How to organize your garage

The garage of a home.

The garage of a home. (Credit: IStock)

Garages may have started out as a place to store cars, but gradually they've become a place to store almost everything else, from sports equipment to dog food to holiday decorations.

As the weather gets warmer and the spring cleaning urge hits, it's a good time to take stock of your garage. Is it a functional space or just a repository for junk? Are there more logical ways to store your belongings?

Before you rush out and buy new shelving and cabinets, here are some tips on how to organize the garage:

1. Make a plan

Don't pull everything out of the garage. This is because many get overwhelmed when they try to cram it all back in. Instead, decide how to use your garage.

2. Be selective

Pick a sunny day and clear out all the belongings. Decide what will stay, what can be donated and what should be thrown away.

3. Start fresh

Once the garage is cleared, sweep and wash the floors and walls. A fresh coat of paint can brighten the walls, and paints made especially for garage floors protect them from oil and gas stains and prolong the life of the concrete.

4. Assess needs

Consider what kind of storage you need. Costs vary significantly, from $40 plastic shelving to $350 steel shelving. You can use old kitchen cabinets or buy new ones.

5. Overhead units

Use all your available space. For items you only need occasionally such as holiday decorations, consider overhead storage units.

6. Folding bench

If you want a workbench but don't have a lot of room, consider one that folds into the wall.

7. Group effort

Store things close to where you need them, and in logical places. All the gardening equipment should go together, for example, and the bike helmets should be next to the bikes.

8. Outside storage

Store some things outside. Consider a deck box for children's toys or a storage shed for gardening tools. Just make sure to use the new space properly, and don't let it become your new catchall for junk.

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