The garage is home to a multitude of items serving different purposes and needs. Tools, yard equipment, pool accessories, sports gear, bikes, coats, recycling bins – not to mention the car – must all coexist in this multi-functional space. All the more reason, therefore, to impose some structure to keep the area tidy; racks, hooks, panels, shelves, cabinets, bins, baskets and nets are available in various shapes, sizes and configurations to help you organize the space and reduce clutter. Walls, ceiling and floors can all be used to stow items efficiently.
Identify your needs
Start by thinking what you use your garage for. Write down everything you keep and store there, and consider any extra space you might need in the future. Think in terms of seasons; tools and equipment for the current season must be within easy reach, while out-of-season items can be stowed away.
Draw a scale plan to divide the space into zones or dedicated areas for each group of items. Remember that the lawn mower, snow blower and furniture take up floor space. Allow room to circulate freely and to be able to move equipment in and out when needed.
A system for each area
All the surfaces in a garage can be used for storage – the ceiling as well as the floor and walls. To help you choose the best system for each type of equipment, divide the room into dedicated areas, which may include the following:
You might want to create other areas depending on your needs and the available space: a corner for crafts or hobbies, a place to keep pool equipment, etc.
Workshop and tools area
Come rain or shine, a workshop is a must for all those jobs around the house. Start by setting up a workbench that's comfortable and big enough for your needs. Then simply organize the surrounding space as you wish:
Garden tools area
To keep rakes, forks, spades and pruners tidy, choose from the numerous wall storage solutions designed specifically for this purpose. Slatwall panels are an excellent choice as they can be used with a variety of mounting devices: single or double hooks, brackets, shelves, baskets, and so on. These sturdy and practical systems are easy to move, add to or replace as necessary, to suit your changing needs or according to the seasons. The following items can be stored on the wall:
Alternatively, they can be stored in containers or stood upright, although these options take up floor space. At least try to store garden tools near other yard maintenance equipment such as the snow blower, lawn mower or tractor.
Potting and indoor gardening area
Gardening enthusiasts may wish to set up a dedicated area in the garage for potting, transplanting, seed sowing and other indoor gardening jobs. A work surface or countertop is essential for this purpose, along with shelves to hold flower pots, planters and containers, fertilizers and other gardening products. Small tools can be hung on a pegboard panel or on regular hooks. Bags of soil, mulch, compost and other heavy objects are best stowed on the floor in bins, totes or trays.
Washing and cleaning area
Garden hose, pressure washer, watering cans, buckets, cleaning products for the car and house – these items should all be in the same place. This washing and cleaning area will ideally be located near the utility sink; if you do not have a sink, now is the ideal time to install one. Near the sink, put up and/or provide:
The garage is often a transition zone between the outside and inside of the house, which makes it the perfect place for a mudroom. To decide on the appropriate storage for your mudroom, consider how many people will be using it, what their main activities are, and what they will need to keep there. One of the best ways is to provide a locker space for each person; this could take the form of a closed locker cabinet or simply coat pegs in combination with shelves and decorative boxes or baskets to hold gloves, hats and scarves. A bench comes in handy for slipping on or removing shoes, and the space underneath can be used to store boots and shoes. Another option is to have a metal shoe rack to allow boots to dry.
A variety of other solutions exist to help keep this space organized and clutter free:
Seasonal storage area
Halloween and Christmas decorations, winter coats, sports equipment and patio furniture are just some of the bulky items that are used only part of the year and in storage the rest of the time. As you plan your garage organization system, it's important to leave plenty of room for these objects. Note down everything you have to put away, to help you decide on the best type of system. Any of the following options may be suitable:
Handy storage tips:
Plan the sports storage area so that it's easy to rotate equipment according to the season. You probably won't need your bike during the winter, but you'll want skis, snowboards and sleds within easy reach. Come spring and summer, you'll want to swap the winter gear for in-line skates, bats and balls, and perhaps even the kayak. Versatile slatwall panel systems with rails and tracks are perfect for this type of storage, allowing you to configure the space according to your needs.
A few tips:
Garbage and recycling area
The recycling bin and trash can should be stored in the same place, ideally near the garage door or back door, for maximum convenience.
Food storage area
Installing a second refrigerator and/or freezer in the garage is extremely practical, especially when shopping for a family and preparing meals in advance. Reserve a specific area for these appliances and add shelving nearby for preserves, canned food and other non-perishables. You can use the top shelves to store items such as disposable plates and cups, kitchen paper, tissues, toilet paper and so on.
Hazardous products area
Store bottles of propane or gasoline and any other toxic or hazardous products out of children's reach or locked away. Cans of left-over paint, stain and varnish are best kept on shelves.
The garage is not just a place to keep the car; if well organized, it can also be an incredibly roomy and multi-functional storage space for a host of other items. Installing versatile storage systems that fit your family's needs and lifestyle will allow you to maximize the potential of your garage and take full advantage of what this space has to offer!
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