Garage organization

My guys were gone for almost a month and I knew it would be time to finally tackle the garage to get it organized.  When James and I got married, we lived in a one bedroom apartment (small!) and then a two bedroom condo (a little more space, but not a lot of storage) and when we bought our house last year, I was thrilled to finally get to store all of my holiday items in one spot rather than scattered throughout closets.  Problem when we bought our house – we had a major renovation – like had to replace ev-er-y-thing inside along with pulling out the overgrown juniper bushes and white rock in the yards.  Our $$ priorities were on other things, and I was happy that it was time to clean up and organize our garage.

When we moved in, we didn’t have any bookshelves in any rooms.  And as a family of readers, we acquired a lot of books.  I unpacked all of the books for Alice and Patrick, but it left an awful lot of boxes in the garage.  Along with a few odds and ends.  Extra clothes.  Holiday items.  Did you know I L O V E holidays??  As the kids get older, they get more outdoor toys, scooters, bikes, and my storage quickly turned into the black hole.

First picture: oh the shame!

Fun fact about our garage and others on the street – they don’t actually fit a normal sized car!  We can put our car into the garage and shut the garage door, but can’t actually get around the car and into the house.  Also, there’s only about 10 inches of room on either side of the garage door.  I figured since we weren’t getting a car in (and neither do our neighbors!) I might as well make the most of the space I have.

Other half of the horror:

I started off by hanging bikes on these

and Swiffer/brooms on these;


I was able to locate 7 empty growlers of Pliny, 2 lawn mowers, 2 extra long orange extension cords tangled and knotted (how does that even happen when they’re sitting in a garage?),  1 unused refrigerator I thought I’d use for booze for parties, 1 giant roll of extra carpet, 5 alan wrenches, 3 levels, 6 spiders that were taken out of the garage, and a dart board.  That loot along with a few other items and a giant purge of all the closets in my house netted a donation of 10 bags of clothes, toys, outside bikes, 1 lawn mower, 1 giant mirror, and a few holiday decorations.  Phew!

I then was able to order some shelves and a mallet for building!  I ordered 3 of these

and one of these


and got building!  I have built most of the toys/chairs/bookcases in the house and when I saw the reviews for these shelves, I thought I was in heaven!  Sturdy shelves built in no time – what a dream!  I’d like to tell you that my dream came true, but I couldn’t get it to line up and had a little boohoo about it.  I was finally able to recruit my Dad who helped me build one.  Word to the wise – it doesn’t have to line up perfectly – it will work itself out as it’s built.  Mah bad!

Here’s the completed unit:

The bottom shelf has our emergency backpack/first aid kit along with water (don’t worry, I have a lot more I hadn’t placed on the bottom shelf yet!) and hand turbine/solar radio and smartphone charger along with extras from Costco that don’t fit in our pantry.

My nearby friend Katelyn offered her husband’s help after hearing my sob story, and built the other two:

Tools, gardening items, and all outdoor toys are now easy to locate!

Since so many holiday items had never been properly stored together before, I bought these storage bins

and made an assembly line of my holiday items sorted by holiday finally!

And to be extra organized, I used some extra chalkboard paint to label the storage bins:

While I did have almost a month to complete this project, I didn’t start right away with some last minute hot summer days keeping me out of the even hotter garage, then letting my broken toe heal properly, trying to dislodge a huge splinter/piece of glass from my heel for a day or two.  Also, Alice has been very clingy with her favorite boys gone so I didn’t tackle it as hardcore as I wanted.  But it looks better than I thought, and now I have lots of room for a secret surprise for the boys when they arrive.

James told me that Patrick was really enjoying table tennis and since we aren’t using our garage to store cars, I thought it would be a fun surprise to have this inside when they return:


What do you love/hate about storage in your garage?  Share your organizing tips or garage/storage horror stories here!