Watch this video to find out how to organize a cluttered garage, including:
- Deciding what to get rid of and what to keep.
- How to build DIY garage shelving.
- Installing hangers for bikes and lawn and garden equipment.
- Applying a concrete stain to the garage floor.
- Gluing down indoor/outdoor carpet in a garage.
Read episode article to find out more.
- Garage Organization (article/video)
- Simple Garage Storage Solutions (video)
- Garage Shelving (video)
- How to Seal a Garage Floor (video)
Danny Lipford: This week on Today’s Homeowner, we’re taking on the chore you love to hate: cleaning out the garage.
Steve Williamson: I’ve lost control.
Danny Lipford: But we’re not just cleaning, we’re helping this family customize their garage for their active lifestyle. So, don’t miss a minute.
Today, I’m working on a project with homeowners Steve and Tami Williamson, who’ve been in this house for eight years. Their two-year-old daughter, Cadence, and nine-month-old son, Classic, keep Steve and Tami on their toes. But, so do their hobbies. The Williamsons are both triathletes. Plus, Steve also serves as the chief mechanic for Team Williamson, so he has plenty of wrench time with their bikes. And that brings us to their problem: the garage.
Tami Williamson: This is what we have.
Danny Lipford: That’s not too bad. I’ve seen a lot worse. Most of these are just big things.
Steve Williamson: Yeah. This is our nightmare. This is our problem. So…
Danny Lipford: That’s not really bad. Now, there’s got to be a story behind that van. What’s up with that?
Steve Williamson: Um, it’s my retirement project, right there. Just don’t have the time to mess with it right now.
Danny Lipford: Well, does it run okay?
Steve Williamson: Yeah, it runs fine.
Danny Lipford: And ultimately, you want to have the other car in here. I know you’ve got a cool, little car.
Tami Williamson: I’d like to have my Mini in here, with the two babies, to get them in and out.
Danny Lipford: The main thing is to figure out what you’re going to throw away. I’m going to go get my notepad. And a tape measure.
Steve Williamson: Okay.
Danny Lipford: Y’all talk about that a little bit.
Steve Williamson: Okay.
Tami Williamson: All right.
Steve Williamson: What do you think needs to stay?
Tami Williamson: The bikes, the tools, the bus. That’s about it.
Steve Williamson: That’s it? I mean, there’s… Some of this stuff we got to keep.
Tami Williamson: Really?
Steve Williamson: Yeah.
Tami Williamson: We have three lawn mowers.
Steve Williamson: That’s a problem.
Tami Williamson: We got to get rid of… It’s either got to be fixed or got to go. And I say it’s got to go. What do you want to do with the wind surfer?
Steve Williamson: That’s part of my past. Can’t get rid of the wind surfer.
Tami Williamson: The volleyball net’s got to go.
Steve Williamson: What if we want to play volleyball, though? What about the boat? I hate to get rid of it. That box is full of your dishes.
Tami Williamson: Okay, they can go.
Steve Williamson: Really?
Tami Williamson: Yeah.
Steve Williamson: I don’t know. I’ve lost control.
Danny Lipford: All right, well, how did that little discussion go?
Tami Williamson: Well….
Steve Williamson: It was okay.
Tami Williamson: It was okay.
Danny Lipford: A lot of times, we have three different piles when we’re doing a garage like this. You know, you’ll have one that you’re going to keep, one that you’re going to definitely throw away, and one maybe some recycling or donating. Do we need a fourth pile for undecided?
Tami Williamson: Yes.
Danny Lipford: We do.
Tami Williamson: Definitely.
Danny Lipford: More discussion pending, huh? Well, you know, when I look around here, a lot of the stuff is Steve’s.
Tami Williamson: He’s the hoarder.
Danny Lipford: He’s the hoarder. That’s what I like. I was going to give you a chance to say that word, not me, so… Okay, we’ll get it all fixed up, we’ll get all the stuff out of here.
Steve Williamson: Good.
Tami Williamson: All right.
