I spent some time recently looking at the huge pile of stuff in my garage. Actually, I was forced to look at it as I couldn't find my small air compressor that I normally use to fill air into bicycle tires. After wading through bags of fertilizer, garden supplies, car parts and fluids, etc. searching for the compressor, I finally had enough. I was determined to get organized. The bigger question was how was I going to do it?

It turns out, one of my neighbors became my inspiration. As I was walking our family dog the other night, I passed his garage which he had left open. Inside was my answer! My neighbor had ingeniously built a simple rack out of 2 X 4's and plywood that spanned the entire back wall of his garage. On the racks he had placed cheap plastic storage boxes full of all the same "stuff" that I had been struggling to search through.

Now I'm not extremely handy, so I'm not sure I am going to build a rack for these storage boxes. However the thing I like about these particular storage containers is that they are stackable (with the lids on of course). My neighbor obviously put some thought into building his shelving system, but I don't really have that kind of patience. I just want a quick easy solution to my storage challenge.

The other problem I have is that my garage floor is severely cracked from the freeze/thaw cycles that we go through here in the midwest. That means that water gets into my garage no matter how hard I try to prevent it. Thus I can't use wooden storage boxes, or cardboard storage boxes...nope I need to use something that will protect the contents from the weather.

A couple of notes that I did make about my neighbor's garage storage boxes that I didn't personally agree with. The first is that he used solid plastic storage boxes from Rubbermaid which were blue and you couldn't see into. Thus, once the box was on the shelf, you would have to take it down and open it to see what was inside. If he had used a clear plastic storage box instead, he could have quickly looked at its contents from the floor of the garage and known where the Holiday Lights or the garden tools were at a glance.

The second thing that I will try to implement is not stack the storage boxes too high. My neighbor literally built a shelving system from floor to ceiling in his garage, and there is no way you could reach all his storage containers from just a standing position. A ladder would be needed to reach most of his boxes, and quite honestly, that is dangerous. If I keep my boxes stacked 3 high that should only come up to my chest. That's plenty high enough to maximze storage space, but also more importantly, not too high where I couldn't handle moving them around easily.

If you're thinking about a way to effectively use a plastic storage container wisely, I think considering your garage storage situation makes a lot of sense. I know I'm going to look today for a dozen or so storage boxes and get started!