A messy garage is not only hard to look at; it can be dangerous to live with. Here are some reminders about what NOT to store in yours, and some pointers on how to make it a more usable space.
It is best to avoid using the garage to store chemicals of any kind. They can be flammable and their fumes can also be toxic. Wherever they are stored, be sure it is out of reach of children. Items that are poisonous to pets like ice-melt mixtures and antifreeze (which can be fatal if ingested) should be kept out of reach and in their sealed, original packaging.
Gas grills and generators are often stored in the garage too, complete with their propane tanks or even holding gasoline. Propane is highly combustible, and if the propane leaks, one spark of static electricity or the flick of a light switch could cause an explosion.
Anything with propane or gas should be stored at least 10 feet away from the house.
Expect the organization of a garage to take an entire day or more. Schedule it on a day/weekend when good weather is expected. Try to get all members of the household involved to make it go faster. One incentive to get them to help is to offer a treat to everyone like dinner out. After a long day/weekend of organizing, you will deserve it!
1. Pull everything out of the garage—and we mean everything—and sort it all into piles of KEEP, THROW AWAY, or GIVE AWAY. (This is why it’s good to have everyone participate. Trust us, you will come across items and have NO IDEA what they are used for.) Bonus Tip: Sweep the floor and any existing shelving while the space is empty.
2. Load the GIVE AWAY items into your car or truck and on your lunch break, drop them off at a thrift store or other donation center. You could also make arrangements for a junk pickup service to haul them away. Put THROW AWAY items in trash or recycle bins.
3. Sort the KEEP pile into categories such as Toys, Automotive Supplies, Landscaping Items, Tools, and so on. It is helpful to have storage bins or labeled boxes ready to put these items in when possible. You can also create storage out of things you already have, like using jars or coffee cans to hold screws, or old trash cans to store rakes and shovels.
CONGRATULATIONS! YOU ARE HALFWAY DONE!
4. Designate an area of the garage for each category. One idea is to keep items used outside (ride on toys, landscaping supplies, etc.) closer to the garage door, and items used indoors (tools, overflow pantry items, seasonal decorations) closer to the entrance to the house.
5. Now, you have to create an organization system for all of the KEEP items. Hooks and shelving will keep things accessible but out of the walkway. There are plenty of affordable options including:
- Sterilite makes a plastic shelving unit that can be assembled in about 30 seconds and each shelf will hold 50 pounds. It only costs about $30.
- E-Z Ancor’s Tornado hooks have a pin in the back that acts as an anchor in drywall. You put the screws in with a Phillips screwdriver; they’ll hold 30 pounds. If you hit a stud, the hook will hold 70 pounds.
- Rubbermaid also has a system called the Fasttrack System that mounts horizontally on the wall with screws and has a variety of attachments for hanging things. You can adjust the hooks whenever you need to very easily.
- Pegboards are great too, because you can see everything at a glance. If you want, draw the outline of the item on the pegboard; that way, you can quickly tell what is missing and it’s easy for someone else to put things back where they belong.
6. Bring all of the now sorted KEEP items back inside the garage and store using the organization method you have chosen. Keep most used items handy with least used items on upper shelves/hooks.
Good luck and enjoy your newly organized garage!
Source DIY Network