Cleaning and organizing your garage is one of those activities nobody looks forward to. It can be tough to build the motivation to get started, but once you finish the task, a clean and organized garage becomes a huge asset in your home.

One way to avoid ever having to clean the garage is to make sure it stays organized in the first place. Here we will take a look at how to organize your garage and reasons why it becomes cluttered to begin with, as well as garage storage tips that will keep yours organized and efficient for years to come.

garage storage solutions

Why Do Garages Get Cluttered?

There are many ways to use a garage, but the No. 1 reason for having one has always been to store your vehicle and keep it out of the outdoor elements. However, a cluttered and unorganized garage can make your car feel like an afterthought. In fact, some people can’t even fit their cars in the garage because they have so much clutter.

There are four main reasons why garages become cluttered:

  • You hold on to things for too long. You may not reach full-on hoarder levels, but many of us want to keep things we don’t use that have some sort of emotional value. When an item no longer has a place in the house, it might get relegated to the garage.
  • Organizational tools are lacking. Many garages are large enough to house everything you have, but you may not have sufficient closets, cabinets or other storage areas to organize and hold all of your things.
  • If you live in an area where the weather changes with the seasons, it’s likely you store summer items in the garage during the cold and snowy winter months. The problem, however, is those items don’t always make it back outside the following summer.
  • You simply have too much stuff. This may tie somewhat into the fact that we tend to hold onto things too long, but not always. Sometimes we simply have too many things and not enough space to keep it all organized.

garage clutter

Items That Create Messes

If your garage is currently less-than-tidy, you can probably name 10 or 15 items off the top of your head that contribute to that mess, things you don’t necessarily use on a daily basis or even need anymore. Here are some of the most common things you can be on the lookout for:

  • Ladders
  • Cans of exterior and interior paint
  • Garden tools and equipment
  • Old or unused luggage
  • Old sports equipment
  • Furniture you said you’d refurbish
  • Old and unnecessary files or papers
  • Bicycles
  • Bags of old clothes you said you’d donate
  • Old appliances
  • Household items you no longer use

The list goes on and on. That said, most or all of this isn’t as big of a problem if you have a strong and efficient storage and organization system in place.

The Benefits of an Organized Garage

Here are four the best reasons to keep your garage organized.

  1. You Have More Space

Obviously, the cleaner and more organized your garage, the more space you’ll have. This means greater space for your vehicles, but it also means more room to work on any household projects you might have. If you relocate things from the house to your newly organized garage, you may even gain more space to entertain neighbors while watching the game on a Sunday afternoon.

  1. You Save Time

How many times have you gone to the garage to find something, then got sidetracked by all of the clutter you encountered? An organized garage makes things easier to find, a huge help when you have a task at hand.

  1. You Boost Your Home Value

If you happen to have your house on the market, a clean and organized garage can make a much better impression on potential buyers than one that’s cluttered and bogged down with unnecessary items.

  1. You Increase Your Safety

If all of your tools are stored in a safe place, there is a much smaller chance you or anyone in your family will endure an unpredictable injury.

Garage Storage Tips and Solutions

Now the hard part — how to clean and organize your garage? The first step is getting rid of things you don’t need or will never use. That can go a long way toward paring down the items in your garage even before you begin the organization process.

Once that is done, it’s time to organize. The most efficient way to do this is making sure you have the means and tools to do so. Here are 10 garage organization ideas that can help you on your path to garage organization today.

get rid of things you don't need

  1. Install More Drawers in the Garage

The convenience of having available drawers in your garage can’t be overstated. You can use drawers to store all sorts of things, though you’re most likely to use them for tools or small parts.

To bump your organizational skills up yet another notch, outfit some of your drawers with drawer trays that organize smaller items even better. This can be a huge time saver in a number of situations, such as when you need a nail or bolt that’s a specific size.

If you live in a cold-weather state, drawers are also a handy storage space for extra hats, gloves, scarves or other winter gear you might need while snow-blowing the driveway or working on any other outdoor projects.

  1. Mount Racks in the Garage

Racks for garage purposes come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Many are made for specific items, such as:

  • Towel racks
  • Tape racks
  • Hand tool racks
  • Spray can racks
  • Bike racks

Another very effective style of rack is a large overhead rack that hangs from the ceiling and gives you an extra layer of storage space. These come in handy for large but not-too-heavy items such as kayaks, inflatable pool toys or ski equipment, or they can be a good place to keep storage bins of season items, such as holiday decorations or sports equipment.

  1. Add Custom Closets to the Garage

As you might expect, closets in the garage are great for storing larger or longer items. Some of the most common things you can stash in a garage closet include yard work tools such as rakes, shovels and hoes, as well as cleaning tools such as mops and brooms.

garage storage closets

Closets are also great for organizing seasonal items or things you use only a few times year. This might include camping gear such as foldable tents, chairs and fishing poles, or outdoor activity items including snowboards and water skis.

Inside the home, people use closets most often for storing clothes, and you can use them for the same task in your garage as well. You may want to keep a few go-to items you don’t mind getting dirty while doing work on the yard or car, or you could store winter jackets and other cold-weather items during the summer months.

