Simple Steps in Organizing Your Garage

The planning and organization of your garage are very easy if you follow these simple steps.

1) Remove everything from the garage.

2) Sort all the items in the garage into separate piles based on their type (e.g., mechanical equipment, lawn care equipment, yard tools, automotive supplies).

assorted handheld tools in tool rack

3) Pick up each item that isn’t sorted into one of these categories and determine whether to sell or keep it. If you decide to keep an item, put it back in its original pile; otherwise, throw it away. Items you might want to sell include:

  1. a) Old magazines with no resale value  (or recycle them)
  2. b) Old paint cans & related supplies (paint hardens over time, so if you keep old paint cans, they’ll probably be useless by now)
  3. c) Old tools  (if they’re broken or don’t work…or even if they just look bad)
  4. d) Damaged or rusted lawn equipment  (unless you have a sentimental attachment to an item that doesn’t work anymore–which is rare).
  5. e) Garbage  (recycling items where possible is always ideal).

4) Organize the remaining items into their respective categories. To do this, follow one of these methods:

  1. a) The “association” method, in which similar objects are grouped. For example, all shovels could go on the left side wall; all rakes on the right side wall; all weed whackers in the back. You can also organize items according to how often you use them (most-used tools on the bottom shelf, least-used on top).
  2. b) A more involved method is to group like items into piles based on their size. Place large items at one end of the garage then work your way down (small, medium, large) until you get to your smallest item. If you’re having difficulty determining where an item goes, think about how it relates to something else in its pile–is there another “size” for this? Also, make sure everything fits without too much trouble (nothing should be sticking out of any shelves or protruding from beneath anything; nothing should be so tall that it falls over and spills its contents).

5) Now, organize the remaining items in alphabetical order. This step might be too precise for some people; however, keep in mind it will make this part of your organization much easier if you use a consistent naming system (e.g., paintbrushes = brush 1, brush 2, etc.).

6) Put everything back where it belongs. If possible, try to group like items together (i.e., all rakes could sit near each other; all scrapers could go on one shelf within easy reach).

7) Label shelves and storage containers (optional). You can also add labels to bins and boxes if you need detail because these objects tend to get misplaced more often than shelves and large items.

8) Now, take a look at your work! If you followed these steps exactly, everything should be where it should be and in its proper place. If that isn’t the case, go back to the beginning and redo your organization process until something fits.

9) Assess whether you can store anything else in this garage. For example, if you have a few old tires leftover from an auto project, do they fit on top of or beneath another item? Or, could you add another shelf somewhere to make more room for certain things? Make any necessary adjustments here before moving on!

10) Last but not least…if necessary, add additional lighting (e.g., can lights). Or, open up your blinds/curtains to let in natural light.

11) Enjoy your work!

For more tips in organizing your garage, check on this one: garage storage.

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