Asked on Mar 31, 2019

How to get better use of this space?

Cindy Rubin
by Cindy Rubin

These are 2 pics of one space... it is the long narrow side room in my garage (can you believe they did not make a door at the end... :/). The room is only 5 ft wide by 22 ft long.

I have to have my washer & dryer there, the extra fridge a big family 'needs' & obviously, the most storage space I can get. In a dream world I would like to have a slop sink but I guess that's out of the question.

Also, how can I de-ugly it? (obviously my

q how to get better use of this space

the shelves on the right are built in to the wall. The covered shelves on the left shelves are temporarily there holding items for a yard sale. They will be removed soon... restoring my luxurious 5 ft wide space there.

q how to get better use of this space
  5 answers
  • Toolaholic Toolaholic on Mar 31, 2019

    This is one of those 'what were they thinking situations'. The best solution would be to remove a wall and re-configure the area depending what is on the other sides of the long walls. Assuming that is not a option, then removing the shelves and building in storage cabinets similar to pantry type units would make better use of the space. A small utility sink could be added as you already have water and drain pipes nearby. Move the refrigerator to the left, open up the walls behind the washer/dryer and around the corner and plumb for a sink on the wall. Replace the shelves above the washer/dryer with tall cabinets with adjustable shelving. The concrete floor could be re-finished using a epoxy paint system, many colors and finishes available. If the far end wall is an exterior wall, then adding an access door might be a possibility and create a mud room. Make a bench area and cubby's for shoes, boots and coats or whatever along part of the long wall. Hope this gives you a few ideas. Good luck.

  • Debi53 Debi53 on Mar 31, 2019

    There is a lot involved in this answer. First, you have to take everything (except appliances) out of this area. Go through and purge, purge, purge. Everything that can go somewhere else has to go. These shelves should be used for things you need access to. Long term storage should go elsewhere if that is possible. To 'de-ugly', I would paint this area a pretty color that you love. Make it your favorite color so that while you are doing laundry you are surrounded by a color that makes you happy. To streamline the space, I would paint the shelves and supports the same color. You could leave them white, but for ease I would just paint them the same as the wall (since it is a garage). About the shelves: to make things prettier, use matching containers. Also, clear containers are great for seeing what's inside, but add to the messy look. Solid containers all the same color reduce visual clutter. You can add labels to the outside so that you know what's inside. Put the single plastic drawer(s) that you have above the plastic drawers that are on the floor. Keep things grouped together by type of storage. Group all baskets together, all closed bins together, all drawers together. This will give blocks of color and shape instead of mismatched stuff everywhere. Even stuff in cardboard boxes will look better if all the boxes are grouped in one spot. If your store things like toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies, etc. in this space, group them together by type--all the paper products together, cleaning products together, you get the idea. Turntables are great for cleaning supplies, spray bottles, jars, etc. Turntables give you access to what's on the back of the shelf without having to move the things in front. Bed, Bath, & Beyond carry large turntables. I use these in lower cabinets in my kitchen and in my pantry.

    For functionality, I think you need a place to hang laundry. Add some fold away systems on the blank wall across from the fridge. Here are some links:,,

  • LK LK on Mar 31, 2019

    Might be an expense, However, if you were to put a stackable washer and dryer in there, would you be able to put your slop sink next to it? And what about some real cheery paint and a cheery indoor outdoor carpet/runner to perk it up? Is there a way to recess the wall behind the refrigerator? That seems to be sticking out into the walkway and if there’s room to cut out the wall behind it so you could slide it back and make the front of the fridge flush with the walls of your utility room, that might give it the sense of more space.

  • G.G. Mia G.G. Mia on Apr 01, 2019

    Check out sites like Wayfair or and look at wire shelves. You can get them in all sizes; in your space I would use the 12 inch wide. Measure the width you have to work with. I am a 70 year old woman and I can put these together myself. You can place the shelves where you want them. If you think you'll be placing heavy things on them, look for the heavy duty ones. The ones I choose hold 150 lbs. per shelf. You can sub organize smaller items by using the fabric cubes which are now available at Dollar Tree.

  • Ideally the fridge could be closer to the door shown for ease in access. Assuming the washer (and dryer) are next to the drain and water pipes, a door right next to them would be perfect, but one wall is probably that exterior wall.

    Can a doorway be built (from the garage?) even if it can only have a folding door? What is opposite the fridge? It looks like the edge of a frame, which would make life so much easier. Adding another door directly could help.

    The suggestions for pretty colors on the walls and floor sound great. Colored playground rubber cushioned floor squares would have the advantage of standing comfort as well as color.

    I love the beautiful six foot chrome shelf units. The shelf height is totally adjustable. If you really don't want to see the contents, hang pretty sheets or flags. And the space overhead all the way around can have a wide single white wire shelf to store the items you don't use frequently. Keep folding step stool to reach, which doubles as a chair when you want one. It folds to less than 6".

    Plastic bins are great for holding lots of things, sized all the way up to laundry baskets.

    And don't forget to provide some kind of rods that stick out only high enough to reach to hold clothes as they are taken out of the dryer.

    Best wishes!

    Betty Gay, Salem, NH