Organizing Garage Shelves

Organizing Garage Shelves

Clean up your garage clutter with these easy tips

As the weather gets warmer it's time to throw open the doors and start spring cleaning! One area of the home often overlooked is the garage and it easily becomes cluttered. Part of the difficulty is we store quite a variety of items in the garage: cars and auto fluids, outdoor appliances, sports equipment, tools and paint, camping supplies, storage items that don't fit in the house, and the list goes on. So the mess actually makes sense, but it doesn't have to be this way! Instead, make it a point to add it to your spring cleaning list this year.

Today we're going to tackle what to do with all the smaller items cluttering your shelves:

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 I then realized how many detailing products I had so I combined duplicates and got rid of any old or outdated products.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 spice rack for mattes and primers. The tiered 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 just stack them on the shelves without any bins.


The final category was the screws and nails. Similar to the car products I was able to combine 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 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 clearing a full shelf, while making it easier to find exactly what I need. My favorite part of the whole process was keeping all similar products in category bins, enabling me to pull out a whole category when detailing my car or doing routine maintenance.

Before After

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Posted: Mar 26, 2021