The garage has long been more than just a safe and warm shelter for family vehicles. It’s a valuable storage place for everything from yard and home tools to bikes and seasonal decorations. Often, however, this coveted space gets over-run with more than it can handle. Some folks even keep one or more cars outside because the daunting task of thinning out the stuff is just too much to handle. Here are some valuable tips to help you reclaim the garage and restore order.
1. Create a Big Block of Time to Get it Done. Depending on how much you need to organize, plan for the better part of an entire weekend. It’s usually what’s required to get an overstuffed garage in order. Allowing too little time means the project will only get partially done and then moved off the priority list.
2. Categorize the Contents. Before trying to organize, arrange your items in large categories such as tools, sport/recreational/camping gear, garden gear, automotive, and seasonal decorations. Evaluating things like luggage and paint to see if they can fit elsewhere inside the house.
3. Group the Contents by How They Need to Be Stored. Use the driveway to start organizing. It’s best to refrain from buying bins and shelving until you’ve figured out this part, otherwise you may end up with the wrong size or sturdiness for what you need.
4. Trash and Donate. Inevitably you’ll discover parts and pieces of things that can’t be identified or things that are too old to keep. Properly dispose of old motor oil, paint, and garden chemicals. Donate things like unused and outgrown kids’ bikes, old lawn appliances, and anything else that someone else could benefit from.
5. Clean Up. Dirt and grime from cars and yard waste build up over time inside the garage. Sweep and hose off the floor, as well as wipe off shelving and stored items that have built up layers of dust.
6. Map out the Best Layout. Figure out the accessibility needed for each grouping of items. For example, a recycle bin should be nearest the home door for daily use. Shelves closest to eye level should be reserved for most used items and higher shelves or hooks are for less used items. Also, bulkier items require their own special consideration in terms of garage real estate. Ensure anything heavy is sitting on something that is properly mounted to walls or ceilings. Make sure you have enough room to easily enter and exit your cars.
7. Install Built-In Units if You’re Going All-In. While something freestanding and modular can work in any garage, built-in cabinets, mounted pegboards, and wired grids are convenient and efficient for all types of tools and supplies.
8. Move Everything to Its New Spot. Using your new shelving, hooks, cabinetry, or bins, and map, put everything in its place.
Set up a quarterly or biannual schedule on your calendar for regular garage space maintenance to keep that clean, organized feel year after year.
Real Estate Term of the Week
Professional Organizer: Designs systems and processes using organizing principles to help individuals and businesses take control of their surroundings, time, paper, and systems for life.