Organizing a Garage

How you organize your garage will depend largely on how you use the space. Whether semi-attached or freestanding, people use garages for a variety of purposes. A garage may hold:

    • one or more cars or other vehicles (in this article, they’ll be referred to as cars, so substitute “pick-up” or any other vehicle type, as appropriate).
    • other means of transportation, such as a motorcycle, bicycles, tricycles, mopeds, skateboards, skates, etc.
    • sporting equipment and yard games
    • general household storage
    • car care products
    • workshop area including workbench, tools, shop vac, etc.
    • laundry, including washer, dryer, and sink.
    • food storage such as an extra refrigerator or freezer, shelves for canning, etc.
    • garden tools, including lawnmower, leafblower, rakes, shovels, etc. storage

Tips for organizing

However you are using your garage, some general tips for organizing it will be likely to serve you well.

Begin with whatever takes the most area and is used most frequently.

  • In many cases, this will be one or more cars. Begin by parking the car(s) at the desired spot(s) in the garage. (If you have to move a lot of things before you can do this, sort while you move to save time.)

  • Open the car doors, hood and trunk or back. Notice how much room you need free to walk around the car, remove items, including grocery bags, car seats, etc. and any other tasks you may need to do. Clear the appropriate amount of space. If you think it would be helpful, mark a border on the floor to help keep things out of the way of the car(s).

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  • If the garage is narrow or not very deep or you have two vehicles and they’re a tight fit, devise a marking system that will help you gauge your entrances and exits without damage to anything.

Whether or not you had to sort to deal with any vehicles, now is a good time to finish up the sorting process. As you sort, check items for any maintenance needs, whether cleaning, repair, or other.

  • Decide what types of items you want to keep in the garage. In general, work from the things that have priority first, and the largest items (or collections of items). Collect the items in the categories you’ve decided will stay; place the others in appropriate places outside of the garage.

  • Decide which items need to be in a particular place for any important reason. For example:

    • recycling and trash bins—close to the door they’ll leave by
    • refrigerator or freezer—near an appropriate outlet
    • workbench—near electricity and light (you can install lights if necessary)
    • boot rack—near the door to the house

  • For each set of items, consider what type(s) of storage would be best, while also, if appropriate, considering any childproofing needs (see article Childproofing a Garage). In doing this, consider how often and when the items in the category need to be accessed. Holiday ornaments that come out once a year could go in a fairly inaccessible place, for example.

The following may be useful:

  • Cupboards
  • Shelves
  • Hooks either put into the walls or into a pegboard rack
  • A large trash can to hold long-handled tools that cannot conveniently be hung on the wall
  • Hardware drawers for storing small amounts of nails, screws, nuts, bolts, and other small items
  • Workbench

  • Buy or build any additional needed storage, and place the items where you want them.

  • Make any adjustments due to size, shape, accessibility as you discover it to be necessary.

  • Written by Mary Elizabeth

    Related Home Institute Articles

  • Childproofing the Garage
  • Organizing Bulk Food Storage
  • Organizing a Utility Closet
  • Organizing Waste and Recycling
  • Organizing a Storage Area
  • Closet Organizer Buying Guide
  • Organizing an Entryway
  • Organizing a Car Trunk
  • Garage Door Opener Buying Guide
  • Garage Door Safety
  • Introduction to Garage Door Openers
  • How to Create a Basic Tool Set