No more space to store “stuff?” Then this information is for you. No one, including me (a Professional Organizer) looks forward to attacking the garage. Most are just happy if no one gets to see what you have there!
Well, buck up and here we go:
Begin by emptying the garage contents into the driveway and yard. Get rid of the obvious stuff you no longer want as you go along. Once the garage is empty you can decide how you will divide the garage into your new and organized storage areas. Suggested areas: Recycling, Camping/picnic, Sports, Gardening,
tools and workbench, Holidays, Memorabilia, etc. Whatever areas work for you & your family.
When areas or “homes” are designated… you will be able to find things when needed. And… (this is key) when you return them to their “home”, they do not become stacks and piles you later choose to ignore.
- Sort things: The major categories for sorting include: Discard/recycle, Donate and Keep. Remember you only have so much space for “keepers.” Consider the value of each item versus the space it takes up. And…if you let it go, could you get another one if and when you might need it? Once you have sorted the keepers, you can begin to place them in the designated areas. For the items to donate, be sure to contact a charity to pick up your items ASAP. Having a due date provides a deadline…and we all work better with a deadline.
- Storage containers: Plastic totes and bins, cardboard boxes (office “bankers boxes”) and trashcans are good for storing items. The stronger they are the longer they will last and better protect your things. Containers can be purchased at office supply stores, discount stores and t moving companies also sell boxes of all sizes.
Number the boxes (with a broad tip marker) on all four sides and place corresponding numbers on index cards with the contents of each box written on the cards. This may sound a bit much now…. but you will find yourself referring frequently to your index cards to easily retrieve items when you want them. Or you may choose to list the box numbers on a list in your computer. Or print the list to hang on the garage wall. Either method will prove indispensable in the future.
- Build or install portable shelving to hold the storage containers and to keep them off the usually damp cement floor, protecting them from dampness. Built in cabinetry is ideal, and will beautifully un-clutter a messy garage, but not necessary for organization. Also consider a variety of hooks and brackets to utilize wall space for hanging items including bicycles, golf bags, gardening equipment, tools, beach/lawn chairs, and more. Hardware and home improvement stores carry many organizing tools & equipment.
Make use of the overhead rafters to store larger articles such as a bed frame, or a door or other furniture until it is needed again. Protect them from the elements by covering with large plastic bags or tarps. A large trash bag is also a great protective covering for luggage, a stored floor fan, sleeping bags and other equipment.
- Maintaining your now organized garage will be made easier by having these designated and organized areas. So get the family together and make it a day you will never regret!
And, by the way, send me a picture of your organized garage for my “believe it or not file!”
© Ann Gambrell 9/2014