Your How-To Guide for Functional Garage Storage

Creating functional garage storage is essential for keeping your space organized and clutter-free. A well-organized garage can help you find your tools and belongings more easily and provide more space for your car and other activities. Imagine needing something from your garage in negative-degree weather in a few months and your garage is a complete disaster. Yikes! This time of year, as the weather fluctuates and creeps toward winter, is the best time to get your garage storage in tip-top shape so you’re not caught in this scenario. In between the flurry of fall activities and chores that come with this season, be sure to carve out time to create functional garage storage and organization. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started!

Start With Decluttering and Sorting

This might be the most daunting part of the whole task but we can assure you it’s the #1 crucial step in getting yourself organized from the start. Begin by removing everything from your garage so you can have a fresh, clean slate. It also allows you to actually clean. With all the items removed from your garage, you can sweep, power wash, touch up, seal, and repair any areas that need it.

Then, with everything you’ve pulled out, sort through your items, categorizing them into groups such as tools, sports equipment, gardening supplies, seasonal decorations, etc.

Decide what you want to keep, donate, recycle, or discard! Draw inspiration from expert organizer, Marie Kondo, when going through your belongings, and don’t be afraid to make some hard calls. As Marie would say, “Putting things away creates the illusion that the clutter problem has been solved. But sooner or later, all the storage units are full, and the room once again overflows with things. The best way to find out what we really need is to get rid of what we don’t.”

Plan (And “Geek Out”) Over Your Layout

Measure your garage space to determine the available floor and wall space. Consider the layout of your garage door, windows, and any other obstructions. You’ll want to accommodate for any equipment or vehicles that will take up floor space right out the gate, so your measurements are accurate.

Sketch a rough floor plan to help you visualize where you want to place shelves, cabinets, and other storage solutions. Make sure you leave enough space for getting in and out of the garage with your cars, unloading groceries, and any high-traffic areas.

Once you have a layout that works, you can play around with your style and overall vision. Will the garage also be used as a creative or recreational space? What materials, colors, and textures will you use? Do you want everything to be uniform or are you drawn to more of an eclectic style? This can make all the hard work of decluttering and cleaning more fun and worthwhile.

Invest in Durable Shelving

Wall-mounted shelves are a great way to utilize vertical space. Consider adjustable shelves that can be customized to fit your storage needs. Install sturdy brackets and shelves, making sure they are securely anchored to the wall studs for safety. Shelves are great for storing bins, paint, cleaning products or other chemicals, and tool kits.

Cabinets and Work Benches are Your Friends

If you have the space, installing cabinets and work benches can be a game-changer. These allow you to hide clutter for smaller items such as nails and hand tools and also creates a designated space for DIY (do it yourself) projects or hobbies.

Hooks, Racks, and Pegboards, Oh My!

Use hooks and racks to hang tools, bicycles, and sports equipment on the walls. This keeps them off the floor, yet easily accessible.

Pegboards are versatile and can be customized to hold various tools and supplies. Attach them to the wall and add hooks, baskets, and shelves. Pegboards with hooks can also keep yard equipment such as weed whackers, racks, and leaf blowers up and out of the way, freeing up ample floor space in your garage and eliminating a sense of clutter.

Storage Bins and Containers Are Also Your Friends!

Store small items in clear plastic bins or labeled containers. Clear bins make it easy to see what’s inside. Label containers for quick identification. Group similar items together, such as holiday decorations or camping gear. This will make it so much easier to find what you are looking for when you’re in a rush or when the weather is chilly and you don’t want to be out in your garage sorting through unmarked boxes to find what you need.

Take Functionality to New Heights with Ceiling Storage

Consider overhead storage racks or shelves for items you use less frequently, like seasonal decorations or large bins. Bicycles and other toys or lawn equipment can also be safely stored above with the right mounting. Ensure that ceiling storage is installed safely and that heavy items are stored securely.

Flooring and Maintenance Considerations

Consider upgrading your garage floor with epoxy coating or interlocking tiles. This makes cleaning spills easier and gives your garage a polished look. Regularly maintain your garage by cleaning and organizing. Schedule periodic decluttering sessions to prevent the accumulation of unnecessary items. With each new season that comes and goes, make sure you’re keeping your garage clean and cycling out old or unused items.

Keep it Safe

Think of your garage as an extension of your home. You will want to make sure you are storing any hazardous materials like paints, chemicals, and power tools in a safe and secure manner, away from children and pets and even high-traffic areas of the garage.

Install proper lighting to ensure good visibility in and around your garage, especially if you use it for DIY projects or as a workspace.

Regular Maintenance

Creating functional garage storage takes time and effort but saving you time and frustration when you need to find or access items pays off in the long run. Keep your garage organized and efficient to make the most of this valuable space.

Once you have organized your garage, make it a habit to put items back in their designated places after use. Periodically review and adjust your storage solutions as your needs change. If your current garage setup isn’t working for you, it might be time for a bigger change. That’s where J.D. Griffiths can really help you! We’re Milwaukee’s premier garage builders and would be thrilled to help bring the garage of your dreams to life!

Talk to a garage expert at J.D. Griffiths today to get a FREE estimate and book your garage project for the upcoming season.