HUGE garage declutter and organization

November 18, 2013

Hey there! How was your weekend? Ours was great, even though we spent the day in the basement yesterday, ready for storms and tornados going through the area. Last I heard there were about 20 tornados that touched down in Indiana, but they expect that number to drop a bit. There is so much damage – my prayers to my fellow Hoosier and those in surrounding states who were affected.

Last week I finished up a truly HUGE organizing project. After going through the entire house (except for our closet), I had one final frontier that was the garage. It was BAD people. It was even worse a couple months ago, but over the past four or five weeks I worked on things here and there. I didn’t even take photos of that before because it was really that bad. ;)

BUT. We are always able to park in the garage – we pride ourselves on that! We may risk life and limb to get to the door but we. will. park. inside.

This decrapification (really, truest sense of the word this time) took me FOREVER. I worked on it all afternoon Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday a week or so ago. I figured I spent about 20 hours on it total. And my sis came and helped cause hubby was out of town – she was a huge help!

OK, so keep in mind this is a garage. It’s not pretty. This is one of those posts that doesn’t have pretty pics, but man, I worked my butt off so I figured I’d share it.

We have had three tall plastic storage containers in there for awhile but I was determined to get rid of one because I was moving them to another spot. We took everything out and moved them, and ended up with this pile:

That’s actually the “nice” view of it. :) I work better by just making a big pile (even though it can be overwhelming) first and then tackling it all at once. I can’t do little bits at a time.

Yet again, I realized how much MONEY I lose when I’m not organized. It drives me crazy! This was just the extra screwdrivers – not the ones I kept:

Too much stuff!!

I mean, I’m a DIYer, so I have a good amount of tools. But seriously? Argh.

Once I was done with that pile I started on this side of the room:

GoodNESS. Too much CRAP. I have a problem hoarding tools but my husband hoards sprinklers. We all have our problems. ;)

I wanted to completely change how we have the garage set up because over the years I’ve figured out what works and what doesn’t. One thing that didn’t work was where I had our lawn tools in this corner:

That’s where my husband parks so it was a pain to get to them when we were doing yard work.

The area where I wanted to move it to was a disaster, of course:

So I took every bit out of each of those areas and moved stuff around. Now that area above looks like this: 

Wall storage in garage

Hello! Much better! We can get to it now! Whoot! You may notice I drywalled that area too – I had extra insulation and drywall and used scraps to close up that spot. (See here to see how to do both!)

And the other corner I showed you now holds the trash bins – again, they will be so much easier to get to here! We still have to move a car out but it works out so much better than where they were before: Using wall space in garage

You can see how much I try to use the height in here – for stuff that’s seasonal this works great. I only need to get the sleds a few times a year so they go up high. The baseball bag lives in my car during baseball season, so the rest of the year it goes up high. It works for us and gets stuff off the floor.

And that whole side that was a disaster before:

Now looks like this:

Yard tool organization

Ahhhhh…so much better!!

Now…the other side. This is the main reason I wanted to change up where everything was. We have a bump out that I had made into my work shop. But it wasn’t working:

It was always, ALWAYS, a mess. There just wasn’t enough room, with the trash bins off to the left and the piles of crap on the floor in front of it. And I couldn’t get eight foot pieces of wood in that area to cut them down.

So we moved the two plastic storage jobbies over there instead:

Organization in the garage

If you’re super observant you’ll notice we also finished up the insulation and drywalling:

insulating garage

I’m glad you can’t see detail in these pics cause that top piece…not so good. ;) But it’s up! And warmer!

Here’s a view of some of the storage we added back in there last year, more on that in a bit:

garage built in organization

That rug peeking out is going in hubby’s basement office soon – a winter project. :)

The trash bins used to sit over in this area and now it’s where we keep the outside toys for the kiddo:

kid toy garage organizationI got that rolling storage thing from the Container Store last year and it’s GREAT for that kind of stuff!

I moved my “work shop” over to the long spot at the back of the garage:

organized garage

It doesn’t look like much but I have a plan for that area that I’m working on now – SO stinking excited about it! It will be even more organized and functional when I’m done with it.

