Control the Clutter and Organize Your Garage

An organized garage - photo by Rubbermaid Products

If you've got a messy, disorganized garage, you’re in the majority. It’s easy to use the garage as a catch-all for clutter, to fill it up with boxes and other items you’re not using. But it’s easier than you think to get all that clutter organized, in control and sorted out. Spend a few weekends on these simple DIY projects, and turn your garage into a sweet retreat instead of a huge eyesore.

Divide and Conquer

Before you can start taking your garage from cluttered to cultivated, you've got to take inventory. Free up a weekend or a couple of weekdays, get some helpers and get ready to sweat. It’s time to divide and conquer.

Meaning, you need to take all that stuff out of the garage and organize it into categories. You’ll have your own categories depending upon what’s in your garage, but they may look something like this: trash, sporting equipment, tools, building materials, stored items, automotive. You don’t have to throw all of your stuff away, but you do need to get rid of items that you really don’t need. Getting organized and staying organized means that you’re willing to part with unnecessary stuff when the time comes.

Install Pegboard

Choose a wall, or two, and put in some pegboard. This sturdy stuff is filled with holes where you can place hooks. Hang tools, bicycles, cords and all those odds and ends on the board. You can even put shelves right on the pegboard.

Hang Magnetic Strips

Get some long magnetic strips from a home improvement store and mount them to a 2x4 using wood glue. Now secure the 2x4 above your workbench. Now, you have a handy place to put loose screws, washers, pins and all those metal odds and ends that tend to float around the garage.

Make PVC Pipe Holders

Buy 2 and 3-inch PVC pipe from a plumbing supply store (where it may be priced more affordably than a home improvement store), and cut them into varying lengths to make tool holders. Short tubes can hold hammers, screwdrivers and other handheld tools. Long tubes are perfect for rakes, brooms and other bigger tools. The sturdy PVC plastic tubes will keep tools upright and in place, rather than jumbled up and leaning in a corner. PVC pipe can be cut with any handheld saw.

Build a Murphy Table

When you’re trying to save space in the garage, every little bit helps. Make your work bench disappear by building a Murphy table instead. This is like a Murphy bed, but it’s smaller and you don’t need a mattress. In the main, a Murphy table is a flat board that’s bracketed to the wall with a folding support underneath. It’s easiest to cut a rectangular piece of 1-inch plywood to size. Sand it all over and paint it if you want.

Build your supports first. You can simply attach ordinary table legs to what will be the front underside of the bench. Attach just one edge of the legs to the table using folding piano hinges. Use a larger hinge to attach the other end of the workbench to the wall. Now you can fold it up against the wall and fold the legs down against it to get it out of the way. You may need to attach an eyebolt to the front bottom edge of the table and lace a piece of twine to it, then secure the twine to a hook above the table. This will keep it from falling down on its own.

Re-Purpose a Dresser

Got an old dresser in your garage? Put it to good use in there. First, ditch the mirror if there is one. Install pegboard in that spot instead, and you’ve got another place to hang your odds and ends. The drawers are already handy for storage.

Put in Metal Shelves

Get organized in your garage by installing metal shelves. There’s practically an endless amount of stuff you’re going to want to store on a shelf in there, so go ahead and put some in. There are many different types of metal shelving to choose from.

Metal shelves are best-suited to garage environments because they’re more resilient against dampness and weather changes than wood.

Reuse Old Cabinets

If you’re tackling multiple home improvement projects at once, give the garage some love. Those old kitchen cabinets allow you to get organized, and you don’t even have to buy anything new. Just build a framework using 2x4s, check yourself against a level at all times, and drill the old cabinets into their new home. Take it to the next level by getting rid of those old doors and installing pegboard doors instead.

Keep It Organized

Work on small DIY projects, one at a time, to turn your garage into a place where you can work on projects, store your stuff and actually find what you might be looking for. It may take you a few weeks, but you’ll have to work on getting rid of clutter for the rest of your life.

Put things away after you’re done using them. And if something doesn’t have a place to go, find a place or make a place for it. Throw things away when they no longer have use. Keep everything in the garage labeled and visible, so you can find what you need when you need it. Every time you leave your garage, it should look neat, organized and ready for whatever tomorrow’s project may be.

Photo by Rubbermaid Products