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Need to Organize Your Garage?

Check out some tips on how to improve storage and shelving in your garage.

About this column: Stoneham resident and former HGTV "All American Handyman" contestant Allison Oropallo tackles do-it-yourself home improvement questions from our readers. Check out her column on Wednesdays.

This weekend I built garage shelving for a homeowner in New Hampshire. I’ve built garage shelving before, for an individual who liked things to look somewhat artistic and was not satisfied with the plywood-look, so for her I designed shelves using only two-by-fours and they came out great. She and I ended up loving how they looked and structurally they were sound.

In my opinion, the garage is the second best place to be in a house, after the kitchen of course. Two-by-four shelving like this might make you appreciate your garage more than you ever thought possible, adding both functionality and character.

The drive to New Hampshire this past weekend was amazing. The foliage and crisp fall air were beautiful — I could smell the apples in the air. Once I arrived, I got to work.

The first thing I did was move all the contents of the garage to the driveway. There was certainly a lot to consider when I was thinking of the best and most practical design, but one thing was certain: There was a lot of stuff that could be donated or placed in the trash.   

First, I did all my planning and figured out how many two-by-fours I would need and how long they would need to be. Next, I had to buy all the materials — I bought boxes of screws: two 2 1/2 inches, 3 1/2 inches and 4 inches.

The key to a neat and organized garage is to keep everything off the floor. So while I was buying my supplies, I decided to buy hangers for shovels, hoses, extension cords and other odds and ends. I also remembered that there was a lawnmower that needed to be stored neatly within the shelving in the garage, so I took that into account.

After getting all the materials, I set up my DeWalt 12-inch sliding compound miter saw, impact driver and level, and started measuring. There was an area near the doorway that was useless, so I decided to put shelving there to maximize usage. I made the decision to do shelving along the entire rear wall of the garage, incorporating a shoe rack near the entrance door. In the end, the shelving came out great and looks really neat. The slats give it a more aesthetic look and they are so strong that you could climb all over them. 

The sidewall was where I hung everything and anything that could be hung. I anchored a two-by-six the length of the sidewall to allow more places to hang all the different hangers. The push-lawnmower fit nicely under the shelving, and I removed it from the center of the floor to allow for much more space.

The fact that cars could now be parked in the garage without risking a ding in the paint from avoidable clutter is a plus. Actually, I really enjoy projects like garage shelving because nothing feels better than getting clutter-free and organized. The fall is a great time to do this, too.

It took about 15 hours to do the entire project with no help. If you saw me on , you know how fast I can work, and it still took me that much time. When I was done with the construction, I had the homeowner separate the things that she was going to keep into clear plastic bins to organize better. Then we made a trash pile and a donation pile, which both ended up being bigger than she initially thought.

It’s amazing how material items just pile up when it’s kept unorganized, but perhaps it’s even more amazing when you donate and organize what you don’t have a use for anymore.

Melisa Passanisi Thorne October 26, 2011 at 11:22 PM
I'm such a fan. Did you at least get to take the motorcycle(in the second picture)out for a spin during that 15 hours?
Allison Oropallo October 27, 2011 at 05:56 PM
Thank you! I got to take it out for a ride after the 15th hour! It was a great fall day to ride! :)

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