Garage Organization Reveal!

Yesterday I posted about how horrific our garage had become over the past year.  We literally threw things in there when we didn't know what to do with them.  It was sad.  I didn't even really know what was in there when I started this project last weekend.  Fortunately, I love to organize stuff - I just need the time to do it. 

Without further ado, here was the before of our scary messy garage -

And here's the new and very much improved garage - 

Wow!  We have windows!  It is still a work in progress but at least I don't have to worry about things falling on my kids when they walk in the door.  The large boxes on the left side are our new screen doors which still need to be installed.  Hopefully that will happen this weekend.

Organizing the shelving was practically a project within itself.  Before there was no rhyme or reason to anything on the shelves and there was loads of wasted space.

And now I can actually find my work gloves when I need them and do not have to worry about rock salt falling on me!

Here are some recommended steps for organizing a garage:

1)  Throw out, recycle, donate, sell, or give away anything you no longer need or use. For me that meant finally selling the chairs I had in there and an extra bike.  I also put some old fence parts on the curb and listed them for free on Craigslist.  They were gone within a few hours!  I even cleaned out all of the random containers of the kids' bubbles so the only ones we have left are the ones that actually have bubbles in them!  

2)  Remove things that do not belong in the garage.  I put several hand tools and other items back in the basement where they came from (at some point).

3)  Group like things together - yard tools, lawnmowers and trimmers, bikes, toys, etc.  I keep the lawnmower and trimmer in the back of the garage.  They are (now) easily accessible but far enough away from the main area where the kids play near the front.  The toys and kids' bikes are right up in front where they can get them easily.  

4) Put toys where kids can see them, get to them, and put them away themselves.  I like to put toys in clear boxes, milk crates, or on shelves by themselves so the kids can see them.  I like to put all of the balls in one box because I find they just get lost in the bottoms of other boxes otherwise.  The other toys are all in the other plastic box.  I filled one of our large beach buckets with sidewalk chalk.  It's easy for the kids to pull out the whole bucket to play with the chalk and then put it away themselves. 

5)  Store hazardous chemicals and sharp tools on high shelves where kids cannot reach them.  This seems obvious when you are inside, but be mindful of the same rules when you are organizing your garage.

6)  Expensive garage organizers are cool but probably unnecessary for most people.  I considered some "garage organization systems" before we moved back into the house last year but decided against it since we were bleeding money already.  Our main solution for tool organization was an old school scrap piece of lumber and large nails strategically placed to hold the tools.  Works great for us and cost us pretty much nothing.  

7)  You don't necessarily have to tackle the whole project at once.  I organized the main part of the garage last Sunday but tackled the shelves one evening this week (thus the rather dark pictures).  

8)  Take advantage of any overhead storage, for rarely used items like bulky off-season sporting equipment, sleds, lumber, etc.

Side note:  In case you were wondering why only 2 walls were drywalled, this was required by the building code.  It is supposedly to prevent a fire from spreading to our neighbors' dwellings (god forbid). 

Hope you enjoyed this little tour of our clean garage! I'll keep you updated on additional organization projects.