Step 1: Be sure to set aside a realistic amount of time to work on this big project. I find that it’s best to set aside 3 days to work on your garage. That gives you two full days to sort, and one day to buy the products you need and set them up.
Step 2: It’s best to sort the garage on a sunny day and have the driveway clear so you can sort into categories using all that open space. You can either sort everything into categories first (e.g. Christmas stuff, camping gear, sports equipment, memorabilia, tools, car repair, etc.) and then visit each category to decide what you want to keep. Or you can pick up each object one at a time, decide if you want to keep it, and then put it in the proper category. Either way works fine.
Step 3: Once you have finished with all of your sorting, analyze your piles and decide how best to store each category. Does most of the stuff need to live in big Rubbermaid bins on a shelf? Or is it so big that you need to simply stack it neatly in one entire shelving unit (camping gear can often be this way). Do you need pegboard (useful for the tools you want at your fingertips in your workspace)? Hooks on the wall? I often get ideas looking through Pinterest, Instagram and The Container Store’s website.
Step 4: If you have garage-based hobbies, carve out some space to work in the garage. Decide how big of a work space you need and where it will be. Do you need a table? If so, how big does the table need to be? Do you need access to electrical outlets? Do you need to be by the window for light or near the door for ventilation?
Step 5: Make your list, buy your organizing products and set them up in your garage. Your garage should look pretty darn organized at this point! Don’t worry if you realize that you could get things even a bit more organized down the line. Sometimes when we organize enormous spaces like garages, we notice little tweaks we can make to the organization weeks and months later — specialty electrical cord ties, handmade drill battery organizers, that specialty bracket for holding your snowboard. Those are small changes that are easy to make once all of the main sorting and organizing is finished. Organization is often an ongoing process as we learn more ways to store very specific things.