  1. Bump up Your Cabinet Space in the Garage

Cabinets are perfect for when you want to store something behind a closed door but don’t need the height of a closet. Some of the most common things that come to mind include:

  • Paints
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Buckets and bags of soil or other substances
  • Coolers
  • Sleeping bags
  • Gas cans

A deep cabinet is also a good space for larger power tools or other equipment, such as wet/dry vacuum cleaners, power generators and so on.

If you use a basement attached to your garage for entertaining, such as playing cards or watching sporting events, nearby cabinets are a must. You can use them to keep snacks within close range of a liquor cabinet/wet bar area. You could also slide a mini-refrigerator inside of deeper cabinets.

  1. Put in Counter Space in the Garage

You can’t appreciate the utility of counter space in the garage until you have it. You can find all sorts of practical applications for counters. You might use them to keep items you don’t plan on moving anytime soon, such as a small TV, a radio or a mini stereo system. Countertops also keep tools and parts out of the way while you’re working while allowing you to access them easily should you need them.

Some countertops can also double as a work bench, where you can do any manner of drilling, sawing, pounding, hammering and prying without fear of doing damage. If you have access to running water in your garage, it’s nice to implement a kitchen-like sink into your countertop area for things such as washing your hands or rinsing paintbrushes.

  1. Build Installs on the Garage Walls

You can employ your garage walls for much more than keeping you sheltered from the outdoors. It pays off to install a slatted wall system with grooves that allow you to easily hang and move hooks, shelves, racks and clips. Wall space in the garage often goes unused, but think about it — the more of your stuff that’s kept against the wall, the more room it will clear in the center of your garage.

While the walls of your garage can work as a nice storage option, you also want to make sure you leave room for incremental electrical outlets. This is particularly true if your power tools tend to get their best workouts in the garage.

  1. Hang Hooks in the Garage

There are a number of types of hooks that can help keep your garage clean and organized. Some examples include:

  • Horizontal hooks. These work well for hanging and storing longer items horizontally, such as bikes, ladders or surfboards.
  • Handle hooks. These smaller hooks work well for hanging items with long and skinny handles, including rakes, brooms and shovels.
  • Double hooks. Just as the name indicates, double hooks make use of two hooks and contain items snugly against the wall. For instance, you can wrap a garden hose around double hooks to keep it out of the way.
  • Mini hooks. These are most convenient when placed near a workbench area and hold smaller items such as paintbrushes and tools.
  • Large or hoop hooks. These larger hooks keep bulkier and heavier items on the wall, such as ladders or folding chairs.
  1. Arrange Shelves in the Garage

Many garage owners prefer closets and cabinets for organization. Not only do they store your things, but they also conceal the clutter. Still, open-faced shelving systems keep items out of the way, whether they include large storage bins and boxes or smaller ones. Just be sure to revisit the shelves often to ensure they don’t get overrun with junk.

  1. Invest in a Series of Bins and Baskets for the Garage

Large storage bins are an upgrade over cardboard boxes for storing things you won’t need to use anytime soon. You can also find open-ended bins and baskets of varying sizes you can hang from your slatted wall system to gain instant access to various items. Some examples include:

  • Small baskets: These work well for tiny items you don’t want scattered all over the garage, such as thumbtacks, nails, screws and washers.
  • Medium baskets: As you should have deduced, these work for medium-sized items, such as tape measures, rolls of tape or thicker, longer screws.
  • Large baskets: These can be helpful for items such as dog toys, sports balls, shoes or bike helmets.

garage storage bins

  1. Investigate Bike Options for the Garage

Particularly if you and your family own more than one bicycle, you’ll want a storage system that’s more sophisticated than leaning the bikes against the wall, where you’ll inevitably scrape your ankles on the bike chains.

You will discover many options for bike storage. Some racks hang bikes vertically. Some hang them horizontally. Some even hang them upside down from the ceiling. To save space, your best bet is to buy a rack that hangs the bike so it hugs the wall. That said, if your family has five bikes or more, it might be more efficient to set up a series of racks that hang them vertically.

All the Garage Solutions You Need

If you live in the greater Milwaukee or Chicago metro areas, Chicago Closets has what you need to get your garage clean and organized, and, more importantly, the tools to help you keep it that way.

We’re a family-owned business that takes pride in efficiency — in many cases, we can have your garage solutions installed in seven days or less. We use sturdy and high-quality supplies to build your storage. Most of our organization solutions use materials that are 3/4 inch thick, and we also offer some solutions that are a full inch thick.

Not only are our garage storage and organization solutions practical, but they’re also stylish. Whether you need a closet, cabinet or countertop, when you work with us you know you’ll get a modern, sleekly styled and finished look.

If you haven’t done so already, there is no time like the present to tackle your garage cleaning and organization project. It might take some motivation, but your hard work combined with our expertise and chic yet durable solutions will help keep your garage organized for years to come.

If you need further proof, see for yourself what we have installed for other garage customers, then check out our solid reviews on HomeAdvisor. After you do, give us a call — you’ll be glad you did.


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