Easy Garage Ideas for Creating the Ultimate Dual-Duty Space
Family Handyman has been improving garages for decades. This year, we found a family overdue for a garage makeover. Their simple desire to clean up the garage led to a unique conversion that extended their living space while still leaving space for cars. It was a big transformation, but the projects were easy.
The Dempseys—JD, Heather, sons Donavan and Jack, and their puppy, Joe Louis—have lived in their home for 14 years but had never given their garage any TLC. “It was kind of a mess, just a place to keep things,” says Heather. “When we first started the project, all I wanted was to declutter and clean up. Now it’s a great space to hang out with friends and family and entertain more often.” The following DIY projects can help you transform your garage into a multipurpose space, too:
Add an Attic Lift
We installed an electric attic lift for additional hidden storage space. That made moving out-of-season gear into the attic safe and effortless—and opened up lots of floor space. Aside from careful positioning and adjustments, the installation was quick and simple. Get the full how-to plans for this project.
Watch this video to learn more details about installing a storage lift like this yourself:
Wall OrganizerGet all those tools and accessories in order with this wall organizer for your garage. Much more than a pegboard with hooks, this garage organizer has bins for loose hardware and other small items. "This worked perfectly for my garage. There are enough drawers and hooks to hold all of my things and everything is adjustable," said one buyer. Shop Now
Garage Door RackThis clever garage door storage rack gets those fishing poles off the floor or out of the rafters and saves space by utilizing the back of the garage door. All mounting hardware is included and no tools are required. It can also be attached to the garage wall or ceiling. "Great way to store rods! The product works wonderfully," said one buyer. Shop Now
Ceiling Mounted Rack with HooksNot only will you be able to store items on top of this garage storage rack, you'll be able to hang bikes, garden hoses and sports equipment from its hooks. The ceiling-mounted rack holds 600 pounds and has 12 handy hooks. "For years my garage was a landmine field. I would walk and trip over things that were just laying on the garage floor, and besides that it looked a mess. I saw a picture of this ceiling storage rack on the Home Depot website and decided that was what I needed. I've only had it about two weeks now, but I can't believe how much better it is having a ceiling storage rack," explained one buyer. Shop Now
Storage Tote on WheelsAn upgrade from traditional plastic bins, this tote on wheels is easy to move around in the garage. It's a great way to store and transport tools, sporting equipment and camping gear. It can also be locked with a pad lock (not included). "This storage bin is impressive. From the sturdy and large 169-quart-size of the bin itself to the reinforced dome lid this tote is great for the storage of sporting goods items, camping gear or large tools and equipment. The uses are pretty much endless and thanks to the oversized handle and smooth rolling wheels this Store-It-All tote can be moved from one area to another," said one buyer. Shop Now
Steel Garage CabinetEasy to assemble, this eight-piece cabinet is the ultimate garage storage solution. We like that it comes with locking drawers and doors for added security, unlike many similar units. It also has a 6-foot workbench for all of your DIY projects. "Was very easy to put together took about two hours for the whole set, with easy to follow directions. Everything is built with quality materials. Thought we would run into shipping damage but these were packaged very nicely, we had no damage. The mounting hardware made it a breeze to mount the cabinets. The bench top is nice thick wood not cheap veneer," said one buyer. Shop Now
Rolling Garden OrganizerInstead of an organizer that stays in one corner of the garage, this rolling garden organizer makes it easy to bring all your tools from the garage to the yard and then back to the garage. It features numerous slots for tools, along with places to store extension cords. "Easy to assemble! Great product for the price! Easily stores tools! I love it," said one buyer. Shop Now
Shelf Organizer KitWith this wall-mount shelf kit you'll be able to keep bins and boxes off the floor, and have the space to hang golf clubs, bikes and sports gear. Eleven shelf sizes are available. "Easy to install and customize to your space and needs, especially when the studs aren't always where you need them to be. With this system if you need to make them an inch farther apart to find a stud, no big deal," said one buyer. Shop Now
Battery OrganizerThis battery organizer keep all those batteries visible and in easy reach, unlike when they're in a drawer in the garage workbench. This organizer holds six different size batteries and a total of 93, if it's completely filled up! It also includes a battery tester. "It solves the problem of searching for batteries when you need them. I see myself buying fewer batteries as now, all my batteries are neatly stored in one central location," said one buyer. Shop Now
16-Piece Storage KitWith plenty of versatility, this garage storage kit holds up to 1,700 pounds and is made of heavy-duty steel. Store all those gardening tools, your sporting equipment and tools on hooks and in wire baskets. The design makes it easy to attach, remove and reposition items as needed. "We use it for kids gear as well as garden items," said one buyer, adding, "Very happy with our purchase." Shop Now
