For more than 50 percent of homeowners, the garage is the most cluttered room of the house. This is because it becomes a bit of an on-site storage unit, perfect for housing holiday décor, toys, tools, and other gear. But using your garage to store items doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice organization or space. You just have to get smart about your garage storage solutions.
There’s no reason your garage can’t be a functional and usable space. Here are a few simple garage hacks to maximize space and make your garage a place you want to use daily.
1. Focus on Vertical Garage Storage
Leaving boxes, tools, and gear on the floor is not just inconvenient—it’s the perfect way to attract unwanted insects and pests. They thrive in dark areas and love to eat away at the cardboard, which only makes it easier for them to establish a colony.
Moving those items up off the floor and onto wall-mounted storage systems is a great way to keep your garage in better condition. But you don’t have to settle for a rickety wire shelf you put together on your own.
Instead, install wall-mounted bike racks to organize your two-wheeled transportation and sports equipment. Add permanent shelves along the walls of your garage where storage is most needed and make use of the full wall space.
Vertical storage allows you to maximize your storage space without decreasing the amount of floor space you have in the garage. You’ll still have plenty of room for your car, workbench, tools, and any other oversized equipment.
2. Create a Designated Work Area
If you spend a lot of time tinkering with projects, working on your car, or even gardening, you’ll want to create a designated work area.
This helps you stay organized and gives you a place to safely store projects when you’re still working on them.
Think about the types of projects you usually tackle and build your workbench to suit those needs. If you have tons of power tools, make sure the bench is near an outlet or two. If you need tons of space, choose a location where your car and other stored items won’t get in the way.
Ideally, you’ll be able to use your work area when there’s a car parked inside the garage.
3. Insulate the Door
The garage door is one of the biggest sources of energy loss in the home. Even when your walls are properly insulated, standard doors allow the weather outside to influence the temperatures inside the space.
For homes with an attached garage, this can result in a huge increase in your heating and cooling bills.
But even dethatched garages aren’t immune to the temperature fluctuations. This can make the space almost unusable when the weather is extreme.
Insulating the door is a simple way to improve climate control in your garage. You have two options here: install a new pre-insulated door or insulate your existing door to fit your needs.
Replacing the door is something you’ll want to hire a professional to do. And that will cost you. The average fiberglass door costs between $1,500 and $2,000 without factoring in labor costs for the installation.
This means you’ll end up spending more on the replacement than you would by insulating the existing door. Think about your budget and make the decision that you can reasonably afford.
Don’t worry—insulating your existing door will definitely help keep the space more comfortable.
4. Update Your Lighting
Most garages have a single light fixture in the middle of the room. This is great if you’re using the garage for nothing more than storing your car and the occasional box of out-of-season clothes.
If you plan on using the space for other projects or want to create more usable storage to free up space inside the house, you’ll want to upgrade your lighting.
Work with an electrician to run new fixtures where they need to go. Ideally, the lights should shine into your new garage storage solutions so you can find what you need when you need it. And you’ll always want to pay careful attention to any work areas you build.
Lighting needs to be bright and usable. Otherwise, you’ll find working in the garage to be uncomfortable and unproductive.
5. Install a New Floor
Standard cement floors are great for one thing: holding stains. Oil, dirt, salt, and debris all create unsightly stains on the surface. Worse, they’re time-consuming to clean and remove.
If you use your garage at all, you’ll want to keep it clean and in good shape at all times. The best way to do it is by installing an epoxy floor coating.
Epoxy coatings are incredibly durable, resistant to corrosion, and easy to clean. All you need to do is mop it with a light detergent and the floor will look as good as new in a matter of minutes. Best of all, the material is impact-resistant, protecting your floor from cracks, dents, and chips.
6. Hide Your Clutter with Cabinets
Even organized shelves can look a bit cluttered when you use your garage to house everything under the sun. And when you’re storing smaller items or loose knickknacks, there’s always a risk that they’ll fall from the shelves and get damaged.
Incorporating cabinets into your vertical storage solutions are a great way to hide your clutter and keep things organized and safe at the same time.
You can place the cabinets almost anywhere you could install shelving. Just remember to leave room for the doors when planning your layout. Moving the car or tools anytime you need to get inside the cabinet is annoying and may end up discouraging you from using your cabinets at all.
7. Build a Mudroom Area
Your garage is one of the most used entrances to your home. This means it’s more likely to get coated in mud before the rest of the house.
Make use of that fact and install a dedicated mudroom by the entrance. This way, you and your family will have a good place to remove wet and muddy shoes before heading inside.
Add coat hooks on the wall for rain and winter gear and benches to make it easier to take shoes off quickly. Remember, the mudroom doesn’t have to be huge. It just needs to keep the mud out of the main house.
If you don’t have much space to devote to a mudroom, scale down your ideas. Add a folding stool or chair that can get hung up on the wall when not in use. And store things vertically whenever possible.
8. Think About Your Heating and Cooling Options
Whether you use your garage for storage or as a work area, keeping the space cool in the summer and warm in the winter is always a good idea. This helps keep your stuff in better condition and allows you to use the space throughout the year without worrying about the weather.
Start thinking about your heating and cooling options. Space heaters and portable air conditioning units are a great place to start, but they use a lot of energy.
If you can, consider installing a permanent mini-split HVAC system in your garage. These mount to the wall and don’t require expensive ductwork and remodeling to install. Best of all, they can heat and cool the space without causing your energy bills to spike.
9. Be Picky About What You Store Inside
It’s tempting to use your garage as a catch-all for the miscellaneous stuff you keep around the house. But doing so makes your garage cluttered and makes organizing the space a challenge.
Before you start using any shelves, cabinets, or work areas, go through the items you want to put inside your garage. If there are things you no longer want to keep or items that you haven’t used in years, get rid of them.
The key to staying organized and keeping your garage as a space you want to use is to be picky about the items you store inside. By going through each item before you put it in storage, you’ll keep the clutter at bay and avoid filling the space to the brim accidentally.
10. Make Cleaning Supplies Easy-to-Reach
A clean garage is a usable garage. But you’ll need to pay attention to where you store your cleaning supplies. The last thing you want to do is create a mess and then have no easy way to clean it up.
Create a designated cleaning supplies storage spot. If you have kids, make sure the chemicals stay inside a secure cabinet or high up on the wall where only an adult can reach them.
Store brooms and mops on the wall to keep them from getting dirty or falling over into your car. This will make it easy to grab the supplies you need as soon as you need them.
You can even keep overflow supplies for the house inside the garage, opening up storage space in your home.
Making garage storage a priority is a great way to maximize the space and give you another usable room at home. But if you’re not sure where to start, the project can feel overwhelming.
Request a free estimate to see how we can help you transform your garage into space you’ll love to use.
Get Inspired with Your Free Garage Organization eBook from Garage Designs!