Organize Your Garage Shelves

Organize your garage shelves to make the garage a safe and neat place for you and your vehicle(s). Even though purely functional, garage shelves can transform your garage from a catch all for all of your outdoor and auto needs into an organized space.

Whether wall mount or freestanding shelving units or cabinets, garage shelves utilizes the vertical space by using your garage walls and ceiling without taking any or very little floor space.

When you organize your garage shelves, projects like car repair, lawn care etc. can be accomplished faster and more efficiently as you are able to find what you need quickly. This will also save you money, because you can see what you have and only need to buy the rest.

Begin to organize your garage shelves by taking everything from the shelves.

Divide items into categories like lawn (grass seed, lawn fertilizers, weed killer, oils for lawn mover), garden (potting soil, plant seeds and food etc.), driveway (concrete cleaners, oils for snow thrower, ice melt etc.), automotive (windshield wiper fluid, anti freeze, car washing solutions etc.), sports equipment, holiday decorations, camping, tools, hardware (nails, screws etc.), pesticides and so on.

Use plastic storage boxes or containers to group like items from each category. You can also reuse shoe boxes or cardboard shipping boxes for this purpose. It is a good idea to use plastic containers to store oils to protect the shelves from leaks or spills. Label all four sides of the boxes for easy identification.

Designate shelves for each category of like items when you organize your garage shelves like one set of shelves for auto care, one set for lawn care, and another for tools and hardware.

Always store heavier items (potting soil, lawn fertilizers and ice melt) on the lower shelves, and lighter items on the top shelves. Put lighter items you use regularly on the middle shelves, where they're easy to see and reach, and rarely used items like holiday decorations, camping equipment etc. on the top shelves.

If you can adjust the shelves, move them up or down so that heavier items fit on the bottom shelves.

Do not put more weight than the shelf’s weight limit. Use heavy duty shelf brackets for the shelves that store heavier items.

If you have deep shelves, put tall items at the back of the shelf and shorter items in front. This way you can see what you have without having to move things around.

Keep seasonal items in the front for easy access (for example, in winter, keep ice melt in the front).

Always keep like items together. For example, keep all the painting supplies like cans of paint and primer, stains, varnishes, brushes, sand paper and spackling or putty together.

You can use plastic drawer units to store smaller items from each category like hardware (nails, screws, nuts and bolts), tools (screw drivers, wrenches, driver and drill bits), garden (hand shovels, gardening gloves, plant seeds) and painting (sand paper, brushes, spackling tubes).

You can keep the screws, nails, nuts and bolts of different sizes in their original packaging or use plastic food storage bags or containers. Label them (like for example, 2 inch drywall screws, 1/2 inch wood screws) using a permanent marker before putting them in the drawer units.

Another option is to reuse jars (peanut butter, jams, jelly, baby food, coffee) to sort and store different sizes (and types) of screws, nails, nuts and bolts, wall anchors etc and label them. You can either put these jars directly or in boxes, on the shelves. Using boxes will make it easier to reach items in the back without taking all the items in the front since you can take the entire box out.

Put larger balls (basketballs, soccer balls, foot balls etc.) in mesh bags or boxes. There are small mesh bags available at super markets to store smaller items like baseballs, tennis balls, golf balls and hockey pucks. You can also put these smaller items in boxes and label them before putting them on the shelves. Mesh bags come in different colors if you want to separate the balls by sport. You can also reuse fruit mesh bags for this purpose.

You can use the slots of the heavy duty shelf brackets to store hockey sticks, skis and other longer items. You can also hang helmets, skates etc. from these brackets.


You can also use garage shelves to store water softener salt and pet supplies like food and cat box filler, if you don’t have space for them inside the house. Put them on the shelves or shelving unit according to weight with heavier ones on the bottom shelf.

Reuse cat box filler buckets, paint buckets and trash cans to store potting soil, ice melt etc.

Leave enough space between storage containers and shelves so that items are easily accessible.

Label the garage shelves so everybody knows what goes where.

Consider using a wall mount or freestanding cabinet that can be locked, when storing chemicals, paint etc. on lower shelves for safety reasons, especially if you have children and pets. Don’t forget safety when you organize your garage shelves.

Remember to maintain the results of your hard work.

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