garage organizing ideas

Garage organizing is difficult because by its very nature, a garage is a no man's (or woman's) land.

Garages aren't exactly part of the house, but they're not outdoors, either.

As a result, this transitional area can become junky in a heartbeat. 

The good news is that the garage can meet most of your storage needs. But that's if - and only if - you and your family organize it correctly.

And once it's organized, everyone who sets foot in no-woman's-land should help maintain that system.

Here's how to tackle the dirty job of garage organizing:

Garage Organizing: Taking Charge of the Entryway

Most of us enter our homes through the garage, That's one reason why it's so junky.

At the back door, we kick off our muddy shoes, throw down the umbrella, and toss in the ball we found outside the garage door.

Create a user-friendly entry area in your garage for the family to help keep clutter in check.

Consider what you do and what you're carrying as you enter your home, and then design a place for it. Here are solutions for a few common items:

Accessories: Whatever the season, we always need something. In the winter, it's gloves, hats, and scarves. In the the summer, it's sunglasses, raincoats, and hats. Give each family member a small basket or bin to store the items that they always need as they go out the door. No more running back inside to track it down at the last minute.

Backpacks: Those poor kids lug home monstrous backpacks and, of course, they cannot possibly take them all the way to their bedrooms, can they?

If the answer is no, find a temporary holding place for the backpacks in the garage. They're in the way inside, anyway. Options include:

  • Bins: Put big plastic bins of different colors near the door to capture backpacks. Assign one color for each child.
  • Hooks: Sturdy -very sturdy - hooks on the wall are another good alternative.
  • Shelves: Keep 'em low and make sure they're deep enough to fit the whole massive backpack.

The Garage as Storage Zone

If you have the space, the garage is a very good storage place. Not all storage is created equal, however. Some things need to be accessible at all times; other things we see only every 10 years when we move, but we want to keep them anyway. 

Think of your storage in three distinct categories.

  • Short-term storage: This is for things you'll need in the next three months or things that you need intermittently, such as items you buy in bulk. Short-term storage also includes items that you don't use often but need to keep handy, such as boots, flashlights, and umbrellas.
  • Mid-term storage: These are things you use seasonally, such as Christmas trees, grills, hammocks, and skis. Put them in lofts or stack them in boxes, but don't push them all the way to the back of the garage.
  • Long-term storage: These are things you don't really need but can't really part with, either, such as old tax records, your daughter's first dress, your children's artwork, mementos, and family treasures that you can't stand but will pass down anyway. Put these at the dark back inaccessible corners of the garage.

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