Weekend Project: How to Organize Your Garage

Is your garage packed with stuff that you hardly ever use? You might not even know what’s in there, especially if you’ve been parking in the driveway. Maybe it’s time to tackle organizing the garage for your next weekend project. It might not be considered fun, but it will be rewarding once it’s done! Follow these tips from Callen Construction, Milwaukee’s leading exterior remodeling company, to get this space into shape.

Weekend Project: How to Organize Your GarageChoose a Weekend for Organizing the Garage

Don’t let the idea of giving up an entire weekend to work on this project keep you from doing it. If you follow the tips provided here, you may even get it done in a single day!

Create a Plan

Before you start, identify the items that you need to store in your garage. Sort all items into three categories: keep, donate, and discard. Sorting your items by category allows you to see how much stuff you have. If you take out all items that don’t belong in there, your organizing job will be that much easier to manage.

Purchase Shelves, Hooks, Tubs & Pegboards

Think ahead and stock up on shelving, pegboards, hooks, and plastic bins to help you store materials neatly. Make sure you take measurements before you purchase to ensure everything will fit on walls and in the storage space you have available.

Group Items and Choose a New Layout

Now that you know what you will keep, you can figure out the best layout for your garage. Hang cords, tools, and other frequently used items from hooks or pegboards. Place like items in stackable plastic bins and store neatly on shelves.

Perfect! Now that you’ve redesigned your garage, you might have noticed that your siding needs replacing or your entry doors should be repaired before winter. If so, Call Callen at 414-765-2585 for a free estimate on any exterior remodeling project. After all, the only thing better than a well-organized garage is a well-maintained home exterior that makes you proud every time you pull in the driveway!



Storage Is a Top Concern

nexttoovenBy Jeff Billstrom

For many of us, we buy – and save – too much, so storage is always at a premium. As a result, we get calls from homeowners who want to expand their storage area, maximize their living space, and be organized. There are many ways to gain space in garages and attics, and reutilize space more efficiently in closets and kitchen pantries.


For many homeowners, the garage has become a storage locker instead of a place to park cars. Adding a third stall or building another two-car garage can certainly maximize storage and get the cars back where they should be.

One of the important elements to consider when adding to or extending the structure of the home is to make sure it blends with the original house, and not look like something was just tacked on with mismatched materials. For example, how old is the existing roof? If the shingles are 20 years old, you need to consider updating the rest of the roof. Also, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to match 20-year-old siding. So to make the addition cohesive, you need to consider whether you should update the exterior elements of the entire house.

Some municipalities have architectural reviews so that does come into play when obtaining building approval. When we present to a review board, they always ask if the siding will match, will the window style match, will the roofline match with the existing pitch and shingle? Areas like Whitefish Bay and Wauwatosa are very sensitive in keeping the integrity of homes’ architecture and aesthetics consistent.

Another thing to consider when utilizing space above the garage, whether newly built or remodeled, is the strength of the trusses. Many garages are not built to store things above. They are only engineered to hold the walls so they don’t spread from the roof load above it.  If that space is to be used for storage, it requires additional structure to the floor system to make sure it won’t end up on top of the car.

When we build garages, we recommend trusses to be engineered for future use for either living space or storage space. “Storage” trusses have a heavier bottom portion, similar to a floor joist, which will handle heavier loads.

Access is another key point. If you are going to be retrieving items regularly, then accessible stairs, whether a pull down staircase or walk up stairs, are needed as well as lighting to see what and where objects are placed.


As with garages, attic floor load is a consideration. They are also structural and made to hold up the weight of themselves and the drywall that is underneath. They aren’t intended to be a storage space.  However, with some structural engineering, they can be made useful.

Many older homes in Milwaukee are the Cape Code style, which have attics with angled ceilings, four-foot knee walls, and a crawl space. That space can easily be opened up, insulated, and lighted to create storage. We can add shelving, closet poles, and other organizers to give you the space you need.

cornerClosets and Pantries

Among the products Callen offers are closet organizers that make storing clothes and other items more accessible and organized. When homeowners have us do that, we are told how much they enjoy the simple improvement.

Often we find that in older homes, there are deep pantries that are really only usable for the first six inches, because you can’t reach farther back. That’s further compounded by not knowing what exactly is in those unreachable spots. The solution is to install roll-in shelves or a pantry-style cabinet and utilize lazy Susans in corner cabinets.

In any storage solution, maximizing space versus accessibility is the key.