Tackle Garage Organization in a Weekend

Spring cleaning is so last season. We're more ready for a fall overhaul.

While many of us have the best intentions for keeping common spaces in our homes, like our garage, clean and organized, busy schedules throughout the year can sometimes keep us from staying on top of keeping such a space easily accessible. 

With temperatures dropping, autumn is a perfect time to work outdoors and get your garage ready for a new season of activity. If your garage is in need of some organizing attention, dedicate a weekend day this fall to giving that space an organizational makeover with these strategies in mind. 

Set Time Aside 

Professional Garage Organization Tips

Professional Garage Organization Tips

Storage units to make your garage a more organized space.

Photo by: Photo courtesy of Lowe's ©2016

Photo courtesy of Lowe's, 2016


If you can give your garage a full day of your attention, you’ll find the work goes by quickly, especially when you’ve got a plan in place. Pull out everything that’s in the way and create zones for items that can be trashed or recycled, that can be donated, or that need to be organized and put back into the space.

Be Prepared

Organized garage

Organized garage

Keep similar items together during the organization process makes moving them back into the garage easier.

Photo by: Felice Cohen

Felice Cohen

“One of the biggest mistakes people make, and one that can be prevented with planning, is not having the right storage items,” said Jule Eller, Director of Trend and Style at Lowe’s. “It’s easy to throw unlike items into a large bin just to get the mess out of the way, but that ends up being frustrating later when you are searching for a particular item. Arrange your bins, baskets and trash bags beforehand and come up with a system to put like items together.”

When garage cleanup day has arrived, make sure you have enough:

  • Trash bags and cans
  • Basic cleaning supplies
  • Empty boxes for collecting items for donation
  • Plastic containers in a variety of sizes for storage

Photo by: Tomas Espinoza

Tomas Espinoza

If there’s a lot to clean up inside your garage, consider contacting your local municipality to see about renting a small dumpster for bulky debris removal.

Once you’ve given yourself an empty space to work with, make sure it’s clean. Sweep the garage floor and address any spills that may have occurred going in and out of the space. It’s also a great idea to check on light bulbs or any other mechanical check-ups your garage may need.

Start Small. Go Big. 

Organized garage work space

Organized garage work space

An organized space can lead to new workstation opportunities.

Photo by: Sandra Sokol

Sandra Sokol


Working in your dedicated category zones, gather like-minded supplies together so that you can focus on more detailed organization. If you have a lot to sort through, it can feel overwhelming at first to tackle organization from one giant pile, so grouped items can help you focus on one category at a time. With similar items together, it can help you better address what should stay in the garage and what should go.

“Once you've grouped all like things, look at how much there is of each item. Does lawn care need more space?” asks professional organizer Felice Cohen. “Many tools can be hung up. Dangerous tools should be out of reach of small children, but not too high that they could fall on someone's head.”

Go Vertical

Garage organization ideas

Garage organization ideas

Photo by: Lowe's

Lowe's

Think vertically when looking to give your garage storage items a home. Pegboards, cabinets, and overhead storage are all options for getting important storage and tools off the ground.

Plan. Plan. Plan.

Ideas for organizing a garage

Ideas for organizing a garage

Dedicated spaces for storage needs of all sizes can help keep a garage accessible to all.

Photo by: Lowe's

Lowe's

“Use your storage cabinets in a way that make sense to you. Put the least used items on the top and bottom shelves,” said Closets by Design of Nashville’s Sandra Sokol. “Store the items that you will want to access frequently in the middle shelves. Often baskets or even dividers can be added to our cabinets to allow for the perfect storage solutions for your items.”

Designate the Space 

Wall-mounted Tool Storage Cabinets for Boy's Room Sports Clutter

Wall-mounted Tool Storage Cabinets for Boy's Room Sports Clutter

Sports equipment is often the main source of clutter in a boy's room, especially in homes which don't have mudrooms. Wall-mounted tool storage cabinets are an excellent solution for keeping sports clutter at bay and out-of-sight.


