Smart Storage Solutions for Your Garage

Is clutter taking over your garage? These simple steps will help you create instant space.

Centralizing stuff. When tackling the next garage cleanup, don’t just stick things where they happen to fit. Try reorganizing the space into “centers,” the way a kitchen is organized. Group together all the items used for specific activities, like sports, car repair, gardening, and woodworking.

Overhead hooks made from glued-together pieces of PVC pipe make cumbersome items like gardening tools and fishing rods go up, up, and out of the way. Suspend a hook over a tie beam, or attach it to a rope from the ceiling.

Banking a bike. Store a lightweight bike off the garage floor with a couple of screw hooks attached to studs or joists. A long winter’s nap on cold concrete could result in cracked, flat tires in the spring.

An old hammock strung over the car in a garage bay can be a clever resting place for sports balls, empty duffel bags, and other bulky lightweight items. Attach the hammock with screw eyes that are secured to the joists.

Reel organization. Cut two notches in a length of 2 x 4, mount it on a garage wall, push on a couple of hose reels, and there will be no more games of jump rope with long extension cords again. The cords unroll smoothly from the reels when needed, held in place by the notches. Or the reel can be popped off and moved to a new location.

Got a hang-up? Create space by hanging a shoe bag on the garage wall or on the inside door of a cabinet to store miscellaneous items. You can also use the spine of a three-ring looseleaf binder as a catchall: the rings can be opened and closed for hanging smaller, lighter items.

Velcro rescue. Sets of self-adhesive strips of strong Velcro are designed to hang various hand tools or larger items — there’s even a set made for gardening tools. Put up a few in the garage and watch clutter disappear.

Hosing reel. Turn an empty 5-gallon paint bucket into a garden hose reel. Just screw the bottom of the bucket to the garage wall; then wrap the hose around it.

Go-go storage. Mount heavy-duty casters on tool carts, workbenches, potting benches, and other in-garage cabinet modules. Snuggle those modules against the wall while the cars are inside, then roll them out for use after the cars have been driven out.

Corraling garbage cans. Prevent garbage cans from blowing or tipping over by securing them to the side of the garage with bungee cords. Install two screw eyes into the wall on either side of the can. Then wrap the cord around the middle of the can, hooking each end of the cord into the eyes.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest