Before you can start to organize your garage, you’ll have to clean and sort the clutter that often ends up in the garage. You can start with four piles for keeping, donating, selling or trashing items. Make sure that you’re dedicated to these four categories. As soon as the garage is cleaned, get rid of the items that you’ve promised yourself that you’ll trash or donate. Hold a yard sale to sell the other items with the promise to donate if they don’t sell. This will help you pare down the belongings that you’ll need to organize in the garage. De-cluttering is the first step to organizing, but the next step is often the hardest.

Before you start your garage organization, you will need to think about the best way to organize it. You should never start your organization without a well-laid plan of attack. A floor plan will also help you organize the space in a manner that makes sense. Items that are used by the family frequently should be easy to access while items that aren’t should be placed in the back of the garage or high on shelves or in overhead storage. Use Vertical Space Wisely You only have so much floor space in your garage for items, which is why you should use your vertical space. Hooks and racks are great for hanging things like sports equipment or tools while cabinets will protect items that can’t be tossed into a basket. A cabinet system can get items off the ground, which can protect your belongings from the cold or wet floor. Near the door, bikes can be placed on hooks or even dedicated bike storage systems to get them. Tools can get their own dedicated spot on a slat wall storage system.

Section by Function The easiest way to organize the garage is by function. Car tools and other car related items should be kept in the same space. Boxes containing seasonal items should be placed in one area while gardening tools and lawn care items should be stored together in another area. Sports equipment that children need for after-school activities should be changed out for each season, but kept in the same area to avoid losing important pieces of equipment. Recycle and Eco-friendly A garage that is connected to the home can be a great place to store items like bottles and newspapers that need to be recycled. The barrels or bins can be kept near the interior door to help home organization as well as encourage family members to recycle. When it’s in an easy-to-see location, you’re more likely to remember to take bottles to the recycling center the next time you head out to that part of town.