Multi-Purpose BinsInstead of metal shelves, on which some items can roll around, these versatile canvas bins are perfect for storing items that are hard to keep in place. Use these bins to store sports equipment and outdoor toys, and simply wipe clean when needed. "I grabbed this on a whim after I was tripping over my kids sport balls in the garage. It took about 15 minutes to put together and I put it in the garage and filled it up. Works great and easy to move around," said one buyer. It is available in three sizes. Shop Now
Garage Mesh Storage BasketA functional option for storing sports equipment, toys and hand tools, this mesh storage basket holds up to 35 pounds. Install it on the wall, and it can easily be repositioned to meet your needs. "The basket is useful for storing bulky, difficult to store items such as balls, plastic tubing, gear bags and kids toys. Weight capacity is 35 pounds, so you can fit quite a bit of stuff in here," said one buyer. Shop Now
Customizable Pegboard OrganizerInstead of putting up one piece of pegboard, this customizable pegboard organizer can be configured for your unique garage storage needs. It's 16-inches by 16-inches, so buy several and hang them in a way that works for you. The 1/4-inch holes work with 1/8-inch and 1/4-inch peg hooks. "My garage walls are finished with drywall, so these are exactly what I was looking for. The provided mounting holes line up with the studs in the wall so mounting was a breeze," said one buyer. Shop Now
Corner Tool RackThis corner tool rack/organizer tucks into that often unused corner of the garage. It organizes up to 30 tools and is lightweight so you can move it around easily. "Having recently renovated my garage I needed tool storage in one of the corners and found this easy to use rack. The price and size were just right. What surprised me was the large amount of stuff I was able to easily store. It is a well-designed tool stand and so easy to place and or remove the stored items," noted one buyer. Shop Now
Garage HoistTo make the best use of overhead space in your garage, consider these garage hoists. They come in a two-pack and hold up to 125 pounds, making them perfect for items such as kayaks and ladders. "Excellent for storing our kayaks, which is why I purchased this. However, after seeing the design, this can be used for many other applications (ladders, bikes, lawn chairs etc). Gives us our garage floor back," said one buyer. Shop Now
Four-Drawer CabinetYou'll be able to maximize you garage storage space with this four-drawer cabinet. Not only does it have drawers for storage, it also features a solid-wood top for some extra workspace. The single lock secures all drawers for added security. "It's a nice size for a smaller work area, holds a lot but doesn't take up a ton of room. It's very heavy and solidly built and looks very nice. High quality materials and a nice top on it that provides additional workspace in our small shop. The drawers are nicely sized and work well," said one buyer. Shop Now
Build a Basic Media Cabinet
This idea could be as simple as hanging a TV on the wall. But we wanted to protect all the electronics from sawdust and stray basketballs, so we built a giant cabinet. Don’t be fooled by the size; it’s big, but construction was basic. Get the full plans for this impressive media cabinet.
Livable Floor Coating
Concrete floors are bland and hard to keep clean. Our solution was an epoxy floor coating. More than any other project, this stunning floor transformed the garage into an inviting living space. Learn how to apply an epoxy floor coating with this step-by-step guide.
Add Garage Outlets
Installing surface-mounted raceway is the slickest way to add lighting or outlets in a finished garage—even if you’re already a master at running conduit or fishing wire. Like conduit, it eliminates the need to tear into walls or ceilings. Unlike conduit, it doesn’t require special tools or materials. A raceway system typically begins at an existing outlet. From there, it can run anywhere: up, down, around corners or in multiple directions at once. Get the full how-to for installing more garage outlets yourself.
Scrap Wood BracketsHere's how to store your lawn and folding chairs so they're out of your way with some wooden garage shelves. Take two pieces of 1×4 lumber (any scrap lumber will do) and create some simple, cheap and useful brackets on the wall. Cut each board 7-3/4 in. long with a 30-degree angle on both ends. Fasten pairs of these brackets with three 2-in. screws to the side of the exposed wall studs, directly across from each other, and you've got a perfect place to hang your chairs. You also need to check out these 38 handy hints under $5.
Lockable Storage CabinetThere are a lot of dangerous tools and products around the home that kids can get into, especially in your workshop and garage. This lockable cabinet gives you a safe place to store chemicals, paint, pest control products, sharp tools and other potentially dangerous objects. The cabinet could be painted or stained and used in the house as an extra pantry, cleaning supplies closet or hobby center. See the full plans here.
Easy-on-the-Wallet ShelvesThese simple DIY garage shelves can be built in less than a day for less than $300. Here's how you can put this cheap storage idea together.
Folding Mobile WorkbenchWant a mobile workbench with a sizable work area that folds up to only 7 in. thick? The materials to make the one shown here cost about $100 at home centers. Or, build it any size that suits your home shop by adjusting the frame sizes to accommodate the folding parts. Check out our how-to video.
