If you've ever looked at your garage and wondered where did all that stuff come from, you're not alone. The majority of Americans have garages filled with everything except their cars. So how do you get it organized?
For most Americans, the garage is the household storage space unit. Depending on whose figures you go by, it's estimated that only 20 to 30 percent of people with garages in the United States use them to park their cars in.
And, while most single-family homes have two-car garages, most families have no room in their garages for one car, let alone two!
Free Your Garage
The problem with garage storage is how to best use the space that's available. It is not unusual for garages to be filled with stacks and piles of household belongings, tools, and junk. Another issue that makes storage a problem is that most garages have no shelving or closets.
But stacking boxes, storage containers and loose piles of stuff doesn't work well.
Making the best use of the available space is a challenging. You can't stack things in front of doorways into and out of the garage, and the large garage door must be avoided, as well. This usually means that unsightly, disorganized piles of stuff end up being crammed into the open area of the garage, with maybe a narrow path or two between doors.
This is, of course, highly inefficient, awkward to move around, and even dangerous. Piles can fall over and there is also increased fire danger as junk piles up. And, because most people tend to hold onto to things, this leads to more stuff in the garage, bigger piles, and less space.
Step One is Sorting Everything
This step may require literally clearing the driveway and using it as a staging area for separating all your things. The folks at Lowes offer some great tips on getting going with this first step of garage cleaning and organizing your garage storage:
The first step of organizing a garage is to look through the space and determine what items should or can be stored together, such as:
- Gardening supplies and tools
- Sports and hobby gear
- Seasonal items, such as holiday decorations
- Household tools and hardware
- Automotive tools and supplies
- Paints and combustibles
- Garbage and recycling
For items that you're getting rid of, sort into three piles: recycle, toss and donate. After you've sorted, clean your garage from top to bottom.
Once you have completed this step you will want to take care of your donation items as soon as possible to avoid having piles still lying around. In addition to these, you will want to find a good solution for your recyclables.
If your piles are large, you might consider calling a professional junk hauling firm like Junk King to take both your recyclable items as well as the "junk" items. Junk King believes in recycling every bit of material possible.
Plan Out Your Storage Strategy
This is probably the step that is the most fun for many people. Options for storage are almost endless and there are numbers of manufacturers that offer storage systems. You can have these installed for you, or buy the components and install them yourself.
If the budget is a bit tight, there are also numerous options for DIY storage solutions. But the first step after sorting your things is to plan your storage. The folks at This Old House offer some tips on this part of the process:
Most manufacturers of garage-organizing systems offer free space planning, so use their services as you research how to store all your gear. Before buying anything, take down your garage's dimensions and note the size and location of windows, doors, switches, and receptacles, as well as how much space your car takes up. Then use the following rules of thumb as you assign things a home.
1. Items you use together, such as gardening tools and lawn chemicals, should be stored close to one another.
2. Put bulky equipment, like lawn mowers, in corners, where they won't get bumped or knocked over by your car.
3. Place frequently used items, like bikes, close to the garage door.
4. Stash seasonal or rarely used items in the hardest-to-reach spots.
Once you have everything sorted, junk items hauled away, and a storage plan in place, you can go to the final step: organizing!
Off the Floor and Up Against the Walls
One of the best methods, of course, is to provide shelving. Simply putting everything that fits into plastic storage containers, for example, is a good start, but these can only be stacked so high before creating a different hazard. Storing everything on shelves is a far more efficient and safer method.
The goal is to store "up", not all over.
Installing shelving can make this happen. A great thing about a residential garage is that it can support a variety of shelving methods. And the space used for shelves is only limited by the height of the ceiling, the number of doors taking up wall space, and the methods used.
Your Partner in Household Junk Hauling
As we said, 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 usable items to local non-profits and donation centers to help the community and reduce waste. One person’s unwanted furniture or electronics may do a stranger a world of good!
Our professional and insured trash removal team will show up at your home and we call 15 minutes before we arrive on site and we’ll give you a free estimate based on how much room your items take up in our truck. You point and we haul your items into our junk removal trucks, with no 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).