Danny Lipford: So, the moving begins. Now that we know what we’re up against, we can lay out a plan to relocate some stuff within the garage, like the bikes hanging overhead. Build some shelves for some small stuff, and relocate some big items like the boat, elsewhere.
And I’m not touching any bikes, they look too expensive. Here, this is more of my speed, right here.
Tami Williamson: That’s a definite keep.
Danny Lipford: In order for us to get to work, it all has to go. It’s already looking good. But some stuff goes a little more begrudgingly.
Steve Williamson: Come on, baby. Watch it. That’s it. Acts like it’s out of gas. All right, let’s try this again.
Tami Williamson: It’s a good thing it’s getting chunked.
Danny Lipford: Finally, the garage is getting empty.
Steve Williamson: Purrs like a kitten.
Danny Lipford: So, I found what you’re doing this, this weekend. That’ll look good on you there. I like that.
But the driveway is getting full.
Looks like a lot of stuff, when you have it all piled up like this.
Steve Williamson: Yeah.
Danny Lipford: I got that, uh, leaf blower, I’ll blow that out real carefully, and get it clean, sweep a little bit. And then, we can kind of scratch our head on how we’re going to organize this menagerie.
All right, what do you guys think?
Tami Williamson: Wow, I’ve not seen it this clean in eight years.
Danny Lipford: When you first moved in?
Tami Williamson: When we first moved in.
Danny Lipford: Of course, when you put two cars in, that fills it up a lot. But what I was amazed at is, look how much space is right here, I didn’t expect that. And I think that upper shelf in here would work pretty well. But I was wondering about the positioning of the two bikes that you use the most, as to whether or not it would really work right here. What do you think?
Steve Williamson: I think that would be perfect, I think it would work well.
Danny Lipford: Okay. Well, seems like a good way of tucking it out of the way, keeping it real accessible. Well, I’m going to call Allen, and try to get some materials that we know we’re going to use. Some of the 16-inch board, the shelf board works well, a one by four, one by two. And then we know we’re going to put that up there, that shelf. Put it up and then just kind of look at it and see what we can attach to that, what we can adapt around it, so…
Steve Williamson: Yeah. Good.
Danny Lipford: While we work out the details for our reorganization plan, and get Allen up to speed on the materials we need, why don’t you check out Joe’s Simple Solution for this week.
Joe Truini: One of the most common storage questions we get here at Today’s Homeowner is, “How do I keep my garage and my shed from getting so cluttered?” Well, first, stop collecting so much junk! But in the real world of course, that’s not possible.
So, the first rule is try not to let the floor get too cluttered. And you can do that by utilizing the wall space for storage. Now, what happens when your wall space is all filled up?
Well, if you’ve got a swinging door, a pair of swinging doors like we have in this shed, is you have a nice, large, flat surface, perfect for hanging things like collapsible sawhorses, ladders, wheelbarrows. Things that you need to get at, but if you store ’em in the space, of course they’re always in the way.
So, in this case, I’m just going to use a couple of utility hooks, metal hooks, you can get at any hardware store or home center. I’m going to attach them to the door frame with a couple of drywall screws.
These are one-and-quarter-inch drywall screws. They’re going to go into the two by four, that’s on the other side of this door. There’s a frame on the other side. There you go. And now, you can very easily… I positioned those hooks to be the perfect place to hang this ladder. There.
Now there’s plenty of room to still close the door but the ladder’s right there, ready when I need it.
Danny Lipford: This week, we’re helping homeowners Steve and Tami Williamson corral the chaos in the garage. These guys have lots of hobbies and projects, so they have lots of stuff. But, we finally emptied it out and we’re ready to start organizing.
Danny Lipford: Were you able to gather everything up?
Allen Lyle: Yeah, got everything, got all the material you needed, some paint, and we’re ready to roll.
Danny Lipford: Yeah. Well, I got a feeling that Tami’s a pretty good painter, if you want to….
Allen Lyle: This is for you, then.
Steve Williamson: Oh, perfect, perfect, perfect.
Danny Lipford: With this great weather, the primer and paint dry quickly. And in no time Allen is cutting material to size so that we can begin installing it. This one by two we’re nailing along the back wall will be the support cleat for our shelving. Allen is also cutting some large triangles from the shelf material that will attach to one by twos to form our braces.
