These brilliant garage storage ideas will help you make the most of the space you have and organize everything you need to store! You’ll be able to use the garage as a place to park your cars rather than as a dumping ground for extra stuff!
Of allllllll of the spaces I’ve ever organized, storage spaces could quite possibly be the trickiest. Why?
- They have to fit a lot of stuff, and much of it is random and awkwardly shaped.
- It’s easy for storage spaces like garages and basements to become a dumping ground for all the things we don’t know what else to do with.
- And they’re not pretty. It’s not like we hang out in them and soak in the space.
But even so, I’ve learned that when our storage spaces are functional and organized, the rest of our house runs a lot more smoothly too. So for that reason, the time and effort it takes to get them organized is well worth it.
Now before I get into the garage storage ideas that have worked oh-so-well for us, let me just give you a quick reminder of where our garage started:
So if you were thinking that it was always organized and we just had to tweak a few things to get it the way we wanted it, you would be wrong. It was a complete disaster.
Getting our garage from its horrendously disorganized state to the happy, organized place it is today was a serious labor of love, and we learned a ton along the way.
So today I thought I’d share the storage and organizing solutions that have been most helpful to us since we organized our garage nearly a year ago. I hope they will help to give you some ideas if you’re looking to tackle your own garage!
Garage Storage Ideas that Will Maximize Your Space
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.
1. Make the most of vertical space with wall shelves.
One huge benefit that many garages have is that they offer a lot of vertical space!
Since we had many, many items to store, we wanted to use as much of the space as possible, so we opted to use a wall-mounted shelving system. This allowed us to take the shelving up as high as we wanted to, as opposed to shelves that sit on the floor and only go so high.
We weighed the pros and cons and compared the Elfa system from The Container Store with IKEA’s ALGOT system, ultimately going with ALGOT.
While we loved the Elfa system when we used it in Donnie’s office, it gets pricey quickly, and we saved thousands by using ALGOT.
We had installed ALGOT in 7 closets before we used it in our garage, and it had always held up well, so we were confident that it would be a great fit for the garage too.
Rather than using the particleboard shelves that we used in our closets, we went with the metal shelf option for most of the shelving in the garage, making it even sturdier for our bulky storage items.
2. Use a track system for awkwardly shaped items.
There are just some items that don’t sit nicely on shelves! For those oddly shaped pieces, we had to find a different solution, and Gladiator’s track system ended up being perfect.
You purchase the tracks, and then there are tons of different hooks and attachments that can hold and store just about everything! (You’ll see more examples of how we use this track system in photos below.)
3. Get bulky items off the floor with hooks.
When organizing our garage, I wanted to get as much off the floor as I possibly could. It just keeps things so much tidier!
Along with the ALGOT shelving and the track system, we also utilized some hooks attached directly to the wall to get some of our items– like hockey equipment– up of the floor.
If we would have had the hockey net on the floor, for example, Donnie’s car wouldn’t be able to fit in the garage behind it. But we were able to hang it high enough that the front of his car comes in underneath, and it is still low enough for us to be able to grab easily.
4. If hanging shelves isn’t an option, use metal shelving units.
If you have concrete block walls that aren’t conducive to wall-mounted shelves or are renting and want something you can take with you when you leave, we have loved these super sturdy metal shelves by Gladiator.
We use them in our basement, but they could easily work in a garage space as well.
We had plastic shelving in the garage in our last house. It was always getting warped, and I was constantly worried about it falling over because it wasn’t super sturdy.
These metal shelves were a bit of an investment up front, but I love that I never have to worry about them giving out or falling down. And they can hold a ton of weight, so we can put just about anything on them.
5. Create tool “kits” with toolboxes and divided containers.
We may store our tools in the basement, but I know many people store them in the garage, so I wanted to be sure I mentioned this!
It was a total game changer when we took the time to organize Donnie’s tools into easy-to-manage kits.
He has all of his plumbing tools in one organized toolbox and all of his electrical supplies in another. He has many different types of screws on hand for various projects, and they are organized by type in neatly divided containers.
Donnie is much more likely to say “yes” to projects now because all of his tools and equipment is organized, and it is easy to find what he needs right away.
He did a ton of research when choosing his tool organizers, and he shared all of his favorites in this post if you’re looking for more tool storage ideas!
6. Use a pegboard to organize light and/or small items.
I have always loved pegboards. Not only are they cute, but they are also just so darn practical!
We created a little workstation in our garage and used the IKEA SKADIS pegboard and accessories to hold some of our office supplies.
We used another SKADIS pegboard + hooks to organize some of our cleaning supplies, and it has worked like a charm!
