Challenge

Home Challenge Week 12: How To Finally Get Your Garage Organized

03/25/2019

The last week of the Home Challenge!  Give yourself a pat on the back for making it this far.  The last area of your home we are organizing in the garage.  It’s time to finally get your garage organized! Twelve weeks ago we started this challenge by creating a Command Center.  We started there because […]

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The last week of the Home Challenge!  Give yourself a pat on the back for making it this far.  The last area of your home we are organizing in the garage.  It’s time to finally get your garage organized!

Organized garage

Twelve weeks ago we started this challenge by creating a Command Center.  We started there because that is the foundation of your home.  From there, we created a Home Binder to help organize the documents that are used on a daily basis.  Then we moved onto the closet because you should feel amazing with what you wear.  Then we organized the pantry and kitchen.  A few weeks ago we organized the bathroom so you can have a more organized morning.

Your home is now organized (except the garage).  We started with other areas of the home first to build a foundation and get the main areas organized which is why we did the kids’ rooms and toys a few weeks ago.

Last week we organized paper and this week we are moving into the garage.  Organizing paper and the garage is the last two categories of this challenge because they are typically the toughest to organize.

Our Organized Garage

We’ve lived in California for nine years and most people used their garage as storage space. Even here in North Carolina, many people use their garage as storage.

Growing up in the Midwest, the garage was for cars and a few storage items that hung on the wall or ceiling.  The weather played a big role in this because of how cold it can get there.  You needed your car to start in the mornings during winter and keeping it in the garage helped.

We’ve lived in different two homes in California.  For both of them, we were only able to fit one car in there because of the size of it.

My rule of thumb is if we can’t fit a car in the garage, then we have too much stuff stored in there.  That happened on quite a few occasions which would prompt a purging and re-organizing sessions.

The one time we didn’t have our car in the garage is when the earthquake hit in Napa. If we had a car in there, it would’ve been completely destroyed.  There is another story like this where my sister parked her car on the street, which she never did and her car started on fire.  If it was in the garage, the whole house would’ve burned down.  It’s a blessing in disguise.

Storage Bins & Shelves

Using storage bins and shelves have been what’s kept our garage organized.

Our storage bins consist of Holiday decorations (Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter), kids’ memorabilia, and our personal memorabilia.  These bins don’t move much so it’s easy to keep that section organized.

It’s the tools, kids’ sports equipment, and summer toys that creep in on us and there’s where the re-org usually happens.

We got this storage shelf from Costco a few years ago for $99 and it’s one of the best investments we’ve ever made.  It helped create more space.

The shelf has been used for a variety of ways.  We’ve used it to store my husband’s marketing materials for his sales job, sports and camping equipment, and baby supplies.

Currently, we are using it to store travel bags, sports equipment, summer toys, stroller insert, and kids school bins.

I moved the gray storage bins we had been using for the linen closet to the garage because we needed some open bins that could be used to easily throw things in there.  Plus they were big and can hold quite a bit.

How Our Shelves Are Organized

The top shelf of has the pack n play and portable grill.  There is empty space next to that.

The next row has three of the gray bins.  One bin is for the summer toys that are for the beach and pool.  Another bin is for the beach towels and the last bin is for all of the beach bags.

Below that row is another row of three gray bins.  The first one is for sports shoes, the next one is for sports equipment, and the last bin is for bags.  All different types of bags are stored here, it mainly consists of reusable/utility bags that can be used for a variety of things.

After that row of bins is a row with a variety of items that consist of camping equipment, a fan, and wheels that actually can be put onto the bottom of the rack.

The next row is the stroller insert.  Right now we have the car seat insert so this insert isn’t needed yet.  Next to the insert are travel bags.  The travel bags include travel organizers (hanging organizers for toiletries, packing cubes for efficient packing, etc.)  I moved these here because they used to be stored in our suitcases and I would always forget they would be in there.

Finally, is the bottom row that consists of our kids’ school bins.  I started these bins when our oldest daughter began preschool.  The amount of paperwork and artwork she came with was overwhelming.  When I established her bin, I decided to do it for our other kids too so they were done.  I added the first years before school to these bins too which has made it easier to hang onto keepsakes and memorabilia items.

