10 Ideas For Storing Tools And Bulky Odd Items In The Garage

long bulky storage in garage

Garages tend to be the ultimate multitaskers when it comes to storage. People use their garages to store tools, lawn equipment, holiday decorations, sports gear, and everything they can’t fit inside their houses. But what’s the best way to store the stuff in your garage so it stays functional and organized?

If you simply shove stuff into any available space, you end up with a jumbled mess of clutter instead of functional garage storage. It becomes a struggle to access what you need, and you might even forget what you have in there. For your garage to work well and stay tidy, there needs to be rhyme and reason for storing your items.

Here are helpful tips for deciding how to store tools and odd, bulky items in your garage.

1. Garage Storage Tips For Long, Bulky Items

garage tool storage with long handles
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The key with long, bulky items is to store them off the floor so they don’t take up valuable space. However, it’s also important to organize them in a way that makes them easy to access when you need them.

Things with long handles, like brooms, rakes, shovels, and mops, need something to keep them stable and separate. If you prop all of these items up in a corner, you’ll have to juggle the rest every time you grab one. As you grab a rake, all the other tools slide sideways, clattering to the floor.

One easy way to keep these tools upright and stable is by standing them all in a large trash can. It helps with tidiness, but it’s still tricky to dig out the one you need if you have more than three or four items. A better option is to hang them on the wall using hooks or use a standing tool rack specifically designed for long-handled items.

Other large, bulky garage storage items, such as kayaks, surfboards, bikes, ladders, etc., also need special consideration. If you don’t use an item often, use a ceiling rack to store it out of the way. Some of these racks have pulley systems to make them more accessible. Long, narrow items like various cuts of lumber, surfboards, skis, and similar pieces can lay across large wall brackets.

2. Organizing Sporting Gear

garage tool storage ideas - sports equipment
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If your family participates in many sports throughout the year, then your garage storage likely contains plenty of sports equipment. Consider rotating your sporting goods. For example, keep soccer gear front and center on dedicated shelving and off-season gear tucked away in bins on an overhead rack during soccer season.

Using a dedicated rack for sports equipment helps keep everything together in one place. These racks also work well for everyday recreation items like outdoor toys or casual sporting goods.

3. Garage Tool Storage Ideas

garage tool storage ideas - pegboard
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When it comes to garage tool storage, efficiency and accessibility are key. A well-organized tool area not only saves time but also extends the life of your tools by keeping them clean and protected. Pegboards are a classic and versatile solution, allowing you to hang tools in a layout that suits your space and workflow, with hooks that can be rearranged as needed.

Magnetic strips are great for keeping small metal tools like screwdrivers and pliers within reach, while clear storage bins can be used for grouping and visual identification of smaller items such as nails and screws.

For power tools, sturdy shelves or custom-built cabinets can keep them dust-free and off the ground. Tool chests or rolling toolboxes offer a portable option that can be moved around the workspace as needed.

Labeling drawers and bins can help maintain organization and quickly locate the tools you need, ensuring your garage remains a functional and productive workspace.

3. What To Do With Holiday Decorations And Seasonal Items

Holiday decorations and seasonal items are good candidates for overhead storage since you only need to access them once a year. If you store your decorations on shelves, keep the current season on top and rotate them to the bottom after the season ends. 

To maintain the integrity and shape of wreaths, hang them on wall hooks in a designated area of the garage. Or protect them with durable, specially-designed wreath storage that you can store on racks or shelves.

The same concept applies to seasonal items in your garage storage, like winter sports gear or camping equipment. Keep the items you currently use on lower shelves and off-season items on upper shelves or ceiling racks.

4. Storing Hazardous Chemicals And Materials

hazardous material stored in garage
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If you have hazardous materials in your garage, like pesticides, various cleaners, and paint thinners, store them safely. Keep these items out of reach, preferably in a locking cabinet.

Store the key somewhere safe, where young children can’t access it. Always keep hazardous products in their original container with the correct label and instructions.

It’s also important to consider the temperature in your garage before you store hazardous or flammable products. Many of these products have minimum and maximum storage temperatures. If your garage gets too cold, it may render certain products useless.  

But even worse, if your garage gets too hot, it could cause certain combustible materials to ignite and start a fire. If your garage storage must include combustible items and the space isn’t climate-controlled, store the products in a flammable safety cabinet.

5. Where To Put Frequently Used Items In Your Garage

You want your garage storage to look good and function well. For items you use every day, it’s important to ensure you can access them easily so your garage stays tidy. 

If a certain tool is difficult to reach, you probably won’t bother putting it away. Eventually, your garage will become a mess because it was too much of a bother to put stuff back in its place. 

The general rule of organizing is that it should be as easy to put something away as leaving it out. For example, store frequently used hand tools on hooks on a pegboard wall. If you’re an avid gardener, consider a rolling garden rack that you pull in and out when you need it.

Extra Considerations About Garage Storage

In addition to specific garage storage solutions, there are a few helpful tips regarding garage organization overall.

1. Consider The Atmosphere In Your Garage

Before you start organizing the garage, consider the size, layout, and environment. Is there air conditioning in the garage? If not, think about how hot or cold it gets. Your garage’s temperature and environmental conditions will significantly influence what you store in there and how you store it.

Don’t Store These Things In Your Garage

  • Paint—Extreme temperatures aren’t good for paint. It can compromise the integrity of the paint when it’s too cold or too hot. 
  • Papers and Fabrics—Garages are prone to moisture, so avoid storing fabrics, books, papers, clothing, stuffed animals, and similar items there.
  • Photographs — Both moisture and heat can ruin printed photographs.
  • Pet Food or Food Backstock — Pet food and backup food storage are other no-nos because they attract unwanted pests into your garage.
  • Wine — Humidity and extreme temperatures will ruin the quality and taste of your wine.
  • Computers — Heat and humidity can cause electrical shorts, leading to a fire.
  • Oily Rags—If you use rags to clean up combustible fluids, don’t keep them in your garage. The residue on the rags could ignite and start a fire.

For everything else, it’s vital to use air-tight and water-tight bins to secure your belongings if moisture or pests are an issue. If your garage gets extremely hot, you’ll need a flammable cabinet to store combustible materials.

2. Use Clear Containers Or Labels

Use clear containers to see the contents of your garage storage at a glance. If you prefer opaque storage units, label everything. These tips make it much easier to find what you’re looking for and to put things away.

3. Create Zones

When you design your garage, divide the space into zones to help with your organizing efforts. If you plan to use your garage as a workshop, one zone might be your workbench and tools. Another zone could be for gardening supplies, one for paints, another for sporting goods, and so on.

4. Maximize Your Vertical Space

No matter how big or small your garage is, maximize the vertical space to make the most of your garage storage options. Ceiling racks, bike pulleys, tall shelving, tall cabinets, wall-mounted hooks, wall cabinets, and floating shelves are all excellent ways to utilize vertical space.

5. Keep Items Off The Floor

Do you park your car in the garage (or would you like to if you had the space)? If so, floor space becomes extremely valuable. This means you’ll likely want to look more at wall-mounted and overhead garage storage options. Plus, the space looks uncluttered and tidier, with fewer items on the floor.