My uncle once proclaimed that people don’t use their garages for cars in the Pacific Northwest – they use them for storage. His two car garage was a designated storage area. Now days, newer homes have the phenomenon known as the three car garage. Which usually means at least one or two cars may be parked in the garage – and the rest of the space is typically a shop space or mor often than not, that notorious dumping ground for everything and everything that you either don’t know what to do with – or there is an action that needs to happen with the item (small appliances that need fixed, items to donate, things your kids don’t want to throw out – but don’t want in their room any longer, items to return to neighbors, etc.)
To follow on last week’s article about preparing for Spring Cleaning, here are some tips to tackle the garage – after all, you might want to have a yard/garage sale when you complete all your decluttering and cleaning – so the garage is a great place to star so you have space for the sale!
Maximize your storage by using as much vertical and ceiling space as possible.
This rule is particularly important if you’re planning to actually park your car here. Make sure that you’ll have room for your car without running into or onto anything. There are lots of wall and ceiling organizers you can purchase. Before you purchase anything, be sure you have observed the next tip (below). Put together a plan for your space and then buy what you need. Remember there are lots of inexpensive ways to create organizers rather than purchasing premade systems. Go with what you like and what fits your budget! If you are going to purchase a premade system purchase the one that meets your needs and pay attention to quality and craftsmanship.
Before reorganizing, try taking everything out of your garage.
This is actually a tip that applies to any organization project. By removing everything first and lLooking at the space you have as a blank canvas can give you a better idea of what you’re working with.
Decide what to keep, what to donate, and what to throw away or recycle.
When you find yourself questioning a particular item, ask yourself :
- Do I love it?
- Do I need it?
- When was the last time I used this?
- If I donated it, could it be safely used by another person?
Clearing out clutter is incredibly satisfying, and odds are you won’t really miss that fifth spare tennis racket. When in doubt, donate or toss it. Recycle as much as possible (depending on the nature of what you’ve accumulated in your garage remember that there often salvage or reclamation centers in your community that take building materials. Be sure to dispose of paint and other hazardous waste safely (Your local garbage utility or county waste disposal department often have lots of information on where and how to recycle hazardous materials – as well as other materials.
Group like items together so they’re easy to find.
You will save yourself time and energy by placing like items together – put gardening supplies in one area, pet supplies in another, if you store bulk food products be sure they are stored well away from extreme heat and cold or anything that could contaminate or damage the items. Things will stay much neater because you aren’t ransacking the place to find things.
Decide which area of the garage is going to be used for what purpose.
Think carefully about what you want your garage to be used for, and the best possible way that this space can be divided up. Are you parking a car in the garage? Are there specific traffic patterns to keep clear? Deciding areas also will help determine if there are things that should be relocated to another area or room in the house.
Label absolutely everything.
Within reason of course. But labeling things increases the likelihood that others will put the item back where it was found. If you hang tools on a peg board put a label below the hook for each item so that it is easy to put things back. Some people trace the item with an outline. I prefer labels so that things can be changed and updated.