10 Ideas on How To Organize A Garage & Workshop

Is it hard to find items out in your garage? It may be time to organize your garage! Here are 10 ideas on how to organize a garage and workshop to make it function and look good, too!

Updated 11/2/2023

10 ideas on how to organize a garage or workshop

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Anyone else’s garage just a little messy and unorganized? I’m sure we can all answer yes to this question at some point! An unorganized cluttered space can make it hard to work in that space or find what you need. Taking time to make a plan, declutter, and organize a garage or workshop can make it function better and save you time in the future.

There’s definitely no one way to organize a garage or workshop! These spaces come in all sorts of widths, lengths, and heights, so we’ve compiled a list of ideas to organize a garage or workshop. Make a plan and use what fits your space best!

Check out more DIY organization ideas

Where To Start When Organizing A Garage

Set aside dedicated time to tackle this organization and clean up project. It could be one day or it could be several weekends depending on the state of the garage and what you hope to accomplish.

Start to declutter by unpacking everything you have or intend to have in the garage or workshop.

Sort everything into piles of keep, donate/give away, sell or recycling. Don’t keep it unless you’ve used it within the last year or two. As a last resort, have a pile for “trash” for those objects that are beyond repair and have no way to be reused, repurposed, or recycled. Earth 911 has a great resource for finding recycling locations for non-curbside items like styrofoam, appliances, household chemicals, and more.

After you’ve done the initial sort, group the keep items into categories and take note of what the items are. Then keep everything marked and sorted in piles or boxes until you’re ready to begin putting them into their final location.

Now check out the rest of these tips and ideas to organize a garage and workshop below!

10 Ideas To Organize A Garage

Tools hanging from screws on a wall to help organize a garage or workshop

1. Create a Plan for The Garage

With any project, it’s best to do a little planning beforehand. It helps the process be less overwhelming, prioritize what needs to get done and help you not have to run to the store multiple times.

Draft up a plan of your garage before you start your organization spree. Measure and take notes of your garage’s dimensions, where doors, windows, outlets, and other key items are located. Then sketch out ideas to organize the garage on where everything will go and what system you’ll use.

  • If you park your car in the garage, note how much space it takes up, so you know how much extra space you have.
  • Note what types of item groups you have such as gardening and lawn care, large tools and power tools, seasonal items, recreational equipment, etc. 
  • Put groups like seasonal or minimally used items in higher or hard-to-reach spots.
  • I highly recommend grouping items you use frequently together for easy access.

2. Use Vertical Space To Organize

The vertical space in the garage is your friend! Utilizing wall space removes items from the floor making it less likely you will trip over something or have to move an item to get around it or clean. If items are off the floor, it’s also easier to use a battery-powered leaf blower to blow out all the sawdust!

Wall organization systems come in all shapes and sizes. From standard wall-mounted wire racks and cabinets to modular setups like pegboards and panelized systems. Again, stick to your plan and know what type of items you’re storing. This will help you decide what type of vertical organization system to use.

3. Make Garage Storage Shelves To Save Floor Space

Likely you’ll have some bins or totes to store in your garage, workshop or even storage hallway. A great way to save floor space is to go vertical with your storage. Options range from wire racks to heavy-duty plastic shelves. Find a system that fits your garage plan and the containers you have. 

DIY storage shelving plans as a way to help organize a garage

We personally built our own DIY Storage Shelves and made them customizable to varying spaces and types of items being stored.

Labeling any of your totes or bins is key to keeping everything organized in the garage, and let’s you find items easier. There are some great labels available on Etsy like these custom labels printed for you or these print yourself editable labels.

4. Build a Workbench

For DIYers, a workbench is needed for projects. If you have a lot of large tools, it can be hard to store them and still have workbench space. A flipping or rotating workbench is a creative solution to storing large tools while also keeping open workbench space for you to use.

As big DIYers, we definitely had this problem, so we built our own flipping workbench! Check out our DIY plans for how we built our flipping workbench in our Shop or on Etsy.

5. Use Over Head Space

Another creative solution is thinking beyond just wall space. Space overhead is a great spot to store those rarely used items, seasonal items, or maybe keepsakes. There’s tons of overhead storage options out there. Personally, we’d lean towards a wood or metal option to reduce plastic use. Besides plastic doesn’t look great, and it can become brital over time with temperature fluctuations or UV exposure.

Or as always you can DIY yourself a system!

If you have space above the garage door, then you can even use that to store thin items.

6. Store Tools Using French Cleats

French cleats are one of the simplest ways to hang tools and bins on the wall. They’re typically a piece of wood like a 1×3 or 2×4 cut in half at a 45-degree angle. The top part of the cleat is attached to the tool or object, while the bottom cleat is attached to the wall. You’ll typically need to add a vertical block that will touch the face of the cleat or the wall to keep the top cleat hanging straight and not tip out. Then just hang the tool/object with the top cleat onto the one attached to the wall!

You can create french cleats using almost any scrap wood, which makes it a super easy, cheap way to organize a garage full of tools.

