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Garage storage can be difficult. The variety of shapes and sizes of items kept in garages can make storage tricky. Garages can be scary places. Spiders, stacks and stacks of boxes piled precariously, half finished projects, sports equipment and more. They can store forgotten treasures, tools and sports equipment, things to help you enjoy life, all of which you would use if you could reach them. Some garages have cars parked in them, but often garages end up as our last storage spot when we’ve run out of handy spots in our homes.
Garage storage don'ts
There are some things that we definitely should not be storing in the garage because they don’t cope well with temperature changes, humidity or pests. Some things to avoid storing in your garage are:
  • important documents – water damage, mice, other insect pests could make these documents useless
  • photos – water damage, mice, other insect pests could make these memories fade faster than your own memories
  • vinyl records – these will warp with the temperature changes
  • wine – needs cool even temperatures
  • food – mice and rats are excellent at finding small holes to enter your garage and will chew through packaging in a heart beat
  • delicate clothing – easily water damaged and don’t like uneven heat or humidity
  • paintings – easily water damaged and don’t like uneven heat or humidity
  • old paint – it will quickly become unusable with the heat
  • wooden furniture – it can be easily damaged if there is a leak
  • hazardous waste – be sure to drop off at a hazardous waste drop-off point
  • propane tanks – these need a lot of ventilation
  • and don’t store things in cardboard boxes – things inside can get water damaged if there is a leak.
Garage organization

Declutter your garage

Don’t use garage storage for stuff you no longer need or use. As a rule of thumb, everything in your garage (or substitute storage area) should be something that makes life easy or enjoyable. The things you own should be used. I’ve see many garages that house furniture from a deceased relative, from a move where two homes were merged, or the owners downsized their home but didn’t manage to downsize their belongings at the same time. If you have a specific reason you are keeping the items, for instance, someone has specifically asked for an item and given you a date by when they will pick it up, then by all means keep it if you don’t mind your garage space being used by that item. Otherwise, I recommend letting them go. This is the most important decision. After you’ve decided to let something go, you can decide how to let it go. You can sell, donate, or trash your items depending on the quality and state of the items. Do a little research if you think your items are worth selling, but resolve to let them go within a certain time frame. You don’t want the items still sitting in your garage because you couldn’t get the price you thought it they worth. That will cost you more in peace of mind than the items were ever worth.
Garage storage ideas

Best way to store things in your garage

Garages are notorious for having difficult storage needs due to the variety of items and their very different shapes and sizes. To determine your needs, collect things together that will be kept together. Some categories might be sports equipment, gardening supplies and tools, DIY tools, camping gear. Once you have collected these things together, decide which area of the garage each type of item will live. Consider using vertical storage where possible and aim to get things off the floor. There are hooks and racks on the market for just about everything. You can reach out to a professional garage outfitter like Jay at Organized Garage Solutions or Gus at OrganizIt! for more ideas or help if you need to install garage organization systems. Make sure you’ve decluttered before you have them come over – otherwise they’ll be building a system for stuff you don’t need!

If you’re doing it yourself and need extra shelving, cabinets, or overhead storage, consider the size, shape and weight of the items you want to store. All of these things will affect the storage solutions you ultimately end up using. Pay attention to whether your storage solutions are fixed or adjustable. The best solutions will be adjustable so you can change them as your needs change over time.