Looking for garage storage units can be an overwhelming task, especially if your garage is full of items. You may be challenged about how to pull together your cars together with your tools, beach chairs, cleaning supplies, toys and sporting equipment. Buying storage materials for the garage isn’t as easy as simply going to the store and buying what you think you need. You must have a system. Here are some tips to help you:
Before you buy anything, look through your garage and declutter. There are two main stages on decluttering: determining what to get rid of and determining what items must be stored together.
In choosing materials to get rid of, sort them into three (or four) piles, such as recycle or repurpose, toss, donate or sell. Usually, there are so much things in the garage that shouldn’t have to stay. To keep your garage organized, don’t hold on to clutter. If you haven’t used something for years, it’s best to donate or sell them. Toss away obvious garbage like expired products or photographs heavily ruined by moisture. Make sure you have trash bags and baskets ready.
Of course, decluttering also means cleaning. Do a once over with a broom and a shop vac. Look out for small items on the floor like nails, oils or chemical stains, cobwebs, or evidence of some creatures (like rats, cockroaches and spiders) that may have been living in your garage.
Organize the garage into zones
Then, for the items you are keeping, determine what should and can be stored together. Group items into zones just like you would in department stores, such as:
- Household tools and hardware (hand tools, power tools, nuts and bolts, etc.)
- Automotive tools and supplies (windshield wiper fluid, anti-freeze, air pump, jack, etc.)
- Gardening tools and supplies (rakes, shovels, sprinkler, seeds, fertilizers, etc.)
- Seasonal items (holiday decorations, winter gear, etc.)
- Sports and hobby gear (fishing rods, skis, balls, etc.)
- Paints, chemicals and combustibles
- Work area
- Garbage and recycling
By sorting your items into different “departments,” you can now visualize the proper storage units that you need.
Once you have sorted everything, you can begin assessing how much space each zone will take up, then you can go to the next step. If you need a workbench, then you can also plan your storage around it. Once you have grouped your items, you can easily get a sense of how much space it will need, thus giving you an informed decision as you purchase storage units.
Make a plan
Assess your storage space, given that you know the items you’re going to store. Avoid buying a big organizing system then try to see if it fits all your stuff. Now that you have grouped your items into zones, you can take a conservative approach to planning your storage. You can start with basic garage organizers, like shelves and storage bins. Then you can expand as you see fit.
Plan your garage using a grid paper and note measurements, draw windows and doors, as well as utilities. Determine how much space your car/s will occupy in the garage. This way you can determine the ideal width of storage units to buy. Draw up where specific shelves, storage units and the workbench must be. Keep in mind that some zones can overlap with overhead storage.
For better planning, it’s best to keep garden tools near the door. The workbench must be placed in a conducive area with access to electric sockets. The trash and recycling bin must be within easy reach. Seasonal items must be stored overhead or anywhere out of the way.
To create more storage space in your garage, make sure you utilize vertical space. Make use of your walls. Make the best use of the storage unit you already have, or purchase a more proper item for it. Make sure dangerous items like chemicals and tools are kept out of reach from children and pets.
Know the storage options available
To properly shop for garage storage solutions, get to know storage solutions available first. Here are some of them:
Open wire shelves
Open shelves are less expensive and easier to access than closed cabinets. Plus, you don’t need additional space to swing any doors opened. Open shelves also let you easily scan your items, while having a cabinet can give you an excuse to stay disorganized because you can hide it. Find open wire shelves with 5 to 6 tiers to make the most use of your space. You can also opt for floating wire shelves if it suits your storage needs. Use cabinets with doors sparingly, and reserve it for items that needs to be protected from airborne dust and dirt, as well as potentially poisonous chemicals and harmful tools that must be kept out of reach from children. You may even need locks for added security and safety.
The traditional workbench is ideal for DIY projects. You can use your existing low cabinets (or perhaps an old but still usable desk) and place a tabletop for use as your workbench, so you are already provided with extra storage.
Plastic, stackable storage bins are ideal for storing random items in the garage. Get a set of large-capacity bins so you can store items separately to keep you organized. For instance, you can store Christmas decorations on one, outgrown baby clothes on the other, sporting gear on the another one, and so forth. These can be stacked on their own or placed on your open shelves for better access.
It’s also best to get some small drawers or bins to organize your supplies of small items like nails, wall anchors, thumbtacks, screws and bolts, scissors, electrical tapes, and more. If you already have your drawers on your workbench for this, get a drawer organizer and sort out different items so you don’t need to search through a big drawer looking for a specific screw.
Use a versatile pegboard for a custom storage for your hand tools, small shelves and storage bins. You can attach a floating wire shelf on a pegboard to prevent drilling on walls. Pegboards are ideally placed opposite a workbench to make reaching for your hand tools easier.
Adjustable hanging rail systems add versatile wall-mount storage for your tools and supplies. You can add hooks, baskets or floating shelves to store items to free up floor space for other storage. Hooks are great for hanging bikes and sports equipment out of the way.
The empty space just below your garage ceiling is a great spot for storing items that you use seasonally or less frequently. An overhead shelving attaches to the ceiling joints, where you can put up your storage bins.