What’s the sandpaper for?
Allen Lyle: Well, I know it’s just garage shelves, but you know, I’ll just go ahead and smooth them out a bit.
Danny Lipford: He’s trying to impress you. Go, wow.
Allen Lyle: Thank you, I was waiting for that.
Danny Lipford: Offsetting the one by fours and triangles one and three-quarter inches will allow the triangle to come up flush with the top of the cleat that’s already on the wall.
Danny Lipford: Here’s your test. I’m closing my eyes.
Allen Lyle: Let me run away.
Oh, wow. Beautiful.
All we have to do is line them up over the studs and nail them in place. So, in just a few minutes we’re ready to start attaching the shelf boards. When you’re attaching the shelf boards, it’s important that you plan for seams between boards to land right on a support.
Allen Lyle: But I got 12-footers out there, so I got…
Danny Lipford: Oh, I thought you said you had 10-footers?
Danny Lipford: No, no, the lumber was 10 but the shelves are 12.
Danny Lipford: Wow! I was laying it out… Man, I got a bad stream of information.
Apparently, seeing all of the shelving go up is inspiring Tami, because she’s adding her own spin to the design.
Tami Williamson: We can have, like, different layers of shelves here, just not so deep. We can put, like, the WD-40, the weed killer…
Danny Lipford: Oh, this is good. Go ahead.
Tami Williamson: Just have, like, different layers of shelves so we’re not so piled up.
Danny Lipford: I think it’ll be perfect.
After a little discussion and drawing to iron out some of the details on the shelf unit, Allen gets to work building it. He’s using the same materials, but he’s cut it down from the 16-inch depth to 12 inches.
Meanwhile, Tami is busy touching up the paint on the cut ends of the shelves we’ve already completed. The new shelf unit hangs between two of the existing supports for a nice, clean installation.
All right, we got our end. We’ll get yours later. That works pretty good. I’ll tell you what, help me get the tools together. We’ll wash this floor real quick, so it’s ready to stain tomorrow. Yeah.
Allen Lyle: I like it.
Danny Lipford: Perfect.
Scrubbing the floor with the TSP solution will make the floor stain we’re about to apply work a lot better. And once that’s done, we can let it dry overnight. At the beginning of day two, we start by showing Steve some of the accessories we’ve picked up to continue customizing their garage.
Check this out. You know the coated type of hooks, they’re just about endless, the different types you can get. But I can see the ladders can be taken care of with that and maybe the stroller or something like that. And I even found this for your bicycle.
Steve Williamson: Okay. Cool!
Danny Lipford: I think that’ll work.
So we can hang the extension ladder off the new shelf, Steve and I add some blocking to the underside so that we can screw in some of those big coated hooks. Meanwhile, Allen and Tami are relocating those pulley-operated hoists for the bikes they use a lot less frequently. The two bikes they use every day will go on the opposite wall.
Steve Williamson: I’m thinking… And then that way we can have some floor space up underneath.
Danny Lipford: Okay. So, we’ll shoot for 55.
Steve Williamson: Yep.
Danny Lipford: We’re attaching a piece of one by four on the wall at that height so we can mount the bike hangers exactly where we want them without having to worry about where the studs are. But there’s a debate about whether to hang the jogging stroller or not. So, we consult the boss.
Tami Williamson: I like the idea of parking it, but what if we leave it together ’cause it gets used. And hang the jogging, I mean the bike, trailer? And that way all the strollers will be together.
Danny Lipford: All right.
Tami Williamson: I like that idea.
Steve Williamson: Parking this one.
Tami Williamson: Park this.
Steve Williamson: Okay.
Tami Williamson: Bike trailer up.
Steve Williamson: Okay.
Danny Lipford: She sounds pretty definite on that, Steve. I’m parking it. You’d better.
Tami Williamson: I know what I like.
Danny Lipford: So, we create a plan for the bike trailer and its wheels. We’ve still got a lot to do here, but first, let’s check in with Jodi for this week’s Best New Product.
