Garage Shelf Organization

Garage Shelf Organization

Clean up your garage clutter with these easy tips

If you’re anything like me your garage shelves are unorganized, scattered, and probably look like a tornado had just run through. I’ve wanted to organize my garage shelves for years but could never get myself to commit to it, simply because I thought it would be a long and overwhelming process and honestly had no idea where to begin with it all.

I was so sick of searching around for specific products I knew were there but just couldn’t find. I finally decided to bite the bullet and take on the shelf organization no matter what it took, and I found out it really wasn’t so bad after all.

I’ve provided a step-by-step guide on how you can organize your garage storage shelves in just over an hour.

The Purge

Just like every other storage area organization, we start with what we like to call, “the purge.” The purge is when you take everything off the shelves, throw away any useless or empty containers, combine duplicates, and usually clean the shelves (but for the garage, I decided to keep them as is). This is a very important process and can often be time-consuming, but very rewarding, nonetheless.


After I completed the purge, I was left with a mess of products scattered about my garage floor. The next step is what we like to refer to as “zoning.” This is where you divide your products into categories and subcategories to make it easier to determine where exactly you want to keep your items in bins and on your shelves.

I started my zoning with four main categories and a miscellaneous category for items that didn’t fall into any specific group. The four main categories consisted of car, paint, outdoor, and nails/screws. After this step, it was relatively easy breaking down the categories even further – splitting them into subcategories of interior car, exterior car, and engine/motor. I then realized how many detailing products I had so I combined duplicates and got rid of any old or outdated products. I finished the car section by putting each category in specific bins (exterior car ended up having two bins) and I was able to fit all of them on one neat shelf.

Paint/Spray Cans

The next step was organizing the paint/spray cans. I was impressed with how creative I was able to get with some simple kitchen storage products. I ended up using a wine rack to store my colored paint, keeping the colored lids visible for easy access.

Next, I used a 3-tier spice rack for mattes and primers. The 3-tier design really helped me to see what I had on hand without having to reach around to find exactly what I needed. I then kept any other miscellaneous or half empty bottles in front, to make sure I use them first.


My next two categories were the outdoor and miscellaneous items. These didn’t take much time because I ended up putting all miscellaneous items into one bin, and the outdoor (bug spray, weed killer) items were in bigger containers so I decided to keep loosely on the shelves without any bins.


The final category was the screws and nails. Just like with the car products I combined duplicates and was able to save a significant amount of space. I decided to keep the screws and nails in their original packaging so I could refer to them for sizing and usage instructions. I ended up using a clear drawer organizer for any random nails or screws that didn’t have a specific box or container. You can even take it one step further and divide the random screws and nails by size using a stackable divided organizer box.

Overall, I ended up saving about a full shelf worth of room and made it easier to find exactly what I need. My favorite part of the whole process is keeping all similar products in category bins, enabling me to pull out a whole category when detailing my car or keeping up with routine maintenance.

Before After

Mike Freiberg is a Digital Marketing Specialist at mDesign
and an avid skateboarder and has even been a stunt double in a feature film.

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Posted: Jul 16, 2019