Garages tend to be where we store a lot of things we might need one day. It’s also the place we tend to place bigger items that we don’t use on an everyday basis. For many, this means cars simply can’t fit in.

But there are ways to change this, and it’s all about getting organised.

Here are some handy tips to ensuring all your stuff not only fits in, but is also easily accessible if and when you need it.

1. TAKE A LOOK AT WHAT IS ACTUALLY IN THERE

First things first, do a stocktake. Pull everything out of the garage to establish what is being stored and what needs to be stored. At this time, you can also do some prioritising and some discarding. Do you really need everything you’re planning to put in there? It helps to be ruthless in this situation. It also helps that everything is out and in front of you. It’s very difficult to organise things if they’re all clumped together and you can’t get a proper visual on everything.

Next, put everything into categories. For example, put all the camping gear together, your tools and hardware, any sports equipment and any furniture. Again, this will help you decide what you actually need and what you can throw or give away. It will also help you focus on the task a bit better because you’ll be able to focus on one category at a time, rather than the overwhelming feeling of trying to deal with it all at once. It also gives you the opportunity to figure out what kind of storage solutions you’re going to need.

2. STORAGE SOLUTIONS

Keeping your garage organised is about so much more than just packing it all in. To ensure everything is accessible, neat and orderly, it pays to invest in some strategic storage solutions. There are plenty of storage options out there; it’s just about finding the right one for the different categories. But remember, what works for your tools and hardware, probably won’t work for your folding chairs and trestle tables. Some storage solutions include:

  • Slat walls or peg walls that you can hang baskets, tubs and hooks off. This is great for your tools, especially because you can hang containers off the wall, the perfect place to store nails, screws and other small items.
  • Chests of drawers
  • Cupboards are perfect for things that need to stand upright because you can take out the shelves inside to store things such as luggage. Alternatively, you can store boxes on the shelves so they’re packed away.
  • Wall shelves; you can DIY these, or you can purchase some that are already made, and you just have to screw to the wall. It’s quite simple to make them yourself; all you need is some shelf brackets and boards.
  • Ceiling storage is the perfect solution for things you don’t use very often such as Christmas decorations. You can also store longer items up here such as brooms, rakes and surfboards. This means you can use your floor space to its maximum potential and, if you’re parking your car in there, it means you can get in and out of it without knocking into things. You can even install a pole in the corner to store things like bikes vertically.

Remember, investing in storage solutions is all about getting things off the floor. Putting things away into cupboards or drawers also means they’re protected from the weather.

If you live in a strata property and have grill garage walls (rather than solid walls), you can also purchase some S-hooks to hang things like folding chairs, tools or baskets to store items in. Again, it gets the items off the floor and means you have more space.

3. PLAN CAREFULLY

You want to use your space to the fullest while still ensuring a car can fit in there if you want it to and that it’s a useable garage. This means you need to plan your storage carefully.

Map out the space and decide what you want to go into cupboards, what you want to put on shelves and whether you can use the ceiling space. Understanding the area in front of you also helps you determine exactly how much space you can allocate to each category of goods.

Once you have the measurements of walls and shelves, you can then purchase the tubs and storage containers that you’re going to use. It’s pointless to buy a storage container that’s not going to fit anywhere so do the planning first.

And remember to factor in the weight of items. If you’re storing things on shelves, you need to ensure the shelf can actually handle the weight of all the storage tubs put together. It’s always best to store heavier items lowers down and lighter items on the higher shelves.

Once everything is organised, pack it all away, labelling as you go so you know exactly where everything is. Ensuring everything is labelled also means the other people in your household can just as easily access things.

4. DON’T STOP THERE

Once you’ve planned and packed and put away, the work doesn’t stop. It’s important to do a spring clean annually (and no, this doesn’t have to happen in spring). Again, be ruthless. If you’re not going to use it, why are you storing it? Having a well-organised space requires maintenance, so it stays well organised. Otherwise, what was all the initial hard work for?