How to Organize a Messy Garage


See how we used garage organization ideas to transform our messy garage into a fabulous organized space where everything has a place!

Ahhh, the garage. It’s a never ending battle to keep a garage clean and organized. Right?? At least in my experience!

It tends to be a dumping ground for things coming into the home and doesn’t get a lot of attention on a regular basis.

How to Organize the Garage

As with any space in a home, it will need a regular clean up and re-organization from time-to-time. But having a place for everything goes a LONG way in keeping it tidy and organized. (And keeping your cars parked inside!)

When we moved in, our garage was completely void of any organization systems. There were no shelves or hooks. Nothing! (It looks like the previous owners had a system, but took it with them.)

Garage Before Organization Makeover
Before the Garage Makeover

In a way, I’m thankful that it was a blank slate.

We lived in the space with a messy garage for a year and a half before we got it organized. While it was frustrating to live with the mess, it also allowed us to see how we used it. And thankfully we didn’t have to retro fit anything that was already there.

I love sharing ways to organize the home and keep the clutter at bay. Getting your things in order is the first step in making a beautiful home that you love and enjoy! Learn 5 Easy Steps to Decluttering Any Room in Your Home!

Ready to find peace in your home again?

You can’t decorate a home with clutter. Get started on your decluttering journey with 30 days of encouraging and helpful e-mails to keep you motivated!

You can easily navigate this post by using the drop down Table of Contents menu below. And don’t forget to pin this post to reference later!

My Goals When We Started Organizing the Garage

I had two main goals for our garage organization project:

1. Find a Place for Everything (and get rid of what didn’t have a place)

2. Clear the Floor Space

While we didn’t accomplish the second goal 100%, we got most everything off the garage floor and I’m happy with it. For example, we’ve always leaned camping chairs and golf clubs up against a wall. But having them off the floors has kept them so much more tidy! Fishing rods were always a tangled mess before. And now they are organized and stay tangle free!

Fishing Pole Storage
Our fishing poles now have a home and are no longer a tangled mess!

Getting things off the floors was a lesson in garage organization ideas I learned after we organized our previous garage. I also learned that I needed to make things accessible that we used often (or wanted to use often).

We had a smaller garage in our old house, so we hung the bikes from the ceilings. But I could never reach them.

So, this time we put the bike storage on the wall for easy access . They are so much easier to reach and therefore we ride bikes more often! I learned a lot of lessons from our old garage.

Bicycles Organized on the Wall
Our bikes are now off the floor, but easy to access!

Our Garage Makeover

I’m sharing all of my tips and tricks for a storage system in a garage here. But let’s take a look at where we started and how we transformed the space!

Before Garage Makeover

It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t great either. We had dumped everything in there when we moved, sort of put similar things together, then left it. It sat like this for a year and a half before we organized it!

The worst part of it all was that we couldn’t find what we needed and several things were “lost” under piles. So, we really needed to clean it up and find some storage solutions.

Thankfully we have a large enough garage that it could be a mess and I could still park in there.

Garage Before Storage Makeover

But it needed a lot of help, planning and implementation before it would be functional and organized.

And now that it’s done, I’m so proud of the space! I’m thankful we took our time figuring out how the space worked best for us. And I’m happy to say we LOVE the results! (We’ve been living with the results for 6 months+ as I’m writing this, so we’ve had time to live with it and it’s working so well!)

Before Garage Makeover
The Before! Our tools were in this dresser and I had no idea where anything was!

I hope this helps you to organize your garage if you’re facing a similar mountain of stuff. Hopefully sharing how we whipped our garage into shape will help you!

How to Organize the Garage

We started this project when it was the early summer. It wasn’t too hot yet and we had several days dedicated to getting the garage in order. Make sure the weather looks nice, too, since everything has to come out of the garage before you put it back in!

1. Pull Everything Out

All of the stuff had to come out before we could put it back in.

We threw away the trash and donated stuff we had outgrown or didn’t use any more. And we started to group things together that were similar.

Process of organizing the garage

2. Take Inventory and Categorize

I categorized everything into categories that made the most sense for garage organization:

  • Camping Gear
  • Outdoor/Yard Tools
  • Household Tools & Power Tools
  • Beach Gear/Lake Gear
  • Hobby Equipment (hunting and golf bags, etc.)
  • Miscellaneous Small Items
  • Painting Gear/Supplies
  • Paint
  • Grill Equipment
  • Bicycles
  • and more!

3. Decide the Best Way to Store Each Category

So, after taking inventory, I knew how much of each category I had. Now, I had to decide the best way to store them.

I knew that I wanted everything off the floor. So, we needed to utilize vertical space as much as possible. And these are the best ways I’ve found to store each category.

Track System for Hanging Yard Tools in the garage

Track System – this is usually best for yard tools (rakes, shovels, brooms, weed eaters, etc.), long-handled items, outdoor chairs and odd shaped items like strollers, wheel barrows and ladders.

Pegboard System – this system works well with small tools, light objects and cleaning supplies and tools or workbench supplies.

Pegboard System for Garage Organization

Shelves – these are great for storage bins of smaller items like camping gear, beach gear, garden tools, seasonal decor, hunting gear and more!

Hooks – I love a hook for ladders, bicycles, large tools and other heavy items! You can use hooks on or off a track system.

Utilize Vertical Space with Shelving

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. See my full disclosure policy.

4. Map Out the Space Based on Your Needs & Implement Them

Now that we had our stuff categorized and decided how to store them, we could plan out the space! Learn from some of these garage organization ideas.

At this point I had to stop working in the garage and order the products and wait for them to arrive.

