Garage Organization

You are the Queen Bee.  Many King Bees (husbands) think since the garage is the manly part of the home that it’s their domain and they can organize it the way they want.  But, it’s great to get involved in the garage organization when you use the 8 step I. C.A.N. D.O. I.T. Garage Organization Guide, because everyone can find Dad’s precious tools in the garage easily when he needs them.

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Who knows where everything goes? That is NOT the Queen Bee’s job description. Her job is to organize the bees, the systems, and to train others to maintain the garage hive.

Your husband may not like it at first, but in the long run he will be happy.  Organizing a garage and labeling it will save a lot of money, time, energy, gas, and stress since everyone will be able to find supplies and not have to run to the store to buy them again!  (Hey, it may even improve your marriage.)

The acronym I Can Do It is the acronym people use to remember the 8 steps of organization.  I is for Imagine, C is for Create Desire to be organized, A is for Assess what you have and want, N is for Note Down Your Regions, D is for Determine Your Containers, O is for Organize, I is for Inscribe, and T is for Train you family to maintain.

“I Can” stands for the 4 “thinking” phase words.  This is where you put on your thinking hat, grab a pencil and paper, and make a plan.  “Do it” stands for the 4 steps of the “doing” phase where you put on your working hard hat on, go to work, and getter done.  Most people skip the thinking phase and just get going, but a little planning and preparation will save oodles of time later.  Let’s see how it’s done!

Step 1:  “I” is for IMAGINE your dream garage.

The first step when organizing a garage is to put on your thinking hat.  Imagine the garage organization of your dreams.

Butterfly mural garage organization

Here’s my friend’s garage, Lynde Mott who is an amazing artist. She painted a beautiful garden mural in her garage which is inspiring!

mural butterfly garage

Wow!  A garage can be functional and beautiful.  Being organized frees up space for a gorgeous wall mural and the family can park their car and recreational vehicles to boot!

The next 3 photos are not the garage organization of my dreams, but it’s where we’re at.

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Not too pretty.

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Here’s the side wall.  It’s cluttered and not labeled.  No wall murals either.

garage organization

Here’s the back wall.  It’s hard to walk when the vehicles are parked.

Step 2:  “C” is for CREATE DESIRE to be organized.

Find your motivation.

My motivation was to create an organized space that would stay maintained.  Since I had never labeled the garage completely, I wanted to try an experiment to see if labeling the garage would help it stay clean and organized longer.

My sisters motivation was to create a place to actually park her cars and that would take the pressure off her 3 bedroom home by creating a space for a mudroom, workshop, gardening center, food storage room, and garage.

What’s your motivation?

Step 3:  “A” stands for ASSESS what you have and want.

  • Look at what you have.
  • What do you want?
  • Figure out  your families’ organizational style.  Does the age, training, and abilities of your family lend to a high ability or low ability style?

Step 4:  “N” stands for NOTE DOWN YOUR REGIONS.

1.  Draw a sketch of your blueprint/ floor plan of your garage.

2.  Decide what your regions are and number them.  A region is where you put like items together such as all the gardening supplies, house cleaning supplies, or woodworking tools.  A region should be as close to the place where it is used, such as putting the gardening supplies by the garden or the camping supplies by the vehicle that will be loaded for the next camping trip.  Putting your regions at the place of first use, enables you to be more efficient and effective since the items you need are at your finger tips.

garage organization floor map

Draw your floor plan, then number your regions and place them on your paper. Move them on paper before you move them in real life to save time. Have someone check your design to get the best design possible.

We had 28 regions in our garage organization project:

  1. Gardening
  2. Canning Supplies
  3. Camping Equipment
  4. Tool Boxes
  5. Yard Tools on Pegboard
  6. Christmas
  7. Home Decor
  8. Sleeping Bags
  9. Life Jackets
  10. Holiday Decor (totes with each month labeled on it)
  11. Toys
  12. Water Storage
  13. Luggage
  14. Sports Equipment
  15. Car Supplies
  16. Dress Ups
  17. Car Seats
  18. Tarps
  19. Fishing Gear
  20. Hunting
  21. Sleds
  22. Freezer
  23. Wood for Projects
  24. Doors Storage
  25. Papers
  26. Auto
  27. Art Storage
  28. Wheat Storage

Step 5:  “D” stands for Determine the Container.

Determining the container means to get make sure you have the right space and the right container to organize in;  that means you may need shelves and containers that fit the shelves.

