Is your garage a disaster zone? Has the nagging to sort it out finally worn you down? Regardless of your reasons for increasing storage, getting your garage properly organised is certain to save many a headache.
With the lawnmower, gas bottles, gardening equipment, tools, sports and bicycle collection there can be barely space for a car, let alone a workshop, storeroom or hobby area. However with some organisation and planning you should be able to clear all the clutter and create some much needed space.
Getting the most out of the available space is the aim, and to do so you must think carefully about what you need to store. This is the best time to thoroughly de-clutter and go through all of your stored goods. Be strong and make a decision about if you need it and will realistically ever use it.
What should and shouldn’t be stored in your garage
Security in garages is rarely at the same level as the rest of the home, so it is important that appropriate measures are taken to prevent unauthorised access and theft, especially if you are considering storing items of value in your garage. Also be sure to check that your insurance policy covers goods stored in your garage; create space and you can organise and repurpose household storage as appropriate.
Be sure to consider the conditions in your garage. Any items sensitive to temperature or humidity may be damaged unless precautions are taken. Garages can make excellent larders to take advantage of discounts on bulk purchases, although care must be taken when storing food items outside the home. Generally, only glass and tinned goods should be stored in the garage unless in sealed plastic containers. Cardboard and paper products can be damaged by the humidity and are likely to attract rodents.
Measuring Up for Garage Shelving and Storage Units
The golden rule when measuring for your garage shelving is to measure twice to be 100% sure, then measure again. If you get your measurements wrong you could be facing a lot of unnecessary cost, time and frustration.
You need to accurately measure the width and depth of the area where you want the shelving to go, as well as the height. Be sure to take multiple measurements at different sections and do not trust the walls to be all at exact right angles.
Take into consideration any areas where installation of the garage shelving or access to stored goods will be impeded such as pipes and junction boxes, and be sure to leave enough clearance space for garage doors to open and for access not to be impeded.
Even if you still work in feet and inches, metric measurements should be taken as you will need the dimensions in millimetres when purchasing your shelving. When thinking about storage space you need, try to think in volume rather than area. A small footprint can mean a lot of vertical storage.
Considerations when purchasing garage shelving
Shelving is usually the best and most convenient way to increase garage storage space, and also one of the cheapest options. Garage shelving and racking creates a usable storage solutions out of thin air, and can increase garage storage space by several times its footprint.
There are four elements to consider when purchasing shelving online. Ease of installation, size/storage area of the shelving units, flexibility of the shelving to accommodate changes in storage requirements and the construction materials.
Ease of installation
Wall mounted shelving is time consuming to install, and while it does not take up any floor space, storage options are limited its lower maximum load weights. Freestanding shelving units are by far the easiest and most practical solution when improving storage in a garage. They do not need to be fixed to the wall, are sturdy and they can support very heavy loads.
A boltless assembly is best for quick and easy construction and requires no tools. The shelves can be simply be clipped into place at the desired level. If storage requirements change, the shelves can be unclipped and the shelf level altered as required.
Work areas and alternative storage options
While garage shelves usually make for the most efficient storage solution, consider incorporating the following elements to improve the usability of your garage space:
Wall mounted tool racks
Ideal for organising tools for quick and easy use. Wall mounted tool racks enable pegs to be moved around easily to accommodate whatever items need to be stored.
Plastic storage boxes
Getting all of your items properly boxed will allow you to make maximum use of space, while keeping tools and kit free from dust and water. You can label your plastic storage boxes for quick identification of contents and you can be sure they will be in the same condition as they were left.
Small parts pick bins
For small parts such as nails, screws, washers and small tools, storage trays and pick bins are usually the most practical choice. They allow easy segregation of parts which can save hours of searching.
Tool chests and cabinets
For the home DIY enthusiast, mechanic or hobbyist with a young family, safety must be paramount. Consider keeping tools out of sight and locked away in a tool chest or lockable cupboard, well out of reach of children.
Wall and ceiling hangers
Bicycles, sporting goods and other large items such as ladders take up valuable floor and wall space. Suspend your ladders, fishing rods, snowboard and bicycle collection from the ceiling or wall by mounting hooks and supports in the rafters or brickwork and keep the floor and clear.
Many shelving units double up as workbenches , providing valuable work space with shelving underneath. They are ideal for creating a small workshop or utility area.
Size, capacity and load levels of garage shelving units
It is essential to check the exact dimensions of the shelving units to make sure they will fit in the space you have allocated. You must also calculate how much storage space you require, together with the approximate weight of the goods you need to store, factoring in extra space for changes in storage requirements.
All quality garage shelving units will have a stipulated maximum load limit termed UDL, which is the maximum Uniformly Distributed Load. The UDL for a shelving unit may be 250KG, but only if distributed evenly across the full areas of the shelf. Err of the side of caution and purchase heavy duty shelf units if you have very heavy items to store.
Flexibility for changing storage needs
Your garage storage needs are likely to change over time, so ensure that whatever shelving units you purchase provide some flexibility to accommodate different sizes of stored goods. Choosing flexible shelving units will help you to make the best use of space now, while accommodating future storage needs, saving a small fortune in the process.
Remember it is more cost effective to purchase multiple garage shelving units than to buy singularly. People don’t often complain about having too much garage storage space, and it is better to have extra storage space and not need it, than need it and not have it.
Most people’s garages are not built to the same standards as their houses. Insulation is often lacking, damp can be a problem and dust and grime are to be expected. Your shelves and cabinets should therefore be constructed from a material which will be easy to clean and will resist corrosion.
Bear in mind that no matter how organised and clutter free your garage is, your shelving units will be knocked, bumped and battered from time to time so look for a solid construction to ensure you get a good long lifespan and avoid PVC or plastic storage units.
The best choice of material for construction is galvanised or powder-coated steel, as it is low cost, strong, and will resist knocks and bumps. It will also resist corrosion and is easy to wipe clean. Look for chipboard shelving is stronger than sheet metal and allows much heavier loads to be stored, and is usually a more cost effective choice.