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Garage Organization: the math of storage systems

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Math! I know, you're yawning already. But stay with me, it's very basic stuff. Let's look at the average garage. Yikes! Bikes, skis, trash bins, skates, hockey sticks, shovels, tools, kayaks---I could go on for pages, but you get the picture. The car, maybe if you get out and move a skateboard or two, you can squeeze it in there.

Now let's look at the math. If this average garage is 24' X 24' , then you've got 576 square feet of precious floor space. Allow 90 square feet for each car and the space you need to open the doors and walk around it.  That's 180sq. ft., or around one-third of your floor space. Still plenty left, right? Almost four hundred square feet. Then why the heck is it so crowded with clutter. Ever hear of Boyle's Law? Something about matter expanding to fill available space. Clutter apparently posesses properties similar to those of gases.

That's the floor. Then there are the walls. Three walls, excluding the one with the overhead door(s), total out to 648 sq. ft. You probably have some windows and doors and stuff so lets cut that by one-third. That still leaves 432 sq. ft. Hey, that's almost as much space as the floor!  Pretty startling, huh? Now, don't move an inch. Look up. See it, 576 sq. ft. of ceiling? Let's do some more math and add about half of that ceiling space to the wall space. 720 square feet of glorious space to attach shelves and hooks and cabinets to for all those kayaks and stuff. Remember that 300 sq. ft. of floor space you had left over after you parked the car? You just got it all back.

How about some amazing shelf math? Suppose we hang 7, twelve foot lengths of shelving on your long wall. If the shelves are 14 inches deep,  that's 98 sq. ft.---enough space to park your SUV! (Well, you'd have to slice it up, but you see my point). Math lesson over.

Try these storage tips to organize your cluttered garage into ultimate garage splendor:

  • Storewall, slatwall or pegboard turns walls into versitile, organized masterpieces. Everything will be in plain sight, easy to get to, and better still, easy to put away. You can put a hook or bracket anywhere and store just about anything, from hoses to rakes, bicycles to kayaks. The possibilities are endless.
  • Hang recycle bins from slatwall or wall brackets to get them off the floor.
  • Wall cabinets with doors keep "stuff" organized and out of sight for a neat look.
  • Store items in bins on wall shelves or ceiling mounted shelves.
  • Ceiling storage saves floor space! Use cartop boat hoists for out of the way storage and easy loading and unloading of sailboats, kayaks and canoes.
  • Hang bikes from ceiling with overhead bike hoists.
  • If you find it overwhelming to unravel the clutter and don't know where to begin, consider consulting with a professional. Most companies that sell organizing systems offer free consultations.

Remember, you don't need to do it all at once. Take it one step at a time. Start with your worst clutter problem, or start by finding efficient storage for those items that you use most frequently--like, say the snow shovel.