Raise your hand if you knew we had a garage. I’m not surprised if most of you still have both hands firmly planted on your keyboards.
Well, we do. It’s a detached metal structure that potentially could park two cars. That is, if hadn’t been packed with junk for the past 2+ years (which is why we’ve never shown it to you except for some pics of it closed during our wedding). Here’s what it looked like at its worst back in February, right after debris from our kitchen remodel was at its peak:
Now let me defend myself for a second. From the moment we moved in, our garage was a storage facility for some of my sister’s furniture while she was waiting for her new house to be built. So we never knew our garage as a place for cars, we knew it as a place for stuff. And that’s what it quickly became. Everything ended up there: from empty boxes and unneeded furniture to half-full bags of garden soil and unused rollerblades.
But earlier this year I made the testosterone-fueled decision to reclaim my garage, for fear that I might get my man-card revoked. Not to mention the serendipitous fact that the completion of my sister’s house meant I’d finally be saying goodbye to a couple of space-hogging mattresses and couches. (Uh oh, do I also have to say goodbye to my man-card for using the word “serendipitous?”)
So Sherry and I took on the task of dividing our garage junk into groups: trash/recycle, sell/donate and keep. After a couple trips to the recycling center, our big yard sale and a hefty furniture pick-up from my sister, we ended up with a garage that looked like this:
Quite a “keep” pile, no? (Well, technically the black couch in the background was still waiting to be picked up). So the name of the game became “clean and organize”. We’ll spare you the gritty details (as well as the buggy, cobwebby details that caused me to clean with a long-handled broom), but at the end of this weekend our garage now looks like this – clean, organized and happily accepting vehicles:
Oh, and no that’s not a seating area in the back. That’s just a spray-painting project waiting to happen (stay tuned for that). We’ve still got a few more things headed to Goodwill, but overall our organizational system has far improved from this…
And so far all it’s taken was a $40 plastic shelf from Home Depot. But we’re itching to hear your recommendations for garage organization. Any great shelving or hanging systems that you’d swear by? Any creative areas or zones that maximize your storage/working space? Now that we’ve cleared out the ol’ garage I’m ready to go organization-crazy up in there.
For more info about garage organization, check out this article from doityourself.com
First of all, great job!! It looks huge now, and I bet it feels great having a newfound space at home!
Now, in our brand new apartment life we don’t have a garage, just a parking space and a 100 sq ft storage room. For now we’ve been tossing there everything we didn’t need / want around the apartment, but we just got a chest of drawers (a gift from my grandparents when I was born, but too worn out to be somwhere where it can be seen) and a huge cabinet so we can start putting some order into it. Eventually, we’ll get hooks to hang our bikes from and some shelves.
I love pegboards! You can hang hooks from them for gardening tools etc, or insert pegs for the un-hangables. You can get them for fairly cheap, and it makes a world of difference!
Also, for the bikes… we use huge hooks hanging from the ceiling for our two-wheeled vehicles. it helps free up much needed floorspace… word of advice though, when the bikes aren’t on them they look a bit “meat market”!
ha. we just bought those same shelves from home depot this weekend. but ours are for canned goods and art supplies. we don’t have a garage of any sort, so i’m no help today. :)
I’m big on being able to park both cars in our garage, and we have a very small garage, so this has been an ongoing project for us. We’re a lot like Kristy – the hubs spent all weekend hanging pegboard around our garage for ladders, tools, and shovels. It looks amazing. We installed Home Depot’s ClosetMaid wire shelving around the perimeter for a place to store luggage and dog food off the ground, and we received white Home Depot cabinet storage as a gift which we love for organizing and keeping paint and painting supplies out of sight.
We installed the Rubbermaid Fast Track system in our garage (http://tinyurl.com/688l2d). It has worked well for our tiny one car garage and offers a good amount of flexibility if you want to change things up!
Ikea actually has a great garage storage system. My husband builds hot rods out of our 2 car garage, so storage is key. Pegboards are great, and if you need a work bench, check out the kitchen counters in the As Is section of Ikea- often $10 for a 8 ft. long countertop!!
Congratulations on the impressive transformation!
thank you SO MUCH for the inspiration – i am now getting off my computer to go and clean out the back shed and i am going to use my shelving system that is currently waiting in the shed!
Honestly, your garage organization project has given me even MORE motivation to address ours! Consider yourself lucky to have a light & bright garage already. Ours is a 50-year old 2-car wood detached structure that’s only sources of light are a couple of sheer-curtained side windows and the puny 60W lightbulbs in the overhead garage door opener. Time & the elements have made the exposed wood interior very VERY dark. I keep saying to my husband, “I really think it’d make a world of difference, if we whitewashed the interior of the garage. It doesn’t have look spotless, just fresher and bright!” I’m going to point out how well you can actually SEE inside your garage! Thanks for the great photos!
With all the DIY, though, where do you and Sherry keep all your tools? Basement, maybe? Do I smell a future B&A post?
