If you’ve been following me for a while, then you know that garage workshop organization has not been a strength of mine. It has been a years-long struggle, but it was taken to a whole new level when I moved into my new home a few months ago. I made the decision when I moved that I was going to try to live a more organized, minimalist lifestyle. However, I was so focused on making my house feel like a home for my boys that everything I wanted and needed for myself got put on the back burner, including having a functioning, organized workshop. But now it is up and running!
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Troy-Bilt. All opinions are my own.
Major shout-out to Troy-Bilt for partnering with me on this project! They matched me up with an organizing expert, Toni from A Bowl Full of Lemons, and she shared some helpful tips and advice that helped make this project a success. I’ll walk you through each step that she gave me which broke down the organization process and made it feel less overwhelming.
First let’s take a look at the horror show that was my garage when I moved in a few months ago:
What a hot mess!
Step 1: Prepare
Armed with Toni’s game plan, I dove right in and started prep work. This is the time to decide what you plan to keep, throw away, or donate. Toni’s advice for this step is to gather several boxes, bins and trash bags. Label boxes to sort items: keep, donate, trash, and house. Luckily since I just moved in, this step was sort of done during the moving process. I only brought things that I knew I was going to use, and got rid of everything else before I moved in. I did have to take a ton of cardboard boxes to the recycling center though. They had taken over the garage and made it impossible to even walk through. A lot of the prep process consisted of breaking down not only moving boxes but also boxes for all of the things I had to order (furniture, etc.) for the new place.
Step 2: Sort
Clear out the entire garage and then put everything in a designated box or pile. Toni advised me to empty it out and then go through one item at a time, placing it in the designated bins or boxes. She says, “If you haven’t used it in the last year, let it go.” You can categorize everything at this time. Emptying the garage and starting with a clean slate was a great tip from Toni, however my driveway is so tiny I couldn’t move everything out, so I just had to shift it from one side to the other. If you do have the space though, I highly recommend clearing out the entire garage and starting with a blank slate.
Step 3: Clean
I had to do the cleaning in phases since my space is so limited. I moved things from one side to the other, and in the process I tossed trash, swept debris, and used my shop vac to vacuum everything up. At this point in the process, Toni says you can sweep, leaf blow, or hose down the floor. She says, “This is an important step. You want a clean slate and you don’t want to organize a dirty garage. If you have a problem with spiders or ants, you can spray the perimeter of the garage with insecticide. Living in the south, we have to do this every three months.”
Step 4: Organize
Toni’s advice for this step was to set up systems of organization. Here are her specific tips:
- CREATE ZONES. Zones include areas such as painting, power tools & tools, woodworking & crafts, lawn care and gardening, storage, etc. Figure out where your zones will be and set up shelving, cabinets, and tables accordingly.
- LABEL. Using plastic totes and bins, label boxes & bins with the categories you’ll be using for your garage organization. Place these bins on the shelves in the designated zones. Store the least used items on the top shelves.
- CATEGORIZE. Everything in the garage should be organized into a “category.” The garage functions best this way. Nuts & bolts, paint brushes, sand paper, etc. all need to be stored together. Using the labeled bins and shelves in your zones, sort through everything one item at a time.
- HANG. Using peg boards or wall hooks, hang things you use most often. Things like tools & power tools are best organized on the wall. Try to keep everything up off the ground. Spiders love to hide behind things on the ground and so does dust.
- CONSOLIDATE. Things like yard equipment can be consolidated by switching to the Troy-Bilt SpaceSaver Lawn Mower & the Trimmerplus which contains 8 tools in one, saving precious storage space.
I ordered lots of plastic bins to help organize everything, and luckily I already had a workbench with drawers and a couple of shelving units. Wall Control also sent me some metal pegboards for my tools which keeps everything easily accessible. I took Toni’s advice and ordered a label maker and labeled all of my bins so I could easily find what I’m looking for. I also followed her advice to store the things I use the least toward the top of the shelves, and the things I use the most at the bottom. I stashed all of my craft supplies up on the high shelf at the back of the garage since I don’t use that stuff a ton, and I wanted to really take advantage of using vertical space to store things. I also hung my lumber rack on the wall, and I do plan on building a cart for scrap wood since for now it’s all just tossed in a garbage can.
Troy-Bilt also sent me their 17″ Straight Shaft Gas Trimmer with a TrimmerPlus attachment which will come in handy! I don’t have much of a yard, but there are trees around me and also lots of weeds in the back so I’m happy to be equipped with this. I left my other Troy-Bilt equipment with Chris since he has a big yard, so I’m starting over with my outdoor equipment collection.
Now I have plenty of space and I can find everything I need. Let’s take a look at it now.
Such a relief to finally have a workspace that functions properly! You can see the entire organization process video on my YouTube channel here: