If your neighborhood is swimming with kids riding bikes, and basketballs bouncing down the street, it’s likely that your garage resembles a sports closet rather than a place to park. With bikes, bats, balls and yard toys abundant, you may not even have room to park your vehicle. Get your garage in tip-top shape with storage solutions that'll keep your kids' toys well-organized.
Eliminate the need for floor space with hanging mechanisms that will send bulky bikes up, up and away. With easy-to-use hooks that can be drilled into the garage walls, provide a designated space for each child’s bike, notes Kenneth Walter, an interior designer based in Chicago. "Bike hooks can be placed high or low, depending on your child’s height," says Walter. "Obviously, little ones need their bikes hung low or left on the garage floor until they are big and strong enough to do it themselves." To determine the appropriate level, measure the height of your child's bike before securing hooks.
If bouncy balls and bats are cluttering the driveway, keep them in a safe place with inexpensive adjustable metal shelves against a garage wall, says Walter. “The plus is that they are inexpensive," he says, "but, on the other hand, you do have to put them together."
Metal shelves can be constructed in a variety of heights, with removable and adjustable shelves to make room for bulky toys. Stock heavily used items, such as sporting equipment, games, puzzles and bike accessories, at your child's eye level or add a few more shelves up high for Mom and Dad's tools. When organizing the space, Walter recommends keeping like items together: Designate an area for bike pumps and helmets, another for balls, bats and spikes, and another for goggles, fins and swimming boards.
Ensure your kids park their bikes in just the right spot by painting parking spots in your garage or driveway. Border each spot with white paint or sidewalk chalk, or line orange cones strategically so that every bike or ride-on toy has a parking spot, says Bonnie Joy Dewkett, certified professional organizer in Connecticut and author of 50 Tips to Get You Organized—In Ten Minutes or Less.
Get the kids involved with creating these designated parking spots by making “reserved for” signs and coloring in the spaces with sidewalk chalk. You don’t have to remind your children continuously to put away their bikes when they feel special enough to have a reserved parking space.
Your children may enjoy playing outdoors or in the garage, but when it comes to tidying up the space, they may not be as eager to be outside. Make tidy time fun by storing toys in decorative totes and bins. Dewkett recommends using laundry baskets for outdoor toys stored in the garage. Let each child decorate a basket with paint or stickers so they know which toys go in which bin. Keep dirt and grime to a minimum by drilling holes in the bottom of each basket so sand and dirt don’t build up, says Dewkett. Colorful plastic totes on metal shelves or wood built-ins will also keep toys in place.