Organizing the garage. Does that make you cringe when thinking about it? If you don’t have a garage, some would call you lucky.
We’ve lived in California for nine years and the one thing that I’ve noticed about the garages around here is they are storage spaces for most people. When we drive down the street and I see how much stuff people have in their garages it gives me anxiety. I want to knock on their doors and ask them if I could help them with their garage but that would be creepy 😉
Growing up in the Midwest, the garage was for cars and a few storage items that hung on the wall or ceiling. The weather played a big role in this because of how cold it can get there. You needed your car to start in the mornings during winter and keeping it in the garage helped.
We’ve lived in two houses here in California. For both of them, we were only able to fit one car in there because of the size of it. There were times when the garage got full and we weren’t able to park a car in there. This would drive me nuts because it meant we had too much stuff.
Although there was one time when the earthquake hit in Napa and we didn’t have a car in the garage and that was one of the times where I was so happy. If we had a car in there, it would’ve been completely destroyed. There is another story like this where my sister parked her car on the street, which she never did and her car started on fire. If it was in the garage, the whole house would’ve burned down.
Some would call those stories of luck but I call them stories of faith.
Attacking your garage is a large project and isn’t something that will happen in a few hours. The times where we didn’t have room in the garage to park the car, it took a few weekends in a row to get it cleared out. So when you start this project, make sure you plan for it to take longer than you expect.
Here’s how you can get your garage organized:
- Break-it up into four sections. Chances are you have quite a bit of stuff in your garage and emptying everything out of that space isn’t logical like other home spaces. Pretend your garage is a square that you are dividing into four sections. It’s best to label them section 1, 2, 3, 4 or a,b,c,d.
- Bring in your outdoor garbage can. It’s easier to toss items directly into the garbage can rather than using a garbage bag, this will eliminate you sorting through it when you are done. Make sure to have a donation box or storage bin as well. You can also have a garage sale if you have quite a bit of stuff. Keep all the items you want to sell in the same area.
- Listen to your favorite music or podcast. When starting a large project, it can be tough to actually start it because it feels like it will never get done. Put on your favorite music or an inspiring podcast to keep you going.
- Chose a quadrant and start attacking it. Stay focused on the quadrant you are currently working on, it’ll be easy to drift into the other sections because you will see something that catches your eye. Don’t fall for the temptation, stay focused and keep moving through it. When you get through the first quadrant, it will be a huge motivator to get the other quadrants completed.
Once you have cleared through each quadrant, it will be time to get it organized. Every garage is different and what people store in their garages varies from every individual. The best thing to do is to keep things together by category.
Here are some tips when organizing the garage:
- Use shelves. This will help create more space if you don’t have much space available. Plus, it will make it easier to access items.
- Use clear consistent storage bins. Clear storage bins make it easier to see what’s stored in there. Even if you have a solid storage bin with a label, you still open it up to see what’s in there.
- Store items based on their use. For example, Christmas decorations can be stored on top of the shelf because you will only access them once a year.
- Use hooks. Heavy-duty hooks are great for storing items that won’t store neatly on a shelf. For example, extension cords and bikes.
- Keep a small garbage can stored in there. If you are walking through your garage to get into the house, keep a small garbage can by the door. You’ll be surprised how often you use this.
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