An average house outside the city has a two-car garage. This sounds like plenty of space until you realize you primarily need to park two cars in there! Add in the lawn mower, bikes for the family, the bocce ball set in the winter, and the skis in the summer, and you’ve quickly cluttered the garage and run out of space. Keep reading for some tips to help eliminate that built-up clutter and manage your garage storage.
It might seem like too big a task to tackle, but it’s the best way to begin. Call in a favor, solicit the help of your family, and set aside a weekend afternoon and clean out the garage. Start by taking everything out of the garage that you can. It seems like a hassle to haul down bins of holiday lights and boxes you haven’t opened for years, but you’ll thank yourself later! Be honest and divide everything from the garage into a few categories: things to keep, things to repair, things to get rid of. Everything that you don’t need any longer can find another home. List stuff on neighborhood groups or free sites. Haul any hazardous goods to an approved drop off point. Throw away or recycle anything that is actually beyond saving.
Once you’ve pared down the things that live in your garage, analyze the categories. How do you use your garage? Do you have a lot of bulky sports equipment or an elaborate holiday yard display that needs a home in the off season? More bikes than members of the family?
Ideally, you should be able to easily park both cars in the garage and get in and out of them without navigating an obstacle course. Additionally, you need access to all the things you regularly use, like bikes, toys, and tennis rackets. Things that you need to use only occasionally or seasonally, such as holiday decorations or the snowblower in the summer, can be rotated into an inaccessible spot.
Many methods and systems exist to help you manage the clutter in your garage. Many, such as locking cabinets or overhead storage systems exist to solve specific problems and might be perfect for you.
Some items fall into a gray area when you’re trying to decide how to store them. You might use your kayak as often as you can, but it’s bulky and a pain to keep in an easy-to-access spot. Kayaks and other large watersports equipment, a car-top roof box, or the bikes when winter sets in can be tricky. Overhead storage is a lifesaver for getting large or out-of-season items out of the way and off of your floor. Removing things from the floor or from leaning against the walls also gets the kayak or the skis or dad’s favorite holiday snowman out of harm’s way and safe from moisture from car tires and spills.
Overhead storage can involve a motorized pulley or lift if you have exceptionally high ceilings to work with or if you’re not comfortable climbing a ladder with a heavy bin. A simple pulley system can make pulling a stand-up-paddleboard or surfboard up to the rafters a one-person job. Something as simple as a series of well-placed hooks can store a bike by its tires all winter long or in between trips if the rider is tall enough to get it down each time.
As you work within your newly decluttered garage, you should start to see how you would like to use the space. At this point, it might be worth enlisting the help or advice of a professional who might be able to offer insight and solutions. Professionals are usually able to see possibilities where homeowners can not because they’re removed from the personal attachment to space, and they can visualize ways to translate your plan into solutions.
Several systems are well-suited to garages depending on your needs. Wire shelving is strong, durable, and easy to configure and customize any way you want to use it. Wire shelves can hold 75 pounds per square foot when installed correctly and are easy to keep clean and maintained. Add pull out baskets and hooks to hold brooms and shovels, lacrosse sticks, and golf bags.
With a wood laminate system, you can turn your garage into a more polished extension of the living space, perhaps also finishing the floor and walls, but you can also create a custom-built system without all the fuss. Laminate systems can include open shelves, pull out bins, and hooks. Include locking cabinets if you want to keep hazardous materials away from kids or animals or if you have valuable tools you keep in the garage.
Harkraft has been helping homeowners with storage and organization projects for a long time, and we’d be happy to help you make a plan for your decluttered garage. Contact us today to get started – we’re ready to help.