7. Incorporate a small workstation to use for projects.
And speaking of that workstation…
This was actually Donnie’s request. (One of his smartest garage storage ideas, in my opinion!) When we were planning out the garage, he asked for a spot where he could sit and make notes or work out ideas while he was doing projects in the space.
We integrated a small desk area and rolling stool into the design and have used it over and over again!
8. Opaque bins help hide unsightly items.
Opaque bins or clear bins? I don’t know that I’ve ever met a bin that I didn’t like, but I felt pretty strongly about using opaque bins in the garage.
Unlike the basement, we (and others) see the garage a decent amount. We walk through it every time we enter and exit the house. When Donnie is doing yard work or we are playing outside, the garage door will often be up, and neighbors can easily see in.
And if several people, including myself, are going to have to look at my stuff on a daily basis, I want it to look tidy. Opaque bins are great for hiding all of our necessary-but-not-pretty items and making them look organized! Hence, why I felt it was so important to use them in the garage.
(Conversely, I chose clear bins when organizing our basement because no one really sees it often, and clear bins make things easier to find.)
9. Add labels to help find items easily.
I love, love, love labels because they are another one of those things that are both cute and practical!
I used my Silhouette Cameo cutting machine + adhesive vinyl to create the labels for the bins in our garage, and they are all still holding firmly nearly a year later.
(You can see a full tutorial for how I create my labels in this post.)
Labels make everything so much easier to find. They also make it easier for other people to put things back where they go, even if they’re not the ones who created the organizing system.
10. Organize items into zones.
While it may be tempting to throw everything into bins and stick them wherever they’ll fit, the garage (and any space!) will be much more functional if items are organized into zones with like items.
I planned our our zones before I bought even one shelf or bin so I could be sure everything would fit neatly.
On the first wall of our garage, we have the “lawn and garden” zone and the “outdoor toys and activities” zone.
The back wall of the garage has a hockey zone, a fishing zone, and a “shoes, boots, and rollerblades” zone.
And the final wall of the garage has a cleaning zone, a ladders zone, and a trash/recycling zone.
It’s not fancy– it’s just keeping like items together– but it makes a big difference when it comes to the space functioning well!
11. Place everyday items lower and seasonal items higher.
Ideally, we would have everything within arm’s reach, but typically, we are storing so much in the garage that it’s just not possible.
Because of this, I try to be strategic when I’m planning where everything will go. I keep items we use often– and particularly items that my children use often– on lower shelves that are easy to reach without a ladder or stool.
Things that we use more seasonally– like sleds or Donnie’s fishing gear– go up higher because we don’t need to access them as frequently.
12. Store lawn care items near the garage door.
Donnie told me several times this summer how much easier it was to do yard work because our lawn care items were neatly organized!
Because he is often coming in and out to get the lawn tools he needs, I thought it was important that all of the gear be right next to the garage door for easy access.
With projects and jobs that can sometimes be less than fun, the easier we can make them, the more likely they are to get done!
13. Choose a folding lawn mower.
And speaking of lawn care, if you have the choice, pick a mower that can fold up, taking up less space in the garage. (We have this one.)
We moved to our current house from a townhouse where the yard maintenance was taken care of for us, so we had to buy a mower when we moved in.
Knowing that they were big and bulky and could interfere with our ability to park both cars in the garage, we sought out a model that could be neatly tucked away and have been really happy with our choice.
14. Get the wheelbarrow out of the way with a simple cleat.
The wheelbarrow was another piece of equipment that we needed to own for occasional use but that was kind of a bear to store.
We did some research and found this simple cleat that allows us to store it up out of the way, and we can easily get it down when we need to use it.
The lip of the wheelbarrow just rests in the cleat, and then the handles sit against the wall, securing it so that it won’t fall down.
To get it down, we push the wheelbarrow straight up out of the cleat and then lower it down.
15. Corral your hose with a reel.
Since sharing pictures of our garage, I have had people tell me that not every garage has a hose bib. Who knew?!
We live in Pennsylvania, and every house we’ve lived in has had one so you can hook up a hose to wash the car, fill buckets, etc. (We have one on the back of the outside of our house as well.)
I wouldn’t have necessarily chosen this placement for the hose bib, but it was there and we had to work around it, so we tried to make it as neat as possible.
This reel keeps the hose contained, while still making it easy to take out and put back when we need it.
16. Hang bikes up out of the way.
Going along with my theme of “get everything up off the floor,” I knew we needed to find a practical solution for storing bikes.
Thankfully, Gladiator makes a few different attachments for their track system that are specifically for bikes, so we were able to choose one and get them up out of the way.
