You’ve got the kids’ toys and bikes, the tools in your outdoor workshop, old holiday decorations, dried flowers hanging from the ceiling, and three surfboards propped in the corner. A backyard garage makes a great place to hold all your family’s outdoor equipment, but where is your car supposed to go? If the building that’s supposed to protect your car from pollen, hail, and thunderstorms is so full you can’t even pull in, it’s time for some garage organization. Buy and build enough varied storage containers and tools, and you may end up being able to store more in your garage, along with the car.

Clean Up

The first step in organizing any space is to empty it out. Stage a massive clean out as your first step in garage organization. Keep safety in mind while doing this chore by donning heavy work gloves and watching for wasp nests in upper corners. If you’ve got old cans of paint, consider them hazardous waste and take them to the city’s hazardous waste disposal facility. Throw out old toys or hobby supplies that haven’t been touched in years, and organize the rest in terms of use.

All Three Walls

Buy or build a series of simple bins to store around the edge of the garage. Open bins are ideal for kids to use for stray backyard toys and sports equipment. Baseball bats and Frisbees don’t need airtight storage, so the simplest box will do for them. Reserve commercial plastic bins with lids for items that need to be kept from the humidity, such as seeds and bulbs. Hang a series of hooks and install pegboards on the walls to store everything from tools to Rollerblades.

Look Up

One of the most overlooked storage spaces in a garage is in the rafters near the roof. Look up and you will see an amazing amount of unused space. Most garages have rafters going across the upper area from one wall to the other. These are ideal support systems. Lay boards across from one beam to another and use them to hold up storage bins and larger objects. Get the holiday decorations and artificial tree up off the ground, raise up those surfboards you only use four times a year, and even store cold-weather clothing for those rare trips north. Installing Safe Racks for bicycles, baskets and boards is a great way to keep rarely used items out of the way to give the garage more floor space.

With some smart organization (and by getting rid of old stuff you don’t need), you’ll quickly clear out enough space to fit your car once again. It will take a bit of work to get there, but you’ll rest easier knowing that your vehicle is sheltered from whatever Florida’s environment will bring your way.

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