Maximizing your storage space in your garage can be very tricky, especially if you’re someone who is passionate about mechanics or woodworking and you love to fix common issues by yourself. You’ll need solid garage storage ideas if this is the case to help keep all of your tools and materials neat, organized, and ready to use. You may be surprised at how challenging it can be to find homes for all of your items, and this is why you want to think outside the box with your garage storage ideas.
The goal is to maximize the available space in your garage without having to build on an extension or try and cram more storage nooks into your already overflowing space. This could turn your garage into a catch-all where you get in the habit of just tossing items with the intention of getting to them later. Later never comes and the stuff starts to pile up. However, you shouldn’t get dismayed. We’ve come up with several garage storage ideas that you can implement by yourself to whip everything back into shape. Who knows? You may even have room for your vehicle when you finish!
1. Create Sliding Storage for Your Ceiling
You won’t need a lot of materials for this garage storage idea, but it has massive potential in freeing up a lot of storage space. All you’ll need is large plastic totes, screws, screw gun, saw, 2x4s, and ¾-inch plywood. You’ll measure your tote top to get the spacing correct. The goal is to be able to slide the totes into your wood pieces that you attach to the ceiling.
Once you have your measurements, you’ll cut 3-inch strips out of the ¾-inch plywood to create the flanges for the totes to rest on. Cut the 2x4s into four-foot sections. Attach the flanges on the top of the 2×4, and cut a 5-inch strip out of the ¾-inch plywood for the bottom. Attach it to create an I shape. Screw one five-inch flange to the ceiling, leaving the other one hanging down. When you get them up, you’re ready to slide your totes into the gap and hang them from the ceiling.
Garage Storage by Nick Olejniczak / CC BY-NC 2.0
2. Screwdriver Storage
Screwdrivers are arguably one of the most important tools you have in your workshop. However, they can also take up a huge amount of space and get lost quickly if you don’t have a dedicated garage storage idea that involves them. This is a very simple project, and you’ll need a drill, piece of wood (scrap wood is fine), L-brackets, sandpaper, and screws. If you want to stain it, you’ll need stain too with a rag.
Mark out where you’re going to put the holes for your screwdrivers on the board. The screwdrivers will fit down into these holes and hang out the bottom of the board. Get your drill and drill out your holes. Take sandpaper and smooth away any rough edges you have left. Attach the L-brackets to the piece of wood and to the wall to hold it. Slip your screwdrivers into the holes you drilled and let them hang neatly on the wall.
Screwdriver storage by Lorna Mitchell / CC BY-ND 2.0
3. Put up Wall Shelves
A lot of the time, people forget about their wall storage space, especially if they usually just stack your items against the wall. However, this garage storage idea takes advantage of vertical space. Start by measuring the space you want to put on the shelves, and estimate how much space you want between each shelf. Ideally, you’ll leave enough room for totes to sit comfortably on the shelf. You can purchase or build a shelving unit, but it’s usually easier to buy a full kit.
Once you get your kit for this garage storage idea, open it and attach the shelving brackets to the wall. Make sure they’re not too wide for the shelves, so you may want to measure and mark on the walls where these brackets will go. Attach your shelves to the brackets. If you’re going to put totes on the shelves, consider labeling them before you put them up so you know what is in them at a glance.
DSCN9629 by mtneer_man / CC BY-ND 2.0
4. Hooks Remove Bulky Items From the Floor
Do your kids have a lot of toys that you just don’t have the room for in the garage? Maybe they’re spilling out over your toy storage area. Whatever the reason, putting bulky items on your garage floor like a hockey net can quickly eat up your space. For this garage storage idea, all you’ll need is wall space and a few bike hooks. Decide where you’d like to hang the items so they’re out of your way first.
Put two hooks a foot or two apart on the wall. This will give you a space to hang the top of the hockey net. How wide you space them apart depends on how large the net is. Make sure that it’s up high enough for the car to pass under but not too high that you can’t easily reach it. You can also add two hooks below the net for your hockey sticks to keep everything together and organized.