Garage Organization

I put these storage bins on the bottom shelf because when something needs to be filed away, the lid has to come off and they have to go on the ground or something that is sturdy.  The garage floor made the most sense.

There is technically one more thing below that shelf and that’s the beach umbrella.

Here’s How You Can Get Your Garage Organized:

Break-it up into four sections

We’re not going to be able to empty out the garage completely unless it’s a nice day and you can put everything on the driveway.  If that is possible, that is the best way to get your garage organized.

If you are not able to empty it out completely, break it up into quadrants.  Pretend your garage is a square that you are dividing into four sections.  It’s best to label them section 1, 2, 3, 4 or a,b,c,d.

Purge 

Bring in your outdoor garbage can for this step.  It’s easier to toss items directly into the garbage can rather than using a garbage bag, this will eliminate you sorting through it when you are done. Also, establish a ‘donate bin’.

Start with one section and then move to the next until you have purged through all your items.

You can also have a garage sale if you have quite a bit of stuff.  Keep all the items you want to sell in the same area.

Sort

Once you have purged through each quadrant, it’s time to start sorting by category.  Here are some examples of categories:

  • Holiday decor
  • Tools
  • Sports equipment
  • Camping equipment
  • Bikes
  • Luggage

Use an 8×10 blank sheet of paper and write each category out, this will help make sorting faster.

Organize

Now that sorting is complete, it’s time to organize your garage where it’s functional and hopefully able to fit a car in there.

If you don’t have storage bins, get clear storage bins.  This will help you see what you have in there.  If you don’t have a shelf and have room for one, get a shelf.  It will create more space in your garage.

Start putting bins away where they make the most sense.  Holiday decor gets used once a year, those bins can be stored in the corner or up against the wall.  For example, our Christmas bins are stored closest to the garage door.  Our kids’ school bins are stored closest to the garage door that enters the house.  The school bins are used frequently so I want easy access to them.

Label

Label every single bin you have, even if they are clear.  Having a label on the storage bin is a quick reminder of what’s in there.

Maintain

This last step is really important when keeping your garage organized because it’s going to change.  Christmas and birthdays happen.

Here are some tips when organizing the garage:

  • Use shelves.  This will help create more space if you don’t have much space available.  Plus, it will make it easier to access items.
  • Use clear consistent storage bins.  Clear storage bins make it easier to see what’s stored in there.  Even if you have a solid storage bin with a label, you still open it up to see what’s in there.
  • Store items based on their use.  For example, Christmas decorations can be stored on top of the shelf because you will only access them once a year.
  • Use hooks.  Heavy-duty hooks are great for storing items that won’t store neatly on a shelf.  For example, extension cords and bikes.
  • Keep a small garbage can stored in there.  If you are walking through your garage to get into the house, keep a small garbage can by the door.  You’ll be surprised how often you use this.
  • Listen to your favorite music or podcast. When starting a large project, it can be tough to actually start it because it feels like it will never get done.  Put on your favorite music or an inspiring podcast to keep you going.

Product recommendations

Heavy Duty Garage Shelf

Clear Storage Containers – 4 pack

Basketweave Bin

basketweave bin

 

 

Bin Clip Label

bin clip labels

 

Sharpie Oil-Based Paint Marker

sharpie medium point oil based white

Mr-Label Clear Adhesive Label

 

*Affiliate links used.  I may receive a small commission if you click on the links provided.  Clicking on these links is no cost to you and I only recommend products I trust, see full disclosure here

How Long Will It Take

Organizing your garage is a large project and isn’t something that will happen in a few hours.  The times where we didn’t have room in the garage to park the car, it took a few weekends in a row to get it cleared out.  So when you start this project, make sure you plan for it to take longer than you expect.

Conclusion

Having an organized will be a weight lifted off your shoulders.  It’s a common area that people don’t keep organized because it becomes the junk drawer of the house for items that can’t fit in the drawer.

To start getting your garage organized, empty it out completely if you can.  If you can’t, divide it into four quadrants and start working each quadrant by purging.  Once you are done purging, start sorting.  After sorting is done, it’s time to organize and start putting your garage back together.  Keep storage bins in places that make sense.

Label all the bins you have for quick and easy access and last but not least maintain your space.

Download your free checklist to get started organizing your garage!

What types of items do you keep stored in your garage?

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