Simple DIY tricks for organizing your garage

June 30, 2015

If clutter has taken over your garage, there's no need to buy pricey storage solutions. You probably already have on hand everything you need to keep things organized. Here are some easy DIY ideas to get you started.

Simple DIY tricks for organizing your garage

Make the cut

So that you'll never again have to search for a knife or scissors to cut a piece of tape, rope or sandpaper, here's a sharp idea:

  • Remove the serrated cutting strip from a box of aluminum foil or plastic wrap, cut it in half with a metal cutter or shears and tack or nail one of the sections to the least-used side of your workbench.
  • Make sure the teeth are positioned slightly above the top of the surface.

This will help eliminate the need to have a pile of cutting tools crowding your workbench top.

A place for parts

Sometimes extra pieces from home renos or DIY projects and repairs can become a disorganized, junky pile. To avoid this:

  • Make your own parts bins out of recycled plastic milk jugs. Leave the caps on the jugs (seal them with epoxy, if needed), and cut off about 1/3 of the side panel with a utility knife or scissors.
  • Fill the jugs with nails, screws, nuts and other small parts, then place them on a small bookshelf or cabinet. Stand the jugs upright; the handles make for easy transport.

No more sifting through the mess to find the screws you need!

Prevent rust on tools

Tools are expensive, so you'll surely want to maintain them so they last a long time. What should you do if your garage is damp and you store tools there?

  • To prevent tools from rusting, lightly coat them with petroleum jelly or car wax.
  • If you're storing tools you don't use often, spray them with a silicone lubricant and wrap them in aluminum foil.

The next time you use the tools, just wipe them with a soft cloth and they'll be good to go.

Add a hammock in the garage

You can easily optimize the space above your car by stringing a hammock (not the kind for lazing about!) from hooks fastened to the garage walls' exposed joists. Presto! An instant sling for light but bulky items.

  • Rolled-up small rugs, basketballs, hockey and lacrosse sticks, exercise mats and other lightweight things can be stashed in the hammock.

The best part about adding a hammock, besides reducing clutter, is everything is visible through the mesh and won't be forgotten.

Repurposing has its rewards

A quick look through your home recycling bin can usually turn up a bunch of items that can significantly reduce the clutter around your workshop or garage.

Here are a few suggestions that may come in handy:

  • Use empty prescription pill bottles, glass jars, coffee cans and the see-through plastic tops from CD spindles to hold nails, screws and other fasteners.
  • Turn an old ice cube tray or a muffin pan into an organizer for washers, tacks, brads, nuts and bolts.
  • Number the compartments in an egg carton and use each cup to hold disassembled parts in the order they're removed.
  • Use cardboard tubes from paper towels, gift-wrapping paper and toilet paper rolls to neatly hold extension cords, ropes and dowels.
  • Mount a large block of recycled Styrofoam near your workbench to use as a "pincushion" for drill bits, screwdrivers, pens, punches, wrenches and other tools.
  • Glue a piece of cardboard onto the bottom of a building brick (the type with holes in it) and use the brick to hold files, drill bits, brushes, craft knives and the like.

Reusing items you might normally toss away or recycle can further help us to reduce the amount of material that winds up in landfills. Plus, it means you'll spend less purchasing storage containers you may not need, which adds up to savings in your pocket.

Keep supplies in the gutter

Who says gutters have to be outside? Not the savvy do-it-yourselfer!

  • Mount a couple of vinyl rain gutters around your work area for an inexpensive, yet sturdy, way to store lengths of molding, lumber, PVC pipe and dowels.

To do this, simply screw the mounting brackets into the wall studs and snap in the gutters.

  • You can also use the bare gutter brackets to hold wire coils, extension cords and hoses.

Gutters are a good way to make the most of wall space, especially for very long items. Just ensure they're anchored solidly to wall studs and not simply screwed into the sheetrock.

A messy garage isn't very practical if you spend half the time looking for stuff that has gotten buried in the chaos. If this sounds like your garage, you'll surely appreciate these great suggestions on how to make functional storage spaces for next to nothing.

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