By Megan Fulweiler
Just like closets, garages accumulate stuff-lots of it. But why waste all this valuable real estate? Smart folks are transforming these once unruly areas into tidy parking places and workshops with an array of affordable storage systems. "An organized garage raises a home's value," says Lou Ann Shafer, senior marketing manager at Gladiator GarageWorks. "And since many of us walk through the garage every day to get to our back doors, we really appreciate it when the space is clean and neat."
Reorganize with a mix of storage components specific to your family's needs. Include shelves to hold gardening supplies, for example, and a cabinet to stow Dad's fishing paraphernalia. Racks and utility hooks provide homes for everything from camping equipment to bikes, freeing up coveted floor space. Bins, cubbies and covered containers are great for seasonal items. Once you've squelched the chaos, you'll have plenty of room to drive the car in!
Commandeer a corner for your gardening needs. Wire shelves from Schulte, mounted at a variety of heights, accommodate large pots and watering cans. Assemble a configuration for hanging up longer-handled rakes and spades on hooks. Canvas totes make super tool caddies-keep one packed for impromptu chores.
Custom cabinets, drawers and a matching slat wall system from California Closets create a functional hub for bike repairs. Store less-called-upon items and spray paints up high. Top lower cabinets with a sturdy surface to provide workspace. Cabinets are also terrific for household items like paper towels or detergent bought in bulk.
Designated zones let you make the most of limited space. Fit a wall with a handy slat system and a host of organizational helpers from Gladiator. Include hooks for skis and tennis rackets; mesh baskets for soccer balls and life jackets; racks for skates and boots; and bins for corralling water bottles and flashlights. Put specialty tools and lawn chemicals into lockable cabinets.
Maximize vertical space with adjustable wall racks and shelving from Elfa. Sturdy hooks up top make a handy spot for extra lumber. Scoot picnic coolers and camping gear to loftier spots, too. Look to quick-release brackets and clips for holding more frequently used items like hedge clippers, bikes and ladders out of the way. Containers with integrated handles are super for, say, toting car-washing soap and wax to the driveway and back. And don't forget recycling bins.
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