I went over to a buddies house the other day to help him move some things out of his garage into off site storage. Once I arrived there, it was painfully obvious why the man needed some help moving stuff and even more obvious why he needed some more storage. He had the most backwards storage set up I'd ever seen for a garage. Sure, there were cabinets and shelves and even a nice looking bike rack mounted to the ceiling. But good luck getting over there to get it! And the cabinets looked like they were donated by the man's uncle who salvaged them from a home that was set to be demolished in the 1920's. In other words, I wouldn't stand too close to them if I were concerned about remaining alive.

All this got me thinking about the best way to set up functional, working garage storage systems. There's a few obvious principles my friend here let escape from his grasp.

The first one is the most obvious: you need to be able to get to your things. In other words, your storage system should make them accessible. Just throwing up a bunch of shelves and putting everything every which way isn't going to improve or organize anything. In a way, it just adds to the clutter.

You also need quality storage materials. There's no point in using stuff that's going to break down. If so, you might end up breaking the very things you're trying to store. Tools don't do well falling off of a 10 foot high shelf when it collapses from it's own weight. It also can get you into a lawsuit.

At the same time, you need some logic to your layout. By this I mean you need to be able to understand the design of things! You should be able to get to point A to point B without having to move a mattress, a cabinet, and a storage bin. What's the point of putting things into storage bins if you can't get to the storage bins themselves without moving more -you guessed it!- storage bins out of the way in the first place!

. . .

By the end of the day, I had given my buddy more than a lecture.

I gave him a helping hand, too!

We drew out some diagrams and sketched out a few different ideas on how to organize his garage. Now that we'd gotten some things out and into off site storage, he felt like there was some light at the end of the tunnel and that indeed, his garage storage system could be usable once again.