5 Steps to Organize Your Garage This Weekend

Photo: Lowes

Garages can be daunting spaces.  They’re often cluttered, chaotic, and the thought of clearing this zone of our home might feel overwhelming.

Consider how much lighter it would feel to get home with your family, pull into the garage, and have everything in it’s rightful place.  How much easier will it be to get out the door when the hockey equipment is all in plain sight (because you’ve made it easier for the kids to put it away than it is for them to dump it on the floor).

While we can’t guarantee that your garage will spark joy, this 5-Step weekend plan will make your garage function better for your family.

1.  Sort belongings before purchasing storage solutions

When was the last time you put something in a bin only for it never to be seen again?  Often our first stop when organizing a garage is to get bins, shelves, and other things to store our belongings away.  Yet this can be a costly mistake!

Before committing to any new storage solutions, spend a day sorting the garage and building your organizational plan.

Lay out three separate tarps or sheets.  One for things to keep. Another for belongings to sell.  And a third for items you’ll donate or toss.

Take pictures of the “sell” items and list them on your local classified site or Facebook Marketplace.  When we do this first, you’ll often have most of these items cleared out before your garage project is completed!

2.  Make a list

You may be tempted to start piling your keep pile back into the garage, but doing so could mean having to do the organization all again in just a few months.

Instead of placing items back at random, we recommend making a list of all of the items that you’re looking to keep in the space.

The goal here is to develop a system that will be easier to “stick to” than it is to revert back to old habits (more on that in step 3!).

3.  Decide on groupings

Now you’re tasked with going through your list of “keep” items to decide how you’ll group them together.  (This is also a great time to refill on coffee!)

There’s no right or wrong way to go about this.  Just think about how you and your family use the items.

For example, you may want to keep all summer sporting goods grouped together.  Or all Christmas items near the back of the garage since you only use them once a year.

Making this plan will save you time, money and future stress!

Just think of how much easier it will be for your kids to put their basketball back where it was as they’re grabbing their baseball bat to play with if both of those things are in the same area.

Or how much less stressed you’ll feel not having to fight with your spouse over where the tree and ornaments are next time December rolls around.

4.  Gather storage solutions

Now that you’ve decided how things will load back into the garage space, it’s time to gather up your storage solutions!

Before you hop on over to the container store though, consider these clever storage solutions that could save you some dough:

  • Use old furniture (that may even be in your donate pile) wherever possible.  For example, old dressers make great work benches when the drawers are removed.


  • Keep things in plain sight.  Peg boards are inexpensive and allow your items to be stored where you can see them.  This will save your items from getting lost inside dark bins.


  • Screw together old crates for an inexpensive (and rather cool looking) shoe rack.  This will help keep shoes off the floor. Just put a plastic mat on the bottom of each crate to avoid dirt and water passing through to the pair beneath!


  • Recycle pallets to hold hockey sticks, baseball bats, oars, or other long sporting goods.  (This could also work for gardening tools!)


Think vertical.  You could hang adult bikes or fishing rods from the ceiling.  Buy interlocking shelving units that can go the entire height of the garage.  We find that by maximizing vertical space, you’ll also clean up floor space as well.  

Yet it’s important to consider how items are used.  It may be better to keep the kid’s bikes on the floor and use tape to make designated parking areas for each one.  Mull over how things are used and it will help keep your organizational efforts in place.

5.  Reload the space

Now that you’re armed with a plan and your storage solutions, it’s time to load up your space!  Because you know exactly where things will go, this step will move much faster than you might think.

When putting the final touches on your garage, consider using labels on any concealed storage (like totes and bins) to relieve yourself from searching for items later on.