The first challenge of using the garage for storage is that unlike most rooms, the garage is not exactly furnished.
You will need a lot of storage "furniture" to make the garage work for your family.
The good news is that these catchall furnishings you'll need for garage storage don't have to be expensive or even attractive - just functional.
Here are some garage storage systems that you might want to consider, depending on what you plan to store here. You will probably need a combination to meet all your needs. These garage storage systems are roughly arranged from most to least expensive.
This is one of the most attractive options, and it's also one of the most expensive.
The advantage of floor-to-ceiling cabinets is that all your unsightly items are out of sight. You can organize them well.
And you can keep them relatively dust-free and clean. For neatniks, this might be the right choice.
Friends of mine, Pat and Sam, use their garage as a workspace. Sam mounts and frames artwork and prints. Pat refinishes old furniture. Neither is an indoor activity. So Pat and Sam keep their equipment and supplies along opposite walls of the garage.
When they're ready to work, they just back the car out of the garage into the driveway, pull their tools up front and center, and get down to business.
For the long-term storage items you use only once in a blue moon, you might want to invest in lofts.
These are platforms suspended about 4 or 5 feet from the ceiling. They are great for storing mementos, old financial records and paperwork, and other stuff you don't need but can't bear to part with right now.
It keeps them dry and out of harm's way. You can put things you might need more often, such as luggage and pet carriers up on the loft, but store them at the front where they're pretty accessible.
For just about anything you want to hang or store, there is a specialized rack explicitly designed for it.
There are racks to store balls, bikes, tennis supplies; you name it. Most people would not need such costly solutions.
However, if you have a passion - biking, tennis, fishing, golf - and have expensive equipment, you might want to invest in proper storage for it.
These are the aluminum shelves you can get at hardware and home stores. They are inexpensive and light and can hold everything from pantry items to sodas to boxes.
Capacity on these shelves range from 50 pounds to more than 200 - so make sure you know how much weight yours can hold.
This will be helpful when you're considering what to store where, but
it's also essential that you know if the kids try to climb them.
For safety and a lot of other practical reasons, make all your garage's storage units no-play zones. And if the kids don't comply, make the room and its contents off-limits for a day or two. You shouldn't have to tell the kids twice.
These are boards filled with holes on which you hang things on single hooks. Pegboards are convenient garage storage because everything is accessible and in plain view yet not on the floor.
Pegboards are great for storing bikes, gardening tools, work tools, and sports equipment.
A friend of mine, Kayla, has a family that's really into sports. A sturdy pegboard covers an entire wall of their garage with even sturdier hooks. Everything from bikes to skis to swimming goggles is hung on the pegboard.
All balls are stashed in a series of bins at the bottom. Water bottles and energy bars are stored alongside the bins. Gym bags are on the counter, ready to go with fresh, clean towels.
Running shoes and hiking boots are in shoe cubbies at the bottom. A canoe and a rubber raft hang side by side from the ceiling. This is a family that's ready to play anytime.
Remember that a garage is a filthy place. Protect anything that's not sealed by storing it in plastic containers. Stacking containers can help maximize garage space. Wheeled bins are great for toy pickup at the end of the day.