Plywood Ceiling ShelvesTuck medium and lightweight stuff onto shelves suspended from the ceiling. The wooden garage shelves are designed to fit into that unused space above the garage doors (you need 16 in. of clearance to fit a shelf and standard 12-1/2 in. high plastic bins). However, you can adjust the shelf height and put them anywhere. The only limitation is weight. We designed this 4 x 6-ft. shelf to hold about 160 lbs., a load that typical ceiling framing can safely support. Click here for the full plans.
Yard Tool Organizer
Fold-Up WorkbenchEvery good workshop (even if it's just a sliver of your garage) needs a quality workbench with ample storage. Begin this space-saving starter workbench in the morning, and you'll be using it to work on projects by the evening! Here's how to build it.
Sliding Pegboard Storage SystemThis project takes workshop storage to a whole new level, employing both sides of seven pieces of pegboard, all housed inside a compact box. Watch the video to see how it's made.
Lattice RackPlastic lattice works well for storing long lengths of miscellaneous pipe, trim, flashing and conduit. It's a cheap storage solution to create some wooden garage shelves. Just cut matching pieces, then screw 2x4 cleats to the ceiling and screw the lattice to the wall studs and cleats. Now you can quickly find those oddball leftovers instead of going to the hardware store and buying yet another piece. Don't forget the garage floor. Here are a few upgrade options.
Grab & Go Cord RackThis one-hour project provides a simple way to hang up a variety of things such as extension cords, rope or air hoses, and it keeps them away from your workspace. Here's how to make it.
Repurpose a Pallet for Long-Handle Tool StorageIf you have a yard or a garden, you know that there are a lot of long-handled tools involved. You probably also know how obnoxious it is when you need the shovel or the rake and have to walk all over to find it. All you need for this pallet organization hack is a pallet, a couple of screws and a drill. And if you don't have any pallets lying around, they are easy to get for free. Many businesses will give them to you, but you should call first! Another great place to check is local Craiglist ads. This is a quick one-hour project and after you're done, your tools will be organized and easy to reach. It's a cheap storage ideas for some DIY garage shelves. You could easily attach this pallet to a fence, shed or to the exposed wall studs in your garage. No matter what you choose, you'll want to make sure that your screws are long enough to go through both your pallet and the wall you are attaching it to. We drilled two screws into the pallet, one into each exposed wall stud. You won’t need a ton of screws or nails because the pallet isn't all that heavy. Now you have a quick and (possibly) free way to store your lawn tools! Looking for more ways to work smarter in your workshop? Here are 19 tips from a seasoned woodworker and do-it-yourselfer.
Overhead Rag Roost
Stacked Recycling Tower
Cord and Hose HooksHanging electrical cords and hoses on thin hooks or nails can cause kinks and damage the sheathing and wires. Use pieces of 3-in. ABS plastic plumbing pipe to make simple, inexpensive hangers. Screw 3-in. end caps to a 2x6 with two 1-5/8-in. screws. Fender washers under the screw heads keep them from pulling through the plastic. Then cement on 8-in. lengths of end-capped pipe. These "hooks" are very strong! Plus: Make your own hideaway for your garden hose with these plans.
Shipshape Storage WallFor just a few hundred dollars you can re-create this storage system yourself in one weekend. This project covers about 16 ft. of wall space and offers a multitude of ways to organize your garage.
Rotating Corner ShelvesThese shelves put a garage corner to maximum storage use. They spin on two lazy Susans, one on the bottom and one at the top (under the top shelf). They can't tip because the top shelf is screwed to the wall. Get the step-by-step instructions here to create these DIY garage shelves.
Keep Ladders Out of the Way
Pegboard WallIn just two hours you can Install pegboard on a garage or workshop wall to create versatile up-and-out-of-the-way storage. Add a bin underneath and you'll have a spot for all the odds and ends that cause clutter. Here's the step-by-step.
Make a Pallet Dolly for Toting Big ToolsI had a truckload of lumber to transport from the truck down a long hallway to my shop, and I wasn't looking forward to carrying it all by myself, an armload at a time. That's when I noticed a pallet leaning up against the wall and had an idea. I don't own a pallet jack, but I did have a set of swiveling casters! After adding some reinforcement blocking to the pallet, I installed a 4-in. caster at each corner. It worked perfectly for hauling my entire load of lumber in one trip. I've since kept my pallet dolly and use it frequently as my multipurpose heavy-stuff mover. — Keith Jones
Old Hose Tool HoldersCut an old hose into 7-in. pieces, slit them, and nail them to the wall to make good holders for handled tools in the garage.
Double-Duty ShelfFloor space in most garages is hard to come by—so the best place to find storage space for garage shelves is overhead. You can make your own DIY shelves for the garage easily—go double-decker for twice the storage capacity. Here's the step-by-step to make this shelf yourself. Plus: Check out these 51 other brilliant tips for organizing your garage.
