be worth it.
● Consider using pegboards – they’re simple, affordable and can hold just about any tool.
● Open shelving is great, as long as it doesn’t become a ‘free-for-all’ spot to dump things. Remember to stick to your zones and you can’t go wrong.