5 Steps to an Organized and Functional Garage

Advertising Disclosure: When you buy something by clicking links on our site, we may earn a small commission, but it never affects the products or services we recommend.

Organized garage
SpeedKingz / Shutterstock.com

Chances are good that an overgrown mess is hiding behind your garage door.

You can easily spend a small fortune hiring a professional organizer and buying high-end custom storage. But you can also do it yourself for little to no cost. These steps are the keys to tackling the task in as little as one day.

1. Clear the clutter

First, gather garbage bags, empty boxes or bins — or perhaps a small dumpster.

Then get rid of items that are no longer used or needed, and ask yourself whether you really need to keep any items that weren’t used in the past 12 months.

It helps to sort discards based on how you plan to dispose of them: trash, sell or donate. Everything else will constitute a “keep” pile.

2. Sort what is left

With the unwanted items out of the way, you should have room to sort the “keep” items. If you don’t, consider removing everything from the garage so you can sort the “keep” items elsewhere. That also gives you a blank slate in the garage.

Now, sort by grouping like items together. For example, your groupings might include power tools or sports equipment.

3. Determine the garage’s purpose

When you’re done sorting, examine your groupings and the space you have in the garage. Think about the various purposes the garage serves, and list those purposes by priority. This list will help you determine the best way to store things.

Examples of garage purposes include:

  • Parking (Remember to set aside enough space for this zone so that car doors can swing open freely.)
  • Recycling
  • Workshop station
  • Woodworking station
  • Crafting station
  • Tools storage
  • Sports equipment storage
  • Garden supplies storage
  • Holiday decoration storage

4. ‘Zone’ things into place

Professional organizer and author Peter Walsh breaks down the purposes a space must serve into “zones.” He tells O magazine that you should make every area its own zone based on use — parking, storage or something else — and keep only the things that fit in each zone.

Use your list of purposes to determine:

  • The zones your garage needs
  • Where each zone should be
  • How much space each zone should take up

Then, put “keep” items back into place based on the zone in which they belong.

5. Store wisely

Following a few organizational principles will help you zone things back into place more efficiently:

Store vertically. There are only so many square feet of floor space in any given room. So, maximize wall space with mounted or freestanding shelves or with pegboards, for example.

And don’t forget to use the ceiling to store long, large and flat objects. Overhead storage systems generally can be found for relatively low prices at home improvement stores, department stores or secondhand stores.

Consider frequency of use. The items used most often should be stored so that they can be accessed most easily. Thus, seasonal items might be stored higher up so that more commonly used items can be stored within sight and reach.

Label. This is especially important if you are an organizationally challenged person who is liable to simply toss something back in the wrong place if you are even remotely unsure where it belongs.

What’s your favorite garage organizing tip? Let us know what has (or hasn’t) worked for you by commenting below or on our Facebook page.

Get smarter with your money!

Want the best money-news and tips to help you make more and spend less? Then sign up for the free Money Talks Newsletter to receive daily updates of personal finance news and advice, delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for our free newsletter today.