Garden/Garage Tool CaddyI had some leftover wood and plastic lattice from a fence I was building. Rather than toss the scraps, I decided to use them to build a caddy to organize my garden shovels, hoes and brooms. I installed casters, so it scoots easily into a corner of my garage. Works great! — Philip J. Gruber
Install a Ductless Heating & Cooling System
We added ductless mini-split heating/cooling in the Dempsey’s garage for year-round comfort. If you’re intimidated by this HVAC project, don’t be. Supplying the power took creative planning, but the rest was amazingly easy. See how it was done here.
Watch this video to learn more about what installing a mini-split system entails, so you can do it yourself:
Rolling Bike StorageMy rolling bike rack offers easy access and efficient storage for my family’s many bikes. To build the rack, I made a 2x4 lower frame with 2x4 uprights on each end. Large triangular plywood braces support the uprights. Plywood panels span the uprights, adding strength and rigidity. Staggering their heights and alternating their orientation, I can hang seven bikes on this 6-ft.-wide rack. Casters make it easy to roll away for storage. For security, I run a long steel cable through the bike frames and connect the looped ends with a hefty lock. I hang all our biking essentials—helmets, shoes, pumps, spare wheels and tires—on the back of the rack. – Eric Schleppenbach Get the garage of your dreams one step at a time with our dream garage makeover guide.
Shelf BagWhile cleaning the garage, I found lots of toys, scooters and sports equipment that took up too much shelf space and needed a different solution. I picked up a grill cover at a reuse center and repurposed it as a catchall bag for all this odd-shaped stuff. I attached the cover to my shelving unit with screws and washers. – Dean Tener Learn how to make a DIY wheelbarrow hang-up, plus 10 more space-saving garage storage tips.
Slide-Out Parts BinsI made use of the narrow space between a shelving unit and a workbench by building this handy slide-out rack. I mounted 12-in. full-extension ball-bearing drawer slides ($6 per pair) to a plywood panel—one at the top and one at the bottom—with their mating parts attached to the side of the shelving unit. Then I hung the parts bins on the plywood panel. The drawer slides have a 100-lb. load capacity. – Scott Beverly Organizing a garage isn't a one-size-fits-all project, so we've compiled some of our best garage storage ideas. Check out these 51 Brilliant Ways to Organize Your Garage.
Door-Track Bike RackI attached a box rail to a well braced shelf. Each machine-threaded bike hook hangs from a box rail hanger, using a nut and thread locker. (The box rail and box rail hangers are from Home Depot; the bike hooks from parktool.com.) Bikes slide both ways for easy access, and the hooks rotate, allowing bikes to hug the wall. The rail and hangers hold 450 lbs. – Roy Velardi
Mega Mobile Storage RackI found this metal shelving unit with wheels at a garage sale and turned it into a mobile storage unit for my garden tools. I covered three shelves with plywood to keep items from falling through the wire shelves. I framed the top two shelves with 2x4s, creating a lip on the shelves and providing a sturdy place to fasten storage hooks. Concrete mixing tubs on the lower shelves are perfect for storing smaller items. – Stan Hall It will only take you one morning to achieve garage happiness. Here’s how with these garage organization ideas.
All-in-One Ball StorageI built this sports storage rack to hold a lot of equipment. We toss large balls into a round hole at the top, and bungee cords span the front to keep them from falling out. Two baskets on the bottom half of the rack hold baseballs, hockey pucks and more. And the storage hooks on the side of the rack hold our baseball bats and hockey sticks. – Tim Hausman
Rotating Small-Parts OrganizerHere’s my take on an old tip for organizing fasteners and hardware. Instead of mounting jar lids to a 2x4, I decided to attach them to a six-sided rotating beam. I drew a hexagon on the end of a 4x4 to use as a guide for setting the fence. Then I set my table saw’s blade to 60 degrees and made the rip cuts to form the sides. To allow the beam to rotate freely, I drilled dowel holes in the ends of the beam and ran dowels through the posts into the beam ends. – Kenneth Snow See how we doubled the storage capacity of this garage wall with plywood and inexpensive hardware.
Pegboard Tool OrganizerMy collection of small screwdrivers always rolled around in a drawer, making it difficult to find the one I needed. So I cut a scrap piece of pegboard and set it on standard pegboard shelf brackets. Now all of my small screwdrivers are neatly stored and easy to access. – Art Gay For ways to use your garage ceiling for storage, check out these 14 products for garage ideas.
Workbench That Stows
If you need a work surface in your garage, but don’t have enough space for a permanent workbench, build one that folds up and rolls away! Get the full plans and watch a video tutorial for how to build this inexpensive folding mobile workbench.
Want to see the garage projects we did last year? Check them out here.
Next, check out our favorite garage door paint ideas.