Flymo, stored by waldopepper / CC BY-NC 2.0
5. Break up Your Tools Into Smaller Kits
A lot of people have those huge, bulky tool chests in their garage. While they do store a lot of tools, it’s easy for them to get unorganized and take up a lot of space. This garage storage idea will take up space too, but you can fit several different kits on one shelving unit, so it’s usually a better way to maximize your storage space. You will have to take all of your tools out and organize them.
Purchase tool organization kits. Bosch makes several different types with several compartments and hard siding to protect whatever you put inside. Decide how you’re going to break up your tools. You could have a kit for electrical, one for woodworking, one for screws, etc. Label the front of each tool kit and stack them neatly on a shelving unit in your garage. This way, you’ll know which kit to grab when you need it, and it’s easy to stay more organized.
More Garage Storage by Charles & Hudson / CC BY-SA 2.0
6. Pegboard Wall
Pegboard works wonders for bedroom storage ideas, but it also works great to help organize and hang up your smaller hand tools using this garage storage idea. You will need access to a clean wall, pegs, and pegboard to pull it off, but you most likely already have a wall that you’re not using. Measure and figure out who much pegboard you’ll need to start this project. Go pick up a piece of pegboard from your local improvement store.
You’ll want to adhere the pegboard to the wall, and there are several ways you can go about this. If you have a wooden wall, you can simply screw the pegboard to the wall. Otherwise, you can stick it up with construction adhesive, but you do want to leave a gap between the pegboard and wall so the pegs slide in. When it’s up, you can add your pegs and hang up your smaller hand tools. You can also get a basket for screws, nails, or small odds and ends.
DSCN9811 by mtneer_man / CC BY-ND 2.0
7. Organize by Zone
Chances are, you most likely have seasonal items that get a lot of use for part of the year. During the other seasons, they sit and collect dust while cluttering up your space. One easy garage storage idea that can solve this problem is to set up zones in your garage. Any lawn care items you have should be in close proximity to the door. If they are, all you’ll have to do is open the door, reach in, and grab your items without disturbing other zones.
You should have a zone for each season, one for kid’s items, one for tools, and one for bikes or outdoor gear. You can use a combination of hooks, shelving units, and totes to organize each zone. This garage storage idea recommends using opaque totes to hide what’s inside. It’s also a very good idea to label each zone in your garage and each tote so you know where everything is at a glance.
DSCN8915 by mtneer_man / CC BY-ND 2.0
8. Get a Hose Reel
Hoses can take up a lot of space in your garage, and this is especially true if you have bigger hoses to reach every area of your yard or garden. They’re bulky and awkward, and this makes them difficult to keep neat, coiled, and ready to store when the weather turns colder. Before you store them, lay them out and allow all of the water to dry to prevent issues with mold or mildew as you store them using this garage storage idea.
You’ll need to buy a hose reel, and there are dozens available. You can get ones that attach directly to the wall, or you can get hidden ones that look like a small tote. Carefully coil your hose up once it dries out and put it on the hose reel. You can store this reel almost anywhere in your garage, and it’ll help keep it tight and out of the way. This garage storage idea can free up a lot of space while keeping your hose protected.
Hose Reel by Philip Roberts / CC BY 2.0
9. Use Open Jars for Screws and Nails
Depending on how organized you are already, this garage storage idea could take a decent amount of time to complete. You can get a four or five-foot 2×4, baby food or canning jars with lids, and wood glue. You can attach the 2×4 to the bottom of an existing shelf to keep it within easy reach. You want to space out the jars on the wood so they’re not crowded and glue the lids right to the board. You can screw them to the board too if you’re worried about them falling under the weight.
Attach the 2×4 wherever you like for this garage storage idea. It would work well under a shelf on your workbench. Sort out your screws and nails and put one type in each jar. Screw them onto the lids and let them hang. You can label each jar to make it easier to pick out the screws or nails you need at a glance.
