Small garages or big garages…it doesn’t matter. Everybody wants to know how to get more space in your garage.
It’s been a couple of years since I bought my first house and it feels like I’ve accumulated a ton of stuff.
Since I started this site, I’ve been looking at different ways to keep my garage clean and organized. Here are some tips I’ve found along the way:
Make the most out of your walls
If there’s one thing that every garage has, it’s walls!
Work with me here…Even if you’re scared of installing overhead storage, it’s really easy to use your wall space to get your garage organized.
Oh…more on the overhead storage a bit later.
That said, there are a few tricks to turn these bare vertical surfaces into an extra storage space.
Wall Storage Systems and Hooks
The first thing I did to help organize and get some extra space in my garage was to add the Gladiator GearTrack wall storage system.
You can see why I love it in my review (link above). But the short version is that I’m never going back!
I also use the Rubbermaid FastTrack system in our laundry room because it’s got a slimmer, more streamlined look. The Gladiator is more industrial and heavy-duty, which goes perfectly in the garage.
If you have only a limited amount of time to spend getting your garage organized, a wall storage system can be a lifesaver!
Most systems also have modular storage systems like cabinets, shelves and baskets. They snap easily on to the system and can be customized to suit your needs. There are some hook styles common to all brands, but each system has unique accessories that no one else has.
Basically, you can find wall organizers in all sorts of shapes, sizes and styles. All you have to do is see which wall storage system has the accessories you like best.
If you don’t want to go for a full wall storage system, single hooks are among the easiest additions for your garage.
Garage Shelving (Including DIY Shelves)
Garage shelving is probably the easiest way to make more space in your garage. Whether you’re looking for freestanding shelving units or just adding some shelves to your walls.
Since you can mount them just about anywhere, shelves can help you store away all sorts of stuff, no matter how you use your garage.
If you can’t find the perfect shelves for your garage, then build them. There are plenty of cheap, DIY options as well.
You can build the ideal storage area yourself, but don’t forget that bare corners also hide loads of storage possibilities.
While many corner shelves are available in big-box home improvement stores, you can also design perfect-fitting corner shelves yourself in no time.
Overhead Ceiling Storage
To make more space in your garage, just look up.
Seriously…your garage ceiling is the easiest area to overlook when you’re trying to find ways to add more storage space.
Here too, there are DIY options to create an overhead storage space that are surprisingly easy.
Overhead garage storage racks are a great way to safely store seasonal clothing you’re not wearing, holiday decorations or books. Pair them with moisture-proof plastic storage containers and you’ve got a great storage solution that keeps your stuff out of the way, but still accessible when you need it.
If you’re one of those people that loves to show off your tools, then pegboards is where its at.
Even if you don’t want to display your entire tool collection, pegboard is perfect for those small items that don’t have an obvious storage location.
Whether it’s keys, nails, nuts & bolts, adhesive tape, or even paper towel holders and screwdriver holders, pegboards are a great way to display your tools on any unused garage wall.
Tool Holders and Racks
If you’re short on space and like the idea of a pegboard, then tool holders and racks may be the way to go. They’re especially good for starter homes or apartments where you don’t have a lot of tools, but still need someplace to store them.
Most tool holders and racks are small, no more than 24″ in length and can mount on to the wall or attach to a tool drawer with strong magnets.
I’m not a big fan of displaying my tools out in the open. So I’m not a fan of either pegboard or tool racks.
But, if you have some tools that you use often, or just want to show them off, this might be just what you’re looking for.
Rethink your workbench
Ahh…the workbench. They’re a necessity to do any sort of project in your garage, but they take up a ton of space.
I’ve got two Gladiator workbenches – a 6′ and an 8′. They’re sturdy and well-built, but I sometimes wish that I had something that could be there when I needed it, but out of the way when I don’t.
Foldable workbenches are lighter, mobile, and they work great in small conjunction with well-organized wall storage. They are ideal for seasonal or occasional work that you prefer to do yourself, instead of taking your car or bike to the mechanic.
There are some good, cheap options available, but this is one project where it makes more sense to build one yourself. You can create a custom foldable workbench that exactly fits your space.
If you are planning to store it after every use, make sure you have enough alternative storage space for all of your tools.
A foldable bench that hangs on the walls opens up a lot of space, but you’ll still need somewhere to store your stuff!
Mobile workbenches are smaller workbenches on casters that you can wheel around to anywhere you need it.
If you’re like me, and you use your for multiple projects, a portable workbench allows you to pick up from where you left last time without having to move off all of your equipment at the end of each day.
Since it’s on wheels, you can re-position the workbench any time and reach the tools that you need. I use one of my Gladiator tool drawers as a mobile workbench while I’m working on my car or lawnmower.
Adjustable and sliding shelves
Adjustable shelves are ideal if you are using your garage for seasonal jobs, and you only need to store away your tools for part of the year.
Because they’re so flexible, you can add them above your foldable or movable workbench to store any extra tools.
If you prefer a more minimalist approach, you can fit the walls of your workspace with sliding shelves. This probably means you’d need to buy additional furniture, it can keep all of your equipment out of sight.
Out of sight…out of mind.
Make Your Garage Safe and Organized
If you’ve got a small garage, you need to keep it organized. There’s just no other option.
However, keeping your workspace clean and safe is just as important. I’m sure we can all relate to just how quickly a well organized garage can slip back into a messy chaos.
If you’re struggling with how to declutter your garage quickly, here are a couple of tricks that can help!
Stack Your Bins & Totes
Here I’m talking about rubber trash cans as well as plastic storage totes.
Messy garbage cans and recycling bins can be a safety hazard in a small garage and even attract pests. If you’re trying to free up space in your garage, disorganized bins will create the opposite effect!
Stack your bins and totes on specific shelves or overhead storage racks. For extra points, you can even label them so anyone can quickly tell what’s in them.
Store away power tools
Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to keep a cordless drill or screwdriver at arm’s length,
But unless you are constantly working on projects or fixing cars, your power tools aren’t going to be used all that often.
Power tools and chargers can take up a fair amount of space that you may not have in a small garage. I store mine in a cabinet which allows me to forget about them until the next time I need them.
Wire and Nail\Screw Organizers
Even before I had a house with a garage, I had something to organize my nails and screws.
Currently I’m using a couple of DeWalt small parts organizers that I keep locked away in a cabinet. If you’ve got a bigger collection than I have, you can pick up a wall-mountable rack with 64 storage bins on Amazon for about $30.
I wasn’t as good with loose wires and cables, however. There were many times that I tripped over a power cable and almost landed flat on my face.
No matter what, it’s important to think ahead and safely store items such as wires, nails, and screws.
Adapt Your Space to Your Needs
While all of these suggestions fit any garage, this is your workspace and you need to make it your own.
Here are some other useful ideas to increase the space in your garage:
- Consider hanging bicycles against the wall to save floor space
- Tubes and PVC piping make a great, inexpensive custom rack for fishing rods
- Use a designated tote or basket to hold toys and sporting equipment
- If you don’t have a dedicated mudroom, set aside a small area to get rid of the dirt before entering the house
- A small rack near your entry door is a great spot to hold dirty shoes
- If you’ve got a green thumb, consider building an extra outdoor cabinet to keep your garden tools and fertilizers
Freeing up space in your garage can actually be pretty easy. But also try to think about what will make your garage more functional and comfortable.
By organizing your garage to fit how you work in it, you’ll probably find that your garage is a lot more spacious, even if you freed up space in only a corner or two!