When you step into your garage to find a hammer to hang a picture or a cooler for the family outing, take a look around your garage. Is your garage welcoming or does it make you feel that things have gotten a bit out of control? Are you able to find things easily?

Most people feel discouraged by their garages at some point, and considering all the things that garages hold-seasonal gear, recreation equipment, tools, toys, pantry overflow, gardening supplies, auto accessories, and more-it is no wonder why! A warm summer day or weekend is a great time to clear out your garage and finally get it organized. Here are eight tips to help your project be successful.

1. Know what you have in the garage. Before you start organizing or buy organizing tools and containers, determine what is calling your garage home. To be most effective, literally pull everything out of the garage and sort things in marked piles-camping, gardening, auto supplies, toys, bikes, etc.

2. Toss what you don’t use. Go through each pile you have created. You will run across items that are broken and of no value that can be thrown away or recycled. You will also find that there are items that are taking up space that are no longer of value to your family. Sell or donate these items.

3. Store like items together. Keep items you use for a particular activity in one area. For example, store all camping gear in one location of the garage.

4. Use plastic bins. Store like items in plastic containers. Clear bins offer a great solution when trying to find something quickly. Although bins are more costly than cardboard boxes, they are sturdier, keep your belongings cleaner and more protected, and keep out pests who love to chew through cardboard.

5. Re-purpose household containers. Reuse small food jars for small pieces like nails and screws. Silverware sorters can be used for scissors, twine, and other small tools.

6. Clear the floor. As much as possible, keep things hung, on shelves or in cabinets to keep the floor of the garage clear. This makes maintaining a clean garage much more manageable and better protects your belongings from water damage.

7. Use the rafters. If your garage has rafters, consider creating storage areas in the rafters to hold seasonal items-decorations, lawn chairs, snow shovels.

8.Label what things are and where they go. Label each box, cabinet, and container with bold lettering. Also consider taking photos or making a list of the items in the box. Slide this in a plastic sheet protector and tape to the front side of the box. Label on the wall where shovels, rakes, and other tools are hung so they can be easily replaced in the correct location.