It seems like organizing your garage can be a never ending task. Here’s a way to simplify garage organization by using an old dresser to organizing the garage!
It seems like organizing your garage can be a never ending task. Lots of companies make millions of dollars selling all kinds of storage systems to try to make your garage just a little bit more organized. OK I’m about to confess — We’ve had this problem, too! I know, it’s hard to believe, isn’t it? The cool thing is we found a great organization tool that cost us nothing…
We have a dresser that was given to us by a relative. It’s an old 1970’s style dresser with nine drawers. It is about three feet tall, eight feet wide and two feet deep. It was one of those pieces of furniture that makes one wonder, “Why would anyone ever have bought that?” It had the faux wood countertop on top and the drawer faces were covered with those really tacky twirly relief patterns people really liked in the 70’s. Still, much to my husband’s surprise, I could see the value in it!
I painted it black (except for the wood top) and then put in the garage to store stuff. Even my husband has been surprised to see how well it has worked out for us. Here’s what I did:
First, I designated each drawer as a place for one category of supplies, and I marked each drawer with a little index card that I stapled to the front of the drawer with a staple gun.
One drawer is for electrical items. This includes outlets, outlet covers, electrical testing equipment, wire crimpers, lamp pieces and any other electrical thing we are likely to use. (Just as with any organizing, don’t save stuff you’ll never use just because you can ;-)
We have a drawer for paint supplies: roller handles, paint brushes, sand paper and such. (We don’t keep paint there — We have a separate small plastic shelf unit with our stash of paint.)
The top left drawer is our nail and screw drawer. We have two plastic embroidery floss organizers, each with twenty or so slots. We use one organizer for nails and the other for screws. When both of these containers are in the drawer, there is still room for a few whole boxes of the nails and screws we use most often.
We seem to have problems with cords, so one drawer is just for cords. It includes a few lamp cords, cable wire, phone wire and other cords. I make each one into a coil and slide it into a toilet paper roll to keep it separate from the others. My husband likes to just wind each one up and wrap it like a noose.
There is a drawer that includes nothing but batteries, one for glues and adhesives and another dedicated exclusively to light bulbs.
Another drawer is for miscellaneous hardware. This is the drawer for felt chair legs, baby locks, door stops and all kinds of other items that don’t have homes in any of the other drawers.
We also have one drawer set aside for miscellaneous tools. This drawer is for those tools that we don’t use every day, but that come in handy every now and then. We use it for things like pipe wrenches, channel locks, a wire brush and extra socket sets.
On top of the dresser, I placed several small rectangular plastic containers the size of shoe boxes. One has hammers and such, one has screwdrivers, one has pliers and crescent wrenches. I have four or five of these all together. Essentially, they contain the tools we use most often. This arrangement also leaves us a little counter space on the dresser.
Using an old dresser for this purpose has made life so easy! I see them all the time at garage sales for $10. This is well worth the price for the amount of storage you can get and if you like to find new uses for things that otherwise might hit the landfill, an old dresser might just do the trick!
Think outside the box!
We received this reader response after this story first appeared:
I recently saw your ” Use a Dresser to Organize Your Garage!” article (from Living on a Dime) on The Dollar Stretcher, and I just had to laugh because I believe I own your dresser’s little brother. It is a horrific, brown, 8′ wide, 1.5′ deep, billion-pound monstrosity with eight drawers that are so shallow that you cannot fit two stacked sweatshirts inside. My mother-in-law is to blame.
We have considered getting rid of it many times, particularly when we had last moved. However, at the same time, I was struggling to find space for all of my cookware, bakeware, and servingware; I do a great deal of cooking and baking, but my apartment kitchen is small and has very few cabinets. I had hoped to find an armoire-type cabinet to house it all, but even the unaffordable pieces weren’t deep enough to accommodate most of my pans and large dishes and platters.
And then I had a brainstorm. I pushed the monstrosity against the wall of the dining room area (a feat in itself) , filled the drawers with shallow pots, pans, baking sheets, muffin tins, serving dishes, etc, separating stacked items with bubble wrap, and covered the top with a long silk scarf and seasonal candles. It’s not quite as elegant as a traditional “server,” but it’s camouflaged well enough that people generally ignore it, and it will serve us at least until we are able to save enough to buy a house. Maybe some day I will even paint it.
It’s nice to know that I’m not the only person in the world who has given new life to an inherited monstrosity.