Time to clean the garage again? Clutter has a way of happening in a garage like no other room in a home. As you start down the organizing path again, use these tips to keep the clutter under control.
Determine Your Space Many people under estimate how much space cabinets may take up in their garage. The first step in your organization process should be to measure how much room you have from the wall to your car(s) leaving room for an adequate pathway and room for the swing of the car door. If you are considering re-using cabinets, it is important to remember that a standard kitchen counter is 24 inches deep and this may be too large for some garage configurations. Before you begin, it is also important to get an idea of the majority of the items you will be storing and how they will fit from a depth, width, and shelving height perspective.
Most freestanding garage cabinets units are made from metal, plastic or wood. Plastic units are usually the easiest to assemble as they have just a few parts. Metal and wood cabinets that do not come pre-assembled may be more difficult to put together. Freestanding cabinets are harder to customize than garage cabinet/shelving systems that come with sections and can be built to fit your space and storage needs. Some cabinets may come on casters or wheels so that you can easily move them.
Choosing a cabinet system allows for the most flexibility as most systems offer a wide variety of accessories including; workbenches, pegboards, bins, and drawers. On the downside, cabinet systems tend to be the most expensive, and are not usually compatible with pieces from other manufacturers.
Choosing a Cabinet Material
Cabinets made from MDF or particle board are best suited for low moisture climates. You will also want to avoid wood cabinets that sit on the ground if your garage ever suffers from leaks or standing water in heavy rainstorms. Many wood types are finished with a laminate that provides a clean, aesthetically pleasing finish.
Plastic or Resin
Plastic cabinets are the lightest and most moisture resistance of the three cabinet options. The load capacity of plastic cabinets is typically the lowest of the three options. Popular manufacturers include Suncast , Black & Decker, and Flow Wall.
Metal cabinets come in a wide array of finishes from powder coating (to protect the metal) to diamond plating. Some metal cabinets come with casters (wheels) allowing them to be moved around easily for sweeping, moving items, or reorganizing. Popular manufacturers of metal cabinets include Gladiator, Lista, Wall Control, Edsal, and Husky.
Organizing Your Cabinets
Garage cabinets are great organizing tools. They hold a lot of stuff in an easy to get to location. However, if you don't keep your cabinets organized, they will quickly become cluttered messes with heaps of items randomly stacked on top of each other.
Keep your cabinets clutter free by boxing items and sorting them into bins by size and use. Home goods stores sell a surprisingly wide variety of boxes and bins to fit just about anything you might find in your garage. Screws, nuts and bolts might fit best into a box with internal compartments. Store holiday items in see-through bins for quick reference. Use several smaller bins to hold items that are easy to misplace such as garden and work gloves, tape, and small tools. As you purchase bins and boxes, make sure they fit neatly into your existing cabinets and that you can stack them on top of each other.
It's easy to add drawer systems to your cabinets. Drawers, unlike bins, won't fall over as you try to get to the bins or boxes on the bottom. Drawers work exceptionally well for cabinets with doors. Bins might not fit exactly into cabinets and work better for open shelves. Choose a variety of drawer sizes. Put larger drawers in bottom shelves to hold heavier, bulkier items like sports equipment. Smaller, multi-drawer systems can go on upper shelves for small things.
Hang it Up
As much as you can, consider adding hanging options to your garage cabinets. For example, add hooks underneath a cabinet over a work bench to hang tools or other items you want to reach quickly. If there's room, add hooks on the inside of cabinet doors for items like brooms or fishing poles. If one side of a cabinet is exposed, hang up recycling bins for hazardous materials like light bulbs or batteries or add a hanging shoe rack for garden and work shoes. Add instant hanging shelves onto cabinets to maximize room above bins.
Get out this weekend and organize your garage cabinets for the last time with these helpful tips and leave clutter behind for good.
This article is part of the Garage Organization Ideas series. Read more for more garage organization tips from Mr. Handyman.