Full Episodes of Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford

How to Organize and Add Storage to Your Garage

By: Danny Lipford
Garage wall with shelves.

Organized garage after makeover.

A garage is great for storing seasonal items, sports equipment, tools, lawn and garden supplies, paint, bikes, and more. But if you’re not careful, your garage will become so cluttered, it will be impossible to park a car in it.

Watch this video for some garage storage organization tips, including:

  • Bike Storage: How to install hooks in the ceiling to hang bikes out of the way.
  • Hanging Plant Rack: How to make a simple hanging plant rack using metal pipe and chains.
  • Garden Tool Storage: How to make a storage rack for lawn and garden tools using 1×4 lumber and hanging hooks.
  • Storage Shelves: How to add sturdy storage shelves to your garage using metal shelf brackets and plywood or particleboard.
  • Workbench: How to build a simple garage workbench out of plywood or particleboard.
  • Recycle Bins: How to make cleats to keep recycle bins off the floor and out of the way.

Read episode article to find out more.

Print   Video Transcript

Danny Lipford: If your garage could use a little organization, and most can, you don’t want to miss this episode of Today’s Homeowner. We’re clearing out the clutter so we can add some organization to a very busy garage.

Hello and welcome to the show this week. Now, a garage of this size should accommodate two cars. But these homeowners are using it like so many homeowners to store different toys, bicycles, lawn equipment, sporting equipment, a little bit of everything.

Now there’s a number of small projects that you can do within a garage that can really help you re-claim your space for your cars to be able to park inside. Now we’ll show you a few of these little ideas we have in this week’s show, and we’re going to transform this garage into a more organized environment.

Now one of the first steps in getting your garage organized is to throw away anything that you haven’t used in the last couple of years, or you may want to donate it to a local charity. Now the problem with clutter in a garage like this is that it ends up all over the floor, taking up all of the available floor space.

Now in this situation, this homeowner has a lot of wall space that we’re going to use to organize this garage and even a few things will be hung from the ceiling, which is a great idea to get maybe a bicycle up and out of the way.

Now one of the first steps that we need to do here is to remove everything out of the garage or most everything, and then group it in different groups such as lawn chairs, sporting equipment, lawn tools, and that kind of thing. Now in this situation, I’ve even enlisted a buddy of mine, Greg, to kind of help me out with this mess.

As we begin moving things from the garage to the driveway, we sort it by categories. By consolidating similar items, you can determine how to best store them. You may also discover a few things you didn’t know you had, and therefore can probably live without.

With most everything out of this garage, we can really start getting things organized with a few of the tricks we want to share with you.

Now, one thing that takes up so much room in a garage, bicycles. Now, a children’s bicycle, will probably be best to store it right along the wall like this. You can just put the kickstand down, and keep it out of the way of the cars and that leaves it very accessible for the children. But, adult bicycles can be stored very successfully overhead on the ceiling.

Now, these types of hooks that have a plastic coating on it are readily available at the home center. They come in a lot of different sizes, and this particular one is perfect to hook right on the tire of the bicycle, turning it upside down.

Now, of course you’ll need to measure the bicycle to make sure you’re getting the proper spacing, but more importantly, you want to make sure that you’re hitting a ceiling joist when you’re putting the hooks in.

By looking in the attic we can determine what direction our ceiling joists are running and how far from the wall the first one starts. We make a measurement on the ceiling back in the garage and then check for the location of the joist with a small nail. Then, we measure out a few inches along the same joist and do the same thing.

Then we drill pilot holes that are slightly smaller than the threads on our hooks. We thread in the first set of hooks, making sure they are deep enough into the joist to be secure.

From the first hooks I measure over 48 inches, which is the width I need for the bikes, and should also hit a ceiling joist, since all of these are on a 16-inch center. Then out from the same distance from the wall for the next two hooks. The pilot holes are drilled and the hooks installed as before.

Along this same joist I am measuring out for two more hooks. The hooks that will go in these holes will be used to support hanging plants brought in from the cold weather. We measure and cut a piece of pipe six feet in length and then drill a hole in each end.

