50 Genius Ways to Clean Up Your Garage
Cleaning up your garage doesn't have to be a huge chore.
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Maybe you’re finding yourself with a sudden abundance of spare time on your hands as summer approaches. Maybe you’re longing to play that old trombone that you’re sure you packed in there somewhere. Or, maybe, you’re just sick of looking at the mess in your garage each day and you’ve decided now is the time to get things back in order.
Whatever the reason, we’re proud of you. As long as you’re avoiding these garage mistakes that might be putting you in danger.
Check out these ideas collected by the Family Handyman team to get your garage in order and keep it looking neat.
Wire shelving in the garage
Fishing rod organizer
We got sick and tired of our fishing rods getting tangled, so we came up with this easy fishing rod organizer. All you need is a length of 3-inch-diameter PVC pipe and a foam swimming pool noodle for this DIY garage storage system.
Drill 1-in. holes spaced every 4 inches in the PVC pipe. Use a utility knife to cut slits in the foam noodle, spacing them 4 inches apart. Line up the pool noodle on the wall so that at least two of the slits sit over studs. Pull those slits apart, slide in a fender washer, and screw the noodle to the wall with 2-inch screws. Then screw the PVC pipe to the wall beneath it at a comfortable height and insert your fishing rods. Look Ma, no more tangles!
Stack bins the easy way
Car care products cabinet
Store more on walls
Canvas storage bags protect decorations
Garage ceiling track storage
Get those big plastic storage bins up off the garage floor and onto the ceiling! Screw 2x2s to the ceiling framing with 3-1/2-in. screws spaced every 2 feet. Use the bins as a guide for spacing the 2x2s. The lips on the bins should just brush against the 2x2s when you’re sliding the bins into place. Then center and screw 1x4s to the 2x2s with 2-inch screws. The garage ceiling is a perfect place to store light and medium weight seasonal items like holiday decorations and camping gear.
Don’t stop with the garage, check these other clever bathroom storage tips.
Flexible garage storage wall
This storage system solves two challenges: first, how to design storage space for the narrow alley between the garage side wall and your car; and second, how to create a solid mounting surface to hold shelves and hooks that are capable of carrying hundreds of pounds of stuff.
The solution is to create a framework of horizontal wood strips and inexpensive shelf standards. It can hold almost any arrangement of shelving and hooks, at any point on the wall, and it’s easy to rearrange.
Add garage cabinets
Garage corner shelves
Overhead storage in the garage
Garage storage tubes
Garage-wall tool holder
Monkey bars wall unit
When you need storage above your wall unit, Gorgeous Garage has the solution. Engineered of steel for durability, the system offers custom solutions to get tools and materials off the garage floor and out of your way—but still within reach. You can modify the hook-and-bar system to fit changing storage needs in the future.
Try these organization tips to save you money.
Long-handled tool rack
This compact rack is strong and simple to build. You can store shovels, rakes, a sledgehammer—any long-handled tools—conveniently up and out of the way. The unit holds up to 14 items, giving you more flexibility and storage capacity than nails pounded in the wall. See how to build it.
The Gladiator GearTrack wall storage offers flexibility: You can mount the horizontal track, then choose suitable hangers and slide them where needed.
Storing large, awkward items such as wheelbarrows can be challenging. Gladiator’s GearWall makes it simple to peg a wheelbarrow safely and securely to the wall.
Gladiator Heavy-Duty Rack
FastTrack Power Tool Hook
Got power tools such as leaf blowers and cultivators? Rubbermaid’s FastTrack power tool hook can take care of them. It holds up to 50 pounds, and the powder-coated finish resists rust and chipping.
Build a customizable system
Corral sports gear
This sturdy ball corral holds a herd of balls and lets kids easily grab the balls at the bottom without unloading all the ones on top. It’s built from 3/4-in. plywood and 2x2s. We made our ball corral 24 in. wide x 33 in. high x 12 in. deep.
The hooks on Bungee cords can be a safety hazard for kids and adults alike. So cut the hooks off the cords (or use elastic cord available at camping, sporting goods and hardware stores). Thread the cord through predrilled holes and secure with knots. Drill the holes slightly larger than the cords to make threading them easier.
We added plumbing hooks and short gutter troughs on the outside of the corral to make it easy for kids to stash smaller balls, helmets, and mitts.
Throw and go
Shelves and cabinets are great, but when you’re in a hurry (and kids always are), it’s nice to just throw and go. Find complete instructions, including diagrams for cutting the wood, here.
Recycling bin rack
Customizable wall of storage in one weekend
Space-saving sliding shelves
Double-duty shelf brackets
Store lawn chairs
Here’s how to store your lawn and folding chairs so they’re out of your way. Take two pieces of 1×4 lumber (any scrap lumber will do) and create some simple, cheap, and useful brackets on the wall. Cut each board 7-3/4 inch long with a 30-degree angle on both ends. Fasten pairs of these brackets with three 2-inch screws to the side of the exposed wall studs, directly across from each other, and you’ve got a perfect place to hang your chairs.
Don’t waste the high space
Build big cabinets in place
Add outdoor storage
Here’s a slick use for that old wooden tennis racquet that’s gathering dust in the garage. Drill a hole in the handle and screw it to the underside of a workbench. Position the racquet so it can swing in and out from under the table. Use it to hold tools, parts, or other small items.
Pretty and practical box shelves
These simple box shelves work equally well in a formal setting and a utilitarian room, like the laundry or garage. They offer an unlimited number of uses and arrangements. Hang some above the washer and dryer to store detergent, dryer sheets, and other laundry room necessities without taking up any valuable floor space.
