25 Clever Uses for Everyday Items in the Garage

Upcycled decor is smart and savvy, so why save all the best ideas for inside the home? Give new life to old things by transforming them into smart storage for the garage.

July 31, 2019
By: Morgan Faulkner and Sharon Merritt

Photo By: Melissa George

Photo By: Melissa George

Photo By: Melissa George

Photo By: Blue i Style

Photo By: Mick Telkamp

Photo By: Loch & Key Productions

Photo By: Melissa George

Photo By: James Angus and Jamie Bolton, The Cavender Diary

Photo By: Melissa George

Photo By: Blue i Style

Photo By: James Angus and Jamie Bolton, The Cavender Diary

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Kelli Wilson

Photo By: Haydee Letonja

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Jamie Humphreys

Photo By: Melissa George

Photo By: Darla DeMarrow, HeartWork Organizing

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Michael Helander

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Jennifer Jones

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Michael Helander

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Jennifer Jones

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Brian Carlisle

Contained Chaos

Coffee to the rescue! Stop fighting with tangled twine and rope and store them in a coffee can instead. Cut a slit in the top of the can, and put your rope inside. Pull the end through the top for an easy dispenser.

Towel Rod Rack

A wall-mounted towel rack is a great solution for storing various clamps. Next time you replace a towel rod inside the house, save the old one for the garage!

Chain It Up

If you have a pile of tangled extension cords in your garage, try this inexpensive hack. Use 1' sections of chain to hang cords on a coat hook. Mount the coat rack on a stud or use wall anchors, and hang two cords from each hook to create wall storage.

Reuse and Repurpose

Don’t throw away your empty paint cans! Instead, upcycle old paint cans into garage storage to help organize painting supplies like brushes, tape and stir sticks.

Save $$$

Instead of shelling out hundreds of dollars for a slat wall storage system, make your own for (almost) free by repurposing a shipping pallet into a vertical tool rack. Then take a vacation with all the money you saved.

Get the How-To: Turn a Wooden Pallet Into a Garden-Tool Rack

Magnets, Magnets Everywhere

Use every inch of space on metal shelves by attaching unused magnets to small tools, paint samples and tin cans. Storing items this way keeps them clearly visible, utilizes empty space and improves functionality.

See More Photos: 55 Easy Garage Storage Ideas for Instant Organization

Storage Station

An old, sturdy golf bag makes a perfect storage station for gardening tools large and small. Rakes and shovels fit in the top, and the pockets are perfect for gloves, a bulb planter and other hand tools.

Basket of Blooms

Give an unused decorative basket new life by transforming it into a supply caddy. Attach to pegboard for an easy, grab-and-go storage solution.

Get Inspired: Organize Lawn and Garden Tools in the Garage

Contain With Ease

Bungee cords are a handy tool to have around. Turn an unused corner in your garage into sports equipment storage with the help of a few bungee cords, a board and other common supplies.

Get the How-To: How to Build Sports Equipment Storage

New Uses for Old Stuff

Finished with a jar of salsa or pickles? Don't throw it away just yet. Here, a red medicine cabinet rescued from a friend’s junk pile is filled with salsa jars that hold all that tiny hardware that can be easily lost.

Handy Hack

Stackable dog food containers are the perfect lidded recycling bins for the garage. Add labels to keep things separated as needed.

Upcycled Shoe Organizer

Use an over-the-door plastic shoe organizer to hold spray paint. You’ll be able to see all the paint colors available in one quick glance.

Not Just for the Kitchen

Knife magnet strips are the perfect way to store paintbrushes and tools. Use clean soup cans to store supplies such as smaller brushes and writing tools.

Toy Story

Kelli Wilson had a creative idea for keeping outdoor toys under control, and a lightweight hand-me-down shelf was the starting point. After adding a coat of white paint and some bright yellow trim to the shelf, she organized the kids' toys using inexpensive galvanized buckets. Kelli made fun and easy-to-read labels for each bucket so that finding and putting away toys would be a breeze. Plus, the shelf carries easily in and out of the garage for handy storage.

File Under Creative

A beat-up file cabinet was headed for the landfill until Haydee Letonja rescued it and transformed it into the perfect storage bin for her larger yard tools. Using spray paint, she painted it a bold red hue with white racing stripes on the front. The ends are sporting pegboard facades for even more handy storage. Haydee also added a wood plank to the bottom in order to attach casters, making her creation completely mobile for busy outdoor days.

Garden Gear Holder

Never lose a garden glove again with this handy DIY holder. Unused clothespins and a scrap piece of wood will keep all your garden gear right where you left it.

Space Saver

In small work areas, it's all about giving yourself a little elbow room. In Jamie Humphreys' garage, she accomplished that by using the space under the shelf. She fastened the lids of used salad dressing jars to the underside of the shelf with screws, filled the jars with tiny, easy-to-lose garage accessories and then screwed the jars back into place. Voila!

Hack It

Plastic window planters make the perfect storage containers. Mount them to the garage wall, and fill with spray paint cans and other materials.

See More Photos: 55 Easy Garage Storage Ideas for Instant Organization

Chic Recycled Containers

When it's time to plant your favorite spring flowers, the best containers may be sitting right in your garage. Designer Brian Patrick Flynn used galvanized metal trash cans and added casters and drainage holes to create a modern, portable container garden right on the patio.

Mark It and Park It

Clear up bike clutter by giving little ones their own "parking spot" in the garage with tape. Make it even more fun by hanging small signs painted with each child's name above the spaces.

Hubcap Hanger

Storage solutions don't get any simpler than this. For Michael Helander, space in the garage is a precious commodity. So, she created this hanging basket made from discarded hubcaps. She simply spray-painted the hubcaps black, attached a chain and hung up the finished "basket." This smart upcycling idea keeps items off the bench but still within reach in a clever way.

Can Do

Sure, you could lay down a few dollars for fancy storage containers, or you could just look in your kitchen cabinet. Organizing enthusiast Jennifer Jones added a little flair to her workbench with ordinary soup cans covered in decorative paper. They're perfect for storing often-used tools and supplies that you would like to keep close at hand.

Artful Gardening

Michael Helander sees potential in just about everything she finds. Here, she has created a grab-and-go garden tool rack from reclaimed wood, a piece of driftwood and an old wire basket. And just for a decorative touch, she added the floret made from a glass plate decoupaged with magazine pages.

Super Seed Storage

No more searching the garage for those seeds you didn't end up planting last season. An empty tissue box is all you need to keep seed packets organized and easy to spot. After covering the empty box with floral-patterned paper, Jennifer Jones whipped up a pretty label using leftover scrapbooking materials. Now when spring rolls around, you'll know exactly where to turn for those wildflower seeds.

Clocking In

Just because you're having fun out in the garage, you don't want to be late for dinner. What better way to tell time at the workbench than with a license-plate wall clock? Brian Carlisle used these colorful old Illinois plates and some vintage wooden dominoes to make this quirky timepiece. The weights were made with antique doorknobs, and it's topped off with a decorative brass piece.

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