The first thing to do when organizing your garage, or any space for that matter, is to decide what you want to use the space for. This might depend on how large the space is. If you have room for 3 cars, but only have 2 cars, of course you will want to use that extra space for something. 

The garage used to be the place to park your car, but more and more frequently, the car is being parked in the driveway and the garage has just essentially become another room of the house.  They are turned into playrooms, entertainment rooms, exercise rooms, or just a place for storage.  Some people use their garage for a hybrid of uses – parking their car, storage and a kids craft area for instance.

However you use your garage, you do want it to be functional and not just a catch-all area for stuff you can’t decide what to do with or will never actually use. All too often, it becomes a mess of old furniture, boxes of who know’s what, children’s toys, and extra supplies. The trouble with that is, if it is such a mess, or has so much stuff in it, the useful things get overshadowed and forgotten. 

neat garage storage


Typical uses:

  • Parking your car
  • Storing seasonal decorations
  • Storing gardening supplies
  • Storing household repair items and tools
  • Archiving files

 Items to avoid storing outside:

  • Vinyl records
  • Video cassette tapes
  • Other electronic media
  • Photos
  • Clothes
  • Bedding
  • Wine

Anything that will be affected by damp or large temperature changes really should be stored in the house.

As you go through the process of deciding what you want your garage to be used for, keep in mind your priorities in life right now.  If you used to have a hobby 10 years ago, but really haven’t done it since then, be thankful that you gained so much enjoyment from it then, and let the old stuff go to have room for the items of your current past times.

Even if you’re not a car buff, Jay Leno’s garage provides an insight into what you can do when you can do anything you want with your space.  Notice though that Jay is very particular about what he has in his garage.  He is very clear that it is for restoring cars.  Everything in there supports that activity.  You don’t see old suitcases or boxes of his kids’ stuff or piles of memorabilia  (except for things related to cars he has restored).  You can do the same, even if you choose to use your garage for several reasons.  Be very clear about what you are using your space for, and limit yourself to items you are using, items you love or items you need and that are related to activities that you are currently engaged in.

Resources to Customize your space

The National Association of Professional Organizers Los Angeles Chapter Associate Member OrganizIt!,winner of the Los Angeles Organizing Awards Best Garage Design for 3 years, has some great ideas of how you can maximize efficiency in your garage and improve the overall look. Gus Gougas, owner of Organizit!, says that the garage is the next area of improvement in your home to add value to your house.  Jay Griffith, owner of AAA Garage Solutions, can also help building shelving and cabinetry, as well as floor resurfacing options.

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