The garage is probably the hardest room of your home to keep neat and clutter-free. For starters, the garage is no longer just a place to store your car – it’s become everyone’s favorite dumping ground for all the tools, toys and treasures that we all accumulate but just can’t bring ourselves to throw away. It has the added advantage of being tucked away from the rest of the house so visitors can’t see the mess. And besides, you have to store your stuff somewhere, right?
Organizing your garage is a great springtime project, and will create the necessary room to store all of the gadgets and doodads that your summer activities and projects will need. Getting your garage in shape for the summer will probably require at least one week-end day of your time, the cooperation of your family members, and a plan of action. This guide will give you some ideas and inspiration to help make your garage organization project as stress-free and rewarding as possible. Let’s get started.
Clear Out the Clutter
The first step is to tackle the piles of junk that have accumulated over the winter. Weather permitting, haul everything outside where you’ll have room to work. Your alternative is to work one area of your garage at a time. Make sure you have plenty of cardboard boxes, plastic storage containers, trash bags and an empty trash bin.
Start sorting your items one by one, placing each item in the appropriate cardboard box. If some items are too large to fit in a box, place them in separate piles. Your box and pile categories should be identified as follows:
Keep in garage. This category is for items that you definitely want to keep in the garage. Typical items might include tools, garden equipment, auto accessories, cleaning materials, sporting equipment and camping gear.
Store elsewhere. If an item should logically be stored in another room of your house, it belongs in this category. Wherever the item ends up, make sure you have the room to store it so you don’t end up simply cluttering another room of your house.
Sell. If you feel up to conducting a garage sale, set aside any unwanted items that are in good enough condition to sell.
Donate. This is for items that you prefer to donate to charity. Just don’t use this box as a dumping ground for worthless junk; items should be in decent and workable condition.
Throw away. This should be pretty obvious – anything that is broken or unsalvageable should go the garbage dump.
Recycle. Unwanted items that can be recycled should go in this box.
Establish Activity Zones and Put Items Away
Use chalk or colored tape to mark off separate zones for the different uses or activities you’re planning for your garage. At a minimum, you’ll probably want to include adequate parking space for your vehicles, a basic workbench setup, and a storage area. Once you have an idea of how much space you have to work with, you’ll know how much can be stored in your garage and how much will have to stored someplace else.
The more you use vertical space for organizing and storing, the more floor space you’ll have to move around in. Install shelving and stack storage bins to get things off the floor. Group similar items together and label each box or storage bin so you find things easier.
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