With the beginning of the new year and the holiday season behind us, it will soon be time for the annual spring cleaning ritual many of us adhere to. A great project to consider this year is to clear out that clutter in your garage and install an efficient garage storage and organization system. This is especially useful for all of us who call Arizona home as storage space can be lacking with the absence of basements that you find in other parts of the United States. This means we have to utilize spaces like garages for storage much more than other parts of the country.
The key to a successful garage storage and organization project is to have a well-thought-out strategy of what you want to accomplish and how to best utilize your space. When beginning your project, there are three main steps that your plan should include.
Garage Storage and Organization
The first step in any successful storage and organization project is to declutter, especially if you have hoarding tendencies. The general rule is to place your items into three main categories: items you are keeping; items you wish to donate or sell; and items that are trash. You may be surprised on how much you are able to get rid of or what you just might find. Once you have reduced the clutter to the items you will be keeping, the next step is to organize the keepers into groups of related items and by seasonal items. For example, all sporting equipment can go in one group, tools in another, and seasonal decorations in another. Grouping similar items together will help make them easier to find.
Organization Design and Space Planning
Now that you have everything organized into groups, the next step is to carefully plan the design of your garage storage and organization. Your items will help dictate the type of storage and organizational products you will be utilizing whether it be simple shelving, cabinets, drawers, or wall hanging systems. Carefully measure your garage to obtain an accurate floor plan. This will be crucial in putting together the most efficient use of space. With those measurements in hand, you can scour the Internet for websites that provide free online design to map out your storage plan. If your budget allows, hire a professional designer or company that offers garage storage and organization solutions.
There are several tips to keep in mind when completing your space plan. First, move everything out of your garage so you are looking at a completely empty space. This will help you see exactly what you are working with in terms of space and assist in visualizing what storage products you want to utilize and where you want groups of items to be placed.
Second, put frequently used items in areas that are easily accessible. You certainly do not want to put often used items in a cabinet that requires you back a car out to get to. Hard to reach areas are good for items such as seasonal decorations that you only need to get to a few times each year.
Third, do not forget to utilize every inch of your garage, including the ceiling. The ceiling can be a great place to hang a bike from or install a hanging storage rack system if your garage height allows. These ceiling rack systems are a great way to get items off the garage floor and completely out of the way, freeing up valuable floor and wall space to safely park your car.
Fourth, while it may be tempting to simply install as many cabinets as you can, it may not always be the best use of space for the items you have. Instead, consider utilizing some wall space for wall hanging systems for items such as bikes, landscaping tools (shovels, rakes, etc.), and sports equipment. Open shelving can also be a good alternative to cabinets. Not only are they cheaper to install, they also allow you to easily locate the items you are looking for. Buying some good, clear plastic bins to place on open shelving systems can be a very efficient way to keep your items organized.
Lastly, consider saving some space in your plan for a workbench or countertops. Even if you are not a person who is frequently tinkering in the garage, it is good to have counter space to work on. In addition, this area is a good spot for storing your tools. Consider installing a pegboard on the wall to hang hammers, screwdrivers, and bins for nails and screws.
Once your design is finalized, it is time to implement the plan. Depending on your budget and the complexity of your plan, hiring a professional to complete the installation of the cabinets, shelving, or wall hanging products. However, many garage storage solutions are relatively easy to install on your own, especially if you are utilizing a lot of free-standing open-shelving or simple wall hooks.
While cabinets, shelving, and wall hooks are a great start, they are not much good if you simply randomly throw items everywhere. Take the time to place items with thought and purpose. Consolidating items into plastic storage bins will help keep items from being loosely tossed somewhere and provide protection from dust, water, etc. We also recommend taking the time to label everything, especially storage bins. This will assist in knowing where everything is located without having to dig through each bin.
One additional consideration for your storage project is to install spray foam insulation. By installing spray foam installation, your attic will generally stay within five to ten degrees of temperature you keep your house at. Therefore, if you keep your house set at 75 degrees, then your attic should stay at 80-85 degrees. With these cooler temperatures, your attic becomes a conditioned space, opening it up for additional storage. You can read more on spray foam insulation in our previous post by following the link below.
With a weekend or two worth of effort and a well-thought-out plan, you can reclaim your garage and create an organized, uncluttered storage space. Not only will you be able to easily locate your items, you will feel better opening your garage door to organized space instead of a heap of mess. Who knows…maybe instead of closing your garage door as quickly as you can, you will want to keep it open to impress your neighbors