8 Steps to De-Clutter Your Garage

The garage tends to become a catch-all space for extra stuff, but the time and thought you put into organizing

The garage tends to become a catch-all space for extra stuff, but the time and thought you put into organizing it is an excellent investment. You walk through this space every day on your way to your car, so garage clutter is an inconvenience, and a possible source of danger. For starters, try the following.

1. Store bicycles up and out of traffic zones. They can be suspended from walls with simple clips, available in hardware stores, or on sturdy racks (below) sold in bicycle shops and closet accessory stores. Some designs include shelves, or baskets for biking gear such as helmets, gloves, and water bottles. Fasten the racks into wall studs with screws.

2. Keep athletic gear in order. Visit a home center or closet accessories shop and you’ll find racks and shelves designed for all kinds of sports equipment, including in-line skates, baseball bats, skis, soccer balls, basketballs, golf clubs, and tennis rackets. Or, use scrap lumber to create an inexpensive storage device for your family sports equipment, such as a rack for baseball gear. Cut a triangle from a scrap of 1 x 10 lumber. Bore 11/4 inch diameter holes for the balls and cut bat slots with a coping saw. Nail the platform to support blocks fastened to wall studs.

3. Store protective gear close to bikes, skateboards, and rollerblades — on hooks and shelves near the garage door, for example.

4. Assign camping and sports gear a place close to your car or van. Or, use a wheeled storage chest to keep this equipment, so that loading and unloading will be quick and convenient.

5. Install a fold-down table, if space in your garage or basement is tight. It lays flush with the wall when not in use to keep traffic zones clear. When you need a surface for potting plants or making home repairs, it folds out into a locked horizontal position.

6. Stackable storage drawers can be arranged to fit almost any space. They can hold workshop tools, garden supplies, or toys, for example. Clear plastic lets you see inside, while keeping the contents dust free.

7. Use inexpensive rain gutters to create convenient storage for molding, lightweight lumber, pipes, and other long, thin items. To install the vinyl or aluminum gutters, cut the lengths you want and use screws to fasten the mounting brackets to studs; snap the gutters into place. Use the brackets alone as hooks for garden hoses, extension cords, and wire coils.

8. Put a bench in the garage to provide a handy spot for your family to put on and remove sports gear. If you’re buying a bench, check out home stores for a model designed with a storage shelf underneath to let wet boots and shoes drain dry. Or for the same effect, place a ridged plastic tray underneath the bench.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest