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Bikes hanging vertically on a garage wall. There are shelves on the back wall with a window and items on the shelves. There is a table in the center of the garage with skis on it.

Space-Saving Garage Storage Ideas

Home Organization Tips

by Heather Magness Posted on January 10, 2024

When you’re busy organizing your house, sometimes the last place you get to is your garage. But a tidy garage or storage space is an important foundation for a well-organized home — whether it’s because it enables you to easily find tools or simply because it provides more space to store more stuff! Don’t let things pile up and take over precious parking space, though. Invest in some garage storage and organization essentials instead. 

From shelving units to hanging racks to garage storage containers, there are plenty of options available to help you organize your garage. Follow these simple steps — complete with proven garage storage ideas — to save you space, time, and money that you might otherwise waste on buying new tools and supplies that you already have but just can’t find!

Red metal shelves line a garage wall. It is filled with different bins filled with items from the garage.

(Source: @organizers.nw via Instagram)

1. Organize With Storage Containers and Bins.

Sure, it may seem obvious. But plastic storage bins offer a great option for bringing much-needed organization to the vast array of stuff that you keep in your garage. First, take stock of the types of items you need to store and group them by category — like garden supplies, cleaning supplies, home improvement tools, and sports equipment. Once you have an idea of what you’re working with, you can decide which type of plastic containers are best and how many you need. Here are some of the best storage containers for the garage.

Lightweight Plastic Bins

Opt for lightweight plastic bins, if you’re looking for an affordable option that’s easy to move around or stack vertically. 

Heavy-Duty Bins

If you need to store heavy items together in a bin, consider investing in heavy-duty storage containers. They’re made with thicker plastic and sturdy latches to better support extra weight. Some styles also come with wheels on the bottom for easy transport. 

Sectional Bins

If you have a lot of tools, nails, or knick knacks, keep it all organized with a sectioned container that’s built for storing small items. 

Open Bins

You’ve probably seen open bins used to collect recyclables, but they’re also great for stashing frequently used items like sports gear and gardening tools. Whatever it is, if you don’t want to have to pull a bin down and open a lid to get to it, then store it in an open bin.

Labels for Everything

Lastly, don’t forget to label your plastic storage bins on at least two sides, so you can find what you need at a glance.

Pro Tip: Clear bins are great for items you want to see, while opaque bins can hide unsightly clutter and protect items from fading due to sunlight exposure. 

Items in a garage hag vertically from the wall and ceiling to allow for more storage.

(Source: @wesimplifyca via Instagram)

2. Go Vertical To Maximize Garage Storage.

Whether you have a sprawling three-car garage or a small storage container, maximizing space is always crucial. If you own your home and you’re handy with a hammer and a screwdriver, wall-mounted racks and shelving make versatile space-saving solutions. If you’re renting your home, using a storage container, or just having trouble finding wall studs for mounting, you can still save space and avoid clutter with freestanding options for both shelving and rack systems. Before you purchase anything, though, plan your space based on what you need to store. 

For most garage and storage spaces, a mix of shelves and organizing hooks or racks makes the most sense. You don’t want to fill up every wall with shelves and then have no place to put your long-handled cleaning and yard tools, right? Here are some examples of vertical storage options.

Wall-Mounted and Freestanding Shelving

For shelving, whether you’re going to use wall-mounted systems or freestanding units, think about the depth and height. While deeper shelves will hold more (great if you’re wondering how to store coolers in a garage), they can be problematic if you’re tight on parking space. Items placed on high shelves can also get in the way of your garage door opening. If you do opt for deep shelves, using plastic storage containers is even more important for organization and access. The more shelf space you have, the easier it is to collect clutter and the harder it is to find what you need, unless you use garage storage bins. 

If you’re looking for wall-mounted shelving, Lowes and Home Depot have good options. For more budget-minded shelving, SafeRacks are tough enough to do the job. And if you need freestanding shelving units, metal racks usually offer adjustable shelves for added flexibility, but plastic or resin shelving units (though less adjustable) tend to be less expensive.

Wall Racks and Freestanding Organizers

Sturdy wall racks and hooks free up floor space while increasing visibility and access for everything from cleaning and yard tools to sports gear. For bikes, Steadyrack has a variety of bike racks designed so you can roll your bike in and out — no lifting required. If you just want some strong bike hooks and simple wall-hanging racks, Amazon has a wide selection of affordable options from under $25 for a single-bike mount to between $40 and $60 for mounting multiple bikes. For freestanding options, we love this yard tool organizer from Home Depot and these bike and sport rack ideas from Wayfair.