Garage Organization Supplies:

  • Shelves – to store totes, containers, and gear on.  Garages shelves are super important in a garage – if you don’t have enough then build or buy more shelving.
  • Hooks – to hang anything that can hang that you use seasonally.
  • Totes & containers – plastic, wooden, or cardboard containers work great.
  • Tool boxes – 5 gallon bucket tool boxes, stand alone types, carry types, or tiny tool drawer units for screws, nails, and bolts, etc.
  • Pegboards – for large yard tools or small woodworking tools over a workbench
  • Wire basket shelving – These are nice because they take up little space in a small garage and you can put stuff in only one layer deep.Find containers that fill the space.  Insist on “a perfect fit” because you don’t want to waste any space.
folding chairs organization

Hanging folding chairs may open up valuable floor space in your garage.  Entertaining company is easy since these chairs hang in between the yard and kitchen which is where this family entertains.

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Hanging lawn chairs will help organize the garage. If the lawn chair is in a fold-up chair in a bag, just pound a nail and hang it up.

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Since snow skis are used seasonally, put them out of reach during the summer months.

hanging bike storage

Is your space limited? Hang up bikes, chairs, wreaths, decor, etc. on walls and ceilings to open up space.

Here’s another bike solution:

bike storage organization

This school yard style bike stand is easy to grab and go to take your bike for a spin. Decide a region for bikes, helmets, and bike supplies so your family can find and put away their bike needs.

A pegboard is a must for great garage organization.

garage organization pegboard

Pegboards are easy to install and they help you see everything you have.

Here’s a tool and garage supplies organizer.

garage tools organizer

This works well because you can see into each cubby, however it would be better if it was labeled. Do you notice the yard stick that’s screwed into the unit as a handy measuring stick?

Here’s a close up on the tool organizer.

tool organizer garage

The clear lid is awesome since you can see what you have and it lifts for quick accessibility.

garage organization

A 55 gallon metal barrel is great for storing 2×4’s and wood molding.

Step 6:  “O” stands for Organize:

Remove Everything and Speed Sort.

Remove everything from the garage shelves.  (If you don’t have shelves then get some – don’t go on to organize the garage if you don’t have the shelving or containers you need.)  Shelves are practically a necessity to organize a garage well and to be able access your stuff.

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Everything must GO! Get EVERYTHING OUT of your garage so you can see it with new eyes, clean the empty shelves and reorganize.

Wash the shelves, dust, vacuum and clean the floor quickly.

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Here’s my wonderful husband vacuuming and cleaning up the shelves!

Clear off those shelves!

Then speed sort into 5 boxes which are labeled Trash, Give Away, Other Room, Storage, and Take Action.  Don’t get sidetracked by putting away the boxes, just stay focused and SORT!  Only put back what you really want, need or use in the garage.  Read more in the article Step 6:  Organize Your Space.

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Don’t forget to take out the papers and the trash!

Step 7:  “I” stands for Inscribe on each container.

This means to label all containers, totes, or shelves with a label so everyone can put things away correctly.   Inscribing is critical!!!  Do you think the family can memorize where everything goes in the entire house?  Inscribe on each container so that EVERYONE can put things away EVERYTIME. Inscribe. Inscribe. Inscribe.

garage organization

I printed labels off on the computer, cut them, and taped them on with packing tape.

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Labels are critical. Inscribe. Inscribe. Inscribe.

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Print out the labels, grab the packing tape and go! Our pegboard has stayed organized for the first time in 14 years! As a bonus, when the neighbors borrow something we might know it’s missing since the area is labeled now.

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I allow myself to have one holiday tote per month to decorate the house with because I enjoy decorating – except Christmas I have more. The horizontal storage is for my art projects from days gone by.

Step 8:  “T” is to Train Your Worker Bees to Maintain.

Create and train your family to have good habits so your garage stays clean and organized.  Maybe you could assign someone to clean the garage every Saturday.  You’ll find that when the garage is labeled it stays much cleaner because it’s easy to know where things go.

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Magnificent! This looks awesome! We can put in a wall mural later. We are just happy since we can now find a paint brush!

We were really happy with the garage organization that we accomplished!  We had a lot of worker bees;  2 adults, 3 children, and 1 neighbor child who worked for 4 hours to organize 2 of the 3 walls in our garage.  We’ll finish the last wall on another Saturday.  Happy organizing!

You can do it too!

Krystal Meldrum

P.S. Tells us how your garage organization project went.  We’d like to hear about it.



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