The Basic Work Station

I knew I wanted to have our household tool storage for hammers, drills, paint supplies and more, near the door to our house. That way I can simply step into the garage from the kitchen and everything I need is right at my fingertips.

Garage Workbench Utility Organization System

The work bench was also a big priority in this space. So, I looked online for a product that would meet my needs and I settled on this Garage Workstation System. It’s one of the best garage organization ideas I came across! It’s the storage and organization system of my dreams.

Drawer Garage Storage

I ended up modifying it a little bit to fit my needs better, but used the pre-made system as a base for my changes. I added an extra shelf to the bottom of the system for more storage since my ceilings are 9.5 feet tall. And this brought the workbench counter up a little higher, but it works perfectly as a standing workbench!

Pegboard Storage for Small Tools

I made sure to label all of the drawers and bins at the work station so that everyone is on the same page about where things go! Otherwise the screws will end up in the washer bin and things will get lost!

The Corner Cabinet and Large Items

Then we figured out that my husband’s hunting cabinet could go in the far corner since it didn’t need to be accessed very often.

And several of our large items go in front of it, like the saws, shop vac and lawn mower. Many of these things are on wheels, so they are easy to move around when we need to get something out!

Garage Organization Ideas

The Long Shelving Unit and Track System on the Garage Wall

Getting that situated in the corner let us know how much room we had for vertical shelving units on the back wall. I also knew I wanted to have a track system under the shelves along the back wall for hanging our chairs and our extension cords, etc. This helped me decide how many shelves to buy.

Utilize Vertical Space with Shelving in the Garage

I love that our camping and beach chairs are no longer in a pile on the floor. They were always falling over before!

Garage Storage System Ideas

The Yard Tool Track System and Bike Rack

We knew we wanted the yard tools near the outside door, so it made sense to put them on the largest wall closest to the garage door. And that left us just enough room to hang up our bicycles.

Track System for Hanging Yard Tools

The Freezer, Golf Clubs and Sporting Gear

Then, on the opposite wall, we had to contend with breaker boxes and a window we didn’t want to cover. So, it was the perfect place to put things like our deep freezer, trash can, golf bag storage and some outdoor toy storage.

Wall with Golf Bag Storage

And in a manner of “no wasted space” we used the wall space above the 4-wheeler as the home for our wall-mounted fishing pole storage. I refused to keep our fishing gear in a tangled pile ever again!

Fishing Pole Storage

That’s how we stored each category of stuff we have in our garage. Let me know if you have any questions about any of it in the comments!

The Products Used for Garage Organization Ideas

I have used a variety of products over the years to organize a garage and I can vouch for two specific products that we love! (Not sponsored, just love them and spend our own money on them.)

Rubbermaid FastTrack Garage Systems

Rubbermaid FastTrack systems the the brand for all of our track and shelving systems. It makes it easy to keep it all in the same brand family because everything is interchangeable. We used this system in our last garage and knew we liked it, so we used it again!

Rubbermaid Fastrack Track System

Golf Bag Organizer

For as long as we’ve been married, we’ve just propped up our golf bags against the wall. They were always falling over or just being in the way. I LOVE this golf bag organizer with shelves for shoes or other things. We have an extra large organizer that will hold our two golf bags plus our kids’ golf bag. It’s made to hold two extra large bags.

Garage Storage Ideas

Elfa Utility Garage System with Workbench

This utility garage system with workbench is a little more in-depth than the track and shelf systems. I measured my space and then looked at the dimensions for the workbench system. There was room for some more storage on the bottom because my walls are taller than 9 feet.

Garage Organization Ideas

I also realized I didn’t want to use the track systems on the left side at the top. Instead I wanted a hook for our ladder there. And I moved the lower left track to another wall for sports equipment storage and toy storage.

The whole system was also out of stock when I went to buy it, so I had to piecemeal it together. It took me quite a while on the Web site to figure out each piece I needed. If you want to order the components, I’m sharing the individual pieces I ordered, so you can simply copy me and DIY it too!

Garage Utility System with Workbench Pieces

I love these Elfa systems because you can attach the vertical rails to wall studs, then hang whatever shelving configuration you need on the rails. It’s really an easy system to DIY, so don’t let it intimidate you!

Utility Pegboard Components

Extra Baskets at the Bottom

(Must have 3 – 104″ hang pieces instead of the 3 – 84″ hang pieces to allow for room for these baskets.)

I hope it was helpful to see how we took a blank garage and made it an organizational work horse! I beam with pride every time I walk through the garage because it turned out so well. I’m glad we took our time and made sure it would work for our family’s needs.

Let me know if you have any garage organization ideas of your own! Leave them below in the comments so we can all benefit from them!

More Posts You Will Love:

Similar Posts


  1. This was so satisfying to read and see how it all came together. Organization just gives me warm’n’fuzzies. Great post! Very much appreciate the detail!

    Hubby and I are moving next month and my Pinterest is bursting at the seams with project ideas

  2. Wow, awesomeness throughout this post. My I wish our garage looked this great even before the cleanup. We will be cleaning it out this spring. We can use all the tips and tricks possible. Thanks for sharing. We will be implementing all yours. Happy 2022!

  3. I have been working on our garage, in some form or fashion, for the six months since my hubby passed. He never got rid of anything! I’ve pared just a little more each time I go out there to assess. Eventually I will get rid of all of the duplicate tools and such. Then I will tackle the attic directly above. Lastly, stack all of the containers (kid stuff, camping gear) against the wall. I don’t park in the garage unless we are expecting hail or a storm, but I love the idea of having more space to tackle a big project. My goal is to get it all done gradually, while spending zero dollars!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *