You know how you start tidying up an area of your home and then before you know it you’ve just spent two hours giving it a totally thorough spring clean? I found myself doing it with our garage a couple of weeks ago! It had gotten to the point where exiting the car had become a bit of a minefield with barely any room to open the car doors so I thought I would just ‘get a few things out of the way’. Before I knew it, the entire garage had been reorganised (and I have to say, it’s a real pleasure to drive in there now!)
So I thought I’d pull together a few tips for taking on YOUR garage this spring.
1. Correct labelling
Adding labels is a great way to easily find things after they have been stored away – this way you won’t have to open every box to find your Christmas decorations for example. To make your search even simpler, you can use color-coded boxes to store different categories of items making them quickly identifiable. (This is where my husband shakes his head in a bemused fashion at me – I do LOVE colour coding!)
Shelving allows you to use the garage walls for storage instead of just leaning things up against it. You can even add a magnetic tool holder to the edge of one shelf to store your drill bits within easy reach.
3. Seasonal Equipment
If you store seasonal sporting equipment in the garage, such as skis or windsurfing gear, you can keep them safely out of the way on overhead racks or wall hooks. And for things that aren’t necessarily seasonal (our bikes for instance), you can use wall hooks to get them off the ground. Hanging all our bikes (four of them!) on wall hooks has freed up an incredible amount of space AND made them much easier to access.
4. Allocate space and make sure everyone knows the ‘system’
For example, the left side of the garage could be used for storing tools, while cycling gear can be placed on the opposite end. Make sure everyone in the house knows where they should put things, that way your carefully though out system can be maintained.
5. Create space beyond the walls and floors
6. Store chemicals safely
Chemicals should always be locked away and kept out of reach of children and animals. Install a lockable cabinet to store chemicals such as paints, pesticides, and antifreeze, or at the very least do what I do and put them all on the highest shelf in the garage, right at the back. It’s worth nothing that you should keep all chemicals in their original containers and wipe up spills immediately.
7. Work as a team
Ok, so I didn’t have a team, but it sure would have made life easier if I did! One person can be building shelves, one person can be sorting tools and another can be rationalising whether you really need five rakes.
8. Go green
Speaking of rationalising everything you’ve got in the garage, you can make try and make garage storage solutions out of items that you would otherwise throw away. For example, you can screw old food cans to the wall to create handy storage pots for small items such as paint brushes and screwdrivers. Plastic jars can also be screwed to the undersides of shelves by their lids to create more storage for screws and nails.
9. Throw Out Unused Items
Be ruthless during spring cleaning – if you haven’t used an item in several years, then throw it out or donate it to charity. Or consider holding a garage sale. Truly, we did not need five rakes!
10. Keep it Up
Ask every member of the family to make an effort to keep the garage clean and tidy. When every drawer and storage area is labeled with the items that should be stored there, even kids have no excuses for not putting items away after they have finished using them.