A couple uses Penn Dutch's garage organization tips to clean their messy garage.

Garage Organization Tips; How To Get Started

Remember when you were dreaming of nothing but adding on a new garage for extra storage? Once you’ve added one, it’s all too easy to find yourself on the other end – knowing you need to declutter your garage, but feeling overwhelmed at the prospect. If you’re not sure how to organize a garage or where to begin, we’ve put together these helpful garage organization tips to assist you in finding the motivation to get started.

1. Start with a Game Plan

The first step to figuring out how to organize a garage is to create a plan, so you can determine your goals and hold yourself accountable. Otherwise, you’re in danger of procrastination as you start weeding through your possessions.

Make sure your plan includes:

  • Setting aside a day or two you can devote to sorting and organizing
  • Recruiting help from family members or others in your household
  • Listing how you’d like to use the space once it’s clean
  • Planning how you’ll discard unwanted items

When you have a framework in place, you’re much more likely to stay on track and clean up your clutter. If you need to get specific, don’t be afraid to make a granular to-do list to keep yourself accountable. Plenty of studies show that writing down your plans can boost your ability to execute them

A cup of coffee sits on top of a napkin with an organization plan jotted on it.

2. Sort Your Possessions

Once you’ve determined your goals, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get busy. To declutter your garage, you’ll want to first start by sorting the items currently in it.

Step 1: Clear the Items Out

Begin sorting through your items and keep a running list either mentally or on paper of what you’re finding. You may have an idea, but there may be some surprise items you find hidden in hard-to-reach corners. Move all items out of the garage to an open area or space so you can comb through them thoroughly.

Step 2: Sort Your Items & Take Inventory

Perhaps the easiest way to sort through your items is to use a four pile system. Create four separate areas to place items you plan to keep, donate, sell, or throw away. Then start sorting your items piece by piece until they’re all assigned to a pile. 

Step 3: Make a Plan How to Sell or Donate Items

If you have nice items you’d like to make a profit from, consider setting up your own garage sale. Alternatively, you can try listing your items online through platforms like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.

However, if you’d like to clear items out faster, consider donating them instead to a local group nearby. One of the perks of donating items is that it ultimately can benefit others in your immediate community. Plus, it reduces environmental waste. 

Step 4: Properly Dispose of Items

Perhaps you have old household cleaning chemicals or other reactive items you’d like to get rid of. Make sure you follow these EPA guidelines to carefully dispose of any hazardous materials

Additionally, review your trash collector’s plan details to determine what items they will or won’t take. If you have large items to throw out, consider taking them to the dump yourself or calling up an independent collector who specializes in removing assorted items.

3. Clean out Your Garage

Just like routinely cleaning out and maintaining your shed is key to keeping it in good shape, cleaning out your garage ensures it stays like new. When it’s emptied out, you should inspect it to look for any damage or problems.

First, you can deep clean and sweep floors, clean windows, get rid of unwelcome occupants, and add pest control supplies if necessary. While doing this, keep an eye out for signs of serious damage so you can make sure to repair it yourself right away or find a repair professional that can help.

4. Decide What’s Safe to Store

Now that you have a clean garage, it’s important to make sure the items you plan to put inside it are safe to store. Here are some items we recommend putting elsewhere in your home:

  • Pet food (which can attract rodents)
  • Paint (extreme temperature fluctuations can ruin it)
  • Propane tanks (can be a fire hazard)
  • Canned foods (they can freeze over winter)
  • Paper products (which can attract pests like roaches or bugs)
  • Electronics (they can be damaged from temperatures and moisture)
  • Sentimental items (items like photos or records can be damaged by moisture)

Aside from these items, you’re fine to store plenty of other items in your garage like tools, recreational vehicles, or workout gear. 

Tools and other gear sit on shelves in a garage.

4. Research & Pick from Garage Organization Ideas

The top key to any successful garage organization is to group like items together and to store items you use more frequently in easy-to-reach spots. Then you can keep seasonal or rarely used items in the harder-to-reach areas since you only need to access them on a limited basis. Apart from that, here are our favorite garage organization ideas to help you clean up your space.

Shelves & Shoe Racks

Vertical shelving is a great place to start when organizing your garage, as it adds some structure to your space. You can certainly install shelves directly mounted onto the wall, but if you’re looking for a quick solution try simply visiting your local hardware store for some stand-alone shelving.

Additionally, if you like keeping outdoor shoes, work boots, or winter boots in your garage, consider adding a shoe rack. You may find it works well for other small items you like to keep close at hand.

Clear, Labeled Bins

Once you have shelves in place, you’re likely thinking about how to store items on them. We recommend investing in clear plastic bins instead since they’re durable against moisture and also have easy visibility in case you forget what’s inside. 

When you’re placing items in the bins, also consider taking time to carefully label them with a small label maker. By doing so, you’re more likely to adhere to your organization system over time.

Hanging Ceiling Storage Solutions

After you pick shelving for the vertical spaces, don’t forget to utilize your ceiling space too! Hanging shelving is a great way to store those seasonal items you don’t need to access frequently. You can find ceiling mount shelving at your hardware store, or you can even follow this simple tutorial to make your own ceiling storage!

You can also try adding a hanging bike pulley system or hooks to your garage ceiling, to keep bikes out of the way. That way you’re not left stumbling over them or having to move them to access other parts of your garage.

Solutions for Odd Shaped Items

Items like power tools may be the hardest to store, considering they often have an odd shape. Don’t let this deter you from finding a solution though! You can find different sized garage hooks and hangers to hang along the walls of your garage, so these items are not in the way. 

Peg Board & Hooks

If you don’t already have one, consider installing a pegboard in your garage for all your assorted tools. It’s a great way to make sure you’re never stuck missing the right one for whatever job you’re working on at the moment. Best of all, you can always reconfigure the board to fit your storage needs as your tool collection grows. 

Bungee Cord Holder

Need to store oddly-shaped equipment like footballs, soccer balls, or round children’s toys? Consider creating your own DIY sports equipment storage area. With a few pieces of lumber and some bungee cords, you can ensure these items are never rolling around and getting in the way while they’re in your garage.

A Locking Cabinet

Storing lawn fertilizer or other garden and household items considered toxic or dangerous? Or just items you want to keep out of reach? While you can certainly put them on a shelf, keeping them in a locking garage cabinet may be a safer option if you have young children or pets. 

Special tools are kept in a metal cabinet, out of the reach of children or pets.

5. Consider Adding Additional Storage 

If you find your garage is still too full after getting rid of items and revamping your organization system, consider buying a new shed to increase your outdoor storage space. Or if you’ve continued collecting more equipment or automotive items, adding another garage could be a worthwhile investment to keeping your assets safe. 

Want to learn about your options for increasing your storage with a quality-built shed or garage? Talk to our team of experts to learn more about our pre-built structures.