Add a hook
Maximize the overhead garage storage space under your garage doors, by adding on to your existing garage door track with J-style hooks like these Praxis Model Add-a-Hooks. Hang long items like ladders, yard tools, even a few spare pieces of 2×4.
Nothing is more versatile and cost-effective as basic coated garage hooks for garage ideas. Screw-in hooks to rafters or ceiling beams to hang anything from bikes to tools—just make sure to install properly and not exceed load recommendations.
Use spring action to grab your bike by mounting a claw-style bike hook on your garage ceiling or rafters. This hook, made by Gladiator, is available at Home Depot.
Add a simple shelf for additional overhead garage storage with an adjustable height ceiling storage rack. This garage ceiling storage rack by Suncast is available at Amazon.
Try attic-decking panels
Pull power, light, and compressed air from your ceiling
When auto mechanics need a trouble light, receptacle, or compressed air, they just reach for the ceiling and pull down whatever hose or cord they need. Now you can too. The Chamberlain Garage Power Station mounts on your ceiling and has a 25-ft. multifunction pull-down/retractable ‘hose’ to provide light, power, and compressed air.
The base unit plugs into a nearby receptacle and houses an air compressor capable of putting out 100 psi (great for bike tires). Pop two MR16 halogen bulbs into the ceiling unit to get 100 watts of area lighting in addition to the LED work light on the retractable hose. Find the Garage Power Station at home centers and online.
Efficient bike storage
Hanging bicycles from the rafters is a great way to save garage space. But even hanging bikes can take up a bunch of room. Here’s a cool space-saving product that puts a new twist on the humble bike hook. The Saris Cycle Glide is a system of hooks mounted on glides. Once the bikes are on the hooks, they can be slid closer to the wall on the glides that mount perpendicular to the wall. And because the hooks slide back and forth on the lower set of glides, the bikes can be nestled neatly together, taking up a lot less space.
This system also makes it easier to take down the bikes when they’re hanging over a parked car, a boat, or a big mess like in my garage. That’s because you can pull or push the bikes clear of the obstruction before you lower it. I’ve been using mine for almost a year now, and I love it. You can buy a Saris Cycle Glide for $245 at bike stores or online.
We know cleaning feels and looks good, but there are also unexpected health benefits worth noting.
For the cyclist: Hoist your bike out of the way
When it comes to garages, there’s no such thing as enough space. One product we find useful to free up some floor space is a bicycle hoist. It’s easy to install and very easy to use. When shopping for a hoist, beware of models that have undersized ropes. They can slip off the pulley wheels and jam. Look for one with a good, hefty rope.
Storage bin index
Like a lot of other people, my wife and I love large plastic bins. But remembering what’s inside each bin is tough, and reading a small label is nearly impossible when your bins are stored high on garage shelves. We solved both problems by labeling our bins with large numbers. Each number corresponds to a page in a binder that lists the contents of each bin. It’s simple to change the list, and it’s a heck of a lot easier to find what you need by checking the binder than by rummaging through each bin. — Reader Gerald Naumann
Editor’s Note: When it comes to bin I.D. tags, we like adhesive storage pouches that let you slip index cards in and out easily. You can find these at office supply stores or online retailers.
Most home centers carry only hardboard pegboard, but you’ll find other materials by searching online for “metal pegboard” or “plastic pegboard.”
- Metal pegboard has 1/4-inch holes and L-shape edge flanges that create built-in standoffs. The panel sizes are normally in 16-inch and 24-inch increments. Metal pegboard has a cool industrial look and is darn near indestructible.
- Metal pegboard strips are ideal for situations where you need a single, sturdy strip of pegboard—like in the garage for hanging long-handled tools. The strips have 1/4-inch holes and built-in edge flanges for standoffs, and they’re outrageously sturdy.
- Plastic pegboard has 1/4-inch holes, folded edges to create standoffs, and center ribs for rigidity. Many systems come with slide-in connectors for joining panels. It’s at least as sturdy as hardboard pegboard.
How to mount pegboard walls
Joist space storage
Extension ladder storage
An extension ladder is one of the most difficult things to store. When you need to use it, it has to be easy to get to. But there are long stretches when it just gets in the way of everything else in your garage. Here’s a good solution: Mount it on your garage ceiling on sturdy racks made of scrap 2x4s that are screwed into the ceiling joists. Use two 3-1/2-inch screws at each joint to make the rack secure. These racks make it easy to slide the ladder out when you need it. Just make sure to position the racks where they won’t interfere with your garage door.
If you have kids, you have balls—basketballs, soccer balls, rubber balls, and other round objects that roll around underfoot. Here’s a perfect way to use that narrow gap between a pair of garage doors (if you’re blessed with such an awkward spot). Just install angled “ball ramps” made from scrap wood. The balls fit neatly in the gap, and because the ball ramp is right there at the edge of the garage, kids are more likely to use it.
Here’s a slick way to store a whole cluster of tools on pegboard with only two pegs. Cut some 2-1/2 inch wide mini shelves; drill holes or slots for router bits, screwdrivers, chisels, and files; then drill a couple of 1/8-in. holes in the edges for the 1/8-in. diameter pegs. With a vise and pliers, bend the pegs to about 85 degrees and hammer them into the holes. Be sure the pegs fit tightly in the wood so the shelves can’t fall off. Build this simple pegboard storage area in your workshop or garage.
Now that you’ve organized and de-cluttered your garage, we bet you found a bunch of junk. Not sure what to do with it? Try these clever solutions.