A Guide to Garage Storage, Organization, and Cleaning

Your car, if you’re like most of us, is a five-figure investment that you can’t live without. Why would you keep it outside, where it could be damaged by UV rays, bird droppings, and tree sap? (And getting into a sweltering vehicle in the summer is no pleasure.)

Keeping it in a garage can keep it cleaner and may help it last longer. For step-by-step advice on getting rid of clutter and maintaining a safe, tidy garage, see our DIY garage organization guide below.

How to Begin Organizing Your Garage

Only 30% of us, according to organizing experts, park our cars in garages. What is the explanation for this? There’s a lot of stuff. These garage storage solutions will assist you in getting rid of stuff you no longer require.

  • Set aside at least a full day, if not a weekend or two, to complete the task.
  • Decluttering will go a lot faster if you make it a family activity and invite a few friends over to help.
  • Examine everything, including boxes you didn’t open when you first moved in—you never know where that family artifact could be hiding.

Sort everything into one of three piles: keep, donate or sell, or toss. Place them on tarps or use chalk to mark off portions of your driveway and place them there. Outgrown toys, objects that are beyond repair, outdated home chemicals (which may require specific disposal), and anything you haven’t used in two years or more should all be tossed. If you have a hard time letting go of treasured items, take photographs as keepsakes.

Sort the keepers into broad categories and store them in clearly labeled cardboard boxes or, better yet, stackable clear-plastic containers for later use. For the time being, return the keepers to the garage.

Donate giveaways as soon as possible, and hold a yard sale to get rid of unwanted items. Use a service like Bagster if you have too much trash for your hauler to handle; simply buy the bag at a home store, fill it, and contact the firm to schedule pickup and disposal.

What Shouldn’t You Keep in Your Garage?

Do not keep the following objects in your garage for safety reasons:

  • Paint storage: It can be ruined by extreme cold or heat. Cans should be kept in a cooler location.
  • Propane storage: The vapors could be ignited by a spark. Propane tanks should be maintained outside at all times.
  • Roaches and other bugs are attracted to paper goods. Place them in the pantry.
  • In non-air-conditioned areas, the refrigerator is a substantial energy loss.
  • Pet food attracts possums and other animals, who will eat it. Keep it inside in a well sealed container.

Items Should Be Stored Safely

Prepare for a fire if you keep lawn-mower gas in the garage, as most of us do. Get a 5- to 10-pound U.L.-listed fire extinguisher and keep it in a convenient location. It should have an ABC rating, indicating that it can withstand flames caused by wood, oil, and electricity.

Though we’re sure you’re aware that you should open the garage door when your car’s engine is running (right? ), a carbon monoxide detector will provide you with additional peace of mind.

How to Organize Your Garage on a Budget

1. Make A Blueprint For Your Garage’s Layout

Most garage-organizing system manufacturers include free space planning, so take advantage of it as you figure out where to put everything. Before you buy anything, measure the size and position of your garage’s windows, doors, switches, and receptacles, as well as how much room your car takes up. Then, as you assign items a home, follow the guidelines below.

  • Gardening tools and lawn chemicals, for example, should be kept in close proximity to one another.
  • Place large items, such as lawnmowers, in corners to avoid being bumped or pushed over by your car.
  • Closely store commonly used objects, such as bicycles, near the garage door.
  • Seasonal or infrequently used things should be kept in the most difficult-to-reach places.

2. Don’t Store Things On The Garage Floor

When at all possible, keep stuff off the floor. You’ll have a lot more room for your automobile and won’t have to deal with sloppy, impossible-to-sort mounds. If you buy prefabricated shelving or cabinets, make sure they’re on legs so you can simply clean the floor beneath them.

3. Garage Storage Products You Must Have

  • Bins made of clear plastic that can be stacked and have lids.
  • Sorting hardware and small items in clear jars of various sizes. Simply keep food jars and properly clean them before utilizing.
  • A lockable cabinet for storing lawn chemicals and other items that you don’t want your children to get their hands on.
  • You don’t have to understand bad handwriting using a portable label maker.

4. Why Do Open Shelves Outperform Closed Cabinets?

Shelves are less expensive, easier to reach (you don’t need extra clearance to open the doors), and allow you to quickly scan what you’ve stored.

Cabinets with doors provide a reason to be untidy by allowing you to conceal evidence, thus they can rapidly get cluttered. Use them just when the items you’re keeping need to be protected from dust and dirt in the air.

