So, there is this rake that I have always just stashed in the corner of the garage since I have never really had a place to put it. It has sometimes ended up outside where I “forgot” about it, and it was left outside to weather in the Arizona heat. Over the honey-do’s and the projects around the house, I have amassed an arsenal of shovels, rakes, tampers, pickaxes, and hoes of all different flavors. Along with paint cans, tools, bins, sanders, compressors, and whatnot. Now I am left with, “Where the heck am I going to put all of this?”  

There are a lot of useful and creative ways to use the sidewalls of your garage for storage. From pegboards to shelving. From bike racks to clips and hooks. You can utilize that space and keep the garage tidy. Here are 12 ways to create garage storage using the sidewalls of your garage; all while allowing the car doors to open. 

Oftentimes the sidewalls in your garage are underutilized when it comes to storage options. I am not sure if we just consider the space “car door domain”, or if we are concerned about dinging something. But there are a lot of narrow options to allow the car doors to open while providing storage for your tools and other garage items.  

1. The Pegboard is a Mighty Friend 

A Pegboard can be very versatile. Putting up a 4×8 sheet of it and adding hooks to arrange your tools has been an option for many years but is still beyond relevant as a storage solution today. Pegboard gives you a lot of flexibility when it comes to your garage’s sidewall storage options because you can continuously alter the layout of hooks to fit your new tool arrangement. But I think you can be a lot more creative if you are going to use pegboard as a storage option in your garage. 

2. Stack Paint Cans and Buckets 

Stacking paint cans can have horrifying flashbacks of playing Tetris. When all you need it a straight piece to get a Tetris, yet the stupid game is bent on you getting those dumb “L” shaped pieces that don’t fit anywhere in your finely placed board… To make it worse, these things are round. Round?! You would think that with all our innovations that square paint cans would be somewhere towards the top of the list. . . I digress. 

Planning an area to stack your leftover paint and other items in the garage can help with your overall storage schematic. Having this storage line, the sides of the garage will allow for the back, and overhead storage options to stay clear for other items. Keep items like this along the floor if possible, especially if you are storing remains of 5-gallon bucks. It some cases, for space savings, you might want to transfer the remaining paint from a 5-gallon bucket into a 1-gallon bucket.  

3. Shelving for Bins 

Large bins are an easy way to store your items. We do this, which also allows us to store and sort our garden items, the kid’s toys, camping gear, and some of my wood scraps. Keeping bins like this in the garage allow for you to have one category of items out without having to rummage through your tools, the kids’ toys, and the mounds of Christmas decorations that you probably should have gone through last year, or the year before . . .  

After having your garage life separated into bins, you then need a place to store said bins. I have seen this laid out a few different ways when it comes to storing large bins on the sidewalls of your garage. Generally, they are either on the ground with shelving built above so that other items can be stowed away without increasing the storage footprint larger than what the bins are already creating. The other is having the bins overhead on shelving near the ceiling.  

If the bins can be stored near the floor, this is the best scenario since often your junk in your trunk…er…bins can be rather heavy. For those of us with the basic 20’x20’ garage, more creativity may be needed. We ended up going with these shelves from New Age Products, click here, which allow us to install shelving near the ceiling, out of the way of the cars. 

4. Bike Storage Options 

Bikes can take up a ton of space if you are not intentional with how to store them. There are several options that you can choose, depending on your space. There are hooks, and racks, and poles, OH MY! Any one of these options will be able to get your bikes off the ground and out of the walkway. Make sure the bikes are accessible, especially for smaller kids who might be either too short or not strong enough to get their bike off the rack or hook. 

5. Magnets for Tools 

OK, I never really thought about using magnets, or how they might be able to help me sort and store my tools; but this is awesome. I have used these magnets in a couple of different areas in the garage. There are a couple located on the sides of our new storage cabinets. We also put a few on the side of the metal shelving and screwed a few other magnetic bars into the wall. 

When it came to the tools, I wanted to store using these magnet bars, my thought was to use tools that I use often and might need on hand several times throughout a project. Being a woodworker, having my small squares, screwdrivers, snips, files, and rasps on hand and easy to grab, it helps keep the tools in order and easily accessible.  

