See How This Smart Organizing System Completely Transformed My Garage
When my husband and I bought our house last fall, we knew we’d have to invest in some improvements. At the top of the list was replacing the detached garage — the foundation was cracked, the windows were broken, and the siding was dilapidated. We knew it would be pricey to replace, but new construction seemed like a better option than fixing the old one.
We hired a local contractor that only builds garages. A brand-new two-car garage cost us around $40,000, and the entire process of demolition and building took about three months. In May of this year, we found ourselves with a big, gorgeous space, and we were inspired to declutter so we could start an organizing system that would keep the garage neat. The problem? Even after getting rid of a ton of stuff, we didn’t have enough storage for everything.
Along with stacking storage bins along our garage walls, we had always used plastic shelves from The Home Depot to corral our belongings. They’re easy to put together and pretty affordable, but they’re not the sturdiest for heavier items. Plus, I had always wanted some hidden storage (drawers and cabinets) to minimize visible clutter in the garage.
Researching the best garage storage systems, I found out about Modular Closets. While they sell lots of closet-organizing systems, they also have a line of garage organization products, ranging from cabinets and shelves to drawers, work counters, and wall-mounted storage. I was lucky enough to receive a sample of a garage-organizing system from the brand, and it’s totally transformed our space.
I worked (virtually!) with a designer from Modular Closets to come up with the best organizing system for us based on the renderings of my garage. I chose two tall cabinets with shelves inside and three upper cabinets between them. On the bottom, I chose two lower cabinets with a small drawer on top and two large drawers between them. On top of the drawers is a work counter. I also received two large storage wall panels, which each have 32 square feet of storage, and accessory kit for hanging everything.
After ordering everything, I received the system in two weeks (although the website notes some orders can take up to six weeks). It was all delivered on a pallet, which the delivery person put inside our garage. My husband spent about 15 hours building the system, and in his words, “It’s not any harder than building most IKEA furniture.” For tools, he used a screwdriver, level, and power drill, which we already owned. He notes if you don’t have experience building, or you’re concerned about mounting heavy things, you might want to enlist another person or hire a pro.
Once everything was set up, the real fun began. My first priority was getting all my houseplant stuff organized in the right-side cabinet. I was shocked at how much space the tall cabinet had: I could fit all my pots (and I have a lot of various sizes), plus several bags of soil. I love that there’s an adjacent work counter for potting plants, too. Until now, I’ve done that messy job on my kitchen counter.
The rest of the storage is for all the random stuff that lives in garages: paint cans, cleaning supplies, tools, a shop vacuum, and such. Everything fits well, with extra storage to spare, and it’s so nice that each item has a designated “zone” — no more digging around plastic bins to find what you need in a pinch.
We hung all of our extension cords, rakes, and shovels on the walls, and we put all our kids’ sports gear in baskets and bins attached to them. It’s so nice to be able to see everything we use on a routine basis, so we don’t have to dig around (and balls don’t end up rolling under our van).
We still use the original shelving we got from The Home Depot, and we do have a few loose bins in the back of the garage with random stuff that doesn’t have a home yet. My husband also bought bike racks for our walls to save room on the floor. The Modular Garage system is absolutely the epicenter, creating order and even some aesthetic interest in a space that would otherwise feel more like a cluttered dungeon.
Even though the garage is the same size as our old one — a two-car — it feels so much bigger. We’ve started using our garage as a space to hang out when we have backyard gatherings — we have room to set up folding tables, and we even bought a ping-pong table to keep out there. It’s almost like an extension of our backyard or our home, which is a huge asset to our family and everyone we host. Who knew a well-organized space could make such a huge difference in our daily routines?