The garage is an extremely important piece of any residential property. In many areas, it’s a deal breaker if there is no garage and/or if the garage is not attached. While people value having a garage, once they get one, it tends to serve every purpose except for that which it was intended; housing your vehicle. So how do you maintain this all important space and keep it organized?

Well first and most important, if you own a vehicle and live in a part of the country where the weather isn’t always perfect, you should make sure you park your car in the garage while you prepare your organization plan. Do this so that you will not take up valuable space in the garage that won’t allow you to park the car there later. If you don’t have a vehicle and will be using your garage for an office, workshop or additional living space, you can elect to avoid this step. However if you plan to get a vehicle in the future, I suggest borrowing a car to park in the garage and plan around it.

Now you’ll need a tape measure to do some measuring. Since you of course will not have anything blocking the door that opens to the outside; you will only measure the distance from the 3 walls to your vehicle and the length of the 3 walls. This is crucial to picking the type of shelving you’ll use, which is essential to organizing a garage space. Since many garages are not insulated or heated, the best shelving is stainless steel. This type of shelving not only resists corrosion and other damage from water and the elements, but is a neutral color than typically matches any décor. While most people would put the shelves right next to each other, I suggest leaving a space for a piece of art work, be it high end or simply your children’s drawing. This allows for whimsy in an area of the home that is typically neglected. When you view your garage as an additional room of your home, with its’ own décor, you’re more apt to maintain the organization you put in place. Once the shelving is up, I recommend grouping like items in the same area. For instance, you gardening tools: shovel, rake, etc., should all be in one place. Also since gardening is very calming and can be good exercise; I recommend placing these items closest to the door, so they’re easily accessible.

Now you can use the ceilings of your garage to continue your organizing. Any bikes you have, can now be hung out of sight until you’re ready to ride them. You can also place works of art to hang from your ceiling as well. Art work or fancy/recessed lighting is very inviting in a garage and softens the space. From the ceiling you can also hang shelves that house boxes of tools and other seasonal items. This is also a great place to store documents and other office supplies if you use your garage as a work space; which I will address next.

If you don’t need a vehicle and work from home, the garage is a great place to house your office or studio. So how do you organize the space for an office or studio? Start with shelving, just as if you were housing the car in the garage. Shelving on the walls is still a great option for your office, as well. This will allow the open space for desks and perhaps office machinery. Make sure to select desks that have several drawers for storing and organizing your office papers and supplies.

If you’re an artist, such as a painter or a sculptor you will want easels that are fold away, to keep you organized. You can also purchase work benches or seating that doubles as storage and this too will help you stay organized, while providing seating and décor. If you’re garage is used for additional living quarters then a futon is a great way to stay organized. It will serve as a sofa during the day and your bed at night. You can also purchase dressers and tables that can house clothing and shoes. An armoire is also a great idea to stay organized in a garage that doubles as a living space. Use some of these ideas and your garage will be just as valued as every other room in your home.

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