Screws, nails, nuts, bolts by Let Ideas Compete / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
10. Hang Ladders Up
No matter if you have a wooden, metal, or dipped ladder, this garage storage idea will help you get it off the floor and out of your way. You can hang your ladders up on the ceiling or on the wall, but the wall is usually an easier and quicker choice, depending on how large and heavy the ladder is. Start by mapping out where you’d like to hang your ladder. You’ll have to buy larger bicycle hooks too.
Mark off on the wall where you’ll put your bicycle hooks. They should be between three and four feet apart, and this measurement usually works for small and large ladders. Screw your hooks into the wall around eye height. Turn your ladder sideways and hang it up on the hooks. This garage storage idea will only take an hour or two at the most, and you can clear out a significant amount of space.
Ladder by Mikhail Esteves / CC BY 2.0
11. Choose Rectangular Garbage Bins Over Circular
You may not think that it would make much difference if you pick out circular or rectangular recycle bins and trash cans. However, this isn’t the case. This garage storage idea is all about putting your necessary items into their spaces without sticking out. Circular recycle bins or trash cans tend to stick out much more than rectangular or square ones do, and this can make it difficult to get in and out of your garage.
Carve out a small space by your garage doors for this garage storage idea. Park your recycle bins and garbage cans side-by-side in this space. It’s a good idea to position them by your garage door so they’re easy to get out and take out to the curb on trash day. They work well by the door going into the house too so you won’t have to carry the bags as far when they’re full.
Garbage Bins by SpirosK photography / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
12. Create Storage for Fishing Poles
Not only are fishing poles awkward to store, but there is also a safety concern with the hooks if you have kids or pets who routinely venture into your garage. This garage storage idea moves your fishing poles from the floor of your garage to the wall or ceiling. You want them to be high enough that you can reach them but not so low that you can accidentally brush by them and snag on the hooks.
You’ll need a 70 x 3.5 x 3/4 peice of pine, hole saw, drill, saw, screws. Cut your piece of wood at the 33 and 66-inch mark to give you two 33-inch pieces. Mark out every three inches on each piece of wood with an x in the middle. Use the hole saw to cut out each of these holes. Hang them on the ceiling, roughly as far apart as your smallest fishing pole. Set the handle of the pole in one hole and the tip of the pole through the other board.
More fishing poles by PfeifferPhotos / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
13. PVC Tool Organizer
Do you have a lot of long-handled garden tools that you just keep piling up in the corner of your garage? If so, this garage storage idea is for you. All you’ll need is a length of PVC pipe, screws, saw, and a sheet of plywood. Gather up all of your long-handled lawn tools and count how many pieces of PVC you’ll have to cut. You only need two or three inches of PVC per holder.
Mark and cut your PVC pipe down to size for this garage storage idea. Get out your plywood and mark on the board where you want to put the PVC holders. Screw the pieces of PVC pipe directly to the board, ensuring that they’re around two feet from the top lip of the board. Screw the board onto your garage wall. Thread the handles of your garden tools down through the PVC holders and allow the heads to rest on the lip of the plywood. You’ll put one tool in each PVC rack.
Hanging Tools by Steve Snodgrass / CC BY 2.0
14. Storage Between Studs
If you have bare studs inside your garage, you can make the most of it and use this garage storage idea to create small nooks and crannies for your garden tools, outdoor gear, and more. All you’ll need is the studs in your garage, some screws, and a few small, thin pieces of board. You’ll cut the boards so they just fit across the spaces between the studs. Next, decide what you want to store between each stud. You could have one for paddles, one for shovels, one for rakes, and so on.
Screw the smaller cut pieces of board over the opening so one end sits on each stud. Slide your desired items into the spaces you created. You can even create a ball storage area with this garage storage idea by attaching two pieces of wood five or six feet apart, drilling holes in each one, and attaching bungee cords between the two. Slide the balls in between the bungee cords to store them.