We have plenty of room to walk around there, even with our cars pulled in, so this will work much better as a work area. I have tons of space to stretch out in! And yes, I have my pretty rug that was in the mud room in there because it’s dirty beyond cleaning now. I didn’t realize when I bought it that the light areas are raised and therefore are impossible to keep clean. So instead of getting rid of it I’m using it in here till it’s total toast. :)

Who doesn’t want some pretty in their garage anyway? Maybe it’s just me? Could be.

Last year I had an epiphany of sorts – I realized our garage, with it’s 12 foot+ ceilings, was a gold mine of storage that we weren’t taking advantage of. And since the basement was finished, we didn’t have room for big faux Christmas trees and all that stuff down there. So we had a few storage shelves built, up to the ceiling. We started with a couple earlier last year and then a couple more in the fall. They are AWESOME:

Christmas decor organization

They were mostly filled with junk up till a few weeks ago when I moved most of the Christmas bins out here. I decluttered big time and was able to put all but a couple bins up here. So for those of you who were curious, here’s where all that went! ;)

I label my bins with Frogtape – it’s easy to read, easy to change out and actually stays stuck on there:

labeling bins with frogtape

I just put the tape on, write and then to clean them up a bit I use a razor to trim up the sides. Totally not necessary to trim them up but it makes them look nice. ;)

And after all work, finding a spot for everything, moving it all around -- I realized we didn’t have room for something important that we kept on those shelves all last winter – all the outdoor cushions from the patio. Wha whaaaa. Smart.

Sooo…we have a little bit of room on one of the shelves above the garage:

storage above garage door

And I think we’ll have another one installed over on the other side, hopefully before it snows. That should hold everything.

I’m on a mission to create/find a spot for everything in my house. I’m getting closer all, getting closer. It feels GOOD. And I said it years ago when I last cleaned out the garage, (to the day, how weird!!) but this time I mean it – NEVER again will I let it get this bad. Ever. You can declutter all you want, but unless the storage is functional and works for your family, it’s just going to pile up again. These changes will work so much better for us!

Next year I’d like to work on painting the floors in here – I love the look but our cars are OLD and occasionally leak. I haven’t wanted to go through all the work just to have stains on the floor.

So, there you go – my most epic clean out EVER! Numerous Goodwill trips and Craigslist sales later, and I’m done!! It feels so good! This is a great fall project because the temps are perfect for being inside/kinda outside. Do you have an organized garage? Do you always park in it? :)

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  1. That is so funny, I just reorganized our garage too! I put a bunch of shelving units in and it's so much better. We have three kids and a TON of sporting goods stuff, and now no more tripping over it to get in the car! I've been reading your blog for a while now, love it! So glad to hear you guys weren't hit by the tornadoes.

  2. You are so right about having a place for each item to be stored. Such a hard great idea to do though. I am very impressed, VERY.

  3. I always park in our garage--to not do so seems like a major infraction of some sort. :) I love how organized your garage looks; you are so right about living with it for awhile to see how you really use it. We are in the process of moving so ours is not very organized right now--and our new house only has a carport. In Michigan. It's going to be so fun trying to figure that all out...

  4. Yes, this is epic, and I am so totally jealous! But I have to say, I watched the weather last night and this morning and thought about you, and when I saw your post title on Feedly this morning, I was so afraid you were going to show a picture of how Mother Nature cleaned you out.... thank goodness it wasn't THAT epic!

    1. OH no! Yes that title could easily have meant that too -- thank God it didn't!! :)

  5. I've been doing the same. I finally decided that I don't have a storage problem, I have a stuff problem. I am slowly going through my home and getting rid of anything that I haven't used in a while. I have to say the feeling is equivalent to losing a lot of weight and getting back into your "skinny" jeans.

  6. What an accomplishment! I need to do the same thing so badly. We have a corner full of things for a yard sale...I'm about ready to load it all up for Goodwill....then I think about the hundreds of dollars it would be....then I just want it all gone....I'm in a predicament! You have several rolls of that awesome chevron tape, can't wait until we have that available here!

    1. I do the same -- if it doesn't sell on Craigslist in a few days, it's out of there. Once I'm ready for it to be gone, I just need it GONE. :)

  7. My husband would like the garage to be more organized- it is not bad, though! We move so often, we try to purge often. And our cars are a huge investment (even if they're older), so yes, they go in the garage where they're protected.

