Open custom garage cabinets and wall unit organizing outdoor gear

How to Plan: Garage Organization

Summer is a great time to tackle the clutter that resides in your garage. Why? The warm weather creates ideal working conditions. Also, the increased usage of bikes, outdoor toys, sports equipment and camping gear and grilling essentials means you need each item to be readily accessible. It’s also yard sale season, so any clutter you want to get rid of (that is in good condition) can potentially provide you with a profit.

Are you ready to declutter?

Considering the fact that only 27 percent of Americans report feeling confident that their garage is “very organized,” we bet you are ready to declutter! Wait just one minute, though. Just because you’re excited and planning on organizing your garage, doesn’t necessarily mean you have a great strategy to do so. Knowing how to start tidying your garage, what to consider keeping/tossing/donating and/or selling, as well as where to store which items, is what this blog is all about – so have no fear and check out the step-by-step process we’ve provided for you.

Garage organized with custom cabinets and shelves

Step 1: Determine What Your Needs Are

Proper planning is the key to any successful project – the same applies to your garage cleaning efforts. In order to know what you need to do, first, you should do a walk-through of the space. You can make a list on your phone or even write one out on paper but take notes on what you see as you consider the space. Here are a few questions to ponder as you get you started:

  • What currently bugs you about your garage?
  • Consider the layout – do you have designated ‘zones’ for different types of items? (i.e. tools, lawn care, outdoor toys, car supplies, etc.)
  • Do you have any specific or unusual storage needs?
  • How & how often do you use the items that you plan to store? (It’s important to consider usage in order to gauge accessibility – there are always different ways to store various items but there’s usually one way that’s going to be best for you.)
  • What is your preferred organizational method overall? (Think about your level of organizational tolerance or lack thereof.)

Tip: A walk-through will help you decide how much time you need to spend on your garage. Many bloggers advise you dive in and start emptying your garage ASAP; however, every garage is as unique as its owner. Time is precious – so, if you don’t need to spend two days or even a full day decluttering, why would you?

Brother and sister organizing and decluttering their garage

After you evaluate your space, we suggest you take before pictures. Not only will you be able to compare it with the end result, but you can hold it as a precedent for future clean outs. It helps not to have to start from scratch 365 days from now!

You can now pick a date to do your tidying. May we offer some suggestions? First, we recommend you schedule this for a day that’s forecasted to be warm and rainless so nothing gets wet since you’ll be using your driveway as a staging area. Our second suggestion is very important: try to declutter as close to trash day as you possibly can. This will spare you from garage garbage sitting around for days.

On a final note, don’t forget to stock up on cleaning supplies and personal supplies. These items include but are not limited to:

  • Windex and paper towels
  • Broom and dustpan
  • Storage bins
  • Cardboard boxes or bags for donations
  • Heavy duty trash bags
  • Marker and post-its to mark piles
  • Bug-spray and sunscreen
  • A playlist of songs and/or podcasts to keep you going
  • Water and your most motivating snacks

Custom garage organization system with cabinets and wall system

Step 2: Source Inspiration (If You Need It)

 For those of you that will walk away from your walk-through with a completed vision for your garage, we salute you! For others, however, it may be more difficult to determine how you want to organize your garage, which includes where things will go, how they will be labeled and/or arranged, if design trends should be considered and more.

With that said, we recommend you use tips and tricks from Pinterest, websites, your favorite professional organizer(s), YouTube – really, anywhere you prefer to find inspiration, allow these experts to influence your decision making process.

Tip: Are you unfamiliar with today’s top professional organizers? There are so many organization gurus online that it can be hard to determine who to follow and who to shut out. Luckily, we’ve done the legwork and have selected the following, who we have found to offer the best advice for all of your home organization needs – including the garage.

5 Home Organization Bloggers You Should Look to For Inspiration

Car parked in neatly organized custom garage

Step 3: Getting Organized

You’ve done your research and have found inspiration – next step is to get started!

To begin:

  1. Get ready – wear comfortable clothes you don’t mind getting dirty and eat an awesome breakfast. You’re going to need your strength.
  2. If applicable, move the car(s) out of the garage and/or out of the driveway and onto the street. The driveway will be your workspace.
  3. Gather all of the supplies we listed above under step 1. Now, create “zones” in your driveway for the following: keep, donate, sell, trash. You can use the post-its to label these areas.
  4. Unless your clutter is very limited and you’re already dealing with a tidy garage, it’s time to move everything out and into one of the 4 work zones.

What items shouldn’t be stored in a garage? Discover the entire list, here!

Outdoor equipment organized in garage cabinets

  1. Clean your (now empty) garage with paper towels and Windex, as well as a broom and dustpan. You only do this once a year, so make it count!
  2. It’s now time to determine what goes where. There are tons of storage solutions to select from, like:
    1. Cabinets that are customizable by size and elevated with stainless steel legs (a must-have if you live in an area where water tends to get into the garage). These can hold large bulky items, like groceries or sports equipment.
    2. Tool area or peg board with magnetic bars to securely hold your tools (add a butcher block counter, too!)
    3. A wrapping station with a fold-down table and wall-mounted storage containers to hold supplies.
    4. Capitalize on wall space and go vertical with a slatwall product like storeWALL. From floor to ceiling, you can store countless items using components like:
      1. Wide hooks for sports equipment like tennis rackets and bike brackets
      2. Tool hooks for shovels and brooms
      3. Baskets and tote bags, which are great for outdoor toys

Garage hand tools organized on magnetic bar  Outdoor gear neatly organized on garage wall systemGarage neatly organized with custom shelves and sliding doors

Now that everything is cleaned, put all the items sitting in your keep pile in their new homes. Everything put away and relatively tidy? Time for that after photo so you can show your family and friends, or even just remind yourself that you’re a beast!

Place donation boxes in the trunk of your car to be dropped off tomorrow, put trash out by the corner to be picked up and keep anything for your yard sale separated so it doesn’t accidentally find its way back onto a shelf or in a box.

Tip 1: When you drop off your donations to a charity or organization, ask for a receipt and keep it for next tax season – you can deduct it!

Tip 2: Keep a trash can and donation box in your garage all year round.

Tip 3: On the day you’re decluttering, don’t worry about applying or immediately implementing the problem-solving storage solutions you read about above. Rather, we suggest that you get in touch with an experienced, local professional, like The Closet Works Inc. (perhaps) for your free, no obligation consultation after you’ve determined your basic ideas pertaining to what you think will work best for you, and then allow a professional designer create a space that meets or exceeds all of your expectations in a safe, convenient and efficient manner.

Organized custom garage system with motorcycle parked in the middle

Whether it’s today, tomorrow, or next month, organizing your garage is on the to-do list. With a step-by-step checklist, however, you can stress less about ‘how’ to declutter and instead, simply ‘do’. Life, after all, is about working smarter, not harder – hopefully, this helps.

Interested in learning more about getting organized or The Closet Works’ installations? Request a free consultation with one of our professional Designers today.

Garage Organization | Organization