(Oh, and in my book, you EARN 2 man-points for unpretentious use of “serendipitous”!)
Oh, I am so impressed! Will you come to Alaska and clean out my shed? :)
My father built storage into the rafters of our garage so that the sailing dinghy and surf boards could fit in over the car and the bicycles could hang from pegs on the wall. He also rescues old office filing shelves and uses them as storage.
Been reading your blog for about a week and was inspired yesterday to go home from work and tackle a room which was full of items which were storing or had just been left there for want of anywhere better to put them. We threw away 3 bags of paper recycling and a whole bag of rubbish as well as 2 bags of items to be freecycled. Amazing what we had kept thinking we might need.
Thanks for all the encouragement and further storage solution ideas. I can’t wait to tackle this some more next weekend.
Kristy, Emily and Erin – I’ve been seriously considering a pegboard. And Kelly, I was drooling over the Rubbermaid FastTrack system moments before settling on that plastic shelf on Saturday. I’ll admit that I’m grappling with the fact that our garage has metal walls, not wood or drywall sides, so I’m not sure if I have the right tools to screw something into that material. But now at least I’ve got the motivation to figure it out!
ErinEvelyn, you’d never guess it but Sherry and I don’t actually own that many tools. Well, big tools, at least. We keep virtually everything we do own in our kitchen cabinets for easy access. But all this extra garage space may inspire me to buy some obnoxiously large table saw or something.
And Erin, we’ll gladly come to Alaska again (we honeymooned in Anchorage). Your treat? :)
We’ll keep you all posted on further progress, and do let us know how all of your garage clean-up progrects go as well.
We tackled our garage as well this weekend since I managed to sell our old washer/dryer and cleared some space!!
We have a couple of those same shelves at our place – one in the garage, one in the storage room. As well, with only a single car garage, we have to be super organized so I snagged a 2 door cabinet that my boss was giving away which holds paint, rags, car cleaners, etc. The bf bought some plywood sheets and some “L” brackets and made some shelves on the cheap-o, which hold Rubbermaid totes filled and labelled with: sports equipment, biking gear, camping supplies, etc. He also used a couple extra “L” brackets to hang odd items like extention cords, step ladders, foldable lawn chairs.
As well, we have a narrow shelf built in on the one side of the garage. Plus Cory’s work bench holds all his tools.
***side note: for his b-day I am surprising him with one of those tall rolling toolboxes so he can get rid of the collection of crappy (broken) plastic ones he’s emasssed.
I must also note that we still are unable to park my vehicle in the garage though, as I have a couple projects on the go and like to work dead-center in the garage so I can walk around and paint lol.
Hey Sherry! What do you use to store the paint from your house? We have 16 cans of paint with less than 1/2 (most of them are 1/4 full) taking up valuable space in our garage. We need them for touch ups in our living spaces, kids rooms, etc…but can’t stand how bulky those gallon cans are! I was thinking about repurposing old plastic (airtight) containers and printing the paint formula on labels to stick on the outside. I’d love suggestions on this dilemma. Also, can I recycle the old cans? Thanks for your help!!
Although we don’t know if the recycling center actually recycles our paint cans, we do know that they can’t be pitched with the regular trash (it’s super hard on Mother Nature, so we properly dispose of them at our local recycling center which has a designated spot for them). You might want to call your local trash company or recycling yard and ask them where you can take ’em (they’d be happy to help since they hate for them to go into landfills). As for where we store our cans and cans of paint, we actually keep it all in the garage (in their original cans). But John has his eye on some empty silver quart-sized paint cans at Home Depot (sold in the paint aisle) which he’d like to use to do what you’re talking about (store touch up paint without losing valuable garage space).
When it comes to the labels, you’re right not to part with those (if they discontinue your paint they’re the only way the paint people can recreate it for you). So printing or hand labeling each can with that info is a great idea- maybe you can drop by Staples or Office Depot for some nice uniform self-stick labels. Your garage will look gorgeous! Send us pics!
Just wondering if you had any trouble getting the top shelf on your plastic shelving system. I just purchased one and can’t seem to get it to fit. Maybe I’m just a doofus:o)
Nope, no problem with ours. I wonder if you got a defective version or something? Good luck!
The garage looks great!
I have used the Rubbermaid track system in a friends house and they love it. I allows you to hang big yard tools, sports equipment, fishing gear, even bikes and ladders.
Since they had a ton of overflow stuff we also built in the same shelves we have at our house….you can find plans at Black and Decker projects:http://www.blackanddecker.com/Step-By-Step-Detail.aspx?id=Blog:c2a72b18-629c-444d-a605-643c86467ba5Post:3cc5dfc7-272f-41d2-927a-a588355940f3
We used MDF Board to keep the costs down. They are super heavy duty, very customizable, and able to store a ton of stuff. We have built these shelves in two of our own homes and three others besides. I highly recommend them…
Love it! Thanks for the tip!