PART TWO: As a professional organizer, I rarely hear clients complain that they have too much storage space. However, in my experience, if you have it, you will fill it! Having storage space and making the most of it do not always go hand in hand. Below is part two in a three part series that includes clever tips for maximizing storage so you can store what you need, find what you want, and enjoy stress-free storage that meets the needs of your whole family.
First and foremost, garages are meant for cars! (yes, it’s true…you really are supposed to park your vehicle in that space!). But garages can hold so much more—seasonal yard items, tools, paint, toys, sports equipment. Assess your family’s needs and the equipment you want easy access to outside to determine the function of your garage space.
Heat, humidity, and creepy-crawly things are often an issue in the garage. It’s best to store items in your garage that can hold up to these elements, or protect items by storing them in clean, clear containers to keep unwanted insects out. It’s also recommended that, as much as possible, you keep items up and off the ground. This makes it much easier to sweep or even hose out your garage periodically to keep it clean.
If getting your car in it’s rightful home is a goal, clear out everything that is currently in your garage. Then park your vehicle in the garage and put masking tape around it so you know how much space you need. What is left around (or above!) your car is what you have to work with when it comes to storage.
Vertical space along walls can be a great source of garage storage space. Utility shelving or wall mounted hooks, baskets and bins can hold everything from rakes and ladders to baseball bats and bicycles. If your garage walls are unfinished, AtticMaxx shelves offer excellent storage for boxes and bins and other household goods. Rubbermaid’s Fast Track system offers flexibility and easily mounts to most flat surfaces. Simple pegboard can also be used to hang tools and smaller items. And don’t overlook the space above—your local home improvement store offers several options for ceiling mounted storage that is ideal for less frequently accessed items such as seasonal décor or camping gear.
A little planning goes a long way in the garage. As you’re clearing out your space, group items into categories (e.g. landscaping/lawn tools, car wash tools, sports equipment, home maintenance, etc.). As you replace items on shelving, hooks or hangers, keep like with like so it’s easy to find what you need. You might also want to have a “kid zone” where kids can easily access toys or equipment independently. Just remind them to return things to where they found them!
Using your home’s storage space well can certainly help minimize clutter in your living space. And while tackling a big job such as the garage may seem overwhelming, the benefits are huge! Less stress, easier access to important items, and the peace of mind that you will use what you have and can find what you need. Annual maintenance is also an important part of getting the job done and keeping it that way. Happy organizing!