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How To Makeover Your Garage Right Now

Pro advice for better organization to make the most of your space

A neat garage with tools mounted to the wall

Planning a garage makeover can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. We asked professional organizer Clare Kumar to share some simple, straightforward tips about creating lasting change that you can enjoy throughout the year.

Professional headshot of Clare Kumar, Professional Organizer

Prioritize: Perform a Needs Assessment

Ask yourself what you want to accomplish. “For most people, it’s going to be having the car in there,” says Kumar with a laugh. “And then, what else is important to store in the garage?” Whether it’s garden tools, sports equipment or car maintenance materials, remember that items must be able to withstand temperature changes.

Pro Tip: People often stock paint in their garage, but it deteriorates in extreme hot and cold conditions and is best stored elsewhere.

Liberate: Let Go of Items You No Longer Use

No matter what the object, your predetermined priorities will tell you whether to keep it in the garage, liberate it or stash it elsewhere: only store those items that serve the purposes you’ve already identified.

The garage tends to hold functional items, notes Kumar, but some pieces—like a child’s first tricycle—can encourage sentimental attachments beyond their usefulness.

Pro Tip: In those cases, she recommends imagining the joy another child will experience riding the bike.

Tools organized neatly on wall mounted storage system

Arrange: Create a Functional Space

Most people are tempted to start with this step, because it’s the most gratifying. But Kumar cautions against it. “If you go out shopping for the pegboards or the flat bins before you know what you want to put in them, you’ll probably buy the wrong tools,” she says.

Pro Tip: Consider what’s going in that bin and who will be using it. “If you’re thinking of putting your kids’ sports equipment in a container, be sure to store it at their level so they can not only access it, but put it away!”

Nurture: Get Fun and Creative   

Ultimately the garage is your space, so ask yourself what you want it to be. “There are organizing tools and supplies for every budget, so when you’re outlining your priorities, maybe you want to say it should be an enjoyable space,” says Kumar.

Pro Tip: If you typically enter your home through the garage, personalizing it as you would your front foyer creates beauty and a sense of welcome.

At the end of the day, an ideal space, says Kumar, is organized and easy to clean, with enough shelving and storage to keep stuff off the floor.

Feeling inspired? Here’s how to reduce waste and get the kids to help out, too.

Image credit: Barn Images, istock and Dann Tardif