Enjoying the most out of your garage is a challenge. There’s no right or wrong way to use the space, which leaves many people feeling rather indecisive. That’s why garages often become a catch-all area that can quickly become overflowing with items you don’t want in the house or items you don’t use every day.
Luckily, there are plenty of options for creating storage space in your garage without emptying your wallet. If you understand the basics of DIY and have some materials to reuse and upcycle, most of these projects can be close to free, which is great news for you and the planet.
Surprisingly, walls are one of the most underutilized spaces in a garage. They’re so easy to use, especially if you have a few basics to work with. You can easily hang PVC on your walls. For easy wall storage, take a couple of 2x4s, nail them to the wall, and use a few small chunks of leftover PVC piping. Attach the PVC vertically to the 2x4s, and you have a secure place to hang shovels, rakes and axes without worrying that they’ll fall onto your car.
If that doesn’t sound like a good idea for your garage space, consider upcycled pallets, DIY shelving and pegboards are all great alternatives — they’re also relatively simple.
A workspace in your garage can save you a huge amount of hassle down the road, especially if you consider yourself particularly adept at home improvement projects. Consider making a work table that folds back down into the wall. It’s actually a pretty simple concept, kind of like hanging a door sideways. Any older desk that isn’t fit for inside the house would be perfect for you to repurpose in your garage.
Though there are many different ways you can construct a workbench like this, my personal favorite is this Instructables tutorial which also includes hideaway tool storage. You can find reclaimed materials for your project instead of buying new in order to make it as earth-friendly as possible.
Recycling bins tend to eat up space in garages. Everyone has them, and people are either acquiring larger ones or simply more of them. Recycle bin hangers are a simple way to raise them off the floor, giving you more space for bigger items in your garage. It’s a pretty simple project — all you need is a reclaimed 2x4, 1x4 and some drywall screws. Make the hangers, attach them to the studs and raise those bins.
Source: Mirona Iliescu
No Garage Door
Ladders are awkward to try to store. They’re skinny and tall, so they’re relatively unstable. It’s easy to store a ladder on the ceiling with some screws and about four large hooks. If you’re a bit short or your garage ceiling is occupied by your garage door, you’ll need another plan for ladder storage
Your garage door is a heavy object that can be dangerous, especially if it is malfunctioning. Working with it requires specialized (and costly) tools, so that’s one area that is best left to the experts. Here is a workaround if your garage door takes up a majority of your ceiling space.
Consider dropping the ladder storage method down to two hooks and hanging your ladder length-wise on the wall. If you want to green-ify this project, instead of buying hooks at your hardware store, try reusing hooks from an old coat rack in your home (the hook should be 1 inch+ in length). At the end of the project, be sure to drill the hooks into the studs so the ladder doesn’t fall.
Dealing with an entire family’s worth of stuff in one garage can be a bit messy. To keep things more organized, try color coding everything. Instead of going out to buy storage containers, pick up an old dresser or drawer from a thrift or community store.
After cleaning up the drawer set, paint or spray paint each drawer a different color for each family member. If items are used by multiple people, make that a separate color, too.
If you’re tossing out an older spice rack in favor of a new one, save it! Give it a quick wipe down and you’ve actually got a nice place to store your loose nuts, bolts, zip ties, screws and nails (the kind that always get lost when you need them).
Place a few wide-mouthed jars (old mason jars work great), label them and you’re all set. This saves you from going through the garage “junk drawer” when you need an extra screw or two to fix a door.
Making your garage an inviting area isn’t hard. If you can implement a few of these tips over the summer, you’ll experience a transformation the whole family will appreciate.
Megan Wild improves homes by focusing on increasing their sustainability and finding new ways to repurpose old materials. When she’s not holding a hammer, you can find her writing up her ideas and thoughts for her blog, Your Wild Home, and read all of Megan's MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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