Garage Overhaul: How to Go from Cluttered Chaos to "My Car Actually Fits!"
Have you ever taken a look at your garage and wondered how you let this dumpster fire of a mess happen? Questioned why you continued to just drop stuff off willy-nilly as you walked into the house without another thought about it? Wondered why you kept the piles of sports equipment, beach toys, bikes and random supplies that nobody in your household is using anymore? No? Just me?
I knew this garage needed an overhaul, but life just gets in the way of these types of things and they tend to get shoved to the lower portion of the priority list. That is, until life forces your hand and you have no choice but to act. Our moment of reckoning happened one sunny afternoon when an unfortunate accident involving the cable guy occurred.
Yep. Right through the garage ceiling! The poor guy wasn't injured, just a little shaken. Like a cat with nine lives, he landed on the futon my son brought home from college. The one in the photo being used to hold lumber. The scary part was that he landed about a foot from my open table saw! I guess karma was on his side that day. It was decided then and there as soon as I had some time off, I would be making over our garage into a clean yet useful space. This would happen in 4 phases.
Gut, Giveaway, Get and Grind- 4 Easy Steps to Organize Your Garage
1. GUT: As in, throw away any broken or unsavable items. Get the trash picked up and start creating piles with like items. Are you hanging onto things you haven't thought about in the past year? Gone. Do it. Nobody wants your son's stained baseball pants or your daughter's flat soccer ball.
2. GIVE AWAY: This step is where you're apt to fill your trunk for the donation or charity of your choice. Be realistic. If you're going to drive around for two months with bags of donation items in your trunk, consider donating to an organization that will pick up or that you can box up at home and send in the mail. Here are some reputable places: Go to https://give.org/donor-landing-page/national-charity-reviews/select. You may also consider consignment or selling. I was able to sell the majority of our used sports equipment to playitagainsports. I made $250 to put toward garage or other DIY items.
3. GET: Get the things you'll need such as shelving, wall hooks, storage containers, etc. Lowe's and Home Depot both have hundreds of amazing storage options and ideas. Do some planning before you begin. Make the items you'll use the most accessible. Store things you don't need right away but want to keep in your attic or basement; however, be careful about creating another dumping ground that will just end up being headache for later! After getting rid of so much, I found I had several empty plastic bins. I purchased some stackable bins similar to these I found on Amazon. https://amzn.to/3IgtuX to go under my tool workstation. I also purchased these magnetic knife storage strips to hold my tools. Normally used in professional kitchens, I can stick my most often used tools like hammers and screwdrivers within arm's reach.
4. GRIND: Time to get down and dirty! Draw or digitally create a mock up of the space you want. Include zones for common items, such as "Paint " or "Camping Equipment." Some of my zones are Yard Tools, Fishing Equipment, Paint Supplies and Pool Chemicals. My absolute favorite zone is my Workshop! Within the workshop, I've broken it up into even smaller zones like "Sanding Station" or "Glue/Adhesive Storage." I was able to run an extension cord to the outlet in the ceiling above my cutting table. Move things around to your liking, install racks, shelving or cabinetry for storage. Upgrade lighting or maybe even attempt an epoxy floor. Since one of my goals was spending very little money, I was determined to try to use storage options I already had.
Here is one more "before" picture:
Once the hard part is over, the fun and rewarding part begins- setting up your new space! I left one whole side of the garage open for our car which was a goal from the beginning. The other half of the garage is comprised of my workshop, tools and building supplies such as lumber and paint. I hung two large plastic shower curtains from the ceiling to keep sawdust from billowing over to the car side of the garage as much as possible.
After putting up the curtains, I decided to add caster wheels to the legs of my work table. These wheels turn 360 degrees and come with foot accessed breaks for stability. You can find them here
Next, I hung a Kobalt track system into the studs to provide a spot for our extension ladder. I purchased a 32" rack and two Kobalt double hooks from Lowe's. They installed easily and held the ladder firmly since one rack holds up to 75 lbs.
Once I was satisfied with the new setup, I thoroughly swept the floors and cleaned the blinds. I vacuumed any sawdust and wiped down surfaces. Here are some final pictures of the space:
I completed this project for about $40. I made $250 on the consigned sports equipment, so I actually made money in the end! It isn't perfect, or even pretty for that matter, but I'm loving the space that was created and will be building things very soon. I can't wait to get started! What do you think? Are you inspired to do a garage makeover? I'd love to hear how it goes!