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Garage Storage Ideas: Pro Organizers Share Their 9 Easy Tricks That Keep Things Tidy

If you’re like us, your garage acts more like a makeshift storage space used for all the clutter you don’t want in your home than a place to park your car. And it doesn’t take much for things to pile up or become disorganized, which can make it tough to find what you need. But if the thought of getting everything in order just makes you more anxious, there’s good news! We asked professional organizers to share their best garage storage ideas and tricks to outsmart the chaos and guarantee a tidy space. Keep scrolling for their genius solutions.

What are the keys to an organized garage?

An organized garage
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Some things to take into consideration before utilizing any of the garage storage ideas below:

1. Think vertically

A garage may seem like a large space, but it doesn’t take much for it to get overcrowded! For that reason, the organizing pros suggest making the most of vertical and wall spaces to ensure you have room for everything. How? “Whether you’re using stackable bins, standing shelving or installing wall organizers, these tools help create additional storage space and make it easier to organize items,” says Aaron Traub, owner and lead organizer of My Professional Organizer Dallas.

“We always recommend that our clients incorporate metal standing shelving units for garages with limited space. These shelves provide substantial additional storage and maintain a neat appearance,”

2. Keep items accessible

Organization is about more than just getting clutter off the floor. To make things as efficient as possible, you’ll want to prioritize storage based on how frequently items are used.

“The items you use often should be kept in the most accessible zone, which is Zone 1,” explains  Nicole Gabai, founder of B. Organized and author of The Art of Organizing: An Artful Guide to an Organized Life. “On the other hand, things you use less frequently should be stored in Zone 2 or 3. For example, tools you access often should be placed in Zone 1, while seasonal decor can be somewhere less accessible, which would be Zone 3.”

3. Create a storage system

Plastic storage containers are a handy way to keep like items together, and labeling the bins ensure you can find what you need quickly. But if you have multiple containers for different categories, you may want to make it even easier to track something down.

Organizer Kathi Lipp, author of The Clutter-Free Home, suggests adding numbers to each label, then keeping a master list of the contents on a spreadsheet. “If I’m looking for garden pots, I can search on my Excel spreadsheet and I know that they’re in the gardening bin,” she says. “I number my bins so I know it’s gardening bin #14. Everything is on that sheet, so I don’t have to go rooting.”

Garage storage ideas to try

1. Put hardware in pill bottles

Garage storage ideas: Hardware in old pill bottles

Loose screws, rogue fasteners and wayward washers that are left over from recent projects and ready-to-assemble furniture kits can quickly get out of hand (or just get lost) in your garage. A clever solution: Reach for a few old pill bottles and label each one with its contents. The petite containers are the perfect size for stashing nails, screws, nuts, bolts and more DIY helpers.

2. Keep clothing in plastic boxes

Garage storage ideas: Store clothing in plastic tubs
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A garage can be a handy spot to store off-season clothing, especially if your bedroom closets are rather small. To do so though, you’ll want to stick with plastic containers to prolong the life of your garments. “It is not recommended to store clothes in cardboard boxes as the odor of cardboard and glue can transfer onto clothes, leaving a difficult-to-remove smell,” says Gabai. (Already dealing with an odor? Try these laundry tips!)

Another possible problem? Pests trying to go after your clothing. “Store it with something that will repel mice,” adds Lipp. “We use dried lavender and that seems to work really well with our critters here.”

Related: What Keeps Mice Away: Pest Control Pros’ Easy Tricks Repel Them Naturally

What else works well in plastic bins? Leftover road salt and half-emptied bags of potting soil which otherwise can make a mess on the garage floor. “But a great garage storage idea? Use plastic bins with sealable tops, they really come in handy,” says Scott. Just pour the contents of each bag into its own bin and secure the top. “The airtight pails prevent salt and sand from clumping in the humid air.”

3. Invest in parking bumpers

Garage storage ideas: Car bumpers
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Though you may have enough space in your garage to park a car or cars, that can quickly make things feel crowded when you want to use the area for storage as well. To ensure you have enough room for both, Gabai recommends large rubber parking bumpers. “They clearly outline the parking space for your cars, allowing you to utilize all the available space for storage, install as many shelves or cabinets as you need, and ensure adequate walking space,” she explains.

4. Tidy tall tools with a pool noodle

Garage storage ideas: Storing cleaning supplies in a pool noodle holder

If brooms, rakes, weed cutters and other cumbersome tools are always tipping over, grab a pool noodle to keep them streamlined and standing up, suggests organizer Jeneva Aaron, founder of The House Wire. “This is a clever way to utilize vertical space and ensure all your tools look neat.”

To do: Simply slice a pool noodle in half, then cut grooves where the tool handles will slide in, and affix the “tool noodle” to the wall of your garage with mounting tape. Done! (Click through for more brilliant uses for pool noodles.)

5. Wrap unruly hoses around a hanging bucket

Instead of leaving hoses and cords to get tangled up in a storage bin, wrap them around an old bucket or paint can, advises professional organizer Sandy Magura. “The bucket will keep the hose secure and prevent it from twisting or kinking.” Then hang the bucket from its handle on a wall hook to keep it tidy and out of the way.

No bucket available? Try a flower pot as shown below:

6. Separate tools into handy tool boxes

Tools are some of the most common items found in a garage, and they can quickly lead to clutter if not properly organized. First, consider keeping tools that you reach for often in another space. “You can keep a smaller, more basic toolbox in a zone 1 or 2 area inside the home, such as your pantry or laundry room, for frequently used items like a hammer, screwdrivers, picture-hanging nails, a tape measure, felt pads for the bottoms of chairs, painter’s tape, masking tape and electrical tape,” says Gabai.

For the tools you store in the garage, consider having multiple toolboxes to keep track of things. “Group like items together,” adds Lipp. You could sort them by a specific home improvement project or what they’re used for (such as electrical or plumbing).

One clever way to do so: store them in a DIY holder. Simply cut the top third off of a 2-liter plastic bottle. (Optional: Leave one side of the bottle a bit taller so you can poke a hole in it and hang the organizer on a wall.) Wrap duct tape around the bottom of the bottle to reinforce it, then fill with the tools that fit that category.

Garage storage ideas: Store tools in a plastic bottle

7. Utilize hooks

If floor space is limited or you have oddly shaped items that don’t easily fit on shelves, there are still ways to keep things tidy! “S” hooks are an easy yet effective solution, for anything from wreaths and beach chairs to hoses and watering cans.

“That can help you with hanging weird or tricky items,” says Lipp. “You can also use the ceiling, so screwing some “C” hooks into the ceiling and then hanging things with “S” Hooks is a huge space saver.”

8. Sort garden essentials with this closet must-have

One of the great garage storage ideas? Over-the-door shoe organizers. They’re perfect for keeping everything you need to flex your green thumb neat and easy to find. “Seed packets, gloves, trowels, even bottles of bug spray and sunscreen fit perfectly in the little pockets,” notes organizer Brenda Scott of Tidy My Space. “Simply look for a shoe organizer with clear pockets so you can see everything at a quick glance.”

Related: No Need to Toss Your Rusty Garden Tools: Here’s How to Clean Them

9. Free up floor space with metal racks

Shelves aren’t the only way to take advantage of the vertical wall space you have free in a garage. “When it comes to garage storage ideas, you can use a metal rack system mounted to the wall to hang everything, from bikes and beach chairs to garden tools and a step ladder,” says Gabai. Not only does it make it easy to find what you need as items aren’t piling up, it ensures you won’t be tripping over them too.


For more organizing tips, keep reading!

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