  8. No way the cars can park in the garage! I'm so jealous of your clean and organized garage. My husband tends to keep EVERYTHING so it is hard to find places for it all. Had to laugh about all those screwdrivers! Good job on your garage!

    1. Yes, my husband is a hoarder when it comes to lawn maintenance stuff -- I finally forced the issue of getting rid of a lot of it. Now we just have to remember what we have before we buy at the hardware store!

  9. We just did a massive garage clean out because we couldn't even get one car in the garage so I get how exciting this is! Our garage has no extra room for anything besides the cars so I'm extremely jealous of all your space. My husband built the same storage shelf that hangs from the ceiling and that has helped. I check it regularly to make sure it's not loose and won't drop on the car. ;) I still can't get my monster of an SUV in because the space is just too small, but at least we have one in the garage!

  10. I totally appreciate this epic clean up, Sarah! And the pictures are beautiful! Oh what I would give for a cleaned up garage (it's such a thorn in my side, and I hate going out there right now because it makes my blood pressure rise!) I really live those über-tall shelves! Did you make them, or did you hire someone? So smart! The garage is on my to do list, but not until the fireplace is done! Love yours!

    1. We hired them out because they did some that hang from the ceiling and that totally freaked me out -- the thought of them falling if I didn't do it right. I think now that I see how they made these I could do it though (the tall ones not the the ceiling ones). Can't wait to see that finished fireplace!

  11. So organized, I love it all. Great way to hang up electrical cords, we can never find ours! Is there any possibility that you could stand in the garage doorway and take a shot of the entire space? I would like to compare your garage space to mine. Thanks for sharing this.

    1. Lily I can try! I don't think I could get it all in one shot but I will try to do it!

  12. Oh my goodness, this looks totally amazing. I love it. I would give anything if my garage looked even half as clean as that. You did a fabulous job. HUgs, Marty

  13. I had to laugh at your collection of screwdrivers. We pretty much have a home depot in our basement because my husband can't find what he needs so he just buys extras. Awesome.

  14. Great job! I love the little off set. That's what you call organized.
    My sister has great overhead storage in her garage. Her hubby built it to hold extra sheets of plywood and boards.
    Oh how we/I need to do this to our garage. And we also park. in. there. Just kick stuff out of the way to make it to the door. ha.


  15. Your garage looks great Sarah. My husband hoards tools, so our garage always looks like a hardware store...a messy hardware store. I know it must make you feel so much better having that space organized.


  16. Oh man, this is too funny. I love your hoarding tendencies; I have the same problem with fabric scraps. My garage is a hideous disaster at all times, too, so I totally feel your pain. Unfortunately, we rent, so I can't hang much on the walls or build down from the ceiling (not to mention all the walls are cinder block...). But seriously, well done! Bonus, you look super cute in that picture ;)

  17. Fantastic job. We have a 12-passenger van (8 children) so it doesn't fit in our garage. We use it for storage which my husband does a pretty good job of organizing. Now our basement could use a cleanout. I'm slowly working my way through it. It feels good to get rid of stuff, but with children it feels like for every one thing you throw away two more come in. Oh well. Just have to keep trying.

  18. You need one of these all-in-one screwdrivers! Seriously, one of our best purchases!

  19. I love how this turned out, I don't have as much space but I recently organized my store room as well. Take a look, I welcome any thoughts you might have. Also, I wanted to tell you that you'll notice a golf cart tucked away next to the fridge. I bought it at Big Lots for the hubs last year. I painted a couple of pieces of scrap wood and added casters. It rolls easily out of the way to access the things behind it.

  20. my husband is even drooling over that clean and organized garage!

  21. I just did this at least my van fits in. Problem is the multiple sets of golf clubs and 2000 golf balls (yes, he counts them). In our old house they attacked me every time I moved something in the basement.

  22. It looks great! I need to know about how those bicycles are hung? It looks like a pully system? We have hooks to hang ours but I cannot get them down by myself, my husband has to do it. Please let me know where you got them and if you like them!

  23. My first thought was for your heating bill! Now that the garage is better insulated, you should save some money there. Same with filling up those empty spaces near the ceiling. It will force the warmer air down into the space where you park and work.

  24. Wow! Whew! Way to go! Good job!
    You must feel so great. This is an excellent example for me.


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