I’ll be the first to admit that garages are one of the worst rooms to organize. If you are trying to find garage storage ideas with just photos, it can be hard to dissect the important elements of a good system.
Garages have limited space (I mean, you have to fit a car or two in there) and it’s usually full of large, awkward equipment you can’t put anywhere else.
Garages are usually the graveyard or unused items too. Boxes of clothes you meant to donate months ago line the walls, and all of those old basketballs that you’ve been meaning to fill up sit deflated in the corner.
It’s easy to forget about your garage while you’re organizing the rest of your house. People don’t often spend lots of time in their garage, so it’s easy to forget about all of the junk they’ve piled in there. But, with a bit of work, you can make your garage a functional, organized space.
Here are 12 garage storage ideas that will save you space and money!
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1. Use your vertical space.
Think of your garage as a blank canvas. You’ve got 4 empty walls that you need to cram full of sports equipment, holiday decorations, and extension cords, but you can only really use the walls themselves. You’ve got to keep the main area clear for your cars. So, what do you do?
Use all of that vertical space. Get easy-to-assemble shelving units from the store and build them all the way up to the ceiling. You can always stack bins on top of each other without the shelving unit, but I would probably suggest investing in some shelves (even if they are really cheap ones!)
Having to unstack all of those bins every time you want to get to the one on the bottom is going to get old really fast.
2. Keep seasonal items higher.
If you’ve got shelving units going all the way up to the ceiling, and assuming you’re not 8 feet tall, you’re probably going to have some shelves you can’t reach. Divvy up your items in seasonal and non-seasonal items, and place them on the shelves accordingly.
Keep seasonal items, like holiday décor or winter gear, up higher. That way, you’re only grabbing your ladder and hauling down bins a few times a year. You’re still utilizing that space, but you won’t get frustrated by constantly straining to reach those top shelves.
Everyday items should be placed at arm level with less-used (but not seasonal) items going closer to the ground.
3. Hang bikes and other equipment on the wall.
This is a big one. Lots of people have bikes and gear that are awkward, bulky, or impossible to store. So, what do you do with those?
Hang them on the wall!
Leave open wall space for hooks and bike racks so you can easily hang them up. Hanging your bikes up is such a space saver! And you don’t have to worry about digging through a pile of your kids’ bikes to get to yours at the bottom.
If you have lots of wall space, you can consider hanging up other things too! With heavy duty hooks that you can easily buy online or at a store, you can hang up your wheelbarrow, ladder, leaf-blower, or edger!
I would also recommend using a hook for things like extension cords or hoses. Having cords get all tangled together on a shelf is a pain, and no one likes tripping over the hoses laying on the ground. Coil them up nicely and hang them on a shelf to keep them out of the way.
Hanging as many items as you can on the wall will save lots of floor space and keep your garage looking clean and organized.
4. Hang storage racks from the ceiling.
Another one of my favorite garage storage ideas is to utilize overhead storage! When you have tons of things to store and not tons of room for it all, make sure you’re using every bit of space you have, and that includes the ceiling!
Make sure you find a spot where the garage door doesn’t reach when it’s opening, and hang up some sturdy, metal overhead storage. You can use that space for your seasonal items or other things you don’t use often. Do you have tons of camping gear that you only use once or twice a year? Throw that in the overhead storage space!
This is the garage rack that I have in my garage. They have various sizes that you may want to check out as well!
5. Use corner shelving.
When I said to use every bit of space available, I meant it.
Build your shelving units all the way to the end of the wall if you can. But if you’ve got lots of unused corners that you can’t fill up, get some corner storage units. They are specifically designed to wedge right into your corners and help you utilize your space as much as you can.
You can use those corner shelves to store things like paint cans, bug sprays, or other odds and ends.
6. Get bins of all sizes.
I have tons of bins and containers on my garage shelves and I like to get them in lots of different sizes. I do recommend getting matching ones when you’re getting 5 or 6 of the same size, or keeping everything in the same color scheme if you can, but that’s just an extra step to help keep your garage looking really organized and put together.
In other rooms, getting clear bins can be nice so you can see what’s inside, but in the garage, I think opaque bins are the way to go for most of your items. You don’t want a clear bin when the inside is just a jumble of cords!
Small, clear bins work nicely for tools or items you can keep fairly orderly, but for larger bins that you’re just going to throw a lot of things in, I’d recommend going opaque.
Make sure you get extra-large bin for your overhead storage and seasonal items, but you also want to get some medium and smaller sized bins so your containers don’t get too crammed. It’s also much easier to keep your items organized that way!
7. Use dividers in smaller bins.
Tool boxes are one of those things that get messy super easily. They are full of so many finnicky little things like screws, nails, and bolts. Not to mention any exchangeable screwheads! All of those small items can get mixed together in a second and it’s always obnoxious to have to root through everything to find the perfect-sized nail!
I recommend getting dividers to place in your toolboxes or small bins. Sub-categorizing your things to keep everything in nice, distinct containers might seem like a lot of work, but I promise it will help keep your garage super organized and functional. It will be so much easier in the future to find exactly what you need.
It’ll also help you keep track of when you’re getting low on something. If you have a small bin that is meant just for sprinkler heads, then you can quickly see when you’re almost out and you need to make a quick run to the store.
