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NINE Tips to Organize a Messy Garage

Hip2Save may earn a small commission via affiliate links in this post. Read our full disclosure policy here.

Ready to tackle serious garage organization?

Take note of these easy real life tips and strategies to keep your garage space functional and organized. My family tends to accumulate a lot of “stuff” including camping & sporting equipment, tools, bikes, holiday décor items, boxes, deep freezers, and all the other things that come along with an active family. It’s a miracle I can park one car in a tight two car garage, but here’s how I do it..

Yard Sale Hip2Save

1. Host a Yard Sale.

PURGE! Get rid of unused and unwanted items through donation or hold a garage sale. The less you have, the easier it is to organize. 😄


Hanging Garage Organizing System Hip2Save

2. Install hanging overhead racks for bins & large items.

This is a great way to utilize wall and ceiling space and to get as many bins off the floor as possible (I placed all my camping and holiday bins on these racks since I do not need to access the items regularly). I recently installed 7 of these adjustable overhead garage storage systems –  it’s amazing how much more floor space is now available.


utility hooks

3. Purchase overhead Storage Hangers.


Use these overhead storage hangers (also found at your local home improvement store) to easily hang bikes, cords, scooters, and tools and to get them off the ground.


Adjustable garage shelving Hip2Save

4. Invest in Shelving.

Either build your own shelves or buy easy to assemble shelving for bins, boxes and larger items. Try these adjustable shelving units that can be placed vertically or side by side to create a workbench like I did above.


Labeling Garage Contents Hip2Save

5. Use Labels!

Label bins and boxes to easily identify contents and to help kids know where to put things back.


Pegboard for Tool Organization Hip2Save

6. Add Pegboard(s).

Pegboards and pegboard accessories from Amazon or the hardware store offer great ways to easily organize hand tools and smaller garage items.


Hanging broom & tool organizing Hip2Save

7. Get Tools off the Ground.

Get brooms, mops, and lawn tools off the ground with a hanging organizing system like this one.


Wall Mounted Hooks for hanging latters and tools Hip2Save

8. Hang ladders.

Hang ladders and larger tools with convenient heavy duty wall mounted hangers. I like this inexpensive Everbilt 4 in. Handy Hook from Home Depot.


Scrapwood Organizer above garage door Hip2Save

9. Utilize Space Above Garage Doors.

My husband built a simple overhead organizer to hold extra scrap wood and wood flooring.


Do you have any garage organization tips or ideas? Share with us in the comments!


Written by Lina for Hip2Save. Lina is a proud mom of 2 small kids who loves photography, all holidays, cooking, thrift store makeovers, bargain shopping, and DIY makeovers. Her goal is to create a beautiful life and stylish home on a dime!

Join The Discussion

Comments 37

  1. Julie

    great way to drop hints to my hubby! 😉

  2. Nicole Gary

    Lina, I would love to see your house! It must be the ideal home for all americans. Since your garage is neat, clean and organized, so are your recipes, so I wonder how about your house!

    • Ella

      I was thinking the same thing!

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Oh thanks that’s sweet. I actually struggle just like most to organize and keep it looking nice! 🙂 We moved in this summer and are just now organizing the garage! ha

  3. Judy Trac

    Ahhh wish I have time to do this lol

    • shopper

      If you have a Container Store, their adjustable shelving system, elfa, is for garages to. They will plan with you, install and deliver, if wanted.

  4. Shawna

    Yes!! We got the overhead storage and it’s definitely a game changer, thanks for the tips!

  5. BearsBootsnBlessings

    Looking at these pictures, I have to ask how much of it is needed? Bigger spaces excuses excessiveness.

    • meg

      ? SMH….

    • VJ

      Wow BBnB. Judgmental much?

    • Jenn

      That is a very inappropriate and judgmental comment when the intention of Lina’s post was only to provide suggestions to others.

      Lina- thank you for this post as it is very helpful. I agree with the other poster a house tour is in order! 🙂

    • CB

      Looking at your comment I have to ask, was your comment needed?

    • Jeanette

      I don’t see much in the pics that wouldn’t be needed or used. If you can’t say something nice, maybe you shouldn’t say anything at all.

  6. Stacey

    Going through a divorce and moving from a 5BR home to a 2 BR apartment till end of divorce. Any storage ideas for all my things I think I need (lol) for my kids and I?

