Organising the garage
A quick note: at the end of this blog, you will find a link to a Pinterest Board I have put together with some ideas for garage storage organisation!
Garages: invented for cars, but also known for tech startups, the formation of famous bands and a whoooole lot of stuff.
And if you’ve got a second bedroom, loft or other space that’s not the traditional garage (but effectively serves the same purpose) there is some good information and tips in this blog for you too!
The origins of the word ‘garage’ stem from the French word “garer”, meaning to store. But for most of us, it’s an insanely hot or freezing trip to delve into the unknown of what actually lives under that tin roof. Here’s a brief rundown of what garages are good for when it comes to your stuff.
Use your garage for this:
- Bikes/outdoor equipment/surfboards
- Pool toys if handy
- Power tools
- A workspace (if you have the room!)
Avoid using your garage for this:
- A general, but handy, dumping ground (a.k.a postponed decisions)
- A place to store old stuff that should be donated, sold or binned
- Broken items that just need to go in the bin
- Anything you would be devo to see damaged if water got to it
- Items that cannot withstand the temperatures of a garage (including photographs)
If you’re thinking “I don’t really know what’s in my garage”, here are 3 tips for organising your garage space and how to deal with the stuff piled to the tin roof.
Choose appreciation over frustration
Garages are trickier spaces to organise because they contain items that are individual to the household. From hobbies, sports, work, and overall storage available in your home, your garage is as unique as you.
Garages are spaces where the big, bulky, often dirty, outdoors-y items live. And yet, keeping all these awkward items in order and knowing what’s even in there half the time, are the issues most people dread when it comes to keeping their garage in a useful order. This gets super challenging when things are stacked on top of each other or become nearly impossible to move easily.
Not to mention the spiders running out and defending their home.
There are plenty of organising hacks to create more flow in your garage, but I am of the strong opinion that garages were invented for all the bulky items that don’t fit, and possibly you would never want to fit neatly into your home.
Appreciate that you have the space to store your stuff under a roof (instead of outdoors under a tarp) and that you don’t have to drag the dirty items through your home.
Garages are awesome.
Choose realistic over reminiscing
What stage of life you’re in will dictate what stuff flows into your home and garage. Kids toys flying everywhere? New hobby the whole family is taking on board this season? Now a two-car family?
Whatever phase of life you’re in, know that the stuff will flow with it.
The key is knowing what phase you are currently in and what phases are well and truly behind you.
Kids no longer play with toys? Kayaking totally didn’t fly with anyone? Ouch. Cars all over the front lawn now?
Life is meant to be fun and for trying new things and experiencing new phases.
But so often, garages are the catch-all for old memories and attempts at new things, plus stuff we no longer use but can’t be bothered getting rid of. The thing is, if you have plenty of living yet to do, transforming the space by saying adios to the clutter can open new purposes for the space.
Let go of the old or unused and say hello to the stuff that makes you happy (even if it’s bulky, smelly or just plain ugly!). It may take a few rounds to declutter the old stuff, but getting closer to having the stuff that you use is a totally doable and worthwhile task.
Choose practical over perfect
Not everything is going to fit in a neat box. Both in the garage and in other areas of your home. Crumbs, even life.
Surfboards, snow gear, bikes, helmets, or whatever it is that you have currently stowed away can’t alway be compartmentalised into a neat, amazing looking space.
It can be practical.
Here are some quick-fire organising tips for garages
- Hang helmets, brooms, rakes, ladders, and all the small and skinny to the wall. Getting stuff off the ground whilst giving it a designated home – win!
Make life easy with a tub
- Easy-carry tubs for garden potting mix and tools. And anything else you’re constantly carting in and out of your garage.
Mesh bags to store and hang stuff
- Pool toys, soccer balls, swimming gear. Mesh bags are your friend. They’re mighty strong and can expand and shrink to the size of your category. They are also handy to hang off hooks.
- Doors in cupboards keep out some of the dirt, but not all. I am all for ditching doors and going with open shelving in garages. For items that need to be watertight or away from dust, opt for clear containers with a lid. Ditching doors for open plan shelves or wall hooks also means that there is less of a footprint taken up with doors needing to swing open and closed.
Rack and stack
- Invest in racks or stands for surfboards and bikes – 100% worth the investment if you surf/ride several times a week. Out of the way, harder to cause a case of dominos and it’s always worth looking after the stuff you have invested your hard earned cash on!
Clear tubs as far as the eye can see
- Use clear tubs with lids for bits and pieces. Because of the random nature of items in garages and the dirt that flies around in them, keeping stuff in clear tubs means you can stack and see what you have whilst keeping it clean. Those smaller drawer/pull tubs are also good when you have a lot of smaller categories.
Hang tools from the walls
- Say goodbye to rummaging through deep drawers and playing Russian roulette with your fingers. Get a simple pegboard or pop nails into the wall. It’s not rocket science, but you will create a space where you can get creative and see exactly what you own.
Now that you have some ideas of what to do and what to avoid, check out this Pinterest board for some visual inspiration on how you can organise your garage space!