After working hard on organizing and cleaning your garage, keep a handle on future organization by giving family members a space of their own to drop off sports supplies, toys, bikes and more. Consider creating cubbies for each person with hooks for hanging, benches for taking off boots or baskets for storing outdoor items.

Think Ahead 

Original_Kelli-Wilson-garage-organization-toys-in-buckets_s3x4_lg

Original_Kelli-Wilson-garage-organization-toys-in-buckets_s3x4_lg


If you live in a cooler climate and need to store outdoor items such as furniture or summer toys, consider dedicating a space in your garage to those pieces so that when it’s time for them to come inside for the season, there’s a space ready and waiting.

“This will ensure that you don’t miss important items for a weekend at the beach or for decorating the home for holidays,” said Sandra.

From Garage to Artist Studio

See All Photos

The Sewing Shack

Michelle Reynolds is a very talented slipcover maker and frequent contributor to DIY Network’s Made and Remade blog. She gave us a deluxe tour of her quaint-yet-funky studio — check out our photos along with captions from Michelle.

The studio (a.k.a. — the sewing shack) is a fairly new structure that was built to blend in with the 1927 Spanish-style house that it sits behind. But they’re not a perfect match; the sewing shack – designed by architect Anthony Oliver -- was given a bit of a modern vibe with its metal roof and glass garage door.

Photo By: BOB FARLEY/F8PHOTO.ORG, Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

Balance of Style

The acid-stained concrete, a glass rollup door, and galvanized metal light fixtures add industrial touches to the cozy-style rustic beams and vaulted tongue-and-groove ceiling. My homemade curtains, appliqued fabric art and varying shades of green add warmth to the white-washed walls of the sewing shack.

Photo By: Bob Farley/f8FPhoto, Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

Curtains

Metal hardware and a galvanized chain-link fencepost made the perfect hanging rod for the $10 coverlets that I turned into curtains. I hung the curtains high enough to hide the mechanics of the glass wall.

Photo By: Bob Farley/f8FPhoto, Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

Window Treatment Mechanics

Twill tape and recycled bead-chain allowed me to turn coverlets into curtains with an industrial twist. The chains glide with ease over the fence-post curtain rod.

Photo By: Bob Farley/f8FPhoto, Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

Potting Bench Project Table

This was my first cutting table. I removed the galvanized tabletop and replaced it with my travel laminate cutting board. Whenever I need to cut out a sofa slipcover, I simply pick up the laminate top and take it with me. The bench also serves as a project-holding table and supply storage.

Photo By: Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

Sewing Notions

The upper tier of the potting bench worktable holds sewing notions, grid shelves and a holder for markers and pencils.

Photo By: Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

Catch Alls

Metal buckets from the hardware store's paint aisle are inexpensive, just the right size for various notions, and I love the way they look.

Photo By: Bob Farley

Clips and Ideas

I am always snipping out pictures from magazines, things that might inspire me to make an art quilt. Of course it is the snake here I find intriguing.

Photo By: Bob Farley/f8FPhoto, Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

Little Tool Caddies

Grid shelves and a pencil cup hook right on to the grid panel of the project table. They hold all of my markers, chalk, scissors and more.

Photo By: Bob Farley/f8FPhoto, Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

Zipper Holder

I repurposed a scrolled-metal towel rack into a zipper organizer and holder. This way, the right-size slipcover zipper is always within my sight and reach.

Photo By: Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

Idea Board

I love my magnetic inspiration board. It is made from an industrial kitchen shelf. It allows me to keep projects organized and neat.

Photo By: Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

Cutting Table

Rolls of piping, bins of scrap fabrics and a home sewing machine fit neatly on and under the shelf of the worktable. The wide tabletop provides plenty of room for cutting fabric. The legs of the worktable are heavy-duty and adjustable. Adding casters gives a little extra height and adds to the ease of moving the table for cleaning behind.

Photo By: Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

Tough Work Surface

A laminate tabletop with bullnose edging is a nice smooth surface for rolling out fabric, and it is sturdy enough to stand up to daily abuse from scissors.

