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9 Steps to a Well-Organized Garage

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Everyone appreciates and benefits from having a neat, clean and nicely organized garage. The key to getting there is taking a systematic approach. Here are some tips that are sure to make any garage easier and safer to use and enjoy.

1. Clear the ground

Almost nothing promotes a clean, safe and well-organized garage like developing the habit of keeping the floor as clear as possible. Use hooks, racks, cabinets and shelves to hold stored goods.

2. Stack it up

Stackable containers are available in sizes to fit most any storage need or storage space. Use clear plastic containers or label the fronts of each one for easy recognition.

3. Take the high ground

Items that will be used regularly should be stored within reach, but little-used stuff such as holiday decorations can be stored in shelving attached high on the wall. Use a stepladder for access.

4. Get with the grid

Wall-mounted grid panel systems are affordable and easy to install. With the main panel section or sections attached to the wall, attach baskets, hooks, shelves and other available accessories to tailor the set up to your specific needs.

5. Go for the pegs

Pegboard (perforated hardboard) is an inexpensive material that can substantially expand your storage options. Attach the pegboard to spacers that hold it away from the wall enough for hooks to be inserted and removed. Use 1/8-inch pegboard for light items and 1/4-inch pegboard for heavier items. Buy a supply of hooks, tool holders, shelf holders and a range of other hardware made specifically for use with pegboard.

6. Fill the cavities

If the walls of your garage have exposed studs, build shelves to fit in the cavities. Cut 1x4s to serve as shelf supports, attaching them to studs with screws or nails. Then cut 1x4s to span the cavity and set them on the supports. Long items such as brooms and skis can be stored safely between studs by attaching 1x2s horizontally across studs to hold them in place.

7. Keep it safe

Garages are usually full of potentially dangerous items, such as sharp objects and toxic liquids. Keep these items out of reach of children.

8. Build a folding table

In small garages, or for occasional use, it doesn't make sense to tie up precious space with a permanent bench or work table. The alternative is to build a folding table. Attach the table to the wall with hinges screwed to a 2x4 fastened horizontally to wall studs. It can fold up or down. A light-duty table can be held in place with chain and hooks, or fasten pipe flanges to the bottom and use removable threaded pipes as temporary legs.

9. Practice togetherness

Keep items used for the same task (gardening or carpentry tools, sports equipment, camping gear, painting supplies, etc.) together. That way, you will know where to look when you need something.

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