Most of the custom homes we build in Houston, TX feature a 3+ car garage. Many of these garages have extended stalls designed for the homeowner with an RV, boat or other large equipment that needs storing. With an extended stall it’s easy to fit two cars and an RV in the garage and yet if you’re like most homeowners you’ll find that over time even the largest garages get a little cluttered and disorganized.

It’s easy for a garage of any size to become clustered and unorganized. Getting it back into shape isn’t difficult but it takes a little planning and some dedication to maintaining an organized garage no matter what size it is. For many families a garage is so much more than a place to store a vehicle or two. It’s a workshop, a place to tinker, a place to think and a place to get away from it all and yet remain connected to the home. A garage can be a showcase for a classic motorcycle or car and it can be a place to store everything and anything. It is because a garage is so many things that it easily becomes a disorganized mess.

Follow these tips to get your garage in shape and keep it that way:

Lighting – If you can’t see around your garage you’ll never be able to get it organized. Make sure you have proper lighting in your garage. The light from the garage door opener will not be sufficient if you have a workshop in your garage. If you don’t have sufficient lighting in your garage you can install shop lights that simply plug into an outlet. Shop lights provide plenty of lights and can be moved if necessary.

De-Clutter – First and foremost you’re going to have to get rid of the junk that has accumulated over the years. It’s a good idea to purge the garage every couple of years. You can do this by going through your items and noting the last time you used it. If you haven’t used that musty old suitcase with the broken wheel in two years it’s time to get rid of it. Make a pile of useable items and a separate one for broken things. Toss out the broken things and either have a garage sale for the useable items or better yet, donate them to the Goodwill or other thrift store. Recycle old electronics like computers, monitors, telephones, printers and that fax machine that’s been collecting for the last ten years. If the kids have outgrown the sports gear pack it up and donate it to the local Goodwill so another family can get good use of it. Go through tools and determine if they are in good working order. If they are keep them, if not, throw them away.

Shelve it! – A storage system is a wonderful investment. Install shelves along the wall to maximize storage. There are many great shelving systems available at Target, The Container Store and Ikea. You can even build your own. Add bins for small items. Keep items organized by storing them according to category — sports equipment gets one area, power tools another, small electronics another…etc…. Be sure to label the shelves and the bins so you always know where something belongs. Teach the kids to put items back in the correct place so other family members can easily find the item.

Inventory – Decide which items belong in the garage and which would be better stored in the attic or other areas of the house. Consider location and where the items will be used as well. Kitchen appliances that are only used once a year can be easily stored in the garage. Items that get a lot more use should be stored where they will be used. Don’t let your garage be the home dump. Don’t allow a drop and go mentality to form around the garage. By keeping it organized and tidy you’ll avoid having piles of sports equipment, shoes and boots and other outdoor clothing from gathering on the floor or elsewhere in the garage. Once you’ve managed to get the garage organized you can move on to other areas of the home. You’ll find that an organized home can save you time, frustration and ultimately money.

For more tips on getting your garage organized check out these Pinterest boards.