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Is Your Garage Your Home Self-Storage Unit?

Is Your Garage Your Home Self-Storage Unit?

[This article was originally published in November 2020 and has since been revised and expanded.]

Your home needs storage space and, like many other homes, you likely need more space than your house provides. So, like most people you've turned your garage into a self-storage unit.

Now you need to organize all that stuff. But how do you do that properly?


Trying to organize your garage storage space can be a huge challenge. Most families own or rent homes with a two car garage. Some have three, others have one, and a few of us have no garage at all. (So we rent units!)

Regardless of how big the garage is, however, it never seems to be large enough for all the things we feel we have to hold onto, keep in the family, have handy if we ever need it, or that only comes out on camping trips and holidays.

There's nothing wrong with using the garage as a storage unit and you're certainly not alone in doing so.

In fact, if you actually park a car in your garage you are one of the few Americans who do. In fact, it’s estimated that less than 25 percent of people in the United States with a garage who do.

The biggest problem with garage storage is that stacking boxes and storage containers and making big, teetering piles of stuff doesn't work well. And we are quite good at filling up any space available and still having stuff left over.

Not that we're hoarding, of course. 

Well, perhaps not in the clinical sense of the word anyway. It is a tragic and unfortunate reality that some people suffer from what is officially known as hoarding disorder.

And, while some others derive a certain low sense of delight in reading about someone living in a home filled with old books, magazines, and other junk, piled up the ceiling, it's a sad condition for the people who have it.

According to the Mayo Clinic,

Hoarding disorder is a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them. A person with hoarding disorder experiences distress at the thought of getting rid of the items. Excessive accumulation of items, regardless of actual value, occurs.

In addition, in those scenarios where there is an actual condition of hoarding, there are a variety of complications that can occur, including:

  • Increased risk of falls
  • Injury or being trapped by shifting or falling items
  • Loneliness and social isolation
  • Unsanitary conditions that pose a risk to health
  • A fire hazard

Fortunately, most of us are not suffering from a mental illness or disorder. We just have way too much stuff and not enough floor space to store it all!



We've Got Ourselves an Organization Problem

Okay, so stacks of boxes, piles of bags, and random things hanging on nails and in the rafters isn't really "being organized." Just because you know where something is doesn't mean it's easy for others to find (or even get to safely!)

You've probably noticed that most garages don't come equipped with storage shelves, cabinets, drawers or any other convenient horizontal space except the floor. In fact, the typical residential garage is often unfinished walls, open ceilings, and bare rafters.

And that's the first problem - not enough horizontal space. 

Which is why so many of us simply pile our boxes, bags, and containers in stacks or against the walls.

If you're garage is like most people's it probably has so much "stuff" stacked, jammed, crammed, and piled on every available bit of floor space that your entire garage is covered except for a path to the garage door!

This leads to a number of problems for a homeowner or tenant.


For example, when a space in your home is so full of unorganized piles and stacks, it is difficult to navigate your way through it all. In an emergency this can be a problem - possibly even a hazardous problem.

Then there is the recurring issue of not being able to locate some item or items that you need. Holiday decorations, tools, winter blankets and so on. These can be easily lost and hard to find when there is so much stuff that you can't see most of it.

So, what is a poor home dweller to do?

No worries! You just need to organize and add some basic, but essential, organization equipment.


Let's Get Organized!

Step Number One: Before you even start to "re-arrange" everything to make better looking piles, you must purge. Start by separating and categorizing everything in your garage into four piles, or categories (hat tip to The Spruce):

Trash: This should include any item that you do not need or want, but that is not worth donating or selling. 

Give away/sell: Here is your chance to be generous. You should also consider the financial benefits of selling your stuff at a garage sale.

Storage: This is for items that you cannot part with but do not need on a regular basis. Group similar items together.

Put away:  These are items used on a regular basis. If they won't fit in your house or create more clutter indoors,  reassess if you really need them. If so, find a storage solution for your home.

Once you feel that you have completed an exhaustive "inventory" of all the things stored in your garage, you can then focus on re-organizing your storage space. But the most important thing at the stage is to reduce the amount of stuff in your garage before you decide on your storage options.


Going Up With Shelving

All your previously piled belongings can be safely and efficiently stored with shelving. Garages lend themselves to a variety of shelving methods since shelf space is only limited by wall space, ceiling height, and the type of shelves.

is-your-garage-your-home-self-storage-unit-3[Image courtesy of PracticalPerfectionut]

Here are the basic options for garage shelving:

Free-Standing Shelves

These range from all plastic shelves designed for lighter weight storage, to professional-grade units built for heavy loads. These shelves provide easy access and can be re-positioned, if need be.

On-the-Wall Shelving

These shelves won’t fall over like free-standing units might, and they can often be built from floor to ceiling to provide maximum storage capacity.

Suspended Ceiling Shelving

This will require proper hardware to secure the shelves safely. These allow you to make efficient use of overhead space for lightweight items that are not used and needed very often.

Storage Cabinets

These can be anything from old kitchen cabinets to high-end units designed for use in a garage. Cabinets can look great and provide sufficient "out-of-sight" storage for most homeowners.


Ready to Get Rid of Junk From Your Garage? 

Once your garage is cleaned out and organized, you'll likely have things you need to get rid of.

Junk King is a great choice for taking care of your unwanted stuff. Our residential junk removal services provide an easy solution for clearing out clutter and hauling away unwanted junk.

Junk King provides the highest level of professionalism and fantastic customer service. You get a no-hassle experience with upfront pricing, easy scheduling, and fast service.

Junk King recycles every bit of material possible because we believes that all junk doesn’t have to end up in a landfill. When you work with us you can feel good knowing that you’re doing the eco-friendly thing. We also send usable items to local non-profits and donation centers to help the local community.

Our professional trash removal team will show up at your home and we'll call 15 minutes before we arrive. Once on site we’ll give you a free estimate based on how much room your items take up in our truck.

You simply point, and we’ll haul your items into our junk removal trucks, with no hidden fees.

So, ready to get organized and junk free? It’s as simple as 1, 2, 3.

You can make an appointment by booking online above or by calling 1.888.888.JUNK (5865).



Is Your Garage Your Home Self-Storage Unit?


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