1069 Main St Wheeling by jcsullivan24 / CC BY-NC 2.0
15. Upcycled Ladder Ceiling Storage
Do you have an old ladder laying around that you’re not using? If so, you can use this garage storage idea to upcycle it and breathe new life into it. Start by painting your ladder and measuring the length and width of it. Get a sheet of plywood and mark your measurements to the ladder’s length and width. You’ll want this to be set inside the ladder to support any items you put on it. Cut out your plywood sheet and paint it to match your ladder.
Get a few larger L-brackets and attach them to the wall. Slide your ladder over these L-brackets and ensure that they’re strong enough to support the weight. You’ll want four or five of these brackets, depending on your ladder’s size. Slide the plywood in place to create a solid base for your items. Load your lighter totes onto your new shelving unit. Make sure you space them out to help distribute the weight.
DIY Ladder Shoe Shelf by Geneva Vanderzeil apairandasparediy.com / CC BY 2.0
16. Hang Cleaning Supplies Using Pegboard
It’s possible to get small pieces of pegboard, or you can get a larger piece and cut it down to size. This garage storage idea takes advantage of that small area of dead space right beside your door that runs from the garage into the house. First, measure the width of the area. Take your measurements and mark them on your pegboard. You should only need a square instead of a full rectangle. Hang this five or six feet off of the floor.
You can attach the pegboard to the wall using screws if you have studs showing in the wall. If not, you may want to create a wood frame and use construction adhesive to stick it to the wall. This will leave a gap between the pegboard and the wall. Insert your pegs. Hang up all of your cleaning supplies right by your door on the pegboard. It works well for brooms, mops, dusters, and more.
DSCN8120 by mtneer_man / CC BY-ND 2.0
17. Behind the Door Storage
If you already have shelving units in your garage that have doors on them, this garage storage idea can help you store even more without sacrificing any used space. You will need to get either mesh or wire storage shelving units. Measure your door to ensure that you don’t get a basket or shelving unit that is too wide for your doors or they won’t close properly.
Get your metal shelving units and attach them to your door on the inside. Each shelf on the rack should be reserved for one type of item. For example, you could use this garage storage idea to organize your screws, nails, or cleaning supplies. The shelves won’t be that wide, so you’ll have to find things with more narrow profiles to fit in this space. Hand towels and garbage bags work well here.
My shoes by evilgurl / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
18. Corner Shelves
The corners in your garage rarely get used because it can be awkward to try and fit items here. However, this garage storage idea takes advantage of this dead or rarely used space. You will need wood, a saw, tape measure, pencil, screws, and a screw gun. You’ll measure the corner’s dimensions and mark it on your sheet of wood. Cut out a triangular shape that slides right into the corner.
You can make small brackets to support the shelves. Space the shelves out running down your garage wall. Once you get them in place, you can load them up with whatever you have sitting around. You could make room for car items like brake fluid or windshield washer fluid. Another shelf could be your woodworking items, and another shelf could be rags or odds and ends. Just remember to go back periodically and clear the shelves out of items you don’t need.
Doll corner shelf display by Mira Kim / CC BY 2.0
19. Sports Gear Storage
This garage storage idea creates a ball corral to hold a host of balls. You’ll use ¾-inch plywood with 2x2s to make the frame. The corral should be 24-inches wide by 33-inches high and 12-inches deep. Measure and cut two pieces of plywood for the sides that are 33-inches high by 24-inches wide. This will be the side walls. The bottom should be 12-inches wide by 24-inches long. Nail these three pieces together. Add one 2×2 to the front of the frame and one to the back.
Now you should have two walls, a floor, and an open back and top. You’ll slide it right up against the wall to take care of the open back. Get bungee cords and cut the hooks off. Drill holes in the 2x2s and base to stretch the bungee cords from top to bottom, knotting them in place.. Your kids can drop the balls in, and the bungee cords will keep them contained for this garage storage idea.
Maya in the ball bin by Jim Renaud / CC BY-NC 2.0
These 19 garage storage ideas are fun and quick ways to maximize your space in your garage. Once everything has a place, it’s easy to stay organized and know where everything is at a glance. We invite you to try out some of these garage storage ideas for yourself and see how them improve your garage’s look and feel this weekend.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.