Condo Blues: Organize Your Garage in Three Easy Questions

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Organize Your Garage in Three Easy Questions

I make most DIY projects harder or take 10 times longer because I have to hunt for stuff in the jumble of crap the tool shelves eventually become in my garage. It needs to change.

three questions to answer for an organized garage and workshop

Welcome to my nightmare.

It’s time to face the fact that while tool storage shelves work for some people, they aren’t working for me. I have tons of garage organization ideas on my Pinterest boards (follow Condo Blues on Pinterest, pretty please?)

I have even more people telling me I should create/build/buy garage organizers like the kind they like.  I appreciate the helpful suggestions. But  I have some of those suggested organizers and they aren’t working for me right now.

I need to learn how to determine how to organize my workshop and garage according to my habits and organizing style first before I go crazy installing the slat wall of my dreams or whatever.

How to Make a Garage and Workshop Organization Plan with Three Simple Questions

I backed the car out of the garage to give me room to work. It was also an incentive to keep working on the garage cleanout and organization project until I was finished because getting street parking in front of our house is difficult and walking down the block with bags and bags of groceries is irksome.
1.  Why aren't the current garage organizers working? This is the most important step of the project.  Took a long hard look at myself and habits to determine why I couldn't keep the current tool storage neat. I didn’t use not having enough space as an excuse.

  • I’m short and have to dig out the step stool to reach most things on the upper shelves and hanging high on the walls. This is a pain when I just want to grab something and go.
  • Realized when I tired at the end of a project, I am more likely to just shove stuff in the easiest place instead of its proper place. That also includes grabbing a step stool to put away things on shelves above my head, which is almost everything given how short I am.
  • Given my style/shortness, I will keep things neat if I make it easy to put the item away. I learned this when I organized my craft room. The shelves stay neat because I can easily put stuff away into its proper place.
Neat and clean! Best of all it stays this way. 
  • Even though it looks anal retentive, labeling everything keeps me honest about putting stuff back where it belongs. Otherwise I decide to put the items in a “better place” that I usually forget. This is how I ended up with a mountain of sandpaper in every grit imaginable at the end of the project. Whoops.
  • I guessed wrong about what I use most often when I created the current garage zones. For example, I put our coolers up high and away thinking they were a summer only thing. Turns out, we use the reusable ice packs stored in our coolers often and year round. 
  • The open tool storage shelves aren’t working because small items fall through or behind the open shelves and I hate to dig.
2. Is there anything glaringly obvious that I can immediately get rid of to make room to work by donating, recycling, giving away, or as a last resort throwing out? For me this was a pile of old DIY supplies waiting forever to be donated to the Habitat Restore.

Don’t get too stuck on this step by doing a detailed clutter bust. This is just to get you started and get rid of those things you know you won’t use, like outgrown children’s bikes, etc. I’ll go over how to make the big Detailed Decluttering and Garage Organizing Step of the project in a later post.

3. Where should my new storage and work zones based be on everything I learned in Step 1-2?  My current zones aren’t working. I am storing long term supplies like my reclaimed wood stash in prime easy to access real estate that would make a better work area.

garage plan BEFORE
Somehow our cars also fit in this garage.

I used Inspired Organization’s 6 Garage Zone for Maximum Organization as a guide to create new zones in my garage that work for me and my space. Here is the new garage workshop and organization plan.

garage organization plan
New workshop and garage storage plan!

The new garage floor plan looks great! Now how to I get there with my current mountain of stuff?

Come back to Condo Blues and I’ll give you some tips on how to make a garage cleanout so easy it is almost fun!

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