Have an overstuffed garage or shed? Try these simple storage solutions to organize garages and summer gear.
By Mike Schodowski
While summer heralds the annual return of warm temperatures, cold drinks and family vacations, it’s also the backdrop for some less seasonal traditions. One of those is digging through junk-filled garages and sheds to find all the lawn equipment, sports gear, pool floats, umbrellas and other summer paraphernalia that can be a pain to store.
Outdoor storage in sheds and garages pose special challenges, ranging from climate control issues, to the larger shape and size of the tools and accessories that need to be stored. That’s why it’s all the more important to have an organized, efficient and effective storage plan — including high-quality shelving and specialized storage solutions that can turn a jumbled mess into an efficient and accessible use of space.
Whether it’s an overstuffed garage or a chaotic shed, here are some outdoor storage tips for making sure your summer gear is organized and accessible:
Take advantage of vertical space! This is especially important in garages, where some homes today have 12-foot ceilings. High quality pallet racking shelving is ideal for garage spaces, as it offers safe, sturdy and accessible storage. It also allows you to customize shelf heights and expand your vertical storage options. This type of shelving is available in a virtually unlimited array of different dimensions (height, width and depth), and with an average shelf capacity of 4,000 pounds-per-shelf. For high-quality products, they are perfect for shed and garage storage where maximizing space and safely storing heavy items are priorities. Another way to make sure you don’t waste valuable vertical storage space is to use an overhead storage rack as part of your storage plan. These racks are suspended from the ceiling and feature a steel box frame and industrial wire decking to optimize strength while preserving visibility.
Tune in to Frequency
Smart and efficient storage is about more than just buying the right shelves. Be thoughtful and strategic about where you place your items on or below those shelves. Generally speaking, you want to store the items that are used less frequently on the higher shelves, reserving the highest and least accessible spaces for the kind of once-a-year items like holiday lights and decorations.Items you use more frequently should be on the middle shelves — at eye level or lower. The heaviest items (lawn mowers, weed trimmers, snow blowers, etc.) should be on the bottom, either on the lowest level rack or on the floor below the lowest shelf.
Shed Your Bad Habits
For backyard storage spaces like sheds or covered patios, stainless steel shelving with rubber coating is a smart, rust-free option that provides the durability and stability you need without concerns about temperature variability and moisture damage. These shelves are far more durable than the cheaper plastic shelving you can buy in large home goods stores and are similar to the specialized treated-metal rack storage that professional kitchens use in freezers and walk-in refrigeration units. Another sensible outdoor storage option is a security shelving unit: a wire enclosure model that is lockable and is available with or without opaque/solid sliding doors and sides/back. This makes sense for outdoor spaces that are common targets for petty theft, and securing a few high-value items is a much more convenient and practical option than constantly locking and unlocking a shed.
Don’t just focus on shelves and cabinets: There are so many additional fun, creative and practical ways to store your summer gear that can take your garage or shed storage layout to the next level. Take advantage of specialized storage solutions like wall-mounted “claw balls” to hold balls and sporting equipment, and give kids their own dedicated storage space with special lockers available in a variety of sizes and colors. A slot wall on the end of a rack of shelves offers an endless array of configurable storage options, from hanging baskets, to hooks and mounts for tools or gardening supplies. And some storage and shelving units have casters on the bottom so you can easily roll the whole unit across the garage (or even out onto your driveway, patio or lawn) for cleaning and ease of access.
Don’t neglect to look into the wide range of configurations and product types available for stack-and-store bins. From different dimensions to details like clear lids or convenient angled opening for access while stacked, these products make a great addition to many storage layouts. For handy individuals who use their garage or shed as a work space, keep in mind that there are lots of ways you can create a custom-sized work bench using products and materials that add additional storage and flexibility above or below the bench itself.
Get Some Pro-spective
One of the biggest outdoor storage mistakes that many people make is buying off the shelf from a brick-and-mortar store, where the price may be attractive, but size and selection limitations can prevent you from creating the customized and durable storage layout you need to stand up to the demands of outdoor storage. Consider working with a shelving and storage expert who can help you design a storage layout that maximizes your space while staying within your budget. The pros have access to products and ideas that can truly take your outdoor storage to the next level.
Not only will these tips make it easier to enjoy the warm weather and take care of your yard and home, they will also make it easier to put those things away when the leaves change in the fall and weather cools down. An organized garage or shed is a gift that keeps on giving, making it easier to safely and securely store your seasonal tools and accessories in a way that pays off season after season, year after year.
Mike Schodowski serves as vice president of sales for Shelving, Inc., a second-generation family-owned provider of shelving and storage solutions for residential consumers and businesses in a variety of industries. Visit shelving.com for more information, or email Mike at email@example.com.