Make The Most of an Organized Garage
Publication: Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)

Author: Arends, Arlene


Being better organized doesn’t have to be a lofty goal. In fact, 95 percent of Americans in a Harris Interactive poll said some areas of their home could be better organized. The top choices for an organizing blitz are closets and the garage. Creating and maintaining clutter-free storage areas in your new home is easier if you start when you move in.

 “If you have the opportunity, it’s good to start with a clean slate in organizing your garage,” says professional organizer Ramona Creel, of “Start out with a rule that the garage is not the repository of things you don’t know what to do with,” Creel says. It all starts with getting items off the floor and having enough space to park the car. “Make use of all that vertical space,” Creel says.

 The age-old method of garage organization was to slap up a few shelves on the studs and pile things on. But today’s garages are attached to the house and can serve as the family’s main entrance. “Don’t just pile things on shelves because you can’t find things easily,” Creel says. Life is ever so much easier when you can find things when you need them.

 Garden tools, sports equipment and other such large items are generally best stored hanging from a wall. A company in Milwaukee has designed a new kind of storage system called StoreWall that creates a neater, more finished look. “It’s made of cellular thermoplastic, so it’s virtually indestructible,” says Michael Sieren, vice president of design.

 The neat panels resemble clapboard siding. There aren’t all those holes, but it utilizes the same type of hooks as the fiber boards along with many more specialized hangers. The hangers snap into place in a groove system in between the boards. The panels also are used in retail stores for display. It attaches to the wall with hooks so you can take it with you when you move. StoreWall panels comes in five colors and two different grades so you can match the garage interior to your home colors. HandiWall Panels, same material and same concept, now come in 11 colors.

 Garages are the logical place to store things like car-care items, painting equipment, outdoor toys, garden tools and sports gear. Divide the to-be-stored items into categories and estimate how many storage boxes you’ll need. Garages should not be used to store things like tax records, memorabilia and Christmas decorations, Creel says. Dampness and temperature changes can damage such delicate items.

 There’s also the chance for insect and mouse damage. Dirt and grime can also seep into cardboard containers. “Don’t store things in cardboard boxes. Choose plastic tubs that are see-through. And use a label maker, it’s a wonderful tool to help you easily find what you’re looking for,” Creel says.

 With your car in the garage, make chalk marks on the floor to designate available storage areas. It makes sense to allocate space on a most-used basis. “Pay attention to how you use things. The most used should be in the most valuable space, near the door,” Creel says. This space may be used for ice melter and a shovel in winter and sports equipment in summer. Top shelves in the far corner are perfect for things like painting supplies or little used items.

 Organizing your garage will save you time and effort as you easily locate things you need. You’ll also be able to eliminate that yearly task of cleaning the garage.