Small eyebolts are installed in these holes and the bar is suspended by short lengths of chain from the two ceiling hooks.

All right, that should take care of that. This will be perfect for hanging the plants or maybe even a snowsuit or wet suit, almost anything that you would like to hang out in the garage.

And, if you don’t need it at certain parts of the year, then you can simply unhook it and store it and you’ll have it whenever you need it. Now, we will hold off on putting our bicycles up or our plants inside, until we take care of those lawn and garden tools.

Greg has already gotten a good start on a system we will use to organize all the lawn and garden tools. Now, this type of bracket is readily available at the home center. A lot of different styles that you can choose, and most are able to be mounted right to the drywall. Now, what I like to do, though, is to mount it to a one by four.

Now, we have taken a one by four and we’ve primed and painted it, leveled it up and then put a screw in every 16 inches. And, this is just perfect to be able to remain a little flexible because you can move your racks around a little bit if they end up not being exactly where you need them.

But once everything is installed like this, it really is perfect for holding things like this; a little shovel or your rakes can hook behind it. And the thing that is so nice about it is you are able to kind of display all your tools you have available so that you can see just what you have at a glance.

Well, we have taken care of our lawn and garden tools, we’ve taken care of our bicycles, also the plants. When we come back, we’ll take care of some shelving.

Joe Truini: I know there are people who enjoy yard work, but I am not one of them. That’s why I am always looking for an easier way to do a chore like raking leaves.

Now the problem is, trying to rake the leaves into a plastic bag like this, the bag never stays open. Of course you can always put the bag in a trash can like this, but that creates another problem.

Once you start dumping in the leaves or the grass clippings, especially wet leaves, the bag has a tendency to pull into the can, and then you can’t fill it up all the way. So, here’s a quick and easy solution.

Danny Lipford: There you go. Welcome back to the show. Now, to continue our effort in trying to get everything off the floor of this garage, we are building a section of shelving all the way down this end of the garage—over 20 feet.

And we are taking two of them, so we are going to have almost 40-foot of shelving to accommodate a lot of the things that were here in the garage.

We stared out by measuring a few of the items that we are placing on the shelves to make sure we have the proper spacing. And we decided to go with 16-inch wide shelving, since there are so many large items in a garage.

We started all of this process out by measuring from the ceiling down. We marked the height of each shelf on both ends of the garage and connected the points using a chalk line.

Next, we located and marked all the studs and began attaching our 1×2 cleats to the wall. These cleats were primed and painted in advance to save time. And since they will not run the whole length, they will have to be seamed at a stud location. Predrilling helps prevent the two-inch drywall screw from splitting the cleats as they go in. On the sidewalls, short 15-inch cleats will support the end of the shelves.

Our wall cleats will support the backside of our shelving. Now, here’s how we will support the rest of the weight of the shelving. These are little 1×4’s, that we have nipped the corner off here with our miter saw, and we are using these every 32 inches, and these will serve as the support for our metal shelf brackets.

Now, our shelf brackets are around 11×15, perfect size for what we are doing here, and brackets like this can be put right on the wall. But with the weight that we are expecting on these shelves, we are afraid they just won’t have the support using the surface of the drywall.

So, by putting these on the wall and nailing them in to the stud, we know these brackets won’t go anywhere. So, we’ll go along and install all of these along the wall. That’s a good bit of work.

A scrap of wood on top of the cleat will hold the bracket flush, while Greg drives the screws in. These screws go through the bracket, the 1×4, the drywall, and into the stud. When the brackets are all in, we begin measuring for the shelf boards.

We cut down 3/4-inch particleboard into 16-inch by eight-foot pieces, which are also primed and painted. Each shelf will require two seams and we are laying them out to land on a shelf bracket. The boards are cut at opposing 45-degree angles, so the narrow bracket supports both pieces.

While Greg is completing our shelves up above by installing screws through our metal shelf brackets into our wood shelving, I am in the process of laying out the next part of our project, and that’s to build a countertop along the wall that will run about seven feet.

Now, this countertop space will be perfect for the homeowners, because it is always handy to have a little bit of space, even if you are not using your garage as a workshop.

