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garage uncluttered

Garages are the perfect place for storage. But, they can be clutter collectors, too. How do you reclaim your garage space? Take a look.

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Has your garage become a catch-all for tools, equipment, and other assorted items that may or may not be useful? Clutter is the enemy of our vision for better spaces! If your garage has become so cluttered you can no longer use it the way you want to use it, it’s time to implement some easy yet effective storage ideas and reclaim your space. It’s also time to think about ways to curtail clutter in the future too.

Declutter your garage space

Clutter can sneak up on us, eating up space in our garages that we may otherwise use more effectively. A good first step to tackling this problem  is to clean out the garage so you can see what you’re working with. It’s also a great way to sort out what you still need, and what you don’t.

That seems pretty obvious, maybe. But, as the years roll on, we tend to accumulate things that just take up space rather than represent something useful or decorative. Establish your own criteria from what to keep, what to sell, what to donate, and what to trash. Getting rid of items that no longer hold any personal value is more than just about space. The act of purging clutter from our lives has a positive psychological effect. It can help us get a sense of a new beginning, and for new visions for what a space can be that we weren’t able to see before.

Designate places for everything

So the next step after the great garage clean-out is to think about how to establish a greater sense of order. Nothing is more disorienting and frustrating than looking for an item that could be anywhere, and having to sift through a pile of irregularly shaped items to try and find it. Deciding on where all of your tools, equipment, and other items live is the first step in making sure your garage doesn’t fall to prey to forces of chaos.

When you go to return your gardening supplies, yardwork equipment, or socket set to your garage after using these items, you’ll not only know exactly where it goes but you’ll also be able to find it quickly next time. When everything has a place, your storage system is much more likely to stay in place for the long term.

garage shelving

(image: Peter Baer)

Add labels

One great way to formalize the idea of designated spaces is to be really obvious about it so that everyone in your household can understand and use your new system. This is where labels can be your best ally to fighting clutter, maintaining order, and maximizing accessibility to the items you need at any given time.

Use a handheld printer to create labels for small containers of nails and screws as well as to designate tool storage spots. Use larger labels for bins, so you can easily find items from across the garage. To make the contents of your containers abundantly clear, consider using transparent jars and plastic bins.

Install shelving

One of the most effective means of getting that balance between order and accessibility is extra shelving. Think about what your new vision for your garage will be, and what activities and their associated items will be the most important to you. Choose the shelving type that best meets your needs based on that vision.

Floating shelves, extra cabinets fixed to the wall, or free-standing cabinet shelving cab all be viable options, depending on your space. Straightforward wooden shelves work well for a variety of heavy items, while wire shelving is a moveable option that works best for lighter items. Consider installing deeper shelves to hold large and small bins of items.

Install bins

When you have to store a lot of items in a garage, and space is at a premium, sometimes even the visual reduction of clutter can make all the difference. A good way to see to this is sturdy and sealable bins. Keep baseball and bike helmets in one bin, store the pool toys together in another. Make space for a bin to store baseball bats, hockey sticks, and lacrosse equipment vertically.

When these items are loose, or even leaning against a wall, it creates visual clutter, even if not a lot of space is taken up. Storage bins help to eliminate this negative effect. Sometimes, the illusion of more space has the same effect as actually having created more space. Also to consider: banish cardboard boxes! They attract rot and insects that can ruin your items. And they’re ugly, too!

garage wall storage

(image: Rubbermaid)

Think beyond the horizon …

… Or at least the horizontal. The fact is, the floor of your garage and even your shelving units make up only a fraction of your garage space. With this in mind, think beyond it by considering alternate storage solutions, particularly for items of irregular shapes, or ones that aren’t as easily stored on a horizontal plain. Installing a pegboard against one wall of your garage is a great place to set up a home for your items. Use hooks to hang up everything from trowels to hoses to saws.

Sports gear and balls frequently end up on the lawn, scattered throughout the house, and loose in the garage. Organize your gear by creating a bungee cord wall storage for soccer balls, volleyballs, and basketballs.  If you use your bike regularly, use a wall hanging system for convenient storage and easy access. If you don’t ride your bike often or you want to put it away for the season, purchase mounting brackets and suspend your bike from the ceiling.

Your space belongs to you, not your clutter

This is an important point to help guide you as you clear out your garage. Your garage space is yours to use as you see fit; a workshop, a rehearsal space, an art space, or even simply a place to park. Clutter can get in the way of that. Don’t let it.

If you find that your family no longer needs all of the stuff you’ve accumulated, a garage sale will help you clear out the clutter while finding new homes for your things.Don’t let your messy garage turn into a black hole where you can never find anything again. Make room and create a new space that will serve you better!

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Resources:

 

http://www.blackanddecker.com/ideas-and-inspiration/projects/hanging-a-pegboard-in-your-garage

http://tiphero.com/genius-garage-storage-tips/

http://www.wikihow.com/Hang-a-Bike-on-the-Wall

 

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Rob Jones

Rob served as Editor-In-Chief of BuildDirect Blog: Life At Home from 2007-2016. He is a writer, Dad, content strategist, and music fan.