Using Garage Cabinets To Organize Your Garage

There is nothing worse than a crowded, cluttered or disorganized garage (okay, we exaggerate, maybe a few things are worse), which is why so many people elect to install garage cabinets.  This article addresses using garage cabinets as the principal way to organize your garage.  Of course, there are garage organizers which are not cabinets. They are specialized devices to help you organize your garage. But here, we’ll look at how cabinets can help.

All garage organization is animated by the principles of retrieval, not of storage.  Storage is easy.  Remembering where you put something –or finding what you want — well, that’s hard.  So, if you put all your “electrical stuff” in a single garage cabinet, that is a form of “garage organization.” Either you will remember that all electrical items are there. Or you will see it fairly quickly when you start searching. You might even label the cabinet itself.

garage storage solutionsGarage cabinets assist in organizing your garage two ways:  first by getting the items stored away, out of sight and second, by putting similar stuff in the same space, be it a garage cabinet, a drawer or a shelf inside a garage cabinet.

Generally speaking, garage cabinets come in four flavors:  garage cabinets that mount to the wall, often at eye level; half cabinets that fit on the floor and come up to your waist; workbenches that have drawers or shelves below the main workbench surface; and full garage cabinets that stand on the floor and extend to 6, 7 or 8 feet tall. Of course, there are also overhead garage storage solutions, but “cabinets” are simply those enclosed storage containers that are on the floor or attached to the wall.

The best way to plan your garage organization is to assemble your “stuff” into the logical categories you’d  use to find it. In my case, that’s “fasteners” (nails, screws, bolts, glue and bailing wire!), “sports” equipment, “off season”, “painting” supplies, “drills/saws”, “electrical, TV and computer” (primarily cables, antennae, converter plugs and those teeny screwdrivers used on computers), “Christmas” stuff and so on.  Some items fit nicely into a whole cabinet.  Others only need a drawer.  One shelf might be assigned to “drills”.   A whole floor-to-ceiling cabinet might hold “sports equipment.”

Often, a cabinet is too big to properly organize all the items within it — hence the need for drawers, shelves, cubbies, hangers, etc. Once you have the main organizing done — say, “electrical, TV and computer” — how you sub-divide the space inside the cabinet is driven by what you are storing. In my case, a drawer for each one: electrical” holds octopus plugs, three-prong to two-prong converters, electrical tape, soldering stuff, extension cords, and so on. The computer drawer has some extra mice, some printer cables, and the detrius of earlier computers I’m saving for some unknown future need!

garage organizer using cabinets

The measure of success is whether you can tell a visitor where something is and they can find it without you. And you get extra credit if they can find it without you telling them where it is. Hopefully, they can simply SEE from the gross organization that an extension cord won’t be in the paint locker but might be in the cabinet with a bunch of TV and computer stuff. That’s the acid test for great organization.


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