Top 10: Garage Storage & Organization Ideas
Interiors director Meg Crossley shares tips to a neat and tidy garage.
As someone who just stepped back from the brink of a completely disorganized garage, I can honestly say that whipping this space into shape can be a life changer. Summer is the season we use our garage the most — we do house projects large and small, we garden, we’re busy with tons of outdoor activities — so it’s time to give it the attention it deserves. Here are some of my top storage, organization and design advice to whip the space into shape.
See Meg’s garage makeover on H&H TV.
Freshen, freshen, freshen. Garages are notoriously dark, since they typically lack windows. So unless you want to keep your doors open — with the neighbors watching your every move — keep things as light as possible inside. For me, that meant painting my walls and ceiling in a fresh shade of white. I also hung a translucent blind in my window for a bright, breezy feel.
Think outside the box. When it came to reorganizing my garage, I took inspiration from another hardworking room: the kitchen. One key similarity between kitchens and garages is how everyone moves through these spaces, dropping off odds and ends as they go. For this reason, they both require very well-planned storage for things in all shapes and sizes. So I looked to some of my favorite, efficiently designed kitchens for ideas.
Plan a mix of storage. While everyday items can be popped on open shelves for easy access, less-used ones should be stored in drawers, or cabinets with doors, to keep visual clutter at bay (just like in the kitchen). A blend of closed and open storage offers convenience — without the messy look.
Label everything you’ve tucked away. While it’s a more utilitarian approach than one you’d take in the kitchen, a simple system of metal tags and paper labels — similar to the ones you’d see in an old hardware store — helps me keep track of all the things I’ve stashed away. If the stored items change, so does the paper insert. Easy!
Go vertical. Whenever you can, hang things on the walls of your garage to maximize available floor space (like you’d do with pots on a kitchen pegboard). Things that are ideal for hanging include: outdoor chairs, larger tools and ladders.
Create task-specific zones. Keeping all your gardening gear, for example, in one place makes it much easier to grab and go. Plus, getting in the habit of returning tools to one designated spot means it’s less likely you’ll misplace things.
Tuck away the “unsightlies.” Concealing garbage and recycling bins in a box or behind a wall will keep your space nice and streamlined — and any potential odors or critters at bay. Mine are hidden behind a sliding door that would be too heavy for a curious raccoon to open.
Add layers of lighting. Like any interior space, make sure you plan for both overhead and task lighting. One light isn’t going to do the trick! In my garage, I went with a hanging pendant and articulated clamp-on lamps to highlight different workspaces.
If possible, build up. This simple loft added at least another 100-square-feet of storage to my small garage. The pull-down ladder was simple to install, and makes the space easily accessible — perfect for storing large items.
Last but not least, plan for parking. If you don’t want to plow your car into your work areas, you’ll need some sort of signal to indicate when to stop pulling in. Most people rely on a hanging tennis ball, but I use burlap bags filled with kitty litter. They’re cheap to make, cheap to replace and I can move them whenever necessary (plus I think they’re kind of cute!).