If you’re like a lot of homeowners, you’ve invested a significant chunk of money in your tools. After all the time and expense of building your collection, why would you leave it scattered haphazardly throughout your garage?
- Start with a Plan for Your Organization Project
- Enlist Some Help
- Set Aside Ample Time
- Eliminate Extra Items Taking Up Valuable Space
- Consider How (and How Often) You Use Each Tool
- Group Like Items Together
- Know the Best Places to Store Items
- Know Which Tools Don’t Belong in Your Garage
1. Make a Plan
This Old House recommends starting with a plan for your garage organization overhaul. That includes taking detailed measurements of your garage so you know how much space you’re working with. Ideally, you’ll record your measurements as a diagram that includes other important elements of your space, including windows, doors, outlets, switches, and even the space your car takes up.
All of these factors will influence the amount of storage space and options for your tools, including workbench, cabinets, and hanging fixture placement. Once you have your measurements in hand, you can start planning out your new storage solutions that can dramatically increase the number of places to keep your valuable tools safe.
2. Enlist Some Help
HGTV notes that tackling a seriously disorganized garage is not for the faint of heart. Without help, it can be overwhelming and cause you to abandon the project altogether. Worse still, attempting to reposition garage items and tools can hurt you and the possessions you’re trying to better organize and protect.
Particularly if your garage is home to many heavy, bulky tools and fixtures that you can’t hoist up yourself, enlist some help from your spouse, children, neighbors, or friends who owe you favors. As the homeowner, remember it will be your job to direct your helpers, so think ahead and plan out everything you can’t do alone. And remember — well-fed and hydrated helpers make the best workers.
3. Set Aside Ample Time
Once you get started and see some progress, the last thing you want to do is hit the pause button. That means you should plan on spending a big chunk of your weekend on this project where you’ll be pulling out tools, evaluating your available space, and installing any storage hardware and fixtures. Plus, it’s wise to finish as quickly as possible. You’re going to be pulling a lot of items out of your garage. The last thing you want is for them to get rained on, particularly if they’re expensive electric tools or metal items that can rust.
4. Eliminate Extra Items
For the majority of folks, including yourself, organizing your garage will also include some purging of items that have no business taking up space in your home. In addition to closets, the garage often becomes a dumping ground for unused, duplicate, or seasonal items. All of that translates to less storage space for your tools. Before you can begin organizing your garage, you need to pare down your possessions and reserve this valuable area for items that you actually need and use.
5. Consider How (and How Often) You Use Each Tool
A huge part of your garage organization should center around your tool use. To save valuable time and effort when working on a home project, place your most-used items closer at hand, in a more accessible place. Have an ultra-specific tool you only use once a year? Consider stashing that one in the back or in another less accessible storage space. Have a power tool that you use frequently? Keep it closer to an outlet. Your garage workspace should be a highly personalized area tailored to the types of projects and repairs you typically work on.
6. Group Like Items Together
DIY Network explains that grouping similar items together will help you on two fronts: you’ll be prepared to store all of your tools in the same general area and you’ll actually see how many items from each category you have. This will help you determine the optimal storage solution for each category of tools. For example, seeing all of your gardening tools together may help you realize that you need to set aside more space for this particular hobby. Plus, you’ll also be able to more clearly recognize any duplicates that you can get rid of to free up space.
7. Know the Best Places to Store Items
In general, you want to keep as many items off of your garage floor as possible. This will help you stay organized and protect your tools. It’s also wise to keep bulky items, such as lawn tractors, in corners out of the way of vehicles. Storing ladders and other big, heavy items vertically or on your walls? Ensure these items are well secured so they can’t come crashing down on your vehicles, children, or pets. Without a little forethought into organization, your garage could become a dangerous place.
8. Know Which Tools Don’t Belong in Your Garage
Depending on your climate, temperatures and humidity levels can fluctuate wildly in an uninsulated garage. Those dramatic conditions make it a less-than-ideal place to keep some of your tools, chemicals, and accessories:
- Plastic items can become brittle and are prone to breaking in colder temperatures.
- Propane tank leaks can cause a potentially deadly fire.
- Metal tools can rust in garages with excess moisture, especially in humid climates.
- Electronic items can be damaged by humidity or even small insects.
- Paint can separate, thicken or spoil, even if it’s brand new in the original can.
- Batteries for battery-powered hand tools can quickly wear out in extreme temperatures.
Few things are as satisfying as seeing a pristine, organized workbench every time you pull into your garage. If you take pride in your tool collection, seeing a neatly spaced row of shiny hand tools will immediately get your engine revving for your next project. Conversely, nothing is more demotivating when you’re ready to jump on a home repair than having to go digging through piles of items for that missing tool.
Home projects can be hard enough. Don’t make them any harder by just tossing your tools in your garage anywhere they fit. If you invest a little time and effort into creating an organization plan, it will pay you back later by significantly cutting down on many of the common hassles you face, making it easier and faster to complete projects.