The garage is often a space where you simply toss anything and everything that doesn’t have a proper space in the house.
This will work for a while, but eventually, your garage will become overcrowded, and you will have trouble finding things you need. If you have been using your garage as a sort of halfway house for trash, there is a good chance that means your garage needs a full overhaul.
Instead of just using it as a storage shed for unnecessary and unwanted items, your garage can be used as a working space and can be immensely useful. But you have to get organized.
Do you want to reclaim your garage and maintain order? Here are some of the steps that you can follow for organizing your garage in the best possible way:
Set some time aside
When you decide to organize your garage, it is best for you to set some time aside for it. If you are able to give your full attention to this task, the work will go by quickly, and you will face fewer project headaches.
It is recommended that you opt for back-to-back days, such as an entire weekend. In this way, the items that you are sorting out will not have to sit out in piles until you have the time to deal with them.
Remember to opt for a dry weekend for organizing your garage because you may have to pull a number of items from the shelter of the garage.
Always be prepared
One of the biggest mistakes that people make when organizing your garage is going in unprepared, i.e. without the right storage items. Sure, it sounds easy enough to just toss things into one large container labeled ‘Bob’s stuff’ to clear the mess, but it can be heavily frustrating later on when you are looking for a particular item and … well, you know the rest.
Therefore, it is better to arrange your baskets, bins and trash bags beforehand and come up with a proper system for putting the items together. On the day of garage cleanup, you should have basic cleaning supplies, trash bags, and empty boxes for storing items for donation and plastic containers in several sizes for storage.
Don’t handle it yourself
Tackling the entire garage by yourself might be a little too much for you. It is a better idea to round up a couple of people to help you out when you decide to organize the garage. Of course, there is also the option of hiring an expert, but not many people have the budget to do so.
If you don’t have someone to assist you, it might turn out to be an overwhelming task that you will end up abandoning halfway through.
Get Tom Sawyer about it and get some cold beers in a cooler and some BBQ cooking on the grill, invite some friends, play some music and have a big old garage clear out party.
Categorize your items
You should put all the items stored in your garage in categories. Some of the common categories that you can use include recreational and sports equipment, seasonal décor, recycling, tools, garden gear, automotive and camping gear.
You need to evaluate things, such as paint and luggage, and see whether they can be stored elsewhere. In this case it is advised that you first organize the rest of your house before you tackle your garage. This makes it easier for you to relocate your garage items inside the house.
Group your garage’s contents
Once you are aware of the categories of items that you have in your garage, you should start grouping them accordingly. You will need some boxes for this purposes because you will need to contain all the items, ranging from huge paint cans to bolts and nuts.
Make sure that you label all the boxes that you are using or else it will create confusion later on. As mentioned above, you should buy bins, baskets, and containers of different sizes because the items you need to store will vary in size as well.
Donate or trash items
Any items that don’t fit the categories you have outlined will either go into the donation pile or the trash pile. Sometimes, you will discover random parts and items in the garage, and you will not know what to do with them. If you wish to keep them, it is best to assign them to a new category or keep them in a place where they are visible to you. If you don’t want to keep them, you need to decide if they have to go into the trash or can be donated as they can be used by others. Your ‘party’ buddies will take these items if they are useful.
You need to decide where to store every category of item, considering the frequency of use and the space you have available in the garage. For instance, any gardening or repair tools should be kept near the workbench whereas recycling should be kept near the entrance. The low and high shelves should be used for keeping items that are not used very frequently whereas those that are needed regularly should be kept within reach or at eye level. These shelves are often referred to as ‘valuable real estate’ for good reason.
Now that you are aware of the items you want to keep and the space you have available, you need to figure out what containers are appropriate. Make the most out of the vertical space by using wire grids and wall-mounted pegboards, which can hold everything from garden tools to sports equipment. Apart from that, you can also put in built-in cabinets for taking advantage of overhead space and keeping your items in a secure place.
It is best to create an organizing schedule for your garage, which can be done quarterly or biannually, depending on the size. Also, it is a good idea to put things away promptly after you have used them. It is so easy when tired to just think “I will do that later”, but then you are quite quickly right back to where you started.
Following the above steps will help you in organize your garage with ease, and you will have no trouble finding items.
You will also have some highly valuable additional working space in your garage.