When most of us walk into our garages, we find piles of things we forgot we had—and we rarely find whatever we were looking for. Large multi-purpose spaces like garages are simply tough to keep organized, leading to layer after layer of forgotten boxes and storage bins. So if you really want to maximize your garage space, consider these six storage tips before your next trip to TIMBER MART.
Toss unwanted items and clutter
This one may seem simple to some, but a lot of people continue to organize and reorganize items that they haven’t actually used in years. Before you start searching for the perfect place for you and your kids’ tennis rackets, ask yourself: when was the last time you actually used them? A good rule of thumb is to toss anything you haven’t used in a year, since some items are clearly seasonal. Or, if you want to jump on the latest Netflix craze, you can try following Marie Kondo’s KonMari method and ask yourself if each item “sparks joy.”
Draft an ideal floor plan
You can’t simply start hanging hooks, moving around boxes, and installing shelves and expect to be successful. After all, most people don’t even have a good sense of the items in their garage when they first step inside. It’s only when you start to rummage through boxes or pull out the three different rakes sitting behind that old shelf that you can get a clear idea of what you’re working with. Once you’ve gone through everything and tossed or sold what you no longer need, sketch a floor plan that includes space for everything you want to keep, including shelving and hooks to account for the smaller items.
Tidying and organizing your garage is only a worthwhile task if you keep it that way. One of the easiest ways to do that is to designate “zones,” giving each one a specific purpose. Organizing your garage according to outdoor gear, easy-access items, tools, and other categories will ensure you’re not rummaging through boxes every week, creating additional clutter, and wasting much-needed floor space.
Make use of the ceiling
If you truly want to maximize the space in your garage, you need to use every inch of it—and that includes the ceiling. Exactly what you store out of reach depends on what you’re willing to install. Bikes, for example, take up a lot of floor space. But you also don’t want to grab a ladder every time you want to go for a ride. A ceiling-mounted bike lift, which allows you to raise and lower the bike while standing at ground level, is a good solution. But if you’re looking for something a little simpler or more versatile, try mounting height-adjustable shelves from your ceiling. That way you can stack large plastic bins full of seasonal clothes and other items that sit for a good six months overhead, freeing up the shelving and floor space below.
Install floor-to-ceiling shelving
Any free walls should be covered in shelving, from floor to ceiling. Unfortunately, despite your best efforts to keep things organized, it’s going to be hard to keep it that way if you’re not flexible. Or at least if your shelving isn’t. Although built-in shelving might sound appealing, your garage isn’t a study—you’ll be far better off if you opt for shelves that are mobile so you can move them when needed. Adjustable shelving will also let you accommodate various bin sizes.
Cover free walls with pegboard
Some items simply won’t fit on shelves. You can make room for longer, seasonal items, like water skis, hockey sticks, rakes, and sleds on your ceiling. But for smaller or more important items like tools, it’s good to leave some wall space open so you can install pegboard. Like adjustable shelves, you can arrange and rearrange your hooks as often as you please, giving you the opportunity to adjust things and remain organized, even as items change over the years.