[This article was first published in January 2017 and has been revised and expanded.]
One of the common problem for most homes is storage space. Without junk removal, finding places to keep everything can be a challenge. Especially in the garage.
And with winter coming on, many homeowners and tenants store more items in their garages to protect them from the elements. But that can be even more challenging!
Residential Junk Removal: Looking for Space
If you park your car (or cars!) in your garage you are one of the few in America who do. It has been estimated that less than 20 percent of homeowners and renters in the United States use their garages for parking cars. Instead, most of us use the garage as an attached "storage unit."
The problem most people run into when it comes to garage storage isn't so much a lack of space, but how to best use the space.
This is just as true for the small, one-car garages as it is for the luxurious three car structures on some homes. Simply stacking boxes, plastic storage containers, and piles of stuff doesn't work well.
Adding to the challenge is the fact that most residential garage spaces are not built with storage in mind - just cars and, of course, the water heater and maybe a furnace.
What this means is that, in most structures, there are no shelves or closets of any kind - just bare walls and often open ceilings with exposed rafters.
Doorways into and out of the garage have to be kept clear, and the large garage door, or doors, must be avoided, as well. This usually leads to unsightly, disorganized piles of stuff crammed into the open area of the garage, with a narrow path or two between doors. This is, of course, highly inefficient, awkward to move around, and even dangerous. Piles have been known to fall over and there is also the increasing fire danger as junk piles up everywhere.
Getting Organized: Moving Up
After the holidays, it is not unusual to find that with the arrival of new things received as gifts, many old things find their way to the garage.
Because the weather in many parts of the country this time of year doesn't lend itself to garage sales and yard sales, most of this stuff continues to sit unmolested while gathering dust and perhaps field mice! The first step, then, is to get organized.
Staging, categorizing and even separating your belongings is essential for good organization. While it is best to be able to use the driveway or yard for this step, it might be possible to do this inside the garage itself. Separating anything that you do not want to keep is a big part of this process.
These items can be sold through sites such as Craig's List, Facebook Marketplace, or eBay, maybe donated to local charities, or simply given to willing neighbors who can then store them in their own garages!
And if you're not keen on selling or donating these items, you can always call on a reliable junk hauling service like Junk King. The important thing is to reduce the overall quantity of stuff in your garage before setting up storage options.
One of the best methods, of course, is to provide shelving. Simply putting everything that fits into plastic storage containers is a good start, but these cannot be stacked too high without creating another hazard. Putting them on shelves is a far more efficient and safer method. The goal is to store "up", not all over.
Going Up? Adding Shelves and Cabinets
Storing your stacks and piles up instead of out is usually accomplished with shelving. Part of the beauty of a 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 involve essentially three options:
These can be anything from kitchen or bathroom cabinets that have been re-purposed for your garage, to high-end systems especially designed to be used in the garage.
While this option is usually the costliest, it can also be the most appealing visually and provide sufficient "out-of-sight" storage for most homeowners. Aside from the cost and the need for installation, a disadvantage is that these are fixed in place and somewhat limited in capacity.
Free-Standing Shelf Units
There are an abundant variety of shelf units that can be purchased from department stores and big box hardware outlets. These range from all plastic shelves that are usually designed for lighter weight storage, to professional-grade units built to withstand almost anything.
Typically, the stronger the shelf unit the more weight it can hold, but also the higher the price tag. Units that are open shelves without sides, backs or doors, can be quite versatile in that they provided great access and can be re-positioned throughout the garage, if need be.
Many homeowners find that building shelves along the walls of the garage provide the best of both worlds for storage. These shelves cannot fall over like free-standing are prone to, especially in earthquake states like California.
In addition, they can be built all the way to the ceiling, providing maximum storage capacity. Shelves built along the walls can also be designed to run above doorways and with alternating heights between shelves.
One more option that can be utilized is the empty space in the ceiling of your garage. This requires sufficient hardware to secure the shelves properly, but it allows a homeowner to make use of overhead space efficiently and "out-of-sight."
