How to Finally Get Your Car in the Garage in Three Steps
Is clutter and ‘junk’ preventing you from parking your car in the garage? Tame the mess by using these three steps to get your car back in the garage.
If you dream of being able to put your car in your garage someday, you are not alone. In the spring, you’re drenched by rain. In the summer, your upholstery is burning hot. Then, in the winter, you have to scrape ice and snow off your car just to get to work. Every time you face those weather issues or arrive home in the dark, you promise yourself that you’ll clean out the garage to make room for the car.
Garages may be intended to house cars, but many of us know it doesn’t always work out that way. The garage can become a catch-all for clutter that builds up so quickly that soon, there’s no room left for parking. Often, the garage holds the things we think we might need “someday.” Meanwhile, many days, months and even years pass and we don’t even peek in those boxes.
It is possible to shift into reverse. With some expert professional organizer tips, you can change. Just follow these three steps—sorting storage into zones, working through the clutter and investing in vertical storage—and your car will have a home before you know it.
Get Your Car Back in the Garage
Three-Step Garage Organizing
Zone In on Storage Zones
Nearly everyone looks at stacks and piles of things and thinks they just don’t know where to start. Get started by thinking in zones. A zone is an area you have designated for the storage of a particular kind of item. Some common garage zones include:
- Gardening tools and supplies
- Paint and painting tools
- Repair tools and household parts
- Outdoor fun and toys
- Cleaning supplies
- Automotive parts or accessories
- Holiday decorations
- Hobby-related gear such as tailgating or fishing supplies
Storing items in zones is the key to both finding what you need and putting things back where they belong. If you need a shovel, it will be with the gardening tools. If you want to hang holiday lights, you’ll find them in the corner with decorations. Get started by making a list of zones that apply to your garage.
To stay organized as you sort, you can tape up some temporary signs on the garage walls using painter’s tape. Stack items under the signs. During this step, don’t worry about finding tubs or bins to hold things or worry about shelves. Once you get all the like-items together, it will be easy to see what you need.
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Box Up the Clutter
As you are sorting items into their zones, you are bound to come across things you no longer need to keep. Your reward for getting rid of extra things is making space to park your car in the garage. Use some empty boxes to hold items you wish to donate or sell. As you sort through the clutter, keep these rules in mind:
- If you use it, keep it.
- If you love it, keep it—but why is something you love in the garage?
- If you need it, like tax paperwork or work files, then keep it. But ask yourself if you could move it to the attic or another storage spot.
- If you have duplicates, let one (or more) go.
- If you thought you might use it someday but haven’t used it at all, then let it go.
- If you bought a new one but kept this one “just in case,” then let it go.
- Keep your garage storage limited to things you use and need.
Get Clever and Go Vertical
Once you’ve sorted items into zones and tossed the clutter, you are ready to get organized. Since you want as much floor space as possible so you can park your car and open the doors, you need to maximize vertical storage.
Vertical storage in the garage comes in a variety of types, so you can choose what works best for each zone. Add pegboards or rails to hold hand tools and long-handled items such as brooms and rakes, or add shelves so items can be stacked. There are tall cabinets with doors that hold a lot and hide away any mess. Locks on cabinet doors are also handy for keeping items safe, such as valuable power tools. You can even mount storage on the ceiling if you want more options.
Since you’ve sorted your items, you’ll easily be able to decide what type of storage and how much storage you need in each zone. As you organize, keep some of these ideas in mind:
- Use plastic tubs with snap-on lids for storing items like holiday decorations. They are easily stackable and keep pests out.
- Use small containers with lids to hold small pieces such as screws and bolts.
- Store tool parts with the corresponding tool. If you don’t have the original box, use a bin to hold the tool and all its accessories.
- Choose storage locations along the front wall of the garage and the sides closest to the front wall. This will allow maximum room for opening the car doors.
- Label shelves, cabinets and bins to stay organized and put things away where they belong.
Make it a habit to take advantage of your new garage space and get used to putting the car in the garage nightly. This way, you’re sure to leave plenty of room to park, and you won’t be tempted to add clutter back to the garage.
Professional organizational expert Lea Schneider provides tips for decluttering the home and better leveraging storage space. Lea writes her tips on homes and family life for The Home Depot. For a variety of storage options see offerings on the Home Depot website.