If you’re out of wall space, I have seen ceiling attachments for bikes that can work really well too.
17. Create a drop zone for sports equipment.
This was one of my #1 priorities for our garage! My boys would get home from hockey and drop all of their sweaty, smelly equipment in my dining room (Yuck!), and I was desperate to get it out of there!
These low ALGOT shelves made it easy for them to store their items out of the way without us having to smell them in the main part of the house.
18. Add hooks for airing out smelly items.
And speaking of smelly items… I added a few simple hooks so that especially stinky gear– like gloves and helmets– could be hung to air out between practices and games.
If you are a sports mom/wife or an athlete yourself, you probably know that the smell may never *completely* go away, but I’m doing my best to try! 😂
19. Get shoes and boots off the floor.
Have you noticed that I really like things off the floor?! We keep our muddy shoes and boots in the garage, along with rollerblades, so the ALGOT shelves came in handy for storage.
If you don’t have this many shelves to spare, a single bin on a shelf would totally work too!
20. Utilize open baskets or bins for frequently used items.
Garages can get dusty, so I don’t use a ton of open containers, but there are a few things where I’ve found that it’s helpful.
I use these mesh baskets (which are made for the IKEA ALGOT system) to store the hockey pucks that the boys use outside…
…and I also left the lids off of their most frequently used sports equipment. This was partly because it was a better fit but also because the less steps the boys have to go through to put things back, the more likely they are to do it!
21. Use narrow bins for garbage bags.
If you haven’t figured out that I’m a huge organizing nerd yet, this will be a dead giveaway. 😉 I was giddy with excitement when I found these narrow y-weave bins that were the perfect size for holding a roll of garbage bags.
I can drape the bag over the side so I can easily pull one off when I need it, and then the next one sits there neatly, all ready to go!
22. Keep a bag dispenser handy to reuse shopping bags.
I keep reusable cloth shopping bags in my car, but I inevitably end up with some of the plastic ones floating around, so I use this little container to corral them.
This way, I am able to use them multiple times and they aren’t just getting thrown away after a single use.
23. Hang ladders rather than leaning them.
Remember that scary “before” picture of our garage? (Okay, I know it is so terrifying that it would be hard to forget!)
But I used to dread using our ladders (or anything really) when our garage looked like this because they were leaning and stacked, they would fall over, and I always had to move a bunch of stuff to get to them.
The track system saved the day again, and with a simple attachment, we were able to hang them up out of the way so they are easy to grab when we need them.
24. Opt for square or rectangular trash cans and recycle bins rather than round.
We learned this lesson the hard way! We initially bought round trash cans when we moved in, thinking that they would hold more. They were too big though, and didn’t fit neatly in the space we had for them.
When we could pull our car into the garage, they stuck out and made opening the door really difficult. And we had wheeled bases that the garbage cans could fit onto to make moving them around easier, but you had to line them up just right for it to work, and it was a huge pain.
Ultimately, we gave away the round cans in favor of squarer ones, and they are a much better fit. They are also easier to roll out to the street on trash/recycling day.
25. Hang cleaning supplies to save on closet space.
This final tip in my list of garage storage ideas may not work for everyone, depending on the layout of your house, but it has worked well for us.
I had been keeping all of my mops, brooms, and cleaning items in our mudroom closet, but they were always falling over and getting in the way.
Hanging them on a pegboard freed up space in our closet and made them easier to access since we no longer have to dig around coats to get to them.
That door you see peeking into the left of the picture leads to our mudroom, meaning that we only have to take about three extra steps to get to our supplies, so this setup has been great for us.
If you had a bit of open wall in an inconspicuous place, this setup could certainly work in the main part of the house as well.
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Even More Garage Storage Ideas (Basements and Other Storage Spaces Too!)
After spending so much time organizing our garage and basement over the past few years, I have learned so many tips, tricks, and strategies for doing it most effectively!
I am so excited to be teaching a brand new class about the best ways to plan out and organize garages, basements, and storage spaces at an online summit called Get Organized HQ in September!
The summit runs from September 9-13 and is free to attend virtually (in your pajamas with your favorite beverage from the comfort of your own home)! There are 45+ speakers who will be covering many, many, MANY organizing topics throughout the week of the event.
If you’re looking to organize your home, become more productive and make the most of your time, and/or hone your planning skills, this free event will have classes that you will LOVE!
I hope to see you there so we can geek out on all of the organizing things together!!
If you’d like to see more posts about our garage organization project, head here:
And if you’ll be organizing your own space in the near future and these garage storage ideas were helpful, be sure to pin the image below so you can reference them later!
Thank you for following along! Have a wonderful day!
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.