Organizing a garage can feel like a daunting task, but when you have the best storage systems working for you, it doesn't have to be difficult at all! I've rounded up my favorite storage systems for organizing a garage so your next garage project can be an easy one!
One of the big projects on my to-do list for this year was to give our garage an organization overhaul. We had never created a great system out there since moving in (over 2 years ago now!), and at its worst, it looked like this:
Yikes. One day I took a few hours and tidied up as best I could, which was an improvement...
...but without any real storage pieces to hold our items, I could only do so much. I was a bit overwhelmed by the task of choosing the right storage system for our garage, so I put off the task for way too long.
Now, organizing a garage does not necessarily mean that you need to go out and buy all new storage pieces. If you have some shelving or other storage to work with, even if it's not 100% perfect, I would definitely try to utilize that as much as you can first before you go out and buy anything new.
In our case, though, all of the storage that we had used in our last house stayed with the house, so we literally had nothing and were starting from scratch.
Late this past summer when we decided to really get serious about organizing the garage, we researched a bunch of garage storage options, so I thought I would share the ones I thought were the best and what we ended up going with.
The Best Storage Systems for Organizing the Garage
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.
Option 1- Freestanding Storage Shelves
The first option we thought of when we went to organize our garage was to get some freestanding storage shelves since that was what we had in the garage in our previous house. We considered a few different types of freestanding shelves.
IKEA IVAR Shelves
Perfect for: Large-but-lighter items
We had used some IKEA IVAR shelves in our boys' playroom and are currently using one to hold paint in our basement. They can hold a lot, so we thought they might work.
When we made a list of everything that we needed to store in our garage, though, we realized that we'd need something more heavy duty, so the next thing we looked into was...
Gladiator Heavy Duty Shelves
Perfect for: Heavy items, storage tubs, large or awkwardly shaped items
We liked these shelving units by Gladiator because they were super strong and durable and could hold a ton. We have a few sets of these shelves holding our bins of holiday decor in the basement, and they have been awesome.
Ultimately, we didn't end up going with freestanding shelving units for our garage because the floor is slightly sloped and we were worried about how they would sit. I think if we were storing a bunch of bins/storage totes in the garage, the Gladiator shelves would have been a good choice for the back wall, which is not sloped, but for our needs, they weren't the right choice for the garage.
Option 2- Ceiling Racks
Perfect for: Items that aren't used often (like seasonal decor), storage tubs
Another option that we didn't go with for our garage but that I thought was cool were these racks that hang from the ceiling.
Again, we didn't have a ton of bins to store in our garage, so the ceiling storage option wasn't really practical for us, but it could work really well in a garage with a different layout/ different storage needs.
Option 3- Wall-Mounted Storage Shelves
ALGOT vs. Elfa
Perfect for: Garages with sloped floors, small items, large items, storage bins
Once I had taken note of our garage layout and had my list of what I wanted to store, I was pretty positive that we were going to go with shelving units that attached directly to the wall. The sloped floor wasn't an issue with these, and we could really maximize our vertical space because we could take them all the way up to the ceiling if we needed to.
The two major brands of wall shelves we considered were the Elfa system from The Container Store and IKEA's ALGOT system.
[FYI... IKEA recently discontinued their ALGOT system and replaced it with BOAXEL, which is very similar.]
At first, I was pretty sure that we were going to go with the Elfa system. We had used it for Donnie's office and had loved it for that.
Their "Utility" series was perfect for the garage and had a ton of different options, which we liked.
But we were going to be using a TON of shelving in the garage, and when I started to estimate how much the pieces we would need would cost, it was going to take us into multiple thousands of dollars. Eek. So I started looking into other options.
We had actually used IKEA's ALGOT system in 7 different closets between our two houses, and it had held up really well.
IKEA ALGOT Shelves in Our Current Pantry
My hesitation with using it for the garage was that the shelves we had always used were particleboard, so I wasn't sure how they would do in the rougher environment of a garage.
As I was looking into the different options though, I remembered that IKEA also had a metal shelf option that worked with the ALGOT brackets, and when we went to look at it in the store, we realized that it would be perfect for the garage after all!
As I mentioned before, we ended up purchasing lots and lots of shelving for the garage and our total with ALGOT ended up being about $1000, which saved us thousands and thousands compared to Elfa. (I talk about how we measure for and design our ALGOT shelving systems in this post.)
Option 4- Gladiator Track System
Perfect for: Large and/or awkward items that need to be hung, bikes
The one thing that Elfa had that ALGOT did not was a track system for hooks to hang things like yard tools, shovels, ladders, bikes, etc. Fortunately, we discovered the Gladiator track system, which also ended up being more affordable, and we were able to use it in a few places to supplement our IKEA shelving.
I love that the track system is really versatile and had a ton of attachment options. If our storage needs change in the future, it will be easy to keep the same track and just swap out the type of hooks we're using.
Option 5- Wall Hooks/Brackets
Perfect for: Awkwardly shaped items that are fairly light, though depending on which hooks you choose, these can work for heavy items as well
One piece that was especially challenging to store was our wheelbarrow. It is big and heavy, and even though we only use it a few times a year, we needed to keep it around. Eventually we came across this simple storage bracket that holds it snugly on the wall, up out of the way but still within reach when we need it.
Option 6- Storage Bins
Perfect for: Small, light-ish items, corralling a bunch of small items, organizing decor, toys, etc.
Finally, we needed some storage bins! I went back and forth over whether to use transparent or opaque bins for the garage. Transparent bins are nice because it's easy to see what's in them, but sometimes seeing what's in them makes a space look messier!
Since this was a garage and the items we are storing weren't necessarily "pretty," I went with opaque bins to try to minimize the visual clutter.
I chose aqua bins for most of the items (which, sadly, are no longer in stock, but these are also cute!), but for some reason Donnie didn't want to carry his fishing gear around in those! (I can't imagine why!) He ended up getting these gray bins for his fishing gear and really likes them.
After all of our research, these were the best storage systems for organizing a garage that we've come across, and we've been really happy with the pieces that we chose!
I know my list isn't exhaustive, though, so be sure to let me know which garage storage pieces you'd add in the comments below!
Catch the rest of our garage organization posts here:
The Best Storage Systems for Organizing a Garage (You're here!)
[Psssttt… Don’t miss our top 100 tips for organizing every single room in your house!]
I've also put together a nifty little garage organization planning guide with a step-by-step overview of the process and printables to help you get organized if you're planning a garage project soon! You can snag it for free by clicking the button below!
Thank you for following along! Have a wonderful day!
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.