Take back your garage

We have a two car garage. In it you’ll find several bicycles, a snow blower, leaf blower, lawn mower, various shovels, rakes, clippers, ladders, the bench seat for the Fun Bus, and a larger than life Stanley Cup replica and World Series trophy plus some other crap we’ve picked up in the 20 years we’ve had our home. Oh, and enough sports equipment to supply our city recreation department.  

One thing my husband insists on is parking two cars in our two-car garage. And that’s not easy with all the stuff we have. But if we can do it, you can, too. So here’s how to take back your garage.

The Strategy
Plan to tackle this on a nice day when you’ve got several hours to dedicate to the task. Wear old clothes. Be prepared for turf battles and disagreements. And have some large strong garbage bags on hand. And a six pack.

Clear it out
First, take everything out of the garage and sort it into piles of like items. So all the sports stuff goes together. All the lawn care stuff goes together, etc. Anything that’s broken beyond repair gets tossed immediately. Be prepared for people wandering into your driveway and asking if you are having a yard sale. At some point in the process, you’ll want to sell the lot of it for 5 bucks.

Clean it out
Grab one of the six brooms you found and sweep out the garage. Clear out all the cobwebs and trash in the corner.

Now the fun begins. Go through the piles and sort into one of three actions: keep, throw away, giveaway. You’ll end up with about half of what you started with, so it should all fit back in the garage with room to spare.

Store it
You can figure out what to do with your lawn mower and shovels on your own. Or by reading someone else’s blog like this one  or this one. I’m going to concentrate on all the sports stuff and keep it cheap.

hanging bags

Hang bags
Attach a couple heavy-duty hooks to the wall and use them to hang up baseball/softball equipment bags. It clears up room on the floor and makes them easier to get to.

wire shelf

Go top shelf
Go to Home Depot and get some wire shelves. If you want to get all fancy with a storage system, knock yourself out. We got a 3 shelf model and screwed it into the wall. Put it high enough to store a bin underneath.

Bucket list
Baseball buckets make excellent storage containers. They are easy to move around, you can stack them, they hold just the right amount of small stuff without getting too heavy. Save them and put them to work holding, ah, baseballs. And hockey pucks. And practice golf balls. And street hockey balls. And tennis balls . . .

We bought a couple large heavy duty bins to hold miscellaneous and oddly shaped things like the rugby ball we got as a souvenir from Disney’s Epcot Center, or one of the five basketballs, including the one my son won at Disney’s Boardwalk, or the nine footballs for my non-football playing kids. And the soccer balls that the dog punctured. And the ones he hasn’t gotten hold of yet. And Frisbees. And tennis racquets. That kind of thing.

Can it
Can of SticksOld hockey sticks that are not game worthy are still good for the driveway. We keep the sticks when the kids outgrow them for our visitors to use. You can pick up a 32-gallon trash can for under $10 and it works beautifully for hockey sticks, baseball bats, the stray golf club, lacrosse stick or any of that stuff. If it gets top heavy, just thrown a couple bricks in the bottom to weigh it down.

Make it work
Use common sense and keep the things you need all the time in easy to access spots. Put heavy things on the floor, lighter things on the shelf and store out-of-season stuff in the rafters if you can. Use large hooks to hang bikes and get them out of the way so you can get the snowblower out in the winter. Or October, which ever comes first.

The key is to make it easy for kids to return things to their proper bin, which I find is easier to do with some broader general categories instead of getting really specific. All the large balls go in one bin, but if you are the uberorganized type you could have one bin for basketballs, one for soccer, etc. But if you are the uberorganized type, you probably aren’t reading this far. We also installed a motion sensor light in the garage. Best. Thing. Ever.


Lastly, make sure you have room for your replica Stanley Cup and World Series Trophy. Ok, now pull the cars in, pop open one of those beers and admire your handiwork. It feels as good as it looks, and now you won’t break your ankle on a skateboard.

All that leftover stuff? The things that are in good shape can go to Play It Again Sports and net you some extra cash. Or the Salvation Army or Goodwill. Or to a deserving sports program that collects used equipment like SportsGift. The rest? Pitch it.

What’s your best sports equipment storage idea? Please share it, especially if it involves rollerblades. And for some other resources, check out DIY Garage Clutter Busters

6 Comments on “Take back your garage”

  1. Any tips on what to do with all the Barbie dolls around the house?

  2. John says:

    It’s a good thing you live in Detroit.
    You don’t have to worry about storing a replica Vince Lombardi SuperBowl trophy.

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