    • Rose

      Stacey I can relate to your downsizing…when we moved to a smaller house with fewer bedrooms We went thru the same thing….our girls shared a double bed which we put on risers, then added skateboard wheels (or any coasters) to a piece of plywood cut somewhat smaller than bed size, covered it with heAvy duty fabric to avoid splinters, and it slides easily under bed…you can stack games, toys in containers, even clothing in containers. In closets we got rods to double tier their clothes. Also the kids purged a lot and we donated unplayed with items. Good luck.

    • Alison

      I’m sorry for your tough situation. I hope things get better for you and your kids soon…

      • Stacey

        Thanks Lady’s!

        • Stacey

          Ladies! ☺️

    • Emily

      Did you go to college? If so, think back and put those old dorm room tricks to good use. One year, we lofted our beds so we could put a desk under it and maximize space. Another year, we put a shelf across the span between our two desks and created a giant shelf for our room.

      For any sentimental baby clothes that you’re holding onto, get space bags and label one for each of your kids. Then, vacuum the air out, put all of them in a single tote and store it in your new place.

      We just moved into a house but were living in a TINY apartment so I can tell you what we did. We had a small porch at the apartment and there, we got plastic outdoor storage bench and kept soccer balls, gardening supplies and other outdoor things in it. We also put our gas grill out there and kept two stackable chairs that we got from Target.

      We added a small shelf close to the ceiling in our closets (above the shelf that was already there.) It allowed us to keep things we didn’t need as regularly out of the way since we needed things on the shelf that was already there. The 3M hooks are your friends. We used them on the inside wall of the closets (on either side of the door frame) and on the side of our dressers to hang necklaces, etc.

      We bought under the bed totes and kept flip flops, purses,

      Consolidate your kitchen! Probably the hardest part to do. We didn’t have fancy things like tortilla shell pans, etc. We both had apartments before we moved in together and then we moved together and had to decide what was important. When we decided what was important we had a set of pyrex (only square, we gave up round) and we kept small amounts of tupperware and made sure it was all the same kind so we didn’t have to worry about this square lid fitting this square bottom or another bottom. We had two cookie sheets that stacked nicely, a mixing bowl set (with lids for double duty in the fridge), modest amounts of silverware, cups, mugs. We had exactly two upper cabinets in our rented kitchen, so we added a not very deep shelf the length of our cabinet run under the cabinets and put our glasses on it. One cabinet held all of our plates, bowls, mugs and the other upper cabinet held spices – a plastic lazy susan made our life easier. Our two lower cabinets had cleaning supplies, our mixer, mixing bowls and one of each type of pan that we needed. (large skillet, smaller frying pan, two saucepan sizes, one stock pot) We kept the cookie sheets and pan lids under the stove. We did have a small pantry and we kept food in that. We bought magnetic hooks and kept our pot holders on the side of the stove with them. We also kept dish supplies on hooks inside the one base cabinet. Apartment fridges are usually smaller than what you have in your house (at least mine always were) so we kept ourselves to two varieties of salad dressing at a time, etc.

      In the bathroom, in college, we got a curtain rod and installed it into the wall above the shower line and hung plastic shower caddys from it. That allowed us to keep our only bathroom from getting too cluttered with body products. Each person had their own. We also each had a matching caddy on a small shelf that we put next to our tiny sink that held our toothbrush, contacts and anything else we needed in the bathroom. I’ve seen people on pinterest do this with a tension shower curtain rod lower in the shower to hold caddys for bath toys.

      When I first moved into an apartment, I didn’t have a bed. I used an air bed for 3 years. If you’re tight for space, sleeping on this isn’t horrible and you can deflate it when you need more space. I would get an electric mattress pad so the bed doesn’t get so cold.

      If you need to fit more beds into tight spaces, look into a trundle bed (or at least a piece of wood on casters that holds a mattress) that you can roll under one bed when they’re not sleeping to free up floor space for them to play. Folding butterfly chairs that can go in a corner. Folding laundry baskets so they can be put away when not in use. We had a hamper but took clothes to a laundromat in the folding baskets. Then, we’d get home, put clothes away, fold the hampers to put behind a dresser.

      We also had very limited wardrobes. Instead of a whole drawer of underwear, I had one pile of it in a drawer shared by socks. I had enough for 2-weeks. Then, laundry became critical. I only had 2 pair of jeans, four pair of everyday shoes (1 pair sneakers, 1 brown work flats, 1 black flats, 1 keds) in addition to basic, I did have a few pair of flip flops and heels that I kept in a tote under our bed.