Now, the counter will be a little bit wider than the shelf itself so we will have to build it a little differently.

We are marking the counter height at 36 inches, so that we can clear the mini fridge; and the width at 80 inches, so that we can hit a stud at either end as we attach our cleat.

A vertical cleat on each end will be used to secure a triangular support for the countertop. More 1×4 bracket supports are cut and mounted in the middle. This time, every 16 inches on the studs and the metal brackets are mounted as before.

Our countertop, as well as the triangular supports, was cut from the same 3/4-inch particleboard and painted in advance so that we could simply set it in place, line it up, and screw it down.

The 1×2 band around the counter will add strength and cover the raw edges of the particleboard. Greg is taking care of some of the finishing touches on our new countertop, with puttying up all the nail heads and screw heads.

Now, after we completed building the countertop, I decided to add a little something extra. We took little pieces of pine, 1×2 and 1×3, and created these little wood runners.

And what this will allow us to do is put our little recycle bin right under it like this. Staying with the theme of keeping everything off of the floor we possibly can. And, as the need arises, more recycle bin drawers can be established all along the underside of the countertop.

Now, we are going to take care a little bit of touchup painting here before we start bringing everything back in. And when we come back, we’re gonna do something to this garage you may have not considered, installing carpet. Stay with us.

Jodi Marks: Whenever you think about a vacuum cleaner, you usually associate this with it. But did you know, there was a cordless vacuum around way back in the 1860’s.

It was a hand pumped model and really not all that effective, but you could take it anywhere. But today, there is actually a better choice.

This is the new cordless wet/dry vac from Milwaukee tools. It operates using any of Milwaukee’s 18 or 28 volt slide-on batteries in either lithium-ion or NiCad. And it really has a powerful motor that makes for some high quality suction.

One of the first things that you will notice is the shape. It looks just like a tool box, which means it is very easy to transport or store. The filter can be washed and you don’t have to change it in between wet or dry applications. It even has this little port right here that doubles as a blower.

Now, the manufacturer says that you will get a longer continuous run time with a 28-volt version; but truthfully, only amounts to about 15 minutes. Still, that’s not too bad, because you won’t use this to clean your carpet, but it makes an excellent addition to your garage or workshop.

Danny Lipford: You may have never thought about putting carpet in your garage, but it really makes a lot of sense. You think about it, if you have any type of dirt on your shoes and you walk straight into the house, you are tracking a lot of dirt inside the house.

Now, the carpet that we are installing is a very thin type of carpet and it’s an indoor/outdoor carpet so if it gets a little wet from time to time, it won’t be a problem at all. It is very inexpensive, so it does make a lot of sense to try to take care of reducing the amount of dirt that you track into the house.

Now, we are not going to install the carpet everywhere in the garage, but one six-foot stretch here and then two three foot stretches on each side of the garage, should be everywhere that foot traffic should take place.

We are going to keep it in place using a double-sided carpet tape. We will use it sparingly, along the edges, just to keep the carpet from kicking up and causing a trip hazard.

And then, if the owners ever wanted to change it out in a few years, it will be very easy to remove it and put another section of carpet down.

Now, our first step in getting the tape to stick is to make sure this floor is nice and clean. We thoroughly sweep the garage before rolling out a section of carpet across the back wall. It’s marked and cut square on one end, then cut to fit on the other end.

The sidewalls are measured and three-foot sections are cut from them before we begin applying the carpet tape under seams and heavy traffic areas. There we go. With our carpet in, we can start moving a few of our items back in and the carpet really does make the whole garage look a lot better.

Now, one thing a lot of homeowners are finding out about is staining their concrete with concrete stain. Now, this one was done several years ago, and maybe needs just one more coat to really finish off the floor of the garage.

Also, by staining the floor allows it to be a lot easier to keep clean. Now all of the shelving that you see behind me and that we have built so far is open shelving. There may be some situations where you want to kind of hide a few things away. That’s where this comes in.

