STOW IT!…Garage Storage Systems

However good your garage looks from the outside organizing pros estimate that only 30 percent of us store our cars in the garage. The reason? Too much stuff.

For most homeowners, even log home owners, the garage is the black hole of their home’s universe. Unwanted items from all other areas of the house are brought in, stacked and forgotten until one day you open the door, look in and realize you can’t see from one side to the other. If this sounds familiar to you, a garage storage system could transform your dark abyss into an attractive, orderly space that you might even enjoy spending time in.

Storage Should be a Multi-Pronged Attack

The art of storing things in your garage is first and foremost an organizational issue. The reason most garages look so trashed is that there simply isn’t anywhere to put things besides stacking them against the wall. By taking advantage of all available space and introducing a number of efficient storage solutions, you can literally transform the state of your garage overnight.

Garage storage cabinets work well for hiding clutter and protecting their contents from moisture and dust. Garage shelves tend to be more affordable than cabinets. Shelves efficiently save space and make paraphernalia more accessible by getting it off the floor, thereby optimizing the amount of storage you can get per square foot of floor space. Cabinet systems are generally made of plywood, particleboard, plastic, or—more expensive—metal. Custom made from Cedar is our preference.

We like our workbenches to be solid wood with easy access to tools. If you plan on putting a workbench on top of cabinets, then a good depth for lower cabinets is 24 inches. A 12-inch-deep upper cabinet can keep items more accessible, but consider adding just a few inches to increase storage space considerably.

If you’re planning on storing bins or boxes behind closed doors, keep their dimensions in mind when choosing cabinets. Adjustable shelves, upper and lower cabinets, and sturdy drawers give you lots of enclosed space to keep items organized and dust-free. Many manufacturers include hardware to mount cabinets to the wall, but be aware that mounting cabinets on the wall may decrease the amount of weight they can store. Short legs beneath cabinets are a good solution.

When it comes to maximizing storage, shelving gives you the biggest bang for your buck. If shelves are part of your organization solution, be sure they are sturdy enough to handle the weight you intend to put on them. The shelf material makes a big difference. For average loads, a typical ¾-inch shelf made of plywood or pine will span 34 inches between supports. The same shelf made of particleboard will span 19 inches, and medium-density fiberboard will span 21 inches. For sturdier shelves, choose metal systems with adjustable vertical standards. Open shelving should be deep enough to easily accommodate bulky items.

Overhead storage is a great idea for storing lightweight or large items that would otherwise take up considerable space.

Once you’ve decided to make an investment in storage for your garage, you might want to consider making a few other upgrades while you’re at it and create a space you’ll actually enjoy spending time in.

Thank you, Home Advisor (and Ferrari) for some of the inspiration…

  • I have more questions and concerns about getting an oil-change than I do about this project.

    ~ Tom H.