Really old maps from 400-500 years ago contained big areas that were simply deemed “terra incognita” and left blank. Basically the map maker had no information about those parts of the world so they just ignored them. The garage is sort of like that. Most people have a very definite vision of their home: what they like, what they don’t, how it works and their favorite parts. But that mental picture tends to include a large blank spot that we like to call “the garage”.
Part of this willful blindness when it comes to the garage is due to the fact that, like the basement, we tend to use it as a kind of catchall and not much more. As a result the garage - again like the basement - can get so discombobulated that we start to pass through it with mental blinders on. But there’s no reason the garage has to continue being the terra incognita of your home. With just a modicum of effort you can transform the garage into an organized, even attractive, space that actually works to enhance the quality of your life. Below are 8 organizational hacks you can use to do just that.
Bringing the Garage Back into the Domestic Fold
Put the following 8 organizational hacks to work in your garage and convert it from something you’d rather not talk about into something you want to show off to friends and neighbors.
- Get the garden tools out of the boxes and onto the walls: If you’re like most people your garden tools are tossed hither and yon into a random collection of boxes on the floor of the garage. Start your garage reclamation project by installing a pegboard on one wall of the garage and hanging all your garden tools in an organized fashion. While you’re at it, do the same for any power tools you use around the house.
- Hang your bicycles: Bikes are a common cause of garage clutter as it’s quite common for folks to simply hop off the bike and lean it against the nearest vertical surface in the garage. Put an end to the tyranny of the loose bicycles by installing bike hooks in the ceiling of the garage and get your bikes off the floor.
- Create some simple DIY shelving: One of the best ways to tackle the issue of garage clutter is to build some simple shelving along one wall of the garage. If you have a natural DIY streak the process shouldn’t take more than a weekend to accomplish. You can then use the shelving as a launching pad for other organizational hacks like putting nails, screws, zip ties and other loose objects into mason jars and giving them their own section of the new shelving.
- Make use of storage bins: Plastic storage bins are an incredibly simple way to get things off the floor and out from underfoot. Pick up as many as you need to hold various objects like sporting goods and recyclables and give them their own designated area on those new shelves you just built. Don’t forget to label the various bins for easy identification of the contents.
- Purchase a hazardous materials cabinet: All too often homeowners will leave things like spray paint, paint thinners/removers, propane tanks - either full or empty - and other hazardous materials lying loose about the garage. This not only leads to clutter but is actually quite a dangerous habit. Purchase a hazardous materials cabinet for your garage and put all dangerous materials in one safe place.
- Designate a specific part of the garage for storing trash bins: All too often trash bins just get dumped wherever inside the garage once they’ve been emptied by the trashman. As a result we have to negotiate our way around them once we’ve exited the car. Designate a specific, out of the way area for trash bins and make sure they’re always returned to their proper position.
- Use all of the space: If your garage has a high ceiling you may want to create a storage platform in the upper reaches of the space. This can be used for long term storage of items that aren’t particularly temperature or moisture sensitive.
- Let there be light: In most garages light is at a premium. As such it’s often difficult to find anything in the gloom. If you’re serious about organizing your garage introduce a modest lighting scheme that will bring sufficient light to bear on the various aspects of your newly organized garage.
Turning your garage from that place where you dump stuff into the place where you can easily find stuff is not as difficult as you might think. Keep the above tips in mind and you’ll be well on your way to a more organized, productive and safer household.