Perfect time to organize your garage

Autumn is my favorite time of year. The temperature is just right for me, the leaves are beautiful, and Halloween and Thanksgiving are always fun. Fall also reminds me of the time of year when my mother would predictably ask her three sons to clean the garage. Cleaning out the garage consisted of moving everything in the garage into the driveway and then sweeping and hosing off the garage floor. After we let the floor dry we moved everything back into the garage. It was always a dreaded task that wasted perfect backyard football weather.

The silly thing about the chore was that we hardly ever threw anything away or donated stuff to charity. I can still remember wheeling the wagon filled with old baseball equipment out to the yard and then right back into the garage again. Figuring out what needs to be trashed or donated is the first step to organizing your garage. With the car taking up so much real estate, you need to be organized with the space you do have at your disposal.

Using the walls for storage is key. You could easily go for the quick and cheap project with some strategically placed heavy duty hooks or you could go the storage system route. It probably depends on how much stuff you have or how much you actually use your garage.

A guest post by Lauren Halagarda has some excellent tips that should help you out immensely. The garage is one of the most common areas for clutter to accumulate and it needs to be kept under control before the car no longer fits into its spot.


This post has been updated since its original publication in 2008.

19 Comments for “Perfect time to organize your garage”

  1. posted by Tabitha (From Single to Married) on

    I agree that cleaning out the garage can be a huge task and quite daunting. My husband just finished doing it a couple of weeks ago and it’s so much better. We use a lot of the standing cabinets from IKEA for extra storage so that everything is organized and has its spot.

  2. posted by timgray on

    Most of my neighbors cant fit cars in their garage.

    Why is it that most americans have huge garages full of stuff they never use? Most would be happier if they threw out 80% of what was in their garage.

  3. posted by Bill on

    As a typical suburban homeowner with a garage full of kids toys, tools and lawn equipment I am too thinking about ways to use my garage more effectively. I think I’ve found a great DIY alternative to the pre-fab wall mounted sotrage systems. It is cheaper and more flexible. Take a read here: I haven’t completed the project, but am looking forward to a wall of possibilities.

  4. posted by PJ_Normz on

    What a perfect time for this post. I have been looking at my garage (slash summer office) wondering how to get more out of the space.

    Great tips!!!

  5. posted by Kirstin on

    I do the exact same thing in my garage, except I do it twice a year (spring and fall) and I take the opportunity to go through everything and purge. This fall I also invested in new plastic shelving (to replace hand-me-down metal shelves). The plastic is sturdy and durable and also makes cleaning easier since I don’t have to worry about rusting. In setting up my new shelves, I devised a plan to keep messes contained by putting cheap plastic boot trays on the shelves where I place liquids like fertilizers, bug sprays, and my husbands bottles of oil and gas for power yard tools. This will prevent spills from getting very far and will make cleanup easier. I snagged the boot trays at the dollar store, so it was a cheap and practical investment. Hooray for an organized garage!

    BTW, most of our neighbors can’t put their cars in the garage either. My husband and I marvel at this every time we walk our dog.

  6. posted by momofthree on

    I am amazed at how clean the after pictures look in so many garages professionally made over, but in most pictures, there are no kids toys, large or small, bikes for a family or lawn mowers. Guess if you can afford to have someone else clean out YOUR OWN space, then you also have someone else take care of YOUR yard, so why need space for yard care equipment.
    We have lots of shovels to hang, and ice choppers to boot, living in the Chicago area, those are a must.
    When will people be responsible for upkeep of their own belongings and property and not have to HAVE SOMEONE organize their own crap??

  7. posted by Leslie on

    I don’t have a garage, but I really enjoyed learning about the word “redd” which I had never heard before. 🙂

  8. posted by dayafternext on

    I redd up my NY apartment last night! I’m a former Pittsburgher, and the western PA shout-out is much-appreciated!

  9. posted by Kim on

    I grew up near Boston but my mom is from western PA – no one here understood her when she told us to redd up. I had to translate 🙂

  10. posted by becoming minimalist on

    it was actually while cleaning my garage that we made the decision to become minimalist. i had said “enough is enough. i’m spending more time cleaning stuff than playing with my kids. and that was it.”

  11. posted by Just Plain Joy on

    Yes! Yes! Yes! I love organizing the garage! It looks like we’ve gained square footage when the garage is clean. Thanks for the post!

    Check out my latest post at

  12. posted by Carrie on

    Though I’ve heard it all my life (I’m originally from McKees Rocks), and done my fair share of redding up, I’ve never actually seen “redd up” in print! Thanks for the link to the origin. Someone once told me it started with “ready up,” but now I know the truth!

  13. posted by FrugalNYC on

    Interesting name for washing out the garage.

  14. posted by gypsypacker on

    Now what we need is a minimalist plumbing-installation kit, DIY in one day, so the home mechanic can clean up before he enters the house, or so the garage can be fitted with a Murphy bed or cot and turned into an emergency guest room. Anyone want to make a million and start a business?

  15. posted by Jonathan M. on

    I found a website that many, many storage and outfitting solutions for the garage and rec rooms. If you’re looking for some nifty ideas to store anything in the garage you must check out their site.

  16. posted by Tracey on

    Love the reference to “redd up.” I’m from southern Ohio and my mother still uses that term for a chore my sisters and I shared when growing up – “redd up” the table (clear away the dirty dishes). She always thought it meant to “rid” the table of dirty dishes, but I like “ready up” better.

  17. posted by patty on

    Just a bit of trivia: My mother would use the words “Rid” the table everynight. She was from Kansas and her family had come from Ohio. But perhaps it was just in the pronunciation of the word.

  18. posted by Gayle Machetta on

    We’ve lived in this home for 21 years, with an over-sized 2-car garage that couldn’t hold one car, let alone two…. until now. I spent two unseasonably wonderfully warm fall days and did just exactly what you are writing about. We emptied out the garage onto the driveway, filled a trailer load of junk to haul to the dump, sorted, organized and put it away. Now, you can put two cars in the garage, room to spare, and the floor is actually a different color than I remember.

  19. posted by M on

    Now I want to see the version of this article that uses ‘redd up’.

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