Photo By: BOB FARLEY/F8PHOTO.ORG, Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

Acid-Stained Floor

A DIY fail became a DIY win. When using acid to stain concrete floors, you are supposed to use a sprayer without metal parts because acid rusts metal. Oops, my sprayer had a metal part in the tip of the nozzle, so it sprayed bits of rust along with the acid all over the concrete floor. Happy accident! I just love the way the brown flecks look amongst the many shades of green.

Photo By: Bob Farley/f8FPhoto, Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

Pattern Storage Cabinet

I bought a chest of drawers at a flea market, painted it real funky, attached some cool scrolled metal pulls to it, and now I use it as a pattern box. The cabinet also holds my thread and a few small projects in various stages. On top, metal and wood storage bins hold paint, brushes, pins, needles, bits of ribbon and twill tape.

Photo By: Bob Farley/f8FPhoto, Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

Pattern Drawers

I make all of my patterns out of fabric. They don't wear out as quickly as paper patterns do. I file all the patterns in drawers of the dresser.

Photo By: Bob Farley/f8FPhoto, Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

Fabric Art Flower

These flower fabric art wall hangings were the first pastiche pieces I ever made. I'm glad they didn't sell because the colors are perfect in the studio, and it is nice to have a reminder of where I started.

Photo By: Bob Farley/f8FPhoto, Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

Snake Tablecloth

When I started working in the new space, I found I needed a table behind my sewing machine to lay all of my pinned panels just before I sew them together, so I bought a cheap plastic gate-leg table and made a canvas fitted tablecloth for it. The cloth was boring so I appliqued a snake made of fabric scraps onto the cloth.

Photo By: Bob Farley ©Bob Farley/f8Photo

Shop Snake

I have several snakes to keep me company as I sew, but this large shop snake hanging over the door and reaching nearly the width of the sewing shack, is my favorite by far. It all started with the eye. I cut the piece out thinking it would be a perfect snake eye -- "but dang, that's gonna be a big snake!"

Photo By: Bob Farley/f8FPhoto, Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

More Snake Art

I found a piece of fabric that looked like snakeskin, so of course I had to make a snake out of it.

Photo By: Bob Farley/f8FPhoto, Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

Desert Flora

Besides snakes, I also love succulents. It is only natural that I make fabric art of the things I love. Here, a snake ornament hangs next to a wall hanging with an agave, cactus and echeveria.

Photo By: Bob Farley ©Bob Farley/f8Photo

The Industrial Workhorse

I have had this industrial Singer 31-15 sewing machine for 28 years. I am not sure how old it is but it is one big hunk of metal that will plow through anything. I love the metallic paint on the machine. I picked the colors for my studio floor and trim to go well with the colors of the machine and table. My dog's bed also matches well.

Photo By: Bob Farley/f8FPhoto, Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

Tiny Dancer

The Hawaiian man was a gift. Instead of the dash of the car, I like him to dance, shimmy and shake on the industrial serger table.

Photo By: Bob Farley/f8FPhoto, Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

Tools of The Trade

Metal and plastic bobbins and spools of thread litter every surface of the shop.

Photo By: Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

Corner Desk

An old-school iMac sits on my tall desk. When I get tired of sitting, I can stand up. It is just the right height to write and accomplish office work comfortably. A haint-blue bird wall hanging and a folk art snake keep me company as I type.

Photo By: Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

Wood Snake

I had a piece of birch plywood leftover from when my walls were installed, so I painted a folk art snake on it and nailed it to the wall in front of my tall desk.

Photo By: Bob Farley/f8FPhoto, Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

Practical Storage

A simple assemble-yourself shelving unit made of galvanized metal and particleboard fits just right in the corner and it holds a lot of bins and things. The space between the shelving and the worktable houses many fabric rolls.

Photo By: Bob Farley/f8FPhoto, Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

Backdrop

My photographer husband periodically uses my space for shooting pictures of either my work or portraits of his clients. Our dog Lulu likes to have her picture taken.

Photo By: Bob Farley/f8FPhoto, Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

Photography Studio Too

A chain-link fence post hanging across the rollup door tracks makes a perfect photography backdrop as well as a place to hang my story quilts and wall hangings when I am getting them photographed or just to get them off the floor as I work.

Photo By: Bob Farley/f8FPhoto, Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

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