Jodi Marks: You know, I love hanging out in the paint department, and I love seeing all the new products, and I love putting paint on my walls. But when people talk to me about doing their painting projects, I always say take that extra step and put high gloss on your trim, because that’s really going to make the colors on your wall stand out.
But a lot of people go, “Oh, oil-based trim paint, that’s so messy, it’s hard to clean up, it drips, it leaves brush marks.” Until now.
Take a look at this. Glidden has come out with a trim and door paint exclusively for that area. It’s got the Gel-Flow technology, and this is perfect because it eliminates drips and runs. And it eliminates the brushstrokes that you would typically get in an oil-based high-gloss trim paint.
You can see it comes in a wide variety of colors, so you’re bound to find something that you like. It’s very easy to go on. And, again, the thing that I like best about it is you don’t have to keep going back over and over that surface to try to eliminate those brushstrokes, because you won’t get them in the first place.
This is a good product.
Danny Lipford: Our project this week is helping homeowners Steve and Tami not only organize the chaos in their garage, but customize it for their shared passion of competing in triathlons.
We are making progress. Now that we have everything off the floor, we’re ready to make the floor look a lot better. Allen and Steve are about to apply some semi-transparent concrete stain. That’ll make it look a lot better. And Tami and I are going to put down some carpet and see if we can make the entry way look a little better.
The stain that Allen and Steve are putting down will not only improve the looks of the garage floor, but because it seals the porous surface of the concrete, it’ll keep down the dust and make it a lot easier to keep clean. Using indoor/outdoor carpet as a transition from the garage to the house is a good idea anytime to keep dirt and mud from being tracked in.
After we have some of our adhesive in place for the carpet, we carefully roll the first edge in place.
So, let’s see. We might have to move it, huh?
Tami Williamson: Yeah, it seems to slide forward.
Danny Lipford: Yeah. Let me show you a fancy carpet trick on that.
Tami Williamson: Get to dance.
Danny Lipford: There you go. How do you like that?
Tami Williamson: I knew there would be dancing.
Danny Lipford: With one side locked down in glue, we can mark the other end to be cut. Tami’s an aerospace engineer. But really, our jobs aren’t so different.
This is the way you build airplanes, right?
Tami Williamson: Sure.
Danny Lipford: This radius will smooth the transition from the concrete to the carpet. Plus, a radius is less likely to peel up than just a square a corner.
Speaking of corners, Steve and Allen are about to paint us into one, so we have to finish getting this carpet glued down and get out of the way so that they can finish with the stain, which turns out to be almost a perfect match with the color of our carpet.
Now, while the stain and carpet adhesive are drying, it’s time for Steve and Tami to figure out what goes back in and where.
Tami Williamson: Chainsaw, and…
Steve Williamson: Yeah. That’s going to go on the shelf.
Tami Williamson: On the shelf?
Steve Williamson: Yep.
Tami Williamson: Okay.
Steve Williamson: What’re we going to do with this guy?
Tami Williamson: Well, we can put him in the attic.
Steve Williamson: This would be kind of cool in the plastic container, because it’s, we know it’s in there. What about our college game day sign from Home Depot? Where’s our other ice chest with all this?
Tami Williamson: The big blue one’s right behind you. You’re sitting on it.
Steve Williamson: Oh! There it is. All right, tool stuff. Tools!
Danny Lipford: I’ll tell you what I’ll do. I don’t want to get into all of the decision making here. I’m staying out on the perimeter. But anything that you know is going back in, I’ll stage it right here and as soon as the floor is dry, we’ll all move it in. That way you guys can keep sorting.
So, let me know. This I guess we’re saving.
Steve Williamson: Right. Okay. Yeah. I guess so. Oh, it’s going to…
Tami Williamson: Oh, hold on, wait. You would not know how long he begged for that.
Steve Williamson: Umbrella.
Tami Williamson: Okay, random screws. Junk them?
Steve Williamson: Ah! You never throw away screws.
Danny Lipford: Never throw away screws. And I always tell everybody the cereal bowl, whether it takes the form of a cup or whatever, whatever you got. You’ll go back to your cereal bowl many, many, many times.