These units should be reserved for items that are:
a) not excessively large or heavy, and
b) not used and accessed very often.
There are an abundance of kits and plans available for various types of overhead garage storage units. But be sure to acquire a substantial and sturdy ladder for easy and sufficient access to these storage places.
Tips for Home Garage Storage
Here is a list of 15 tips for efficient storage practices in residential garages:
1. Declutter and Organize: Before you start organizing, go through your garage and declutter. Donate, recycle, or dispose of items you no longer need. Then, categorize the items you're keeping, which will help you determine the best storage solutions.
2. Utilize Vertical Space: Maximize your garage's vertical space by installing wall-mounted shelves, pegboards, or overhead storage racks. This frees up floor space and makes it easier to locate and access items.
3. Group Similar Items: Organize items into categories, such as gardening tools, sporting equipment, or automotive supplies. This grouping helps you know where to find what you need and prevents clutter.
4. Invest in Storage Systems: Consider investing in storage systems like cabinets, shelves, and hooks designed for garage use. These systems are durable and designed to withstand garage conditions.
5. Label Everything: Labeling bins, boxes, or containers helps you quickly identify the contents without having to open each one. This is especially useful for items you use infrequently.
6. Prioritize Accessibility: Place frequently used items within easy reach. Keep seasonal or less-used items in less accessible areas or higher shelves.
7. Store Hazardous Materials Safely: If your garage houses hazardous materials like paint or chemicals, ensure they are stored in a well-ventilated, locked cabinet or on high shelves, out of reach of children and pets.
8. Use Clear Containers: For small items like nuts and bolts, use clear plastic containers to easily see what's inside. This reduces the time spent searching for items.
9. Create Zones: Organize your garage into zones, such as a work area, gardening corner, and sports gear section. Clearly defining these areas can help keep your garage organized and functional.
10. Maintain Regularly: Make it a habit to maintain your garage organization. Periodically go through your items and declutter, ensuring everything stays in its designated place.
11. Consider Mobile Storage: For larger items, like bicycles or kayaks, consider installing mobile storage systems, such as hooks and pulleys, to keep them off the floor and easily accessible.
12. Protect Your Flooring: Use protective flooring, like interlocking floor tiles or mats, to prevent damage from heavy items or potential spills.
13. Security Measures: Ensure your garage is secure with sturdy locks and alarm systems, especially if it contains valuable tools or equipment.
14. Make Use of Unused Space: Utilize the back of doors, the insides of cabinet doors, and the sides of shelves for additional storage with hooks, racks, and hangers.
15. Think Seasonal: Rotate seasonal items like holiday decorations or summer sports equipment to the most accessible areas during their respective seasons.
Efficient garage storage practices not only keep your garage tidy but also save you time and frustration when searching for tools or equipment. With these tips, you can make the most of your garage space while maintaining an organized and functional storage area.
What to Do With All Your Old, Leftover Junk
Ultimately, when all your stuff is separated and organized, you are bound to end up with stuff that needs to be gotten rid of. And if you haven't been able to sell it or donate it - or don't want to take the time to do so - then you need the services of a good junk hauling firm.
Cleanliness and organization make a happy home. Stuck with useless junk? Let Junk King take care of the garbage and unwanted stuff:
- Hauling services for large and bulky amounts of junk.
- House cleanouts for moving, spring cleaning, converting rooms, or just getting a clean slate.
- Property cleanouts for landlords, real estate agents, or inherited homes full of old belongings.
- Trash removal for yard waste, construction projects, and cleaning projects
Our residential junk removal services provide an easy solution for clearing out clutter and hauling away unwanted junk.
People love Junk King because we provide the highest level of professionalism and fantastic customer service. You get a no-hassle experience with upfront pricing, easy scheduling, and fast service.
Schedule a no-obligation appointment, and when you say the word we’ll haul away the junk and sweep everything clean after we're done!.
Being Green, Being Kind, Being Smart
Junk does not have to end up in a landfill, and Junk King believes in recycling every bit of material possible. 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 or office; we call 15 to 30 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 household 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).