Home: Domain: Before + After: Garage Redo

An Ambler two-car gets organized

It’s the room that, more than any other, has the potential to become a chronic, raging junk heap. As they moved into their home in Ambler, Theresa and Joe Dowd flooded their garage with kids’ toys and bikes, boxes they hadn’t unpacked, and any other items they just didn’t know where to put. To save them from themselves, they called in mess maven and marketing director for the area chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers, Darla DeMorrow, owner of HeartWork Organizing. The finished space not only adds a tidy, functional room to their new home, but it’s also a place to — believe it — park a car or two.

A pretty potting area provides a place to garden — even on rainy days. On the metal shelving: For non-DIYers, a neat tool bag is better than an unwieldy chest — it can hold enough for minor projects and repairs, and it’s portable. Labeled bins keep storage organized and prevent the shelving from becoming a junk catch-all.

Since the Dowds use the garage as the primary entranceway, they requested a mudroom area for the kids’ backpacks and outerwear. Each of their three children has an assigned space in this black wooden locker from Ballard Designs, with drawers below and wicker bins above for added storage. Gladiator GearTrack racks with adjustable hooks keep bikes and sports equipment organized and off the floor — and were less expensive and easier to install than an entire wall system or pegboards. “They wanted their kids to be able to put their toys away,” says DeMorrow. “Plus, kids will play with toys more when they’re easy to find.”