Does your garage look like all the storage bins had a party? If so, these tips will teach you how to organize your garage for winter. You’ll be able to find what you need when you need it!
With a large family, it is easy to accumulate lots of stuff. The majority of it often gets relegated to the garage. Before you know it, the swim toys are mixed up in the winter boots and the gardening tools are in a bin of old paint cans. Let me help you organize your garage for winter – and do it on a budget!
How to Organize Your Garage For Winter
There’s no question the garage is a place of commotion for most families. If you’re like me, your garage is a mess. Many of us moms struggle to keep it organized and yet have easy access to the items we need.
The New Year is a time for letting go and also starting fresh. The weather is getting colder and it is a great time to start decluttering my house – including organizing the garage!
Our garages can have many uses including: storage, a workspace, a home gym, or for parking. No matter what you use it for, these solutions will help you get organized for winter. Straightening and putting things away doesn’t have to be overwhelming. With a few tips and laser focus, you will have your garage organized in no time!
What is the Function of Your Garage?
After a busy summer and fall, your garage is ready to be squared away for the winter months. During the warm weather, your garage becomes a catch-all for many things. Garden tools and supplies are left laying out along with home repair items.
When you start thinking about getting your garage ready for winter, ask yourself, “What is the function of my garage?” Do you want workspace, gym space, parking space, etc? Your garage should serve you, not the other way around.
The first step in organizing your garage is to identify what you want to use that space for. If you are a visual learner, go ahead and sketch your garage space on a piece of paper or even use painter’s tape to map out different zones. Most of us use our garage for multiple purposes, so having clear zones will help us in the organization process.
Complete an Inventory of What you Have
The second step is to take inventory of what you already have in your garage. You don’t need to go through every single last thing, but do go through the items that are obviously out of place. If you find things that you haven’t even used in a year or two then it is probably time to let it go.
Are those flip flops in the storage bin going to fit your kids next summer? Are you out of kids to pass them on to? Are you actually going to repair that broken garden trowel? Be honest with yourself. Sell or donate items that are in good condition. Trash or recycle the rest.
How to Organize Sentimental Items in Your Garage
If you have been storing items for sentimental reasons, such as your grandparents’ old love letters or your kids’ baby books, make sure they are in appropriate storage bins. They should be airtight if possible. Store them in a bin with a lid (not a cardboard box) to keep out moisture and pests.
You most likely will not access these sentimental items very often so keep them on a higher shelf or in a less-trafficked area of your garage. Make sure they are clearly labeled so you don’t accidentally toss them out!
Organize Your Garage with Zones
I mentioned this earlier, but step #4 is to have clear zones for each purpose. This will help you keep your garage organized. One of those zones should be storage. It usually works best to store items around the edges or up in a loft if you have one. Make sure you have storage listed as one of your functional areas in your zone sketch.
If you are planning on a larger purchase such as a treadmill or woodworking equipment be sure you take this into account when making your garage organization plan.
Like Goes with Like
Step #5 is to keep all your seasonal items together. For example, if you have summer swim or beach items – keep those all together. If you have fall sports items, group those together. Keep your holiday décor together and garden tools in a separate section.
Keeping like items together will help you be able to find items during the season you need it in. You won’t have to get through the camping gear to find the Christmas decorations, for example. It will also make it simpler for you to transition from one season to the next.
Get It Off The Floor
The next step is to get everything off the floor. Create as much floor space as you can in each zone. Use heavy-duty hooks to hang up bulkier items. You can hang things like lawn chairs, golf bags, ladders (hang horizontally), and garden equipment. These ladder hooks have a ton of uses.
Pegboard on the wall is one way you can organize your garage on a budget. Using hooks in the pegboard will help you organize smaller tools and items as well.
Clearing your garage floor includes cleaning up the oil stains. In the winter, if your garage floor gets wet those oil stains will get slippery.
What are The Best Storage Options for My Garage?
When it comes to garage organization on a budget, the best storage options are often what you already have on hand. Do you have an unused shelf somewhere else that you could repurpose in the garage? Do you have old kitchen containers that could be used to store small items?
After you’ve looked around your house to use what you already have available, then you can begin looking for storage options. Using items we already have helps to stay within budget but you also want it to be functional. A flimsy cardboard box will suit your budget but in the end, will be more frustrating than a sturdier bin. I always prefer clear containers if I have the option so the items inside are easy to see at a glance.
Other storage options to consider are shelving, foam flooring for gym space, hooks, and bins. Labeling is also important (especially if the bins are opaque) so you know exactly what is in each place. I use these labels for almost everything from home, kids, and work stuff. I also date my labels with the year. This makes it easy for me to know if I have used items out of that bin in the last year or two.
Maintenance and To Do Lists
Winter is a great time for tool maintenance and to clean up some items in your garage. Here’s a shortlist to help you get started.
- Get rid of all used paint cans. Check with yoru local city for disposal facilities.
- Clean any spring bird feeders that you didn’t leave out in the winter. These can be hung from the ceiling while stored, just make sure they are clean and ready to go in the spring.
- Clean your gardening tools.
- Disconnect your grill from the propane if you aren’t going to use it during the winter.
- Update your toolbox and store it where it is easily accessible.
- Clean the floor mats that go into your house or replace them if they are too worn.
Prepare for Winter
The last thing to do when organizing your garage for winter is to prepare for the cold weather and potential ice or snow. Break out the snow shovels, chains, rock salt, and windshield scrapers. Make sure you have a few flashlights and extra batteries as well. When it is cold and you’re in the middle of a winter storm you want to be able to access these items easily.
If you have a large family like me, this is also a great time to go through winter clothes. Make sure everyone has well-fitting boots, coats, gloves, etc. Using hooks on the wall will also help keep everyone’s items together. The last thing you want is wet snow pants getting walked on laying on your garage floor!
Winter is a great time to focus on organizing your garage and taking inventory of what you have. I hope these tips helped you think and plan through the process. Arranging everything in its place will transform your garage from chaos into a functional space that serves the needs of your large family.