5. Pegboard: Install Vertical Organizing Systems

Pros: It’s widely available and simple to install; it can be trimmed to fit and even painted to modify the design; and a number of appropriate hooks, shelves, and organizers are available from numerous manufacturers.
Cons: While pegboard can hold small hand tools and other items, it isn’t strong enough to hold heavier objects such as bicycles.

Systems based on tracks:

  • Pros: Shelf standards are suspended from a single track attached to wall studs, allowing them to support bigger objects; standards, hooks, shelves, and organizers can all be simply moved.
  • Cons: You must ensure that the track is level for the standards to hang straight; they’re best for finished and plumb garage walls.

Systems with Panels:

  • Pros: The entire wall is finished with slotted plastic panels that hold lock-in hooks, shelves, and cabinets, allowing you to make the most of every square inch of wall space.
  • Cons: Some systems require expert installation, which increases the expense; you’re limited to system-compatible organizing tools.

6. Make Judicious Use Of Overhead Space

Long, flat items that aren’t used every day, such as ladders and seasonal sports equipment, can be hung from the garage ceiling. Make sure that any shelves you hang from the ceiling don’t interfere with the operation of your garage door, and that there is enough space to avoid grazing your car’s roof.

7. Construct A Workbench

  • A wall-mount fold-down type provides a strong surface that tucks out of the way when not in use, making it ideal for the occasional DIYer.
  • Benches with built-in tool storage can be quite expensive. Instead, build shelves on either side of a modest worktable and hang pegboard above it to keep your supplies organized.
  • A set of casters transforms any table into a mobile workstation; however, make sure they don’t make the table too tall.
  • Finish it off with a comfortable stool that can be stored under the table.

8. Stopping Air Leaks Between The Garage And The House

Check for gaps in the wall your garage shares with your house and in the ceiling if there is a room above the garage before putting organizers. These are the places where hot or cold air seeps into the house. Small gaps can be filled with caulk, while larger spaces can be filled using expanded spray foam.

9. Purchase Locks For Your Doors And Windows.

When the garage door is left open and the house door is unlocked, break-ins are common. Always use a deadbolt on the front entrance and lock the garage windows.

Install a garage-door lock that secures the door to the sidewalls and use it when you’re gone for a long time. Always close the garage door, even if you’re out back mowing the lawn.

10. Use An Epoxy Floor Coating

After you’ve cleaned up, that dirty concrete surface will appear even more dismal. Antiskid floor coatings repel oil stains and wipe clean as simply as a kitchen tabletop, and the color chips and paint hide any flaws.

Purchase an all-inclusive kit and schedule your project for a few days of temperate, 50- to 80-degree weather to allow for ample drying time. The key to success is meticulous preparation, specifically a clean, dry slab.

11. Seal The Threshold

If the bottom of your garage door does not sit flat with the floor, rain, windblown leaves, bugs, and mice will find their way inside. Attach a rubberized strip to the floor where the door lands to create a snug fit and save time cleaning up.

12. Lighting And Electrical Systems Should Be Upgraded As Well

A single light in each car bay will not suffice. Choose 4-foot fluorescent fixtures with electronic ballasts for ambient lighting, which provide flicker-free light and function well in cold temperatures. Use as many as you need to see well at night, spacing them 4 feet apart. Replace receptacles with ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs), which kill the power if the system experiences a short.

13. The Best Approach To Entering The Garage

Here’s how to ensure sure your autos are always compatible:

  • Simply hang a tennis ball on a thread from the ceiling so that it touches the windshield when you’re in the right location, instead of using motion sensors that tell you exactly how far to draw the car in.
  • You should be able to walk between the garage’s back wall and your car in the ideal situation.
  • Attach scrap carpeting to the walls in areas where the doors or bumper might hit them to protect the finish of your automobile.
  • Allow as much space as possible between two vehicles’ middle aisles so that you can wheel trash bins to the curb or move big goods around without being obstructed.

14. Keep It Clean For The Long Run

  • In the spring and summer, use a pesticide made from natural components to keep insects at bay.
  • For absorbing oil and grease spills, keep a bag of kitty litter on hand. To clean up after working on projects, have a broom and dustpan or a small vacuum beside your workbench.
  • The floor should be hosed off on a regular basis.
  • Weed through your possessions at least once a year and sell, donate, or throw what you don’t need.

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