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Garage storage solutions

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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:

  • Workshop and tools
  • Garden tools
  • Potting and indoor gardening
  • Washing and cleaning
  • Mudroom
  • Seasonal storage (items only used part of the year, holiday decorations, etc.)
  • Sports
  • Garbage and recycling
  • Food storage: refrigerator, freezer, preserves
  • Hazardous materials

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 Workshop and tools area storage solutions
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:

  • A pegboard wall panel with hooks is perfect for keeping small tools such as scissors, pliers, hammer, stapler and so on within easy reach. Likewise, slatwall panels with grooves or tracks are great for hanging items up out of the way on racks or hooks.
  • If you do a lot of home repairs and improvement projects, opt for a good sturdy tool chest – the larger the better, and a model with casters is especially convenient.
  • Freestanding or wall-mounted shelves are always useful for pots, jars and other recipients containing assorted nails, screws, anchors, hooks and so on.
  • For scraps of wood and other spare materials, bins or baskets under the workbench are ideal. 

Garden tools areaGarden tools area storage solutions
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:

  • Ladders and stepladders
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Long, narrow items like rakes, forks, spades, shovels, pruners, axe, etc.
  • Mechanical saw, leaf blower, etc.

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 areaGarden tools area storage solutions
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:

  • Wall-mounted hose reel(s)
  • Shelves or hooks for hose nozzles and attachments, watering cans, scrubbing brushes, etc.
  • A bracket or utility hook to hang the pressure washer
  • Floor space for the vacuum cleaner(s)
  • Cabinets or shelf units to hold cleaning products, buckets and pails, etc. 

Mudroom areaMudroom area storage solutions
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:

  • Umbrella stand
  • Coat rack for guests
  • Closet with a rod and hangers
  • Drawers for accessories such as gloves, mitts and scarves
  • Dual-purpose, space-saving furniture such as a storage bench

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:

  • Wall-mounted or freestanding shelves, as high as you like
  • Wall-mounted or freestanding cabinets or chests
  • Totes, bins, boxes and baskets
  • Hooks, pegs and various other wall-mount devices

Handy storage tips:

  • Use plastic totes to stow holiday decorations and label each one accordingly. These boxes can be stacked, either on the floor or – even better – up on shelves.
  • Baby items and accessories, unused games and toys can also be kept in tubs or boxes or in closed cabinets, depending on how big or bulky they are.
  • Tents, sleeping bags and camping gear can all be stored on shelves out of the way. 

Sports areaSports area storage solutions
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:

  • Keep bicycles up off the floor on specially designed bike racks, either mounted on the wall side by side, depending on how many you have, or lifted up to the ceiling on a rack and hoist system, leaving wall and floor space free.
  • Long, narrow pieces of equipment such as fishing rods, skis, ski poles and snowboards can easily be stored on the wall and do not take up much room.
  • Combine different types of storage devices to keep items grouped together by sport: racks and baskets for skis, boots and poles; shelves, baskets and hooks for rackets, roller skates, fishing tackle, and so on.
  • Baskets on the wall or nets suspended from the ceiling are perfect for balls, baseball gloves and other small items.
  • Ceiling racks are ideal for out-of-season articles. 

Garbage and recycling areaGarbage and recycling area storage solutions
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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