They're notoriously messy, but there are some easy ways to keep your garage in order.
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You would never leave tools strewn out across the living room floor, allow piles of dirty pots to accumulate in the kitchen sink, or ignore a decades-worth of dust in the dining room. But the garage, well, the garage is a very different story. Garages and sheds are notoriously messy, packed-to-the-brim spaces. Even the tidiest among us are guilty of allowing them to become cluttered with garden tools, sports equipment, and future "projects." As they say, out of sight, out of mind.
In fact, according to a poll of homeowners, one out of every four Americans are unable to fit a car into their overflowing garages. Furthermore, 20 percent of those polled reported that messy garages have even caused arguments with their spouses. Which is surprising, considering 92% of respondents described their homes as being somewhat or very organized.
Luckily, a little organization can make a big difference. Whether you're looking for a complete overhaul or a quick tidy-up, there's plenty you can do this weekend. With a little creativity and elbow grease, you can transform your garage or shed into an organized, functional space. The first step, of course, is a thorough, honest, down-and-dirty purge. There's no sense organizing what you don't need, and if you're like most people, you don't need half of what's stuffed in the back of the garage.
Got rid of that broken treadmill? Donated those tools you no longer need? Re-homed your old hockey equipment? Great—now we can help. Read on for our favorite tidying-up tips.
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Battle rust-causing moisture with this surprising tool-kit addition: charcoal briquettes. These barbecue staples absorb dampness, common in garages and basements where tools are often stored. The briquettes tend to shed dust, however, so place them in a fabric bag before adding them to your box of tools.
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Magnetic knife holders sold at kitchen-supply stores can be mounted to the wall with a few screws and will keep paintbrush bristles from being squashed. Hang the brushes bristle end down for proper drying and to minimize the amount of dust that collects between the bristles. You can also store other metal tools and utensils this way.
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Create custom cabinetry in your garden shed with vintage wine crates from flea markets or online auctions. Stack them horizontally and vertically, using some as bases to vary the height. Once you've established a layout, connect crates with wood screws and collars near the corners. Use cup hooks to hang smaller items, such as trowels, funnels, and scissors. If your need for storage grows, you can easily reconfigure the system.
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Keep unruly balls of twine in line with big aluminum funnels, which serve as organizers and dispensers. Hammer a nail through each funnel near the top lip, attaching it to the wall of a shed or back of a door. Place a ball of twine or string in each one; run the ends out the spouts.
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Garden Tool Container
A sand-filled trough will keep small garden tools from vanishing—and keep them in good working order. Fill a trough or other container with sand to one inch from the top. Pour in about 1/4 cup of motor oil (sand should have a slightly moist texture); stir. When returning tools to the trough, wipe them with a rag. The sand will keep tools clean and sharp, and the oil will keep them rust-free.
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Terra-cotta pots need to be properly cared for so they'll last year after year. Disinfect pots to rid them of soil residue that may carry insects or disease harmful to new plantings, especially to vulnerable seedlings. Scrub the insides and outsides of your pots with plain room temperature water and a stiff brush (we used a bottle-cleaning brush). To prevent the buildup of dangerous and unwanted mold, let pots dry completely before stacking and storing.