In my neighborhood, every house comes with a garage. However, most of the people do not park their cars in garages – they are filled with stuff. Cars and RVs are all over driveway or on the street. People also seem to own lots of cars – neighbors on our street have on average 4 cars + a trailer/boat/RV per house, which is typically occupied by a couple.


Our house comes with a two-car garage (video tour here). It was built in early 1960’s, when American homes just started to expand their garages from one-car to two-car ones. “Oversize garage” was not a thing back then, so our garage is very compact, merely 18′ x 21′. The garage opening is just wide enough to squeeze both of our cars in, leaving 14″to the left wall and 10″ on the right. After parking both cars, there is only about 6 feet left in front of the cars.

We hope to use our garage to park two cars in winter, so we do not have to go in and out of our cars in snow and sleet. It is a bit challenging since we also need to set up a workshop in the garage. Most importantly, we need some place for shoes and ski/snowboarding gears, so we are not tracking all the snow and mud into our kitchen:


As you can see, the garage door (wood color) directly leads to our kitchen, and there is no mudroom area in between.

The strategy we came up with is to install skinny shelves and coat rack on the side walls (northern wall on the left, and southern wall to the right), so all the sporting goods, muddy boots, and paint cans could be lifted off the floor. The 6 feet space in front of the cars (the eastern wall) will be dedicated to a garage workshop.


It will look something like this:


When we drive in from the garage door, there should be no obstacles on either side of the cars:


Our goal is to get the garage organized and get our winter gears unpacked in October, before the ski season officially starts. Unexpectedly, a recent water heater breakdown delayed our work in the garage, and Colorado surprised us with an early snowfall:


Fortunately, winter has not officially started yet and we still have some 60 degree days. So as soon as the tankless water heater was installed, we started working in the garage. The first project we tackled, was to create a paint storage on the Southern wall:


We paint everything ourselves and have accumulated quite some supplies. There is only 10″ behind the garage door opening/track, making it a perfect spot for storing paint cans and small supplies.


I started by moving everything out of the way. Most of the things at this corner are paint-related, so the goal was to mount some narrow shelves on the wall and re-organize everything on the shelves. The only thing we got rid of is the white storage shelf, which barely stands by itself. It was left by the previous owner in our laundry room, and we moved it out when we installed our own washer and dryer.

We happened to have some 11″ wide boards that are in good shape. So I marked the studs and Slav took care of the drilling:


These shelves needed to support quite some paint cans so we used every studs on the entire span to support them. We got these brackets from Habitat for Humanity for a quarter each, a pretty good deal if you ask me.

After some organization, here is the finished paint wall. Everything is in a single layer and easy to access:


Paint cans, stains, spray paint, and paint thinner and stripper are on the left:


Brushes, rollers, sand blocks, and drop cloth are on the right.


The shelves were mounted at eye level for easy access, so we had enough room for Slav’s winter tires at the bottom:


These tires are only 8″ wide so they are well behind the track of the cars.

We purposely mounted the shelves lower due to my height – I do 95% of the painting at home, so the goal is to make sure that I can take a heavy paint can up and down the shelf safely without a ladder.


All of the good paint brushes were kept in a bag, hanging on the left to the shelves. Slav’s dad was a professional painter/contractor. We inherited so many tools and all his paint supplies when he passed away. I can see how carefully he protected his paint brushes and how clean he kept them. I try to continue caring for his brushes the same way he did.


So here you have it, our paint wall! It has made my work so much easier – I can find anything I want with a glance and grab them with ease. When I need to spray paint a door or something big, I just put a plastic sheet over the shelves and spray away. Being the farthest corner to the kitchen door and right next to the garage opening, this corner provides the best ventilation in the garage.

Do you have a designated paint corner? How do you store your paint in winter? Do tell!