Four Tips to Help You Organize Your Shed or Garage | Reviews by Wirecutter

2022-06-15 13:27:58 By : Ms. JESSICA JIANG

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If you’ve ever tried to keep a garage, shed, basement, or storage unit in order, you probably know how quickly those spaces can spiral into utter chaos. Keeping the area organized is the best way to utilize your extra space—and the first step is decluttering. Garages, sheds, and storage units often become dumping grounds for the stuff you don’t use anymore, so take the time to thin out what you’ve collected over the years. Once you’ve done that, our staffers have some great ideas on how to keep that extra space clutter-free.

Chances are you weren’t actively planning to organize your garage until this piece popped up in your feed. If that’s the case, and you’re not facing any time constraints, we suggest that you keep tabs on your local buy-sell-trade groups. The things you’ll need to organize your shed, like utilitarian shelving and clear plastic bins, rarely have to be in new condition—and you’ll save money by buying second-hand. Keep a running list of all the supplies you’ll need, and consult it every time you pull up Facebook Marketplace or OfferUp. Also keep in mind that you’ll want to keep the shelving in your space as uniform as possible, in order to maximize organization. So keep an eye out for folks selling matching pieces.

“You just have to be ready when stuff becomes available—to go get it and probably to organize some part of your own garage immediately—but it’s quite satisfying afterward,” said senior editor Harry Sawyers, who’s had luck with local resale sites in the past.

But this watch-and-wait strategy will work only in certain situations. If you have a hard deadline or a space that requires specific measurements—or you simply know you won’t be able to kick the anxiety until everything has its place—buying new might be the best route.

“Garages and sheds tend to adopt this kind of hodgepodge of cabinets, shelves, and things piled up on old furniture,” Harry said. “Uniform shelving helps a lot, even if it’s the same mishmash of assorted detritus stored within.”

Standard black wire shelving—like the kind operations manager Carlos Hernandez used to organize Wirecutter’s Los Angeles office—is a great option for shed and garage storage. It’s rugged, affordable, and modular enough that you’ll be able to manipulate it to fit your space. To further organize his shelving system, Carlos used add-on dividers (which snap easily into place on wire shelving) to keep similar items grouped together.

Heavy-duty metal shelves, like the Husky 5-tier heavy-duty shelving that senior staff writer Jackie Reeve uses, are great for holding heavier items, like paint cans, lumber, and bulky tools.

If your budget allows, consider incorporating sliding tracks into your shelving system. Carlos employed this technique in the Wirecutter office, and he found them to be incredibly useful for maximizing the space he had to work with.

If you simply heap the stuff that was on the ground haphazardly onto shelves, then they aren’t going to solve your disorganization problems. That’s when clear storage bins come in handy. These boxes are ideal because you’ll be able to easily spot what you’re looking for.

Because these tightly latching containers are clear, you’ll be able to easily spot what you’re looking for. And they can be stacked on top of one another.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $33.

For bigger items that you want to be able to easily access, we recommend either the clear Iris Weathertight Totes or the Rubbermaid Brute Totes in our guide to the best storage containers. If you live in an area with extreme weather and would rather opt for the more-durable Brute bins, be sure to label your bins so that you don’t waste time rifling through boxes. You could make DIY labels with a Sharpie and a roll of painter’s tape, or go more professional by using a label maker.

Now that you’ve got your shelving in order, consider other ways you can use vertical space—because in a garage or shed, the ceiling is the limit. “I find it helps a lot to get large things up on the ceiling or hung on the wall,” said senior editor Grant Clauser. “The idea is to keep things from cluttering the floor or covering the work table.”

Grant keeps his kayak, paddles, life jackets, and snow shovels suspended from the ceiling when he’s not using them. He used securing straps to create his own suspension system, but the less ambitious can purchase a rack designed for their specific gear. Hanging bikes from heavy-duty hooks is an especially good way to store them. Senior editor Kalee Thompson said that hanging her family’s bikes was the best option for getting them out of the way without tangling them together. Wall-mounting your bikes is another option, and we have a few bike-storage recommendations—like the Steadyrack Classic Rack and the Ibera Adjustable Bicycle Wall Hanger—that fix to the wall to keep your bike up and out of the way.

These sturdy metal pegboards are great for employing unused wall space. They’re easy to install, and they securely hold hand tools and supplies.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $45.

Plenty of other gear can also be kept on the wall. Wirecutter senior staff writer Jackie Reeve uses a wall-mounted system from Gladiator to keep her tools, shovels, and camp chairs organized. But you could also use something as simple as a pegboard and hooks. In our guide to gear for small apartments, we recommend using a pegboard—such as the Wall Control Metal Pegboard—to organize your pots and pans. And that same board can be used to organize tools and other supplies you’re likely to keep in the garage.

This piece was edited by Treye Green and Christine Cyr Clisset.

Elissa Sanci is a staff writer for Wirecutter, where she covers deals, consumer shopping, and personal finance. Based in Denver, she previously worked as an editorial assistant at Woman’s Day, where she wrote about everything from worthy charities to girls’ empowerment. Her byline has also appeared in Good Housekeeping and Marie Claire.

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