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Park It Right Here | Make Room for All Your Garage Items

Garages do us a great service by protecting our vehicles and our own bodies from the weather, but sometimes they become more of a catch-all than a place to park. If your goal is to finally use your garage to store everything on wheels and then some, these ideas may help you kick this project into gear. If your dreams of a tidy garage have faded, good news: most garages do have enough room to park, work and store. It’s just about carefully planning the space with purpose.

Survey your belongings and rethink your strategy. Perhaps tools would be best stored in the shed or Christmas decorations in the attic. Many garages fill up simply because it’s the closest place to drop and go, but dedicating other spaces to store seasonal items can curb the clutter.

Think about those items that you use more often and need to keep closer to the home. If your attached garage is off your mudroom or kitchen, it may be best to store your trash and recycling bins in the garage, right outside the house door. Outdoor clothing, like your running shoes or your rainboots, can be stored close by on garage shelves so you don’t drag more dirt in the house. Consider single hooks for those bulky winter coats, or a deck box, self-standing clothes rack, or lockers for winter gear. Even a scrap piece of wood nailed to the wall with glued-on clothespins can hold gloves and hats.

Kids are always collecting outdoor toys, and ensuring that these items don’t get strewn all through the house is a plus. Buy boxes and shelving to store water guns, Frisbees, balls, sidewalk chalk, and the like, and put them within easy reach for children. Even plain shelf boards with bungee cords hung vertically between them every few inches are an easy way to pop gear in and keep it secure.

You may keep your storage as simple as a couple standing shelf units, but here’s a tip: splurge and buy casters so if you ever need to rearrange, these will make life so much easier. But if you are willing to spend the money, full wall units can be designed to fit all your needs. From $1,000 to well over $3,000, you can design a complete set of cabinets, drawers and countertops to fit onto any wall. They range from just as stylish as farmhouse kitchen cabinets to just as chrome-covered as a mechanic’s workshop. Even if you don’t choose a full wall system, companies offer many of their units in smaller, separate configurations.

An advantage of these systems is that many of them can lock, which is handy if you store chemicals or sharp tools and have little curious hands around that like to explore.

Another way to provide plenty of storage space and give a finished look to your garage is to install slatwall panels from ceiling to floor. Clothing stores use these systems all the time, but now these full-wall panels can be used on your garage walls and come in many colors. With horizontal slats running floor to ceiling, and grooves between them to hold hooks, these panels can help you store just about anything.

Up and away
Depending on the amount of clearance above your vehicles, you may consider ceiling-mounted shelves. An overhead rack will not only keep items off the ground, but free from heavy rain or snow that can blow in.

If you don’t want to purchase a separate unit, consider using your existing garage door tracks. There are special J hooks made to hang off them and they’re handy to store ladders or other bulky and infrequently used items.

If you want to make use of ceiling space, but accessing items would be a problem, there are even systems with pulleys to raise and lower a larger platform shelf with ease. (They make pulley systems for bikes, too).

Tidy up your tall tools
Rakes, shovels, brooms … anything with a long handle can be easier to store standing up. Full rack systems are available with adjustable, sliding hooks to grab hold of your garden tools.

If you like DIY projects, remove the drawers from an old filing cabinet, turn it on its back, and add wheels to create a sturdy box for your standing tools.

Odds and ends
Extension cords, garden hoses, and ropes can be among the most difficult items to store. You can buy specially made fabric hangers (think seat belt material hung like a loop) or you can make a hanger yourself by mounting the open end of a bucket to the wall.

Just like those magnetic knife strips for your kitchen, there are strips to hang a multitude of tools, from paint brushes to screwdrivers. And who doesn’t love pegboards? You can make your own, of course, or purchase ones that come in 16×16 squares so you can arrange and rearrange however you want.

Park your pedals
No room to stand your bikes up inside the garage? There are a number of systems designed to hang your bike on the wall every which way—parallel, tires facing the wall, and even upside down. But you may not even need a “system.” Install brackets used for closet shelving, cover them with pool noodles, and hang your bikes and skateboards on top just like you would a shelf.

Right on the door
Many people don’t think about using the inside of the garage door for storage space, but there are products made just for this, including netted bags for sports equipment and brackets to hold garden tools or fishing rods horizontally.

Oh yeah, the car
Don’t forget to designate a shelf, drawer or cabinet specifically for all your car-related items, like oil, windshield washer fluid, and cleaning supplies. If you stash it all in one place, you’ll be more likely to keep up with your car maintenance regimen.

Organizing a garage sometimes seems like a never-ending chore. But make a plan, get to work, and you could soon be welcoming your wheels back inside where they belong.

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