There was a time when life was simpler: When things were used for the purpose they were intended for. So, a kitchen was for cooking, the dining room was for eating and the garage, well, for cars.
But look at how we complicated our lives!!
Chances are, if you go check 10 homes, more than half of them can barely fit a car in their garage. At some point, the humble garage becomes our favorite ‘dump yard’. From memorabilia that dates back to the 60s to the treadmill-you-will-never-use — everything that the house discards, the garage accepts.
Until it cannot anymore.
Which is when you begin to wonder, “How did we get here?”
Well, we don’t know what to tell you — except we have been there too. But don’t worry! There are some very simple tricks that can help you not only overhaul your garage but also substantially increase the storage space inside it. You can still hoard goods — they will just be more organized.
Related: Easy Storage Ideas for Every Room in Your House
Prepping for the Garage Decluttering Process
To get started on the overhaul process, make sure you have the weekend for this job. You cluttered your garage over decades, the cleaning part deserves at least a weekend! Do it calmly, study things you will need and devote time to it. It can also be a good way to invite some friends and discuss design ideas with them over a beer or two if you want some company.
To begin, take everything out.
No more closed boxes and an unkempt hoard of stuff in corners you never reach. It is only when you see the complete scale of your problem will you understand the gravity of the situation! This is not only important to understand how much stuff you have, but also to gauge how much storage you actually need.
Plan How you Space the Place
If you do keep a car in the garage, there is only so much space that is left. So, start thinking about how you can best utilize it.
Do you have a garage with a high ceiling? Then high shelves can help. If you have a low-roof garage, storing the stuff vertically will make more sense. If you do not have a car and the garage will be turned into a complete workshop/storeroom, the storage solutions will change accordingly. You might have to make space for new heavy machinery and tools, for example, if you wish to build something in your garage.
Discard, Donate or Keep
Every product you have in the garage will fall into the above three categories. We all know that not everything in the garage is junk. Your child’s first cycle may not be useful now, but it might be a beautiful memory. But there will also be a tonne of stuff that you will never pick up or use again.
To Start, pick all the things you simply cannot do without. Keep them on one side. Then, get on to the stuff you have no use for but will surely help someone else.
Chances are, when you clean your garage you will find a lot of things that are almost as good as new. An old music player that you bought on a whim? A garish yellow jacket which is ugly but very warm? A bicycle you bought but never used? All such items are begging to be used.
And by donating them to a charity, you will only make someone happy. Nowadays, there are tonnes of local apps that can help you donate all you want without much fuss.
And in the last row, keep the things that are absolutely hideous. Throw them and never look back.
Organizing Your Garage
1. Look Up: How many people stare at the roof of a garage? None, we would imagine.
But there is great potential there. Overhead storage is a great way to store big, flat items like ladders. You can use re-engineered wood or even laminate to build these overhead shelves. It will also work as the perfect place to keep old doors which you might have a use for at some point.
Just remember to keep enough space so that the garage door can be opened without any issues.
2. Shove it up a Shelf: Remember, this is a garage, not your guest room. Go for function over appearance and stay away from installing expensive cabinetry unless you have the money, in which case, by all means — indulge!
Instead, use the trusted old wire and wood shelves to store as many items as you want. They can be built very cheaply, especially if DIY is your thing.
Also, open shelves remain open — thereby keeping you on your toes when it comes to keeping things tidy. You can see everything you leave unattended, so you will eventually attend to it. Trust us, this is a great long-term strategy to keep things organized.
3. Pegs to the Rescue: Hooks and pegs attach to a pegboard are a smart way to store lightweight things. This system is not only sturdy, but it is also easy to rearrange and they remain one of the best ways to most efficiently utilize space in a garage.
4. Hang Heavy Items: After Cars, the most common item in most garages tends to be a bicycle. But bicycles, especially burly mountain bikes, can take up a lot of floor space.
The best way to keep them is to hang them, parallel to each other, by the wall. There are tonnes of rack solutions available for bikes so pick the best one for you. Or, if you are still bitten by the DIY bug, you can also build yourself a custom bike rack.
Related: Custom Cabinetry Vs Off the Shelf — Is There Really a Difference?