20 Tips and Tricks to Make Your Garage or Workshop More Functional

Updated: Mar. 14, 2024

You get a lot done in your garage, but these tricks will help keep you even more organized.

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blue standing toolbox with an open drawer, safety googles and power tools on top and magnetic labels on each drawer
family handyman

Magnetic Toolbox Labels

Tired of trying to guess which toolbox drawer contained the tool I was looking for, I bought magnetic business cards at an office supply store. I peeled the film off the front, stuck a piece of card stock on top of it (old business cards work great) and labeled each drawer. — Laura Vogel.

large piece of equipment on a pallet dolly
TMB Studio

Pallet Dolly

I had a truckload of lumber to transport down a long hallway to my shop, and I wasn’t looking forward to carrying it an armload at a time. Then I noticed the pallet it was on. I didn’t have a pallet jack, but I did have a set of casters.

After I installed some reinforcement blocking, it took just a few minutes to attach a four-inch caster to each corner of the pallet. Now it’s my all-around heavy-stuff mover. — Keith Jones.

tools organized on a pegboard
Family handyman

Hang Anything

Most hardware stores and home centers carry standard pegboard hooks for basic hand tools, but many stock specialized hangers, too. The circular saw shelf, cordless drill holder, wire basket, bins and other doodads can help organize hard-to-hang tools. Search online for ‘pegboard’ followed by the type of hanger you’re looking for, such as ‘pegboard circular saw shelf.’

rag cutter
Family handyman

Handy Rag Cutter

Like many resourceful DIYers, I cut up old t-shirts and towels for rags in my shop. To speed up the process, I clamp a sharp utility knife in my bench vise to start cuts before tearing the material into smaller rags. If you’re careful, you can make the entire cut with the knife. Works like a charm! — Isaac Richardson.

giant floor ruler for measuring
Family handyman

Floor Ruler

No need to scramble for a ruler every time you need to measure something big. Draw a ruler on your shop floor with a permanent-ink, felt-tip marker. It won’t be accurate enough for precise measurements, but for rough cutting it will save you time and effort. When the markings start to wear off, just redo them. — Christine Smith.

man with clamps and table saw
Family handyman

Small Shop Space Saver

I have a small shop with a lot of bench-top power tools (table saw, router table, scroll saw, miter saw) I use often. To keep the shop uncluttered, I mount all my bench-top tools on 1/2-in. thick plywood bases and store them on hooks on the wall. When I need the tool, I just clamp the plywood base to my worktable with two large C-clamps. — Roger L. Favorite.

cord holder on garage wall
Family handyman

DIY Garage Storage for Cords and Hoses

This one-hour project provides a simple way to hang things like extension cords, rope or air hoses away from your workspace. A DIY cord rack keeps them tangle-free and accessible.

up cycled pallet into yard tool organizer
Family handyman

Repurpose a Pallet for DIY Garage Storage

Long-handled yard and garden tools can be difficult to store. All you need for this organization hack is a pallet, a couple of screws and a drill. If you don’t have any pallets lying around, they’re easy to get for free. It’s a cheap DIY garage storage idea that takes about an hour and keeps your tools organized and easy to reach.

You could easily attach this pallet to a fence, shed or to the exposed wall studs in your garage. Just be sure your screws are long enough to go through the pallet and whatever you’re attaching it to. We drilled two screws into the pallet and one into each exposed wall stud. You won’t need a ton of screws or nails because the pallet isn’t that heavy.

Now you have a quick and (potentially) free way to store your lawn tools!

Corral Sports Gear Fh09sep 501 51 126 Mledit
Family Handyman

Corral Sports Gear

This sturdy corral holds a herd of balls and lets kids easily grab the ones at the bottom without unloading all the ones on top. It’s built from 3/4-in. plywood and 2x2s. We made our ball corral 24 in. wide x 33 in. high x 12 in. deep.

The hooks on bungee cords can be a safety hazard, so we cut off the hooks. (You also could use elastic cord available at camping, sporting goods and hardware stores.) Thread the cord through predrilled holes and secure with knots. Drill the holes slightly larger than the cords to make threading them easier.

We added plumbing hooks and short gutter troughs on the outside of the corral to make it easy for kids to stash smaller balls, helmets and mitts.

garage ceiling with storage bins
Family handyman

Overhead DIY Garage Storage System

Tuck medium and lightweight stuff onto garage shelves suspended from the ceiling. The wooden overhead garage storage shelves fit into that unused space above the garage doors. You’ll need 16 inches 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 typical ceiling framing can safely support.

Pegboard Storage box
Family handyman

Sliding Pegboard Storage System

This project offers a twist on basic workshop storage. It employs both sides of seven pieces of pegboard, all housed inside a compact box. This pegboard storage system provides a compact solution for all your hand tools.

pegboard folding cabinet
Family handyman

Lockable Garage Storage Cabinet

There are lots of dangerous tools and products around the home kids can get into, especially in your workshop and garage. This lockable storage 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 placed in the house as an extra pantry, cleaning supplies closet or hobby center.

rotating corner storage shelf In garage
family handyman

Rotating Corner Shelves

These 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). Screwing the top shelf to the wall prevents tipping.

foldable workbench with pegboard
Family handyman

Fold-Up Workbench

Every 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 working on projects by the evening!

yard tool organizer
Family handyman

Garden/Garage Tool Caddy

I 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.

Cardboard Tubes Garage Storage
Family handyman

Garage Storage Tubes

Cardboard concrete-forming tubes are inexpensive and provide a great place to store baseball bats, long-handled tools and rolls of just about anything. Rest the tubes on a piece of 2×4 to keep them high and dry and secure each tube to a garage stud with a plumbing strap.

rolling workbench with side shelves
Family handyman

Roll-Around Workshop

If your garage does double duty as parking space and workspace, 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.

tennis racket for tool holder
Family handyman

Upcycled Garage Storage Idea

Here’s a creative hack for that old wooden tennis racquet gathering dust in the garage: Drill a hole in the handle and screw it to the underside of a workbench. Position the racquet so it can swing in and out from under the table. Use it to hold tools, parts or other small items.

cord holder with bungees
Family handyman

Garage Door Extension Cord Storage

Ever wish you had one more garage wall to hang stuff on? Well, you do. Your garage door is a perfect place for extension cord storage.

Install screw eyes diagonally about eight inches apart and thread bungee cords with the ends cut off through them for extension cord storage. Now you have a bungee “corral” to hold your extra extension cords. (Yes, they’ll stay put when the door opens and closes.)

garage rafter storage
Family handyman

Under-Joist Shelf

The unused space between overhead joists in a basement or garage is a brilliant place to install a heavy-duty wire shelf. The wire shelving is see-through so you can easily tell what’s up there. Store outdoor sports equipment, tackle boxes, coolers and other less-frequently-used items out of the way yet still easily accessible.