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
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.
“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
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.
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.”
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.
“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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!"
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.