Help me start cleaning out the garage/favorite garage organizers?

kgsdJuly 1, 2008

We moved almost a year ago and have been so busy with remodeling projects on the house that we've just been throwing things in the garage. We're not finished with remodeling, but we've done most of the urgent stuff and I am tired of not being able to find things in the garage.

Every time I go in there to clean, I get so overwhelmed. I'd really like to take everything out and only put things back in an organized way. But that means I'd have the stuff sitting out on my driveway for days!

Do you have any tips for me getting started on the garage? There is currently some shelving that I'm going to try to use, and I'm going to buy some of the Rubbermaid-type garage cabinets. What are your suggestions for storing tools, auto stuff, gardening stuff, sporting goods, etc.?

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kgsd...My DH and I did the same as you are doing now. We were very fortunate to by Metro shelving very cheaply at an auction my DD research company was selling since they were moving out of state. They are 4 shelves high and fill the entire back wall of the garage. We bought the plastic bins with the snap together covers and labeled boxes as to what was in them. We started last spring and we are still working on it.
As you can see we started piling stuff outside of the containers...and have to keep after it all the time.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 9:20PM
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Also I meant to say at about the same time my DS gave us 2 more shelving units that he no longer wanted because the shelves are not easily adjustable. They are on another wall of the garage and also hold bins and tools. We also have some cabinets from our old kitchen where I not store extra paper supplies and another with light bulbs and cleaning supplies and another with boxed rarely used kitchen appliances & equipment.
Still no car in the garage, but we are getting there.
Best wishes on your clean up!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 9:24PM
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kgsd, speaking of metro shelving, we bought some on wheels a few years ago (I think at Sam's) when we remodeled the kitchen. It was great at that time to hold the microwave, paper goods, convenience foods, etc. What I liked about it in particular were the wheels, since moving it out of the way at times was quite helpful. I'm using these in my basement at the moment, but the garage is also a great place.

We put a Gladiator system in, along with some wire shelving in existing closets. (We found parts at Lowes and Sears. I counted and knew exactly how many different kinds of hooks we needed.) It may not be what you have in mind, since a lot of mine is exposed. Unfortunately, we only have a rather smallish two car garage and lots of lawn equipment, so we can only park one car no matter how much we'd like to get both in there. It was the best I could with what we had available.

Here is a link that might be useful: Claire de Luna's Garage & Wall of Wonder

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 10:27PM
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Here's what we did a few years before we sold our house, and I swear it came back to us four times in our price. I don't have a photo, but I'll try to describe it...and test your patience!
I designed a work area that went across the back of our narrow single-car garage and around both corners, to make a long U-shape with short sides. We had built a library upstairs years earlier, and had two nice L-shaped birch countertops that our cabinetmaker mis-measured and had to do over. Our contractor built simple open frames, using 2 X 6's nailed to the wall to support the back, sheets of 3/4" plywood, with 1 X 2 nosing along the front edges, as the vertical supports, and 1 X 4 horizontal aprons under the front edges of the countertops. I designed the spacing on the ends of each side under there to fit a couple of Elfa basket units that I had been lugging around for years. The rest we left open, with 1/2-depth shelves against the wall inside.

In the center of the U, there was about 30" to fill, so we installed an inexpensive fiberglass sink in a length of butcher block from Lumber Liquidators (we used the rest of the piece to hold the laundry sink elsewhere), supported in the same way. I hung a simple curtain on a tension rod under the sink part, and kept buckets and rags and cleaning things there.I stained all the wood countertops with cherry stain, and gave them three coats of spar varnish, which made them essentially waterproof.

We covered the walls above the countertops on both sides with pegboard, and hung tools in one L, and craft and potting supplies in the other. Same division of categories for the areas underneath each side. I painted the wall over the sink with blackboard paint and used it to make lists and note measurements or whatever I needed for whatever I was working on. We ran a shelf around the top on sturdy metal brackets on the tool side to make use of the space between the top of the pegboard and the ceiling. The other side had ductwork at the top, and we stopped the pegboard and put the shelf at that same height to make the space consistent... We stored paint cans and plastic tubs of paint-related stuff up there. We painted the pegboard the same shade of chalky white as the walls of the garage, and painted the underneath structure battleship gray. I used inexpensive peel-and-stick vinyl floor tiles that resembled gray and cream stone on the concrete in that area. Then we continued the storage along both side walls with an open gray plastic shelf unit from Lowes for garden things on one side, and a Rubbermaid tall storage cabinet for car stuff on the other.
It was fabulous. Very simple, and really useful, and a pleasure to do stuff in. I was crazy proud of myself!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 11:52PM
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Hi kgsd!

As you've already received great feedback about how to organise you garage I thought I'd offer some suggestions about how to get started and address the overwhelm you mentioned.
First of all decide if you are going to spend one whole day at this task, if so you'll get a tremendous amount down - possibly completely sorting it (not all the installing of cabinets etc, although it's possible) in half or one day.
Next you could choose to organise ahead of time for a skip if that may be necessary and or a vehicle to take charity items away as soon as you're done.
If you want help then arrange to have those people at hand first thing! :)
Before you start on the day set up 4 areas to place items.
When you start begin by choosing quickly what goes into which piles - keep, charity, junk, belongs elsewhere - if you have helpers they can run to & fro as you decide. YOu will have everything in these piles rather quickly.
Then send the junk to the dump, the charity into a vehicle and sent off, and belongs elsewhere dealt with as necessary.
Now give the garage a clean and tidy, and if you don't have the time now to install your cabinets etc, just stack what's staying into logical groups back into the garage perhaps about where they shall eventually live or if those cabinets are on the horizon then out of the way of where they shall go.
If you make those preparations you'll feel in control of what's ahead of you and the sense of overwhelm should decrease. Don't look at how much stuff is to be sorted just go quickly item by item, it'll be done in no time.
Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2008 at 12:33AM
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Sorter Suzy is exactly right about how to proceed. If the trucks are coming at the end of the day, you will be motivated to get the sorting done!
(A skip, by the way, is a portable dumpster in American English...)
But I would suggest one other thought.
Until you have sorted and pitched and gotten down to what you really want to keep in there, it will be hard to figure out exactly what kinds of storage and workspace you need...I would make this a two step process, do all the clearing and disposing one weekend, and then analyze what is left, so that you won't waste any money on things you don't need, and will be sure to address what you do need. It also gives you time to think this through, and determine where best to spend your money, and how to make sure you have a consistent look when you are done, and that everything that needs to be behind closed doors can be, and that you have enough space allocated to each function. It is amazing how energizing a well-ordered space can be...good design is often about what you leave out rather than what you allow in.
End of lecture.
Go forth and organize! And best luck.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2008 at 9:40AM
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I really need to do mine and I keep seeing this and need to get motivated.

I have another suggestion. When you are sorting place garden tools, pots, etc. together. Same with other like things.

If you have stuff that is still good and no longer needed you may want to put it on freecycle because they will come and get it.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2008 at 12:59PM
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