Though it’s meant to hold a car (or two), the typical garage is often so cluttered with garden supplies, sporting equipment, deck gear and…well, junk, that there’s barely any place left to park. Free up room for the car and much more by tapping some unused space—the garage walls—and getting everything off the floor.
1. CLEAR IT OUT
Set aside a weekend to sort through all of the items in your garage—if you can, get the whole family to pitch in. Have large garbage cans on hand to toss anything you really don’t use (be honest) as well as boxes for items you will want to give away or have repaired.
2. GET IN THE ZONE
Once you’ve winnowed down the clutter, think about where stuff will go. Divide the walls of the garage into zones, so you’ll know immediately where to find what you need. For example, designate one area for tools, another for bikes, skis and other recreational equipment, and a third for gardening and lawn supplies. Locate these zones where they’re most convenient; in other words, keep rakes and trimmers by the door leading to the yard.
3. AIM HIGH—AND LOW
A modular hook-and-rail system, like Rubbermaid’s FastTrack, is easy to install and makes the most of vertical space. Add shelves and baskets for smaller items. Hang the things you use most often low or at arm’s reach, and less-frequently used items high and out of the way (just be careful not to hang heavy things so high that taking them down will be dangerous). It’s also a good idea to store hazardous items—cleaning supplies, paint thinner, motor oil—on a high shelf or in a basket out of kids’ reach.
4. FIND A HOOK
Take time to choose the right hooks for the job. Most Rubbermaid hooks hold 50 pounds, but be sure to check the hook’s capacity against the weight of the item you’re hanging. The hook's plastic coating will protect the finish on bikes and such.
5. THINK SEASONALLY
A modular system lets you rearrange stuff easily. So in summer, you can keep hoses, beach chairs and bikes front and center; then when the weather changes, swap for shovels and ski equipment.