Well, friends. We did it. It only took us a decade of homeownership, but we finally have an organized workshop. FINALLY! And today, I’m sharing all of our garage workshop organization tips because goodness knows I’ve had a lot of practice.
I have tried a lot of different storage solutions in our workshop, I’ve made a lot of mistakes and I’ve finally landed on a workshop storage plan that actually seems like it’s sustainable.
Let’s back up for a moment.
Because, honestly, I feel like if you don’t go on this quick journey with me you won’t understand exactly why this is such a big deal. Because, we’ve tried. We’ve tried to have an organized workshop. For a long time. And we just haven’t ever managed to nail it.
- In our first house, we were lucky enough to have a backyard workshop. We managed to get the garage itself organized not too long before we moved, but the actual workshop? It never quite got there.
- In our second house, I declared we’d finally have an organized garage…and I made some good efforts…but it too was a disaster when it was time to move.
- And then, we got here. I swore we’d start with an organized garage but life got in the way and even though we tried to get organized a few times, we were just putting a bandaid on things.
NOW….we did it.
And after three houses and ten literal years of trying to get an organized workshop, I have a thing or two to say about workshop organization. So settle in and get ready for some tips that I learned the hard way. Hopefully you can get here a little faster than I did.
garage workshop organization tips
Start with a plan – for the entire space
This here is the top tip that I’ve learned. It’s the key to good workshop organization! And, not doing this is what caused so many issues for us. You see, we always tried to solve one problem at a time. You may even remember that when we first moved into this house, I declared I was organizing my garage “one wall at a time.” Yeah, don’t do that.
Instead, sit down and make a list of all the categories of things you need to organize in your workshop. It’ll probably be a long list. Include things like:
- Glue + Adhesives
- Nails + Screws
- Power tools + their accessories
- Hand tools
- Scrap plywood and other scraps
Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Basically, make a list of every single thing that will need a spot in your garage.
THEN, start planning your layout and organization system…and make sure that every single thing on your list gets covered!
If you do all of this before you even start working in your garage, you’re a lot more likely to end up with an organization system that you can actually stick to, because everything has a place.
consider mobile tool stands
Some people get really ambitious and build fancy tool stands for their miter saw, table saw, and more.
I considered that, but honestly just buying a really simple folding miter saw stand was so much easier and even more effective. I’m able to keep our miter saw off to the side of the garage and fully out of the way when I don’t need it. And when I do? It only takes me about 30 seconds to pull it out and set it up! You just push a lever, pull the handle, and pop it up and into place!
We love this system so much, in fact, that we sold our big fancy table saw and are planning on replacing it with a similar setup. When we do, it’ll go right next to the miter saw (where all of those empty storage bins are right now). Since getting this mobile miter saw stand, we’ve set it up in the backyard for projects, we’ve brought it to friends’ houses for projects, and I’ve set it up all over the garage depending on where I needed it. It’s so much easier than having it stuck in one place, and I highly recommend trying it!
Plus, did I mention how much space it saves?!
use those walls!
You may notice that just about every square inch of wall space is covered in some sort of storage. From clamp racks to cabinets to pegboards and bike hooks, we’ve got it all.
Why? Because wall storage leaves you more room on the floor for activities!
If you’re able to get more of your tools, equipment, and junk up on the walls and off the floor, it allows you so much more space to actually work in your garage, and keeps things looking and feeling cleaner.
Plus, it’s much easier for things to feel like they have “a spot” when there’s a dedicated hook or shelf or rack for them!
A quick note: Be sure to always use an anchor or drill into the studs when you’re adding wall storage! You don’t want things to fall down!
while you’re at it – use the ceiling!
I also highly recommend trying out some storage racks that hang from the ceiling joists!
These are one of my favorite things to use for workshop organization, simply because of how much space they’ve saved us. We used to have a giant shelving system (where our board games are currently, but it was larger) and it held a ton of stuff that we honestly didn’t use all that often.
Instead, we added these ceiling storage racks and moved almost everything from the shelves up here. It’s incredible how much they can hold, and it’s so nice to have the things we don’t need often tucked out of the way. It’s really easy to grab the ladder to pull things down when I need them, and I love that there’s no visual clutter when the garage door is open (which is how I prefer to work most of the time).
Be sure to add labels to any hardware bins that you put up here – it’s easiest if you can see what you need from the ground! I have mine stuck to the lid of the bins, and I made them large enough that I can easily read them from below.
Have a plan to keep it clean
It’s hard to stay excited about clean and organized workspaces when all of your storage areas and work surfaces are covered in sawdust, no?!
We have a large dust collection system in the corner of our garage that has been a lifesaver. The giant vacuum can reach basically the entire garage floor, and we can also set it up to attach to various tools around the garage, so it can clean up as we work.
It’s a genius system and saves us a lot of time. If you don’t want to go that big, though, just make sure you have a good shop vac and. that you use it often… a key piece of an organized workshop (especially if it’s a small space) is keeping it clean!
Consider adding cabinets
I heard mixed reviews from those of you who have cabinets in your garage when I said I was adding these, but they’ve been in for about a month now and I have to say I am a huge fan of them.
These cabinets hold so much stuff, and I just love that it’s all closed storage so it really reduces the feeling of clutter in the garage!
What all is in these cabinets?
- All of our power tools
- Batteries for said power tools (drills, circular saws, jigsaws, etc)
- Hardware (nails, screws, staples, anchors, etc)
- Cleaning supplies and shop towels
- All of our extra paint and stain
- Gloves and safety equipment
- Glue and adhesives
- A ton of random tools and supplies we don’t need to access often
And I still have multiple empty shelves to fill!
You might notice that one of the cabinets is still missing a drawer – we got these secondhand from Facebook and I keep meaning to go check our local ReStore for one, but I haven’t gotten around to it. For now, it’s a good place to feed the power cord for all of our battery chargers, though, so I’m not in a rush.
After all, it’s just a workshop. It’s ok if a drawer is missing!
Invest in a good workbench
We splurged on this fancy metal workbench a few years back, and it was one of the best purchases we’ve made! Opening the drawers to see all of our random tools and hardware perfectly lined up (and staying in place because of the fancy drawer liners) is one of the best feelings ever!
I’m able to store so much stuff in this thing, and I work on it all the time. We also have an extension cord running to it, so we’re able to use the power strip on the side of it whenever we need to. It’s one of my favorite features of it, because it means I’m never very far from an outlet and don’t have to go searching for the best place to plug something in – it’s right at my workbench!
Make it cute!
Finally (and this tip may not be for everyone), I’m a huge believer that your workshop space needs to make you smile.
I mean, what’s more fun to work in: a bland and boring space, or one that’s filled with color and fun and all the things you love?
I had a blast painting murals all over the walls in our garage, and it’s hands down my favorite part of the garage. It feels so much more enjoyable to be out here working with so much joy surrounding me, and I feel more creatively inspired when I’m working in a space like this!
I love it so much, in fact, I convinced my friend Parisa to let me add a board & batten accent wall in her garage. Because WHY NOT make it a space you love being in?!
It feels so good to have a clean slate in here. I know this little ol’ renovation isn’t quite as fun as many other room makeovers, but this workshop organization project is a little bit life-changing for us and will make future projects so much easier. I mean, I can actually access my work bench…and I have more than one workstation in here! It feels so fancy!
Here are a few of the products that were the real MVPs when it came to our garage workshop organization journey. If you see anything above that I didn’t link, let me know and I’ll be sure to add it!