Ah, the garage – where things that don’t fit in the house find a home. If clutter could choose a habitat, this is where it would live. And is it just a coincidence that the word garage is only one letter removed from the word garbage?
For many of us, having and keeping an organized garage is just a dream. However, I hear it can be done; and in my experience, it’s a rare and beautiful thing.
But maybe now’s the time to make that dream a reality! With the following tips, perhaps your garage will become that thing of beauty.
Let’s get going!
Start with a plan
Ensure you have the time and necessary supplies available. To do the job right, you’ll need plenty of both.
Start by getting some heavy-duty garbage bags, a shop vac, rags, storage items and helpers. And then set aside at least five hours; that being said, you can break things up into stages.
Begin by cleaning
It’s important to unearth the floors and counters early in the process. A general once-over clean and vacuum/sweep of the floor will help to reacquaint you with what’s actually in the garage, what areas need more attention, items of high use, etc.
During the cleaning process, you can begin the decluttering phase and get rid of things you know that you don’t need. And by getting rid of, I mean, donate, recycle or trash – three distinct piles. Think about the last time you used an item and decide if you still need to hang onto it; if it has been a while, consider getting rid of it.
Some people like to tackle the whole thing at once, whereas other folks like to focus on an area or wall. Whichever way, just do your best to be ruthless and only keep those items that are in high use or “spark joy.”
Organize into zones
Once the cleaning and decluttering have happened, it’s time to start organizing. One good organizational approach is to group like items with like items and break things into zones. Imagine how Canadian Tire does it, i.e., Paint, Tools, Automotive, Sporting Goods, and maybe even incorporate a recycling centre.
Put bigger items, like lawnmowers or garbage cans, in corners. Frequently used things should be near the door and rarely used items tucked away.
Use and create more storage
Get things off the floor by using shelves or cabinets. These will also help you make the most of your vertical space. Open shelving is easy to browse, and a good step stool allows for quick accessibility. Keep chemicals out of reach or in a locked cabinet.
Keep it clean
Now that things are organized into your zones, maintain by doing seasonal cleans. Get a bag of kitty litter to absorb oil or grease spills. Keep a broom and dustpan by the workbench. Hose down the floor regularly. Declutter and reorganize your garage twice a year in October and May.
There, now that all seems doable, doesn’t it? Good luck!
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