5 Steps to Organize Your Garage In One Weekend

Garage organization is all about equal parts willpower and measurement

For most homeowners, the garage is a terrifying place. It is a wasteland of old tools, half-deflated sports balls and untouched equipment from that time you pretended you were going to start mountain biking. And while you have the best intentions to declutter your garage every spring and then summer, it always ends up seeming like too daunting a task to take on. What you really need is a good chunk of time—say, a weekend?—and a clear, easy-to-follow plan. Here are five steps to declutter and transform your garage in one weekend.

Take your time

Too often, we simply plan too optimistically when it comes to household tasks and time. Our dedication to finally cleaning out the closet or organizing the garage fades quickly when we realize our easy, afternoon task is more like a grueling, six-hour commitment. So think realistically and budget an entire weekend for this project—it is a major undertaking!

Do your prep work during the week. Purchase or set aside cleaning supplies like work gloves for safety—the average garage contains at least one toxic material and three rusty nails—microfiber cloths, cleaner and boxes to sort the items you pull out. Label one “trash,” “recycling,” “donate” and “keep.”

Think ahead and check the weather for the weekend, as well. No one wants to spend several hours outside during a summer rainstorm!

Plan a layout

This can be a step you complete before you begin the physical process to organize your garage or during, depending on your feelings about planning ahead. If you have a more specific vision of your newly transformed garage—like, say, the ultimate workshop—planning a layout is a step you do not want to skip.

To plan the layout of your newly organized space, separate your garage into zones. Maybe you have a gardening zone, a sports gear zone, a trash and recycling zone. Whatever suits your lifestyle and the contents of your garage best. Determine which zones need to be larger—your workstation, exercise corner or art nook, for example—and block your space of accordingly.

Make sure you are taking into consideration the size and workability of your garage. Your most valuable real estate will be the most easily accessible areas, like the front sections of your garage. Plan to store your most frequently used zones and supplies in these spaces. The stuff you use less frequently can be stored towards the back or even up top.

Be ruthless

The weekend has come, the gloves are on and it is time to get this transformation started! Your first step is to pull everything out of the garage and sort it, whether in sections or all at once. This is where your labeled boxes come in handy. For many homeowners, this is the most difficult part of the process. Some folks just do not like to throw anything away!

That is why making a donation box is a great idea. Do you have duplicate toys or tools? Donate it. Have an item you never use, but paid too much to simply throw it away? Donate it. Just be sure this donation box is not shoved in the back of your perfectly organized garage to be forgotten! Put it directly into your car or donate the items when you are picking up lunch. Whatever you have to do to ensure the same box does not resurface during next year’s garage organization process.

The other items should be easy. Toss broken tools, outdated technology and anything you or your family have not used in a year. Give yourself permission to salvage items with personal value or second chance saves—especially if they are small and easy to store. Maybe with all this can-do energy from finally decluttering your garage you really will take up yoga! But if it is still there—and untouched—next year, it goes.

Think vertical

Even if your garage is on the small side, chances are you have untapped storage space right above your head. Overhead storage units are readily available in home improvement stores, and the Internet is abound with clever ideas and hacks. Whether you are suspending a ladder, mounting a bicycle rack or simply creating more space for storage, do not waste precious ground space in your garage organization project by building out instead of up. If you are supplementing your storage by purchasing storage racks, go for options that are taller than they are wide. Store a stepping stool in your prime real estate section if you are on the short side.

Get creative with storage

If you are on a budget—and who is not?—purchasing all the outdoor storage racks, mounts and baskets you need to totally reorganize and declutter your garage might not be an option for you. But it is surprising how much you can do with some excess wood and PVC piping! Revolutionize your recycling system with this DIY sorter. Eliminate the dreaded leaning tower of garden tools with PVC piping and wood panels. Wrangle loose balls with bungee cord.

But no matter what you choose, the ultimate garage storage system will always be the pegboard. You can attach simple, inexpensive hanging baskets to it for easy storage, add hooks to hold tools and basically mold it perfectly to your own purposes. No matter what inspiring designs you bring to your blank slate garage, leave plenty of room for a pegboard.

Know a neighbor dying to park their car in the garage again? Send this blog their way!