How To Organize Your Garage in 5 Simple Steps


Liz Jenkins

organized garage storage system

How To Organize Your Garage: The Five Steps You Need To Know

Wondering how to organize your garage once and for all? Check out how the pros do it! We’ve been organizing garages for nearly 20 years and have learned a thing or two about how to organize a garage.

Organizing Your Garage

Step 1: What Needs To Be In The Garage?

Figure out what needs to actually live in your garage and be realistic about it. If you’ve got kids and activities and hobbies, your garage ends up being the holding tank for more than just a car. Once you’ve got a clear idea of what actually needs to be in there, this will help guide the decision making process.

Gather your supplies to organize the garage:

organized garage

Step 2: Group Like With Like

Next comes the hardest part of pulling everything out – and this is pretty critical. You can’t just walk around picking things up at random. Everything comes out and gets sorted. If your garage is really dense with clutter, scheduling a junk pickup at the end of the day can be a great way to clear a lot out and give you a target deadline! It’s really hard to make decisions if you don’t know exactly what you’ve got which is where the sorting comes into play. Create zones around the garage for different categories, then sub-sort within those groups. This is where you realize you have 3 leaf blowers and only one that works.

Use the tables and bins to gather your groups and label the various categories. This is a great job for older kids or teens to get involved with because they can see the categories and help move things around. 

elfa garage organizing storage system

Organizing Your Garage

Step 3: Edit

Edit and be ruthless. Hit the low hanging fruit first like the broken leaf blower, the Christmas lights that don’t work, the stroller your kids have outgrown, etc. Then do another pass through and clear out the aspirational items like the weights you bought because you thought you’d work out in the garage or the ‘create a stone path’ craft kit no one wants to do. And a final pass through to really think through what you want and need. You’ve exercised the muscle a bit at this point and when you do a few edits, each time you have a new take on it as it sort of resets your perspective on what’s there.

Step 4: Add Infrastructure for Garage Organization

Create your infrastructure. This is the biggest issue we find in garages – lots of stuff piled about and no place to put it. As garages are usually somewhat limited in space, going vertical and using the ceiling and walls is the only way to really make things happen. We often install overhead racks for holiday or infrequently used items, large chrome racks on casters for bulky storage and a Costco zone, wall tracks and/or slat wall for hanging things like sports equipment, bikes, camp chairs, and the like, as well as workbenches & cabinetry if you like things behind closed doors. We love using Elfa systems in garages because of how customizable they are.

Tips For Organizing Your Garage

What you end up keeping in your garage dictates the type of storage solution you need.

Organizing Your Garage

Step 5: Bins and Labels and Zones

Bin up what you’ve decided to keep, label everything and create your zones! Once you’ve got your infrastructure in place, you can bin up your items (we like these Hefty bins), label them, and place on the shelves or in the cabinets. Hang things on the hooks and create appropriate zones for your space. Don’t forget the Costco shelf by the door for bulk purchases and a clear surface for a drop zone for packages and groceries.

Check out our companion post with our best garage organizing storage solutions and products: 10 TOP GARAGE ORGANIZING SOLUTIONS.

More Posts