Finally, the floor is dry and we’re ready to start moving everything back in. The big stuff goes first, which should be easy enough.
Steve Williamson: Looks good.
Tami Williamson: You’re crooked.
Steve Williamson: Crooked? We’re crooked. Which way? Which way are we crooked?
Allen Lyle: Just a little that way.
Steve Williamson: Going to get the square? Level?
Tami Williamson: We’re good.
Danny Lipford: It’s obvious, Tami has some specific ideas about how this goes back together.
Tami Williamson: To that door.
Danny Lipford: OK.
Tami Williamson: They have to match the same way. It’s like art.
Danny Lipford: It’s like art. Bike hanging.
Once we start filling the shelves, the pile outside starts to get smaller, and soon we’re fine tuning it.
Do you use this in your bicycling?
Tami Williamson: Yeah, you know. Yeah.
Danny Lipford: You do? Okay.
Tami Williamson: I used to tag him along.
Danny Lipford: You know, we’re talking about this back here. Would this work if we…
Steve Williamson: Perfect.
Danny Lipford: Put those right there?
Tami Williamson: His and hers.
Danny Lipford: Yeah, that’s what I was thinking.
Steve Williamson: The shoes definitely need to stay outside.
Tami Williamson: His smell horrible.
Danny Lipford: I actually wonder what if they were simply hung like that?
Steve Williamson: Oh, yeah.
Tami Williamson: Oh, I like that.
Danny Lipford: While I’m doing that, Allen is organizing the lawn and garden tools in the opposite corner. And in very little time at all this garage is finally coming together.
Loraine asks, “What’s the best way to paint over dark paneling?”
When I was kid, the old, dark paneling like this was so popular. Nowadays, people want to brighten things up a little bit. And whether you have real wood paneling, like this, or sheet paneling, the process to brighten it up is pretty much the same.
You need to start out with 100-grit sandpaper, and just sand all of the gloss off the wood surface, wipe it down, follow that with a good quality primer. And after the primer’s dried sufficiently, then would be the time, if you had the sheet paneling, to eliminate all those little grooves by using drywall joint compound.
Six-inch drywall knife, probably take a couple of coats with a little sanding in between to create that nice, smooth surface. Then, two more coats of a very good quality wall paint, and you’ve brought your paneling and your home right into this century.
Steve and Tami Williamson’s garage had become a victim of their active lifestyle, rather than an asset. But with a lot of hard work, a little bit of planning, and a few inexpensive materials, we made a very positive change.
We’ve removed the clutter by raising all of the small items up onto the new shelves we’ve created, and the smaller shelf unit gives Steve a handy place to work on their bikes. Speaking of bikes, they’re now all conveniently stored up, off the floor, either from the ceiling or the wall.
And, since the floor is clear, why shouldn’t it look better? Besides, now there’s actually enough room for Tami’s car in addition to Steve’s prized bus.
So, Steve, with the new garage will it inspire you to maybe get this thing ready for that cross-country trip?
Steve Williamson: I think I’m going to do that.
Danny Lipford: At least you have a little more room here to work with. But I’ll tell you, I did see something that just seemed to be missing here. With all these tires all over the place, and no real way to blow ’em up. So, I thought that this would come in handy.
Steve Williamson: Get out! Get out.
Danny Lipford: So we want to give this to you. And we got your gauge, you’ve got hoses, you got everything you need.
Steve Williamson: That’s awesome.
Danny Lipford: So, that’ll make it a little easier to keep everything running straight. But, you guys have been great the last couple of days, and hope we have satisfied everything you wanted here.
Tami Williamson: Most definitely.
Danny Lipford: And it’s been awesome working with you. Hope we can do it again.
Steve Williamson: Yeah.
Tami Williamson: Thank you.
Steve Williamson: Thank you.
Danny Lipford: Hey, there’s so many that you can improve the look of your garage, your closet or almost anything around your house with a little bit of organization, like we did here.
I’m Danny Lipford, we’ll see you next week, right here, on Today’s Homeowner.