[This article was originally published in December 2017 and has been update and revised.]
If you're like most folks, you already have too much stuff and too little storage space. And, like many others, you'll probably have more stuff after the holidays.
For many people, the garage is simply extra storage space. Unless it isn't any more. If you're like most people with a garage, you probably can't even park your car in it now. So what will you do?
After the Holidays - Looking for Storage Space
If you use your garage to store your extra belongings or unused items, you're certainly not alone.
It's been estimated that less than 20 percent of homeowners and renters in the United States use their garages for parking cars. In fact, not only are many homeowners unable to park a car in their garage, many cannot even walk through it!
That's because most of us use the garage as an attached "storage unit" and we often fill it up!
When you figure that the typical two-care garage is about 400 square feet, if you manage to stack boxes and crates up to four feet in height, you've filled 1,600 cubic feet of space.
And it's not unusual to use that space for personal storage. But the problem most people run into when it comes to storage in their garage isn't so much that they run out of space, but that they don't use the space they have efficiently.
This is just as true for a small, one car garage as it is for the luxurious three or four car structures that you see on some homes. It's not how much but how the space is used that matters. Just piling and stacking boxes and storage containers doesn't work well - nor is it very safe.
In addition, most residential garages are not built for storing anything except cars and for housing a water heater and maybe a furnace. This means that in most garages, there are no shelves or cabinets of any kind - just bare walls and often open ceilings with exposed rafters.
Also, because all the doorways into and out of the garage have to be kept clear, and the large garage door, or doors, must be avoided, this leaves areas that can't be used to stack things.
And this means that what often ends up happening is that we create unsightly, disorganized piles of stuff crammed into every available space in the garage and leave a narrow path or two through it all.
This is not only highly inefficient and awkward to move around, it can be dangerous. Piles can fall over blocking exits and there is also the increased fire danger as junk piles up everywhere.
Getting Organized by Moving Stuff Out and Up
After the holidays have come to an end, you may find yourself wanting to put more of your old things out in the garage to make room in the house for some new things. Depending on where you live, the winter weather may not be great for garage sales and yard sales, so most of your stuff will just pile up and be in the way.
So, the better option is to get organized.
Creating a plan, then staging, and separating your belongings are the first steps in effective organization and, ultimately, uncluttering. While it helps to use your driveway or yard for these first steps, the weather may dictate that you do this inside the garage instead.
And keep in mind that separating out everything you don't want to keep is an important part of this step.
These unwanted items can then be sold through online sites such as Craig's List or eBay, donated to a local charity, or even given to willing neighbors who can make use of your excess items. And, if you decide against making the effort of selling or donating these items, you can always call a professional junk hauling service like Junk King.
The important thing here is to reduce the overall quantity of things sitting in your garage before deciding on storage options.
With this in mind, we've put together a comprehensive storage organization guide that you can use for your garage cleaning and storage project after the holidays.
Storage 101: Make Use of Storage Shelves and Cabinets
One of the best storage methods for a garage, of course, is to install some type of shelving.
While putting everything you can into plastic storage containers is a good start, these can't be stacked too high without creating a real safety hazard. However, placing all these containers on shelves is far more efficient and safe.
The goal in optimal storage is to store "up", not all over.
And storing your stacks and piles up instead of out is best accomplished with some type of shelving system. One of the great things about a residential garage is that it lends itself to a variety of shelving methods. And space used for shelves is only limited by the height of the ceiling and the methods used.
Shelving consists essentially of these four options:
1. Built-In Shelving
Installing shelves along the walls of the garage often provide the best option for storage. These shelves cannot fall over like free-standing units can, especially in earthquake-prone states like California. They can be built floor-to- ceiling, providing maximum storage capacity. And shelves built along the walls can also be installed above doorways and with alternating heights between shelves.
2. Storage Cabinets
These can be old kitchen or bathroom cabinets that have been re-purposed for your garage, or high-end storage cabinet systems especially designed for garages. While this is usually the most expensive option, it can also be the most visually appealing and offer sufficient "out-of-sight" storage for most homeowners. Aside from the cost, a slight disadvantage is that these systems usually have to be installed professionally and are fixed in place.
3. Free-Standing Shelf Units
There are a wide variety of shelf units that can be purchased from department stores or the big box hardware outlets. These range from all-plastic shelves, usually designed for lightweight storage, to heavy duty units built to support big loads. Typically, the stronger the shelf unit the more weight it can hold, but also the higher the price. Keep in mind that open shelves without sides, backs or doors provide great access and can be re-positioned in your garage, if need be.
4. Ceiling Shelves
An additional option that can often be utilized is the empty space in the ceiling of your garage. Although they require proper hardware to secure the shelves safely, they allow homeowners to make use of overhead space efficiently and "out-of-sight." These units can be used for items that are not excessively large or heavy, and not used and accessed very often.
Getting Rid of All the "Unwanted" Stuff
After all your stuff has been separated, organized, and put up on shelves, you will probably end up with stuff that still needs to be disposed of.
If you are unable to sell it or donate it, or you simply don't want to take the time for that, you can call on the services of a professional junk hauling firm.
Decluttering and organizing can make for a happy home. Let Junk King take care of the garbage and unwanted stuff! Our professional and expert residential junk removal services can provide you with an easy solution for clearing out your clutter and hauling away your unwanted junk.
Being Green, Being Kind
Junk does not have to end up in a landfill because Junk King believes in recycling every bit of material possible. So, you can feel good about doing the eco-friendly thing when you work with us.
We also send any usable items to local non-profits and donation centers to help your community and reduce waste. One person’s unwanted furniture or electronics may do a stranger in need a world of good!
Our professional and insured trash removal team will show up on time at your home and we'll call 15 to 30 minutes before we arrive. Once we're there we’ll give you a free estimate based on how much room your items take up in our truck. You simply point and we'll load your items into our junk removal trucks - and all without any hidden fees!
Ready to get rid of that junk? It’s as simple as 1, 2, 3.
You make an appointment by booking online above or by calling 1.888.888.JUNK (5865).