This is a great idea with using old kitchen cabinets. If you are renovating your kitchen, or know someone who is, try to hold onto some of the overhead cabinets like this. Secure it well to the wall, then you can kind of tuck away a few things behind the doors. Now, there is a number of readymade cabinets that are available for your garage.

Most home centers stock low priced cabinets that are ideal for this use, but there is also a few higher end systems that can really dress up a garage and allow plenty of flexibility.

Many include panels that can be installed on the garage walls from which a variety of cabinets, hangers and racks can be mounted. Some even have rolling lockers and matching appliances.

We mentioned earlier in the show, how convenient it is to use some of the plastic hooks for things like the bicycles that we have hung from the ceiling. We have also used similar hooks, but of a different shape, for lawn equipment that we are hanging here on this wall. And even the homeowner’s surfboards, with a different size hook that we made sure we had a stud to go into and we screwed those in place.

That’s a perfect place to tuck something out of the way like that. Now, you may not have a surfboard, but you may have some skis or other seasonal equipment—that’s a great way to handle it.

Now, another way to maximize the space in your garage is to use all of the garage. Keeping your car in the garage, but just barely enough that the garage door will close behind it. Here’s a good trick in showing you just how far to pull your car in.

Now, this is just a piece of fishing string with a practice golf ball tied to the end of it, and this is lined up just right to where when your car pulls in, the windshield of the car touches this and you know you are just enough in to close the door and you still are saving as much space as you can here for storage of all the things that you have in the garage.

Now, we are about to fill this garage up and show you just how organized it can be. Stay with us.

There is nothing green about paying bills, unless you pay them online or the company provides recycled envelopes. But you know, there is another envelope you should take a close look at, and that’s the thermal envelope of your home, which is your living space.

It is important to have proper insulation; otherwise, you’ve got a real problem with that envelope. Up to 40% of a home’s heat loss or gain is due to leaks. Insulating the attic is only the start.

You need to make sure all gaps around windows and doors are sealed, the areas around plumbing pipes, as well as heating and cooling lines also need to be sealed. And don’t forget about any electrical switches and outlets on exterior walls.

You would really be surprised at how big of an energy loss they can cause. Simple gaskets can take care of them and it will be one of the cheapest improvements you can make.

Well, that’s the last of it, we have everything back in the garage. Now if you remember what it looked like this morning, you can barely even walk in this garage. But removing all of that clutter was just the first step to making this space more useful, functional, and organized.

The floor was covered, because there wasn’t anywhere else to put the stuff, so we created some places. Installing those heavy duty coated hooks to store the bikes on was a big help, and the bar we hung from the ceiling for the hanging plants will free up some space, too.

We also hung several one by four’s on the walls to serve as a foundation for the garden tool organizing rack we put in. But the real space saver in this garage has to be the shelves we started on next.

We made them plenty sturdy and at 18 inches deep, and running the full length of the garage, they should hold plenty of the clutter that used to decorate the floor.

Out next project was a light duty workbench, and we built it without any supports running to the floor, so we could keep that area free. In fact, the floor was so clear, we decided to add carpet to dress it up a bit.

And now that we have moved the stuff back in, it looks great, and there is actually room for a car or two in this two-car garage.

Now, when the homeowners are ready to do a little work out in the yard, they will be able to find the tools they need now that everything’s organized here.

Now, I hope you enjoyed this week’s show, and hopefully we inspired you to tackle your garage. I’m Danny Lipford, we’ll see you next week.

If there is a paintbrush in your future, tune in next week for tips on how to pain like a pro.

Greg has already gotten a good start on a system we will use to organize all the lawn and garden tools. Now, this type of bracket is readily available at the home center. A lot of different styles that you can choose, and most are able to be mounted right to the drywall. Now, what I like to do, though, is to mount it to a one by four.

Now, we have taken a one by four and we’ve primed and painted it, leveled it up and then put a screw in every 16 inches. And, this is just perfect to be able to remain a little flexible because you can move your racks around a little bit if they end up not being exactly where you need them.

If you would like to purchase a DVD copy of this week’s show, visit our website at TodaysHomeowner.com, or call us at 1-800-946-4420.



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