Clutterbusters: Reclaiming Your Garage
Ways to Reduce Clutter and Organize Your Garage
The garage. For some of you lucky people, your garage is home to your vehicles, protected from the rain, snow, and other forces of nature. For a lot of us, however, the garage is home to, well, clutter. It could be useful clutter, or it could serve as the catch-all for stuff that has accumulated in the course of life. Typical garage gear like lawnmowers, rakes, tools, bikes, and garbage cans are obviously located here, but some items are not so typical. Christmas decorations, chairs you use for extra dinner guests, a bag of clothes that you are wanting to donate someday, a broken this or that waiting to be fixed. Whatever it is that occupies the space in your garage, there is a way to organize, and contain it, so that maybe.... just maybe, you won't have to be scraping the ice off your windshield this winter.
First Things First
Make a plan and a wish list. What things do you want your garage to hold, and what items just have to live there? A good suggestion is creating zones of what functions your garage has to hold. Zones could include: workshop, long-term storage, seasonal storage, play/sports equipment, yard tools, etc. Whatever is appropriate for your lifestyle and hobbies.
Implementing THE PLAN
After your plan is made, there are two options:
Either pick a day that will be clear and weather free and when you have a lot of time to complete most, if not all of your organization all at once.
Set aside and literally schedule on your calendar a handful of hours in the upcoming weeks for you to get this done. Seriously, it needs to be on your schedule, otherwise - it will get cast aside if something more enticing comes along to steal that time block. Personally, the giant all-day activity works better for two reasons. Once completed, it is done, and not lurking over your shoulder for weeks on end, becoming a larger task than it is. Secondly, you will feel an incredible amount of accomplishment after the completion - instead of the delayed gratification of completing smaller tasks bit by bit.
With that said, the main goal is to actually complete the work, so whatever works best for you, works best for you.
Now that you have a plan, and a time, you are ready to move forward. There are two tools that are absolutely necessary for your project. A roll of blue painter's tape and a sharpie. Once you have those in hand you are ready to go! You may also want to invest in some bins or baskets for storing items that can be neatly placed out of sight or on a shelf in the garage.
With the one-day method: empty your garage as much as possible. Use your driveway, and as you are removing each item, be ruthless as to if you should keep it. If it is a yes, then seriously think about where it should live on a permanent basis. If it is elsewhere in your home, take a piece of blue tape and write on it the new location of the item, and stick it on. Move it to a separate pile for that area. If you have the manpower, enlist help to rehome these items immediately to their new home. If it is going back into the garage - put it to the side, in the new "Garage KEEP Pile". Group like items together, and in their appropriate zone. If items are stored in a bin - be sure to label them.
If you aren't keeping it, put it either immediately in the trash bag (out of sight, so you don't change your mind), or in the back of your car for donating. Now is the time to return your neighbor's hedge trimmer, or anything else that does not belong to you. For the things you can't immediately clear out of your driveway, label them with your blue tape.
Do this with everything.
Once your garage is empty, give it a good sweep. If you have time, a fresh coat of paint does wonders for the space, and all the smudges and spots that have popped up over time, but don't let that waylay your progress, you can always do it later. The main goal - stay focused!
Look at your garage keep pile. Do all the items in this pile truly need to go back to the garage? With anything that passes this final test, group them into your predetermined zones. Can any double up in duty to make better use of your space? If you move the trash cans out and roll out an exercise mat, can that be your exercise space? Could the workshop and a craft area live harmoniously together? Also when storing items, don't forget about wall space. Use the height of your garage as an advantage. Make a list of organizational times you still need that could take your garage to the next organizational level.
With the "Bit by Bit" method, use the same principles as above, but in smaller doses, attacking one area at a time, until you've been through everything. Though it may seem like a daunting task, taking back your garage and ridding yourself of unneeded items will make you feel incredibly accomplished. Donating unwanted items to those who could use them is an added bonus. This is also a good process to repeat occasionally, as the clutterbug tends to come crawling back over time. Keep your eye on the prize. You will be happy you did come the first frozen winter morning and you aren't out scraping off your windshield.
Is your current home lacking storage space, or do you find yourself needing an additional garage? Connect with the Ask Cathy Group who will find you all the additional square footage you have been wanting in your next home!