Imagine how chaotic your kitchen would be if it had no cabinets, shelves or drawers. Now you understand why so many garages are a mess. Garages are typically designed as if their only function were to shelter cars and water heaters, when in fact the garage multi-tasks as the home for lawn and garden supplies, tools, bikes, sports equipment, workbenches, trash cans, laundry, playrooms and much more. For some people, the disarray of their garage can become so discouraging that just the thought of tackling the mess is paralyzing. Whether you are tackling a garage in the home you have lived in for years, or are looking to get started on the right foot in a new home you recently purchased or built, you can transform the typically cluttered, unsafe chaos of the garage space into an organized, safe and clean extension of your home. After all, for most people, the garage is the largest room in the house and the first room people enter when getting out of their car. 1. Set a date for a garage sale or donation pick-up. If you advertise a sale in the classifieds or make a commitment to donate to a local organization by setting the date, then you are more likely to follow through with your project. 2. Once the date is set, sort everything in the garage into three piles: a) things you want to keep; b) things you can get rid of; c) and things you don’t know what to do with. After you have decided what to keep, divide that pile into sections such as holiday, recreation, car maintenance, house maintenance, etc. Other items should be donated if appropriate. 3. Store often-used items, such as brooms and mops, where they can be easily seen and accessed. If you can see it, you can find it. Make use of vertical space to achieve easy access to your items and get it off the floor. 4. Use overhead space to store items used infrequently. Items such as holiday decorations can be stored in higher cabinets to allow for more eye-level or easy-access storage space for frequently used items such as hoses or rakes. 5. Place sports equipment and specialty items in a plastic bin or tote with closing tops that are stackable. This will eliminate clutter of small items and can compartmentalize items by category or use. 6. For supplies, such as motor oil, grass seed and cleaning products, store the like items together in a tote or other container. Storing containers on the shelves of cabinets keeps them off the floor, where contents could spill over or suffer water damage. 7. Now that you’ve removed the clutter from your garage floor take a look at the condition of your floor. When considering a floor-coating system for your garage, look for systems that utilize polyurethane as the finish coat. Traditional epoxies wear faster, and do not maintain the long-lasting shine and durability of the latest polyurethane finishes. 8. Insist on storage cabinets purposely built for the garage. Cabinets designed for closets with doors added for garage use generally do not meet the extra strength requirements necessary for garage storage. Keeping the garage neat and orderly is easy when it’s organized. With your items categorized and stored in cabinets, it becomes much easier to determine what you need, and what can be purged. Being able to find your items easily saves time and money, as you won’t be purchasing things you already have, but can’t find.