Get Your Garage in Order

garagephoto2Broken bones, deep wounds requiring stitches, near asphyxiation, these horrible traumas can happen from playing sports.

But if you’ve ever tripped over the Ripstick, cut your hand on an errant hockey skate or nearly fainted from the stench of sweat-infused, mold-breeding football equipment, you know that injuries can occur without ever putting on the pads. You can end up in the ER just from trying to take out the trash. And really, that does not make for a good story.

So if you want do something radical, like actually park your car in the garage this winter, it helps to manage the ensuing chaos from multiple family members’ bikes, scooters, golf clubs and sporting equipment.

And it can be done on the cheap.

Do it yourself

With help of a handyman, Jennifer Farber, a Glenview interior designer and mother of 2 multi-sport playing children, transformed her 2-car garage from a hazardous obstacle course to a well-organized space—all for under $500.

“I looked at the Elfa catalogs and saw these pretty garages, but I needed mine to be functional for my family—something to help deal with the kids’ Razor scooters and the multitude of balls” Farber says.

Her first priority: Get stuff off the ground and improve the walkable space.

At the local home improvement store, she purchased a combination track and pegboard systems to install both hooks and shelves. (Complete wall systems can also be ordered online at and


Putting her husband’s paddle tennis equipment and golf clubs up high, she installed low baskets, so the kids could easily access their high-demand items. Additionally, she took all the non-essential clutter down to their mechanical room.

“My son plays baseball almost every day,” Farber says. “But how often do I need the old paint cans?”

Get professional help

For those of us who are not do-it-yourselfers, (I always want to know if someone has “a guy” I can call), there’s plenty of professional help.

A number of companies, such as Garage Tek and California Closets,  specialize in full-scale garage organization, with all the bells and whistles including built-in sports lockers, multi-level shelving systems, wall-mounted bike racks and free-standing “drying trees” for wet hockey and football equipment.

Here’s the big shocker, though: This option is not cheap.

“Typically a complete garage organization runs between $2,500-$3,500,” says Sally Schulman, owner of the White Rabbit Garage Organizers in Deerfield.

White Rabbit can install a full gym locker system, so each child has their own space for their sporting equipment.

“You want to give each child their own space and introduce the whole concept of organization,” Schulman says.

Whether or not you hire a professional organizer, Schulman recommends tackling the bicycle storage issue as one of your first projects. Bikes take up a disproportionate amount of floor space and often restrict your ability to open car doors freely.

“With a combination of wall-mounted and ceiling-hung bike racks, you can store 4 bikes using the floor space of only one,” Schulman says.

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