      Nesting luggage together (pro tip: keep your purses inside your luggage) and we kept things under our couch (like wrapping paper, gift boxes,) We had a corner TV and behind it were boxes of things we wanted to keep or didn’t fit other places (like the crock pot) We each had one ski coat, one dressy winter coat, and one rain/spring jacket. We kept those in our bedroom closet. We did have a coat closet but we filled it with a wire crate organizer and also kept our vacuum, etc. in there. If you have a full-size carpet cleaner, you may not need that in the apartment. See if you can sell it and get a spot bot instead.

      When we moved in together, we both had sentimental furniture that we couldn’t part with, and some house hold things (like Christmas Decorations, window air conditioners, etc.) that we didn’t have room for or need everyday. So, we did rent a 10×10 storage unit and kept things like that in there. We visited it at least once a month and swapped things in and out. We kept it organized and knew where things were and in which boxes. It was $89 a month, but we didn’t think that it was terribly expensive, b/c it held a LOT of things. We had a lot of companies to choose from and Smart Stop Self Storage was the cheapest for us. We had an internal unit, which is cheaper than a drive-up unit. That could be where you can keep your kids bikes, etc. when they’re not in season, store winter clothes in summer, etc. We also used it to store some of the fancier kitchen things that we only needed at certain times – like our roaster and we only got it out when we hosted Easter dinner for extended family. It could also be where you store some of their toys and rotate them in/out of your new apartment every few months.

      I’m sorry that you and your family are going through a divorce and I hope that some of these tips help. I spent 10 years moving into and out of various apartments. It certainly is an acquired skill.

      • Angie

        Wow, Emily! My family has moved 19 times in 25 years and I thought I had a pretty good system but I see that I missed quite a few of your tips! The thing I like most about moving is being forced to get rid of clutter.

  7. Steph B

    Thank you for all your great ideas! I love organizing. We need to purge! I LOVE # 9

    If you have time to blog you have time to get organized. It’s all about priorities =)

  8. marlene

    We have always parked our cars in the garage so we dont have space to just toss things in the garage. So many people i know have a bunch of old junk in the garage and there cars outside. We have a small home and try to have yard sales 2 a year

    • Lucy

      Yea we try to avoid using our garage for storage purposes. I’m always purging our stuff and trying to avoid getting new stuff!

  9. jen

    Thanks for the awesome ideas! Our house doesn’t have storage above the garage so all the power tools, 4 kids’ bikes, christmas decor,yard tools, and Hubby’s work stuff ends up over taking the garage.

  10. Linz

    Instead of paper(since that could get soggy and wet) on the outside of Tupperware containers, I use chalkboard paint. I just make a little rectangle, and write with chalk what’s inside.

    • Catie

      Great idea! I’ve just used tape and permanent marker before and that works well for me, but I might try this!

  11. Turquoice

    We don’t have a garage, but it’s still wonderful to see how other people organize their stuff.

  12. J

    I’m terrible at organizing 😔. I love post like this one because it motivates me to figure something out. I need all the help I can get. Six of us in a small house.

  13. Steph

    Very nice! Our garage looks like we have a hoarding problem!!😁 We could def use some of these tips.

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Ah yes we just hoard in style 🙂

    • Jean

      This post was very timely. I was just looking at my garage yesterday and getting overwhelmed! It also looks like we have a hoarding problem lol!!! It’s a two car garage, but we are only able to get my car in there! It’s just so easy to shove everything in there ;). Waiting for nice weather because I am very motivated to get it organized!

  14. dropofrain

    I bought my husband a special fishing pole rack that mounts above. All of his poles are now neatly stored and no longer under our feet. And it wasn’t that expensive (cant remember price). My hubby was very pleased. I am too 🙂

  15. Lori

    This was a great post and such helpful comments! I’m moving from a house with storage shed to an apartment and it’s nice to have some organizing ideas along with hearing that there are people making small/limited spaces work!

  16. Michelle

    I bought inexpensive cabinets (put together yourself myself) from Home Depot and had hubby hang them. I also bought a Rubbermaid fast track bar. I love this thing because it has different hooks that can be moved where ever you want to place them. Just in case you change your mind where something needs to be hung for better access. Tons of choices of hooks! If I sent a pic of my garage, you might admit me to the psych ward for accessive OCD. I love all organizing ideas!

  17. meena

    lol…please do send the pic michelle if u dont mind….my busband is same type…..

  18. joe@garagedooropenershq

    Very clean garage. I like it! 🙂

  19. Momof6

    I would love to hang things or store overhead on our garage but it’s so tall! Our 8ft ladder plus a 6ft person still wouldn’t be able to safely get stuff I bet.

    Suggestions? I plan to build some shelves to store totes. We have garage attic storage but that’s not convenient and hard to climb that ladder with items.

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