Your garage is much more than just a place to park cars. It's a warehouse, a toyshop, a workshop and quite possibly, your favorite place to hang out. This collection of great garage tips will help your garage work smarter so you can do everything you want there—including park your car!
If you mount hooks, brackets and other hardware only on studs, you're wasting lots of opportunities. The best strategy is to add a layer of 3/4-in. plywood over the drywall or bare studs. That gives you a continuous fastening surface, so you can mount storage hardware easily, arrange items in a space-efficient way and cram more stuff onto the wall. See how we doubled the storage capacity of this wall with plywood and inexpensive hardware here.
If all the stuff in your garage is within easy reach, you're probably wasting lots of storage space. The high spaces may not be prime real estate for often-used tools, but they're perfect for long-term storage. Deep shelving or cabinets near the ceiling can hold a ton of seasonal stuff like holiday decorations or camping gear. See how to build a high storage platform here.
This simple combination of plastic bins and homemade support carriages is perfect for holiday decorations and other rarely needed stuff. To make the carriages, just screw and glue 3/4-in. plywood flanges to 2x4s. Then screw the carriages to ceiling joists and slide in the bins. The heavy-duty bins we used cost about $17 each at simplastics.com (item snt-230- BL). Get more details on building this system here.
If your garage isn't big enough for your car and a workbench, you could get a smaller car or you could build a fold-down workbench. This one sets up in seconds and eats up zero floor space when not in use. The only things you'll need are a 2x4, a pair of beefy hinges, a couple of threaded pipes and flanges, and a handful of screws (about $30 altogether).
For a work surface, we used a 30-in. solid-core door ($50), but you can use other materials such as two layers of 3/4-in. plywood glued together. To set up the workbench, just screw the pipes into the flanges.
If your garage does double duty as parking space and work space, a rolling workbench is essential. It lets you convert your garage into a workshop quickly and rolls up against the wall to restore parking space. The version shown here began as a standard rolling bench made from 2x4s and plywood. Then we added a slick feature: heavy-duty shelf brackets that make it the Swiss army knife of workbenches. See plans for a variety of workbenches here.
You don't have to be a cabinetmaker to build big, sturdy cabinets— especially if you build them in place. All you have to do is screw 2x2s to the wall and ceiling and then screw plywood panels to the 2x2s to form the top, bottom and sides of cabinet boxes. This approach is simple, fast and economical; the materials cost about $250. Find the complete story on building these cabinets here.
Don't waste floor space on your wheelbarrow—hang it on the wall.
Special hardware is available at some home centers, but you can easily build it yourself. Substitute a scrap of 1x4, a pair of mending plates and screw hooks that act as latches.
Then you can easily lock the wheelbarrow against the wall
Most electrical codes require just one outlet in the garage. And that's just what most builders give you—one measly outlet for all your tools and toys. If you have open studs, you can easily run wire and add outlets as long as you follow a few basic rules (find articles about garage wiring here).
If your walls are covered, you don't have to cut into them to run wires. Instead, you can mount metal or plastic wiring channels and outlet boxes right on the wall.
Sometimes the best cure for garage chaos is to add storage space elsewhere. A small locker that holds garden gear, for example, provides big relief to a crowded garage Find step-by-step directions for building an outdoor storage cabinet here.
Hang ladders from the ceiling so they don't hog prime storage space. The rollers on this simple carriage let you easily slide in one end of the ladder, then the other. The materials you'll need cost about $20 at home centers.
Fasten the corner braces to ceiling joists with 2-in. lag screws. Secure the ladder with an elastic cord so it can't roll out and fall.
Whether you need more storage space or more work space, the ultimate solution for a too-small garage is an addition. In many cases, you can knock out a section of garage wall. Install a header to support the weight of the roof, and build a large “bump-out.”
It's easier than you might think. See how you can build a 5 x 12- ft. bump-out without adding a full concrete foundation here.