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5 Steps to Organizing and Reclaiming Your Garage

garage tools.

Garages were originally designed for parking vehicles, but many are now too filled with other items to fit a car (much less an SUV or truck). If your garage has so much in it that there’s no room to park anything, use these tips to help reclaim the space.

Dispose of Unwanted Items

Start by getting rid of items that you might not use or that should be stored elsewhere.

Old toys and unused lawn equipment tend to accumulate in garages Most of these items can be sold or donated. If you are unsure what to do with an item, Consumer Reports has a complete guide to help you sell or donate these items. Be sure to dispose of hazardous waste, such as paint, properly.

Pull Your Vehicle into the Garage

Next, make space so that your vehicle will fit in the garage. Drive into the garage, outline where the vehicle is with chalk or painter’s tape, and then back the vehicle out so you have room to work. The outline will show how much space you need for the car. While it may seem counterproductive to drive in and out of the garage, doing this will ensure there’s room for your car when you’re finished organizing.

Invest in Shelves and Hooks

Now, you can start looking at purchasing shelves and hooks to fully utilize the designated space around your vehicle. Shelves that mount to the wall and ceiling hooks are especially helpful, as they make the otherwise dead space useable. Everything from cleaning supplies to bicycles (with the right equipment and enough space) can be stored up high.

What you buy will depend on your garage’s configuration and the items you want to store in it. Explore all of your options at your local hardware store to see what will work for you.

Set Up Seasonal Storage

A good place to start is storing your seasonal gear. You want to make sure any in-season items are easily accessible. The things that you might not need for several months can be stored further in the back.

For example, hang bikes on overhead hooks and place a bin of athletic equipment on a shelf near the door during summer. When summer is over and the cold sets in, skis are swapped out where bikes are, and snow gear replaces the bin’s contents.

To make a seasonally oriented system work, you must be dedicated to rearranging items every few months. It might seem like a lot of work initially but moving a few bins and large items periodically, can be easier than constantly digging out what you want from the back corner of the garage.

Don't Forget Leftover Miscellaneous Items

Finally, put remaining items away on shelves or hooks that are still available. Again, make sure these items are stored away properly so the most-used items are still easily accessible. For instance, hand tools that are used regularly can be placed in front of holiday decorations. Be careful to not to overcrowd a section of the garage which can make things harder to get to. Anything that doesn’t easily fit should be put in another storage area, such as a basement or attic.

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