6. Planter Boxes are for More than Plants 

Planter boxes bring a lot of storage options to the table. This idea for us originated from my wife and mother-in-law who had these fancy wrought iron planter baskets hanging in our nursery next to the changing table. (Very “shabby chic,” they said. Whatever that means.) These hangers housed our diapers, wipes, the booger sucker, and if a catastrophe happened… an extra onesie. They were cute, fit the room, and not being brave enough to go against the mother-in-law, something that stayed up for all three of our kids. 

Using planter baskets or boxes for more than plants in the garage gives you options. I have them near the entry door into the house and the side access door in the garage.  Currently, we have our zip ties, jars with odds and ends that we need easy access to, my work gloves, and tools that I use inside the house rather often on standby in these boxes. It makes it simple and quick to just open the door, grab what I need, and get to the honey-do that I discovered waiting for me when I get home from work. 

7. Consolidate Items 

I am guilty of thinking that I consolidate items until my wife goes behind me and show me the error of my ways. I naturally put like-minded things in the same general area. Pen blanks, and next to pen kit, next to assorted drill bits, next to bushings set with specific diameters based on the pen I am making. This made sense to me. It made sense but took a lot of space because everything had their own given bin that spanned across the worktable. My wife purchased me a few new plastic toolboxes (think more like tackle boxes), and she condensed these bins into one toolbox. This saved tons of space and makes it easier for me to find things when I get the itch to work on the lathe. All I need to do now is pull out the toolbox and have it on the ready. This saves time and keeps me from continuously opening and closing the garage cabinet. 

8. Clips and Hooks 

There are a ton of ways garage clips and hooks can be beneficial in your garage storage endeavors. From hanging up your ladders to rakes shovels and the like. From making a place for your power tools to hanging your chisels in arms reach. There are several things you can implement to find space and give your garage items their place. 

9. Get Your Cords in Order 

There are few things more irritating than trying to untangle a power cord; especially when you need it. Being intentional when winding and storing these cords can make it a breeze for the next time they are needed. If you are needing some additional ideas for how to wrangle these pesky cords, check out these items on Amazon. 

10. Overhead Shelving 

Depending on the height of your garage, shelving that is above head height might be an idea for increasing the overall storage that you can get from the sidewalls of your garage. Make sure to use this upper area when you are planning the storage layout for your garage. If you are wanting to look into more options for overhead garage storage, check out these articles that go into more depth on the topic. 

11. Garage Cabinets 

There are few things sleeker looking in your garage than some nice cabinets. It allows you to store the tools and it keeps everything in order. The cabinets have a clean profile and are easy to keep the area clean and tidy. Depending on what you purchase, some of the smaller cabinets have wheels so you are taking the tools to your project, and everything stays in its space, which will help you be more productive, and cleanup is a snap. 

When it comes to garage cabinets for the sidewalls of your garage, there are a few things you need to consider. First, if you are going to use this as a work area, and you are expecting to use power tools, lights, and the like. Make sure your garage has power outlets on the sidewalls you will either need to make some other accommodations, run another outlet, rearrange the garage layout (speaking from experience…). Second, make sure you are not making a hazard you (or your spouse…) might run into when they pull into the garage. The standard garage is 20’ wide, with typically 16ish inches on either side of the garage door. Most cabinets are 18”+ so act accordingly. If you are really thinking about getting some garage cabinets to help with your garage storage, check out our article on How to Choose the Right Garage Storage Cabinets.

12. Vertical Storage for Tools 

Finally getting back to that rake from the beginning of the article. There are several ideas out there to hang your longer tools like rakes and shovels. Having them stored along the sidewalls of your garage will allow for them to get out of the way, get them off the ground, and won’t be a safety concern for the little ones who might be playing in the garage while you work. 

There are several options that you can consider conserving surface area while making the most use of your space. Depending on how else you are using your space, you can hang the tools either vertically or horizontally. Another thought, since rakes, for example, are only wide at one end, you might be wasting a lot of space around the handle, is to stagger the height of the tools allowing for them to be close together. 

If you are a super DIYer, the options are endless and there are lots of different things that you can do to store these types of tools. For me, because of how inexpensive some of these storage systems are, I just did my research, checked out reviews, purchased on Amazon, and slapped it onto the garage sidewall.