Most people use their garage as a catchall-a place for things that don't have a storage spot within the home. Unfortunately, this bad habit can turn a garage into an overflowing and crowded space that can no longer accommodate a car. Organizing the garage can seem like a daunting task, but by following some simple steps it can become one of the most utilized spaces in the home.
Emptying Out the Garage
The most important first step to organizing a garage is to set aside at least a day to accomplish this task. Next comes the removal of every item stored inside the garage. If possible, schedule this task around your neighborhood recycling and clean up program so things that need to be discarded can stay outside and placed at the curb. Also, pick a nice calm day so that the contents of the garage can be organized on the driveway. Once the garage is empty, you'll get a better sense of how much space you have to work with. Sort chemicals, pesticides, paints, and other toxic products and set aside any that are no longer used. Contact your waste management system to find out how to properly dispose of these and other hazardous items.
Organizing a Garage's Contents
With an empty garage it's easy to analyze the type of storage containers you'll need to accommodate your contents. Open and closed shelving can be professionally installed or purchased as a do-it-yourself kit, either made from particleboard or plastic materials. Consider anchoring shelves that seem unstable or will house heavy items. A row of hooks attached to a mounting bar can be used for brooms, shovels, and rakes. Other hook-type brackets can hold bikes and collapsible lawn furniture. A pegboard is a good place to hang small hand-held tools. Store small items like nails, bolts, and picture hanging kits in a clear plastic compartmentalized container. Group similarly used hardware and tools close by.
Safety and Childproof Considerations in Your Garage
Designate an area for sporting equipment and make it easy for children to access them. Remember to keep flammables away from gas-burning appliances such as a hot water heater and furnace. Even soiled rags and cloths from paint remover and stains should be kept away from these heat sources. Store toxic products out of reach if children are in the home; and store ladders horizontally so that they won't be climbed on. Once things have their rightful place in the garage, spend a few minutes every week to keep everything in its place.