Transform a whole wall by creating a large french cleat system to hold a ton of tools! Or if you’re looking to buy a product that similarly creates an adjustable, modular system, try installing a pegboard system.

7. Simply Use Some Screws To Hang Items

Pegboard and french cleat systems are great, but you don’t have to utilize them everywhere to organize a garage. A simple set of screws can be used to hang up garden tools and shovels.

  • Plan and layout the large items you want to hang
  • Find the widest part or a handle of the item to determine where screws will need to go
  • Measure (or just eyeball it!) on the wall, grab a screw, and drill it into the wall
    • If they’re really heavy items, consider using a stud finder to find a wall stud or using a drywall anchor.
    • If there isn’t a stud where you need it, you can also screw a board to the studs and then put your screws in the board wherever you need them.
    • Also, self-drilling screws are the best and take needing to do a pilot hole out of the equation.
  • Repeat for all the items. Some items may need more than one screw for support.

8. Create A Recycling Bin Rack

Our goal is to live as sustainably as possible, which means we tend to have very little trash, a lot of compost, and some recycling. Recycling bins can take up quite a bit of floor space. Utilizing a french cleat system again to hang up the bins and create a rack is a great way to organize the garage. It’ll also cost you pretty much nothing!

using a french cleat system to hang recycling bins helping to organize a garage

9. Save Clear Jars For Small Item Storage

A great, cheap way to organize a garage or workshop with a lot of small items is to reuse food jars. If well labeled, you don’t have to go digging through bags or cabinets trying to find the right length nail or screw.

Growing up, my dad saved ALL the baby food jars and uses them to store his smaller nails and screws. We save clear jars for bulk pantry or garden fresh dried herb storing them on our live edge wood floating shelves in our kitchen.

reused food jars to hold screws and small items helping organize a garage

We’ve found filling the jars with boiling water, screwing on the lid, and letting it sit for an hour loosens many adhesives, so the label will peel off easier. If you have any leftover sticky residue, try spreading some peanut on there, leave overnight, rinse in the morning, and the peanut butter will typically remove the residue! Then run the jars through the dishwasher for a thorough clean.

10. Add A Pop of Color For Fun

As DIYers, we spend a lot of time in our garage and workshop, and it’s an extension of our home. So why not bring some personality and fun into the garage using some paint?!

Paint a fun mural, space-defining color blocks, or simple pinstripes. Cool paint ideas aren’t relegated to inside your home!

This is a great way to DIY sustainably by using up some paint sample cans you have lying around with no other use. Or buying some of the discounted paint off the clearance racks. Just make sure your design doesn’t require more paint than you have! Check out our post on making a bold accent wall with leftover paint.

DIY Accent wall with leftover paint
Painting a space-defining accent wall (inside, but the same concept applies!)

Other Tips When Organizing A Garage

Safely Store Items

It’s always best to store items properly and practice safety, while also being prepared for any emergency situation.

If you’re like us, then we have an electric lawn mower and there’s no worry about any gas fires from stored lawn mower gas tanks. If you do have a gas-powered lawn mower and you store gas in your garage, then have a fire extinguisher on hand nearby.

Related Post Down To Earth Tips For Eco-friendly Lawn Care

What Not To Store in a Garage

There are some items better left out of your organized garage if you can help it and some items you definitely shouldn’t have in there.

  • Paint storage –  if you can help it, store paint cans in a regulated temperature area like a storage room/closet. Extreme fluctuations in hot and cold can actually ruin the paint.
  • Refrigerator – it seems to be a common thing to have in a garage (at least when I was growing up). But unless your garage is air-conditioned, a fridge or freezer can be a huge energy drain trying to regulate its temperature in the constant temperature changes of a garage.
  • Food or Pet Food – There’s a lot of potential for animals, critters, and bugs to find and access food kept in a garage or workshop. Keep it in a super sealed container if you must have it in the garage.
  • Propane storage – propane tanks should be kept outdoors as a spark can ignite the fumes and start a fire.

Clean It Frequently

When planning, make sure to designate space for a broom and dustpan or vacuum near your workbench or heavy traffic area. Having it accessible and visible nearby helps remind you to tidy up when finishing projects.

Hose down the floor regularly to keep anything from building up, and get rid of dirt and grease.

Set a reminder on your phone’s calendar once a year to sort through items in the garage. Donate, sell or give away what you haven’t used in a long time. This strategy ensures clutter doesn’t build up and helps keep your garage organized.

More DIY Projects

Now that you’ve got your garage and workshop organized, it’s project time, right!? Check out these 15 DIY projects at home you can do or our DIY project archives. Whether you’re looking to DIY furniture like a hanging daybed or for the perfect balance of DIY and sustainable living with a stacked rain barrel system, we’ve got a ton of resources for you.

Hope these 10 ideas to organize a garage or workshop help you create a functional, amazing space. Let us know what you think or other garage organization ideas you have in the comments below!

Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that I’ve linked to these products purely because I recommend them and they are from companies I trust. There is no additional cost to you.

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