Garage Pegboards

Never underestimate the power of a pegboard. You can find affordable options at Lowe’s (this wooden one is less than $15), IKEA (this nice white fiberboard one is under $30), and pretty much any hardware store. Though it may just look like a plank with a bunch of holes in it, once you slot in some pegboard hooks, it transforms into a multipurpose shelving unit for almost any kind of tool. You can hang multiple pegboards or designate certain sections for different purposes, such as for paintbrushes, cleaning supplies, power tools, hammers, or rolls of tape. For small items, like nuts and bolts, you can even use the hooks to hang little plastic bins that can organize all of those easy-to-lose pieces.

Not sure how to get started installing a pegboard? Check out this quick how-to video from This Old House. 

Garage Storage Cabinets

You may think of kitchens when you think of cabinets, but they can be great for garage storage, too. In fact, if you find yourself with leftover cabinets after a kitchen renovation, you can even reuse those in your garage. Depending on your space and budget, you could go for one of the heavy-duty garage storage systems, like this one made of steel from Lowe’s. Or if you’re looking for a storage solution for just one corner of your garage, you could go for something like this narrow indoor/outdoor cabinet from IKEA. To install them, simply make sure the ground is level (adding shims if needed) and bolt them into the wall if they’re large enough to need that security.
Q: How can I maximize space in my garage?
A:
If you’re short on space or looking for single-car garage storage ideas, vertical storage is your best friend. Think: pegboards, wall-mounted shelving, wall racks, and even ceiling storage. It’s also wise to start your organization efforts by decluttering, so you only store what you need. An alternative to consider? Rent a PODS storage container for any items you still need but not in your garage — say, boxes of your kids’ stuff that they’re going to collect in a few months or your extensive holiday decoration collection that you only use once a year. 

3. Customize Your Shelving Units To Create More Storage.

Most of the time, you’re going to access the things on your shelves from the front of the unit, not the sides. Since you don’t really need the sides of your garage storage shelves to be open, you can close them off with peg boards or wire racks to create even more storage. Easily attach hooks to the wire rack or pegs to the pegboard and now your storage possibilities (at least for smaller things) are pretty much endless.

A white storage rack hangs from the ceiling of a garage. It is filled with suitcases, two black and one pink.

(Source: @mygarage_sa via Instagram)

4. Add Ceiling Storage.

Adding overhead garage storage is one of the best ways to create space, which is a must-do if you have a single-car garage or lots of gear to store. Here are some of our favorite garage storage ideas for making the most of ceiling space:

Just remember to make sure that any ceiling storage you install won’t block the path of your garage door.

5. Pay a Visit to IKEA.

IKEA is well known for its wallet-friendly furnishings, and that extends to plenty of garage storage options. Here are a few IKEA garage storage ideas to check out: 

  • This two-door cabinet is a sleek, low-profile way to conceal any cans of paints, cleaning products, or anything else you’d like to organize and tuck out of sight.
  • This pine-topped workbench has a steel frame and four drawers of built-in storage.
  • If you’re looking for a basic metal shelving unit that won’t break the bank, look no further than this OMAR shelf unit.
  • These clear plastic storage bins are great for storing sports materials, off-season holiday decor, or whatever else you need to stash away — and easily remember what’s in the box when you need to retrieve it.

Q: How can I organize my garage cheaply?
A:
Organizing your garage can seem like a massive, expensive undertaking, but it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of DIY garage storage ideas that use affordable items, such as plastic bins, cheap stickers for labeling, resin shelves (instead of the more expensive metal options), and inexpensive pegboards for vertical storage. There are tons of IKEA garage storage ideas, too. If you visit the store or website, you’ll find it’s full of cheap garage storage solutions.

6. Keep Your Garage Organized and Clutter-Free.

Once you apply the right solutions to this integral storage space in your home — whether that’s vertical shelving, ceiling racks, plastic bins, or all of the above — you’ll have a more orderly and streamlined garage, and you’re going to want to keep it that way. For added assurance, you can easily keep your garage in tip-top shape by designating an empty basket or bin for storing anything you don’t have time to properly put away (or that doesn’t yet have a “home” in your garage). And you can make a rule to never leave anything just sitting on your workbench or on a shelf. Just put it in the “special bin” and, when you have more time, find a good place for it. This will make keeping your garage organized and clutter-free a simple task.

Still don’t have enough space? Store extra stuff in a PODS portable storage container right in your driveway (like a second garage), or load it up and have it taken to a secure PODS Storage Center — even if it’s just temporary.

Heather Magness is a member of the PODS Blog creative team. When she’s not formatting images and blog layouts, you can find her writing a song, watching a movie, or enjoying the great outdoors.

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