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Reviewing Storage Options

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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

In this chapter

  • Determining your storage style
  • Choosing an appropriate storage method
  • Creating hanging storage
  • Using shelving
  • Putting things in drawers
  • Storing on the floor
  • Looking up for more storage

The garage has long been treated as the stepchild of the house. Imagine a bedroom without a bed, a bathroom without a sink, or a kitchen without counters or cabinets. It just wouldn't work, would it? These essential elements ensure that the rooms in our home function properly and meet our needs. So, how can we expect to have organized garages with no cabinets or shelves to use? It just doesn't work. We consider ourselves lucky if our garage came with some pegboard already installed or the previous owner left some old shelving behind. That's a start for sure, but it certainly isn't enough if you want to keep your garage organized and maximize the use of your storage space.

The storage method you ultimately choose for your tools, sporting goods, paint supplies, or whatever else it is you are storing will depend on several factors:

  • Your personal storage style

  • The size of your garage

  • The type and quantity of things you are storing

  • The kind of storage systems you already own that can be utilized

  • Your budget to purchase a new storage system

Some of these items will be discussed in this chapter and the remainder will be addressed in Chapter 4, "Selecting Storage Systems." In this chapter, you will determine whether you have lots to hang, store on the floor, drop in a drawer, or stack on a shelf. You will learn which method of storage is best suited to the types of things you are currently storing and analyze whether things you have traditionally hung could be better stored in a drawer or on a shelf, and vice versa. These decisions will depend in part on the storage systems you already have in place. You might just need to purchase one component to complement what you already have. In this chapter, you learn important options to consider when choosing a new storage system, so you can be certain to choose the one that will work best for you.

Assessing Your Storage Style

One of the basic rules for any organizing project is that there is more than one way to organize anything—there is no right or wrong way to do it. As mentioned in the previous chapter, good organization is about creating a system that works for you and sticking with it. The best organizing system in the world will not work if you don't keep it up. I have seen some of the crudest organizing systems work well when the person diligently sticks to the system and maintains it.

You might be wondering what this has to do with where you ultimately decide to put something in your garage—whether you are going to hang it up, shelve it, or put it in a drawer. The type of storage solution you choose often depends on the type of person you are. Your personal storage style refers to the way you see your world, how you like your things to be arranged, and what "convenient access" means to you.

Each of us has a different tolerance level for visual clutter and varying levels of comfort with how many of our possessions we want to see at one time when we are not using them. Some people are afraid they will forget that they have something if they can't see it. They tend to be more visual and want to be able to see their stuff at all times. For these individuals, out of sight is truly out of mind. Visual people tend to gravitate toward open shelving with clear, see-through containers and hanging systems in the garage. Convenient access for this type of person is to have as much as possible within arm's reach.

Other people find visual clutter unsettling or even downright disturbing and have a tendency to store items out of sight in cabinets and drawers. For these types of people, the less visible clutter the better. See-through storage containers are less important to this crowd than proper labeling. They are willing to go through more steps to retrieve something in order to maintain their visual sense of order. Knowing where to retrieve something when they need it is sufficient and they don't need to have everything within arm's reach.

You are wise to listen to your inner voice and select the storage options with which you feel most comfortable. If you don't, your system will be more difficult to maintain and have less chance of becoming a lasting one. A visual person who likes to see everything, yet has chosen a closed-door cabinet system or has put everything on shelves in boxes that are not see-through, is far more likely not to be able to find things or to be resistant to putting things away and keeping up with the system than a person who has acknowledged his or her personal preferences up front.

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