New project for a new year: Add shelving and containers to get your stuff off the garage floor — and still have room for the car
Why: “The garage is definitely the most underutilized space in the house,” says Amanda Le Blanc, a professional organizer (she owns The Amandas in Birmingham, Alabama) and spokesperson for Organized Living. “I prefer the garage to the attic for storage, because a garage actually has less temperature fluctuation.”
How: Ginny Scott, chief design officer at California Closets, says to start by determining what you need to store. “You need to think of your goal first. Do you want to store overflow from the pantry? Do you want to make a Costco closet? Do you need a workspace like a potting or tool bench? Maybe you need a place to stash sports equipment. Once you have determined what you want to do, that will inform the kinds of shelving, cabinets or lockers you need,” she says.
She says that although a garage lined with storage lockers and cabinets has a clean look — an important factor for garages that open at the front of the house and are visible to the neighbors — if you are of the “out of sight, out of mind” school, closed storage is not for you. “If you are that type of person, then go for open shelves and labeled bins,” she says.
Whether you are installing shelves that are open or in cabinets, Scott suggests choosing adjustable units for the garage. “It’s more important here than elsewhere,” she says. “We may not change the way we use our pantry much, but what we use in the garage varies from year to year and season to season.”
She says an 8-foot run of open shelving in a garage could cost $1,000 to $2,000 (rough estimate). A row of storage lockers of the same length might cost $2,000 to $3,000.
Permit: “Unless we are doing something structural or adding electricity, no permit is generally needed,” says Scott.