It’s an age-old battle: How much can you fit in your garage and still have room to park your car. As every person (and family) grows, they tend to collect more “stuff.” The garage usually is the end of the line for that stuff, because once the garage can no longer hold it, well, let’s not talk about that.
Let’s just talk about five savvy strategies to help you tidy up your garage and increase storage space so it’s possible to cram even more important items into it.
Hooks and Brackets
Hooks are the most basic, but probably the most helpful and inexpensive, wall storage devices. You can buy hooks of nearly any size at your local hardware store to hang shovels, rakes, push-brooms and tools. Space out a couple of heavy duty hooks and you’ve got yourself a great place to hang a bicycle. Brackets are particularly useful for hanging items from the ceiling, such as ladders, kayaks and other long items.
There are some clever modular hook and bracket hanging systems available, in which you first hang a channeled wall panel. These panels screw into studs or with anchors to create a sturdy base for an array of hooks to hang tools and hardware of nearly any size. You can also affix brackets that will secure awkwardly shaped items into place, such as a wheelbarrow, skis, golf clubs or a leaf blower.
Sure, buying brand new cabinets to organize your garage might not be in your budget, but since it can be expensive to dispose of old cabinetry, many homeowners are more than happy for you to come haul theirs away for free. Be sure to check your local newspaper or Craigslist for ads. You might just score yourself a great garage-organizing option for free. If so, get yourself a helper and mount the cabinets for instant wall storage. The great thing about cabinetry is that it can conceal unsightly items like paint cans, chemicals or car parts.
There is no shortage of uses for shelves — and no shortage of the types of shelves you can use in your garage. From simple pre-made bookshelves to wood planks sitting atop metal brackets, shelves can be used to hold the obvious, such as car manuals and woodworking books. But they’re also great for storing gardening supplies like watering cans, potting soil, pots and fertilizer. Or build yourself some larger shelves spaced perfectly to hold stacked bins containing things like drop cloths, rags or out-of-season clothing.
No garage storage system would be complete without a classic pegboard system. This basic, low-cost organization system was introduced in the 1950s. These days, pegbords come in pre-finished colors (instead of that old drab cardboard color from Grandpa’s garage) and you can mount them literally from floor to ceiling. Pegboards are covered in a grid of evenly-spaced, predrilled holes and are available in 1/4 inch and 1/8 inch thickness. You can buy all kinds of reconfigurable hooks, as well as mounting rails and small metal or wood organizers. It’s perfect for hanging things like your level, hammer, screwdrivers, wrenches and smaller power tools.
Cans and Bins
Using metals cans is a great way to keep those little things from getting lost or rolling around the garage floor. They’re perfect for holding small picture-hanging hardware, as well as nuts and bolts. In fact, cans are an ideal place to hold pens and pencils, trash ties, small nails — or anything else prone to (literally) falling between the cracks.
Let’s not forget bins. See-through plastic bins are one of the most versatile storage devices for any place around the house, including the garage. Because you can see the contents of every bin, there’s no guesswork. Plus, they are stackable and come in a variety of sizes, so you can buy the bins that fit your garage shelves perfectly.