How To Organize a Cluttered Garage Once and for All

Has your garage become like a forgotten room where everything from last season’s sports equipment to that old, dusty lamp ends up?

It’s so easy for this space to become a graveyard of “I’ll deal with it later” items, but your garage has so much potential beyond being a home for cobwebs and clutter.

And once you tidy it up, you’ll notice how reducing clutter can actually lower stress levels and boost your mood. Seriously, who doesn’t feel a bit more zen when they’re not wrestling with a mess? Let’s reclaim this piece of your home and put it to good use.

Prepare To Deal with a Cluttered Garage

women inside cluttered garage
Shutterstock / 1742583593 / northallertonman

Time to gear up to transform that chaotic garage into a neat nook. But first, set realistic expectations and block out a solid weekend or maybe a couple of days if you can swing it — you don’t want to rush through this. Plus, it may get a bit emotional. After all, you’re not tossing old junk, you’re about to sort through memories and decide what’s important to keep and that’s no easy task. Patience is your best friend during this process.

Next, here are the essential supplies you’ll need to kick things off:



Trash bags

Dispose of unwanted junk

Boxes (various sizes)

Sort items into categories and set side items for charity

Cleaning cloths

Clean up items as you go through them


Sweep up debris after decluttering

Marker & notepad (or phone)

Label boxes and keep notes on items to sell or donate


Start the Decluttering Process

Pull up your sleeves and clear a workspace in the garage where you can sort and maneuver around easily. Then, it’s time to categorize everything. For instance:


What to include

1. Tools

Wrenches, screwdrivers, garden tools

2. Sporting goods

Bicycles, skateboards, golf clubs

3. Holiday decorations

Separate them into Christmas lights, Halloween props, Easter baskets, 4th of July banners, etc.

4. Miscellaneous

That’s everything else that doesn’t quite fit into the other categories.

As you sort, create four specific piles to make your next steps clearer:

  • Keep: These are items that you use regularly, need for projects or bring you joy.
  • Donate/Sell: Good condition items that you no longer need but could be useful to someone else.
  • Trash: Broken tools, outdated electronics and anything else that’s beyond repair or just plain useless.
  • Maybe: Items you’re on the fence about. Put these in a separate spot for now and we’ll decide on them last. No room for it all? Consider renting a small storage unit nearby for a few months.

Pro tip: To help you get moving, start with the obvious items. Getting rid of easy picks first can give you a quick sense of progress.

How To Organize Garage Clutter With Smart Storage Solutions

Time to reclaim your space and make your once-cluttered garage an efficient part of your home that works for your lifestyle. Here’s what you can mix and match to achieve this:

  • Industrial-strength shelves that bolt right into your garage walls, to keep bulky items like paint cans and storage bins up off the floor.
  • Wallet-friendly wire shelves for everything from garden supplies to your holiday gear.
  • Adjustable pegboards and slat walls for quick access to frequently used tools and sports equipment.
  • Overhead storage racks to stash away seasonal items like lawn furniture and bicycles.
  • Clear plastic bins to sort the small stuff — just pop the less frequently needed items on higher shelves or in harder-to-reach spots.
  • Cabinets to hide away any remaining clutter or unsightly gear.
  • Magnetic strips and screwdriver holders to keep all those metal tools in line.
  • Retractable reels for extension cord management and keeping your workshop area safer.
  • DIY garage hacks like mountable recycling bins, skinny object holders, ball storage solutions, pipes turned into garden tool holders and more.

Pro tip: Keep the floor clear by designating specific areas for cars and lawnmowers, and maybe a zone for sports equipment.

How To Maintain an Organized Garage

Now that your cluttered garage is a thing of the past, let’s make sure it stays that way. Unsurprisingly, the key here is regular upkeep. It doesn’t sound fun, I won’t argue with that, but it’s much easier than having to do this all over again.

  • Put things back in their designated spots right after using them. It may sound simpler than it is — I know I still struggle with it — but it’s by far one of the most effective ways to keep chaos at bay.
  • Set reminders for regular clean-ups, for instance, a weekly sweep and vacuum to keep the spiders at bay might be necessary. If anything is out of place, this is the time to fix it to prevent clutter from sneaking back in.
  • Remember that “Maybe” pile? Give yourself some time to think over those items but set a deadline. Try one month, as it gives you enough space for detachment without letting indecision linger too long.
  • Each time you go over your garage inventory, it’s a good opportunity to decide whether to keep, donate or toss any other items. After all, if it hasn’t been used since you last organized your garage, it probably won’t be missed.

There are a couple more things that you can do around your garage to make it safer and sightlier besides addressing the obvious clutter.

First, check regularly on all hazardous materials and heavy items. The former should be stored securely, where kids and pets cannot reach them and where you cannot confuse them for something else; the latter should be well stabilized to avoid accidents, preferably on lower shelves.

Another thing to keep in mind is that good lighting is key, so go ahead and upgrade to LED lights — they’re brighter and more energy-efficient. Use stick on battery powered lamps in those hard to see places.

Now You Know How To Organize a Messy Garage

Look at you — your garage went from clutter chaos to order oasis! Feels good, doesn’t it? Now, every tool, sport accessory and seasonal decoration has its own spot. No more stepping over boxes to get to your workbench or digging through piles just to find your gardening gloves.

Sure, keeping up this new order doesn’t have to be a chore. A little upkeep, like putting things back where they belong after use, will go a long way in maintaining this serenity. This way, you’ll continue to enjoy the benefits without slipping back into old habits.

Here’s to increasing the efficiency of your daily routines by having everything you need right where it should be. Enjoy your transformed space!