Categorizing items and keeping them in small groups might take time when you start, but it’ll save you a huge headache in the future.
8. Get big buckets, storage tubes, or cylindrical bins.
Depending on your space, don’t rule out storage bins that are cylindrical. Sticking a tall bucket or storage tube in the corner of your garage to hold rakes, outdoor brooks, or snow shovels that you can’t hang on the walls can be a great way to keep them from getting knocked down every two seconds.
9. Corral balls and other sports gear.
Have you ever seen those containers made especially for balls? The top is open and there are bungee cords running down the front. Kids can easily get the balls out between the bungee cords without having to rummage through the bin (knocking out every other ball in the meantime) and they can just toss it back in when they’re done.
You can find a ball storage container that works for your space pretty easily online, but there are also several DIY versions. This is a great way to keep your balls all together.
If you want to go even simpler, just get a normal bin to store your balls in! I’d recommend getting a large container for any basketballs, soccer balls, or volleyballs, and get a small one for tennis balls and golf balls. You don’t want the smaller balls floating around at the bottom of the big bin. It’s easy to keep track of everything when you separate them by size!
10. Get a pegboard to hang items.
This is another of my favorite garage storage ideas. If you have room to install some pegboard, I’d highly recommend it.
Pegboard is really easy to find and hang on your wall. After that, you just need some hooks and you’re good to go. I love using pegboard and hooks for brooms or tools. If you have lots of space for pegboard, you can even get larger hooks and use that space for your leaf-blowers and larger equipment. Then you don’t have to put the hooks directly into your wall.
Slatwall also works really well! If you don’t love the look of pegboard, you can get slatwall with hooks and bins that slide right into the slats. If you have room for extra hooks, I always recommend keeping a few open as space to air out any dirty or smelly sports or winter gear! After shoveling some snow, it’s always nice to have a hook to hang those damp gloves on to air out.
11. Labels, labels, labels!
Okay, I know this tip is basically Organizing 101, but I can’t stress this enough—labels are a game-changer when it comes to organizing any room. Your garage is no exception!
Label every single bin. Seriously. You can have all of the garage storage ideas in the world implemented into your home but if you don’t label them, it won’t do you much good.
You don’t have to put every item that’s inside the container on the label, but make labels that will help quickly identify what’s inside. It’s best to get as specific as you can—like you can see with my “Levels” or “Picture Hanging” bins, but even if your container is a hodgepodge of things, pick a word or phrase that categorizes it best.
If you have several bins of camping gear, add descriptors like “Camping Gear – Sleeping” or “Camping Gear – Cookware” so you don’t have to open up every single camping bin when you’re looking for a certain item.
I made my white labels on my gray totes using my Silhouette Cameo machine. And labeled my smaller areas using my label maker. If you don’t have either of those you could also use these cute garage storage labels.
12. Organize items into zones.
I know this might not be possible depending on your space constraints, but do your best! I really recommend keeping your garage storage in specific zones.
Keep all of your sports gear, yard equipment, and tool boxes in separate, designated areas. Have one corner for all of your sports equipment, a shelf for all of your tools, and a space for your holiday and seasonal bins.
This will make it way easier to stay organized throughout the year, and it’ll make finding certain containers and bins way quicker. You’ll know exactly what corner or shelf to head to because your garage will be zoned out!
5 things you can throw out of your garage today:
Now that we’ve covered some garage storage ideas, it’s time to cover another important topic: decluttering.
We all know that one of the first steps in organizing is throwing out all of that extra junk you have lying around that you really don’t need anymore. While some of those things are going to be up to you, here’s a list of items you can throw out right away.
1. Broken tools. This might seem obvious, but it’s surprising how many people hold on to broken tools or equipment without even realizing it. Maybe something didn’t work, so you put it to the side to check on later, and now 2 years have passed and it’s still sitting there! Just throw it out.
2. Unused sports or fitness equipment. If you have any sports gear or fitness equipment you’ve been holding onto for a while but aren’t using at all, it’s time to let it go. If it’s in good shape, consider donating it, but otherwise just get rid of it. It’s taking up valuable space.
3. Old paints. Did you know paint in a can only lasts for about two years? Most of us are probably still holding onto old paint cans from projects we never started, or even from ones that we finished but still had some leftover paint we didn’t want to throw out. Well, if it’s been over 2 years then it’s no good anymore—just throw it out. Even if it’s been less than 2 years, only hold on to it if you’re sure you’re going to use it soon.
4. Empty cardboard boxes. We’re all guilty of holding onto lots of old, empty cardboard boxes in case we need them in the future, but that pile of boxes is probably taking up lots of space. Break down the boxes and slide them behind shelving units if you can, but you probably don’t need to keep tons. Get rid of most of those boxes, especially ones that are too small or less sturdy.
5. Old toys. Any old toys lying around? If your child has outgrown a toy and you aren’t sure what to do with it—just throw it out or donate it. It’s not doing any good sitting on your shelf.
Still looking for more ideas? Check out my Pinterest Board for my very favorite garage storage ideas. Or you can check out this article by one of my very favorite bloggers where she shows how she organized her own messy garage.