If your tool box is just a cardboard container sitting in the corner of your garage, it's time to get organized. Having an organized garage inspires you to get work done, and can also help increase productivity while you're there. Whether you're looking to make the most of your garage's car-less side or you have enough space for an entire workshop to play with, here are some practical ideas and organization tips.
1. Create a Game Plan
Rule one, don’t hurry the process. If you rush into organizing, you aren't going to necessarily make the most efficient use of your available garage space. You'll be organizing in a disorganized way. Instead, spend time mapping out exactly where everything should go. You may even want to sketch a diagram with designated zones for what goes where. Start by figuring out the placement of your larger furniture, such as tables, benches and chairs. If you plan to park a car in your garage while organizing, make sure to include that in your preparation because of the space issues it might cause. Use careful consideration when planning out the placement of your workshop's electrical outlets. While you can use an extension cord if necessary, it's more convenient to set up items with cords near an outlet.
2. Keep Tools and Accessories Together
It's important to keep your tools and related accessories in the same area of the garage. This is actually a critical time-saving detail. Grabbing the power drill for your latest project and then jogging across your workshop to get your drill bits doesn't sound very convenient, does it?
3. Take Advantage of Vertical Space
Planning should include making the most of your vertical space, because vertical space is "free." If you only use horizontal space, you have less room for garage storage, and you're going to have to walk from one area to another to get the items you need. Vertical space solves both of these problems. Set up shelves on your walls to take advantage of all the space between the floor and ceiling. Put storage containers and items you don't often use on the top shelves, so you don't have to break out your step stool every day.
4. Use Wheel Casters
If you tend to move around a lot while you work, then let wheels be your friend. Add soft-wheel casters to items you might need to move frequently, such as tables or cabinets. If you have multiple worktables, opt for a chair with wheels so you don't have to get up every time you move.
5. Get a Parts Organizer
Small parts, such as screws, nuts and bolts, are typically the hardest items to keep organized in your garage or workshop. When you store them in a drawer with other items, they're tough to find, and devoting an entire drawer to small parts seems like a waste of space. One of the most effective storage tools for these items is a parts organizer, which features several small compartments so you have enough slots for everything.
6. Put Your Tools Within Reach
Don’t slow yourself down by fishing for hand tools in a drawer or picking up that heavy chainsaw on a bottom shelf. Place the tools you use most often where you can grab them at a moment's notice, ideally at the height of your torso. A slatwall panel with hooks is a great way to hang your larger tools, while cork boards and pegboards are effective solutions for hand tools. Bonus: draw chalk outlines around your most important tools so you'll know where to return them (and find them next time).
7. Add a Personal Touch
This is your personal work space, so there's no reason it has to have a boring, typical garage design. Add a few individual touches to your workshop decor, install functional industrial-inspired lighting and freshen up the space with a new paint job.
It's easier to stay organized than it is to get organized, so make the most of your hard work. Once you've got your garage or workshop ready, keep it that way by spending a little time cleaning up each time you use it.
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