By Erik J. Martin
ACCORDING TO THE National Association
of Professional Organizers (NAPO), 50 percent of homeowners rate the garage as the
most disorganized place in the house. And 25
percent of homeowners with two-car garages
say they load it with so much stuff that they
can’t even park a single car inside.
Fortunately, there are plenty of tips,
tricks and products to help you tame even the
Spiffing up your garage removes clutter,
frees up floor space, decreases potential injuries and can lengthen the life of your tools and
other stored materials, says Costco member
Barry Izsak, author and NAPO past president.
“But the biggest advantage is being able to
find what you want when you need it,” he adds.
Donna David, a New York City–based
professional home organizer, recommends
the following steps to get your garage in gear.
Declutter. Go through everything, make
necessary piles as you go and decide what to
keep, donate, discard or sell.
Capitalize. Conduct a garage/yard sale
and use the profits for organizing items you’ll
Designate. Assign chosen areas for specific items (e.g., gardening supplies, holiday
Secure. Plan to keep potentially dangerous chemicals and tools in a safe place out of
Think “up.” Utilize vertical space versus
floor space whenever possible: Arrange to
hang items from walls, boards, studs and
beams; stack items safely; and store infrequently needed possessions in rafters, lofts
and overhead spaces.
Organize your garage and install
space-saving storage solutions
While cleaning and sorting are crucial, it’s
also smart to consider investing in handy
hardware and supplies that can make organizing a snap.
“Most people at least install shelving of
different types or utilize heavy-duty racks,”
says Izsak, who additionally recommends
hooks and hangers. “A great step up is a com-
plete garage organizing system or kit which
includes a workbench, drawers, wall-mount-
able and floor cabinets, and a pegboard or slat
wall system to hang tools.”
If you need to see your items to be able to
find them quickly, open shelving may be your
best choice; for a sleeker, cleaner look, con-
sider cabinetry and containers with drawers.
Experts say the best spot to place cabinets, racks or other storage systems is the
back wall, opposite the garage door. Side walls
are useful for hanging items or shelving that
won’t interfere with a parked car.
Before purchasing or installing any products, carefully measure your garage’s interior
dimensions to ensure that you’ll have enough
clearance for parked vehicles, open car doors,
and lawn mowers and other equipment that
requires an accessible pathway.
“We recommend 3 feet on the side of the
car to safely open its doors,” says Parag Shah,
president of New Age Products, manufacturers of garage cabinetry and shelving products
sold through Costco.com.
Dollars and sense
Organizing a garage doesn’t have to be an
expensive proposition, provided you plan the
Do-it-yourselfers can save the most
money by installing pre-built components
themselves or building their own custom
solutions. Those who lack the know-how are
advised to enlist the aid of a professional to
ensure safe and proper installation.
David Shirkey of Jackson, Michigan, had
grown sick of the sight of his two-car garage,
where he could no longer find the tools and
equipment he needed amidst the clutter.
Last fall he carefully cleaned out and reorganized the space, self-installed a new garage
cabinetry system with a workbench and
equipped the walls with pegboards.
“I’m not the world’s most able handyman,
but doing this project was really satisfying,”
says Shirkey. “Now I know exactly where
everything is, and handling jobs like recently
replacing the battery in my wife’s minivan is a
lot easier.” C
Erik J. Martin is a Chicago-area freelance writer.
BECOME THE ENVY of the neighborhood by adding these extras to your
• Modular garage flooring. Add a
handsome pattern or color to your floor,
as well as slip resistance, via easily
installed interlocking tiles or modules.
• Motorized electric hoist. Store
bikes, golf clubs, ladders and other goods
on a sturdy bar along the wall and raise
or lower them with the flip of a switch.
• Storage shed. Run out of room for
the lawn mower, bicycle and other
garage gear? Install an exterior plastic or
• Portable carts, cabinets and racks.
Having wheels allows you to reorganize
The Costco Connection
Costco and Costco.com offer many garage
storage and organization items, including
shelving, free-standing and wall cabinet systems, rolling shelf units, flooring and more.
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Scan or click here for additional information on garage
storage options. (See page 5
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