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Organizing Your Garage from Top to Bottom

With the hot summer months behind us, the Simplified Kansas City team is booking garage organization projects like crazy. And we're not complaining one bit. We love the cooler weather which is the prime time to tackle spaces and clutter accumulated from months of outdoor play and daily wear and tear. While we all have great intentions of keeping our garages organized, busy schedules and daily living over the course of the year prevents us from maintaining organization and keeping shared spaces clean.

If you're asking yourself "how do I organize my garage?" Or "where do I start?" We're here for you!

Here are our tips for tackling what can be an overwhelming space and get it organized (and most importantly set you up for success to maintain it!)

1. Set Time Aside to Organize

Here's the important thing to know about organizing the garage: it takes TIME! If you're able, plan for a full day to clean out and organize your space. If yours is anything like mine, tools and toys pile up and it's best to give the garage 6-8 hours of your undivided attention. Buckle up!

2. Be Prepared

When you're ready to organize your garage, be sure to have trash bags, a trashcan, basic cleaning supplies, a shop vac, and boxes or bags for collecting donation items. You'll also want to shop for the appropriate bins and organization systems in a variety of sizes to contain your items after you've removed them from your space and sorted them into categories. I typically purchase more than I think I'll need for a space like this to provide plenty of options. This prevents me from having to make multiple shopping trips, then I simply return what wasn't used after the project is completed.

3. It's Go Time!

Begin by recruiting a friend or family member and pull all items out of the garage and into the driveway. Trash or recycle items that no longer belong in the space. Make a pile to take to the dump, and set aside a pile to donate to a local organization. Lastly, place the items you plan to keep into a specific category or zone. Typical garage categories can include tools, car maintenance, gardening supplies, sports, summer toys, pest control, etc.

If you're storing items like luggage and paint in the garage, consider whether you might store them elsewhere in your home.

Pro Tip: We find that organizing your garage tends to be easier after you've spent time organizing the other areas of your home. Many items in the garage can be relocated elsewhere once you determine your interior storage solutions.

4. Clean, Clean, Clean

This is an important step that will make a huge difference in the transformation of your space and is one you won't want to skip! After each item is removed and sorted into a category, use a broom to sweep or use a lawn blower to remove dust and debris from the garage. Use a shop vac to remove cobwebs and shake out any welcome mats. A fresh, clean slate will give you a renewed sense of inspiration and motivate you to keep your space clean and organized moving forward.

5. Contain Items and Return Them to Garage

After you've done the dirty work of cleaning out your garage (go you!), it's time to work within your categories and group similar items together so you can focus on more detailed organization. For instance, within your category of "tools", separate the wrenches from the hammers, nails, and screws.

For larger items that don't require small containers, I recommend plastic, lidded bins like these. Not only are they sturdy, they have locking handles, protect the contents from dust and unwanted pests, and look neat and tidy all in a row. These are great for storing categories like pest control bottles, gardening, and sports equipment.

Once you've grouped all the things, look at each category and determine what size storage container it needs. While many tools can be hung up using slatwall or pegboard systems (keep reading for our favorite products and inspiration!) dangerous ones should be stored away and out of reach from small children.

6. Label. Label. Label. If you've been following along for any length of time, you know by now that labeling is key in maintaining the organization systems you create. Creating labels and attaching them to each bin ensures you know exactly what's inside each one and will guarantee you can find what you (and by extension your family) need within 30 seconds or less. Guaranteed.

7. Let's Talk About Maintenance

After you've worked hard to organize and clean out your garage, make maintenance easy by setting your family up for success. Be sure to give each family member a dedicated place to store their frequently used items. For instance, an organizer for balls and sports equipment for your kids, a cubby or hook for everyone, or solution for dropping bikes, toys, and more will prevent you from picking up loose items. There's no "right" way to do it - just create a system that functions well for your family and current stage of life. If it looks beautiful but doesn't function, it's pointless!

Storage Systems

There are so many ways to organize and store the bins and items in your garage. One of my favorite, most simple recommendations is a 4-shelf unit. Organizing vertically is key in maximizing space.

Organize bins and replace them on shelves in a way that makes sense for you and how you use your items. Frequently used items should be stored within easy reach while bins containing seasonal items or things that aren't used as often should be placed on taller shelves.

Use Wall Space

Systems such as pegboards, cabinets, and storage tracks are a few of my favorite, most efficient ways to clear garage floor space. Home Improvement stores carry a huge range of sizes and styles to accommodate any area. A variety of hooks and baskets hold a range of items from brooms, yard tools, and bikes for versatility and easy, inexpensive organization solutions.

If you need some hands-on help organizing your garage, get in touch with Emily Wimer and the Simplified Kansas City team. We would love to help you get a handle on your space and create a garage that makes you happy and excited to pull into at the end of the day. Email Emily at or visit our Website to schedule a free consultation. We are excited to hear from you and wish you happy organizing!

Please note: I do use affiliate links on my blog and make a small commission each time you purchase something through one of my links. I so appreciate your support! As always, all opinions are my own.

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