A recent survey conducted by Liberty Mutual Insurance found that 33 percent of Americans said that the most organized room in their house is the living room while the least organized room is, you guessed it, the garage.
Here’s how to get that garage organized for all to enjoy this spring:
1. Assess, Analyze and Prioritize
One of the biggest problems you may encounter when you organize your garage (or any space that’s cluttered) is that there is no plan for the space. Folks fail to take time to analyze and visualize the space to figure out how they want it to function. What is your priority for your garage? To park your car (one of your biggest investments)? To have a workspace? To store seasonal items and sporting equipment? Or maybe all of the above? Well, you might be able to have all of that if you just take a moment and prioritize how you want to use the space. With your priorities in line, you’ll have an easier time purging and organizing the space because you’ll be able to determine what belongs in the space and what doesn’t.
2. Clear The Space
You’ll need to start with a clean slate. Get a couple of tarps and blankets to place your items on and lay them in an open area like the driveway or lawn. Once everything is out, be sure sweep and wash down the floors and walls.
NOTE: This may be a great opportunity to paint the walls and stain your concrete floor. It’ll give your space a fresh, clean, new look.
3. Sort By Putting Like Items With Like Items
As you pull things out of the garage, gather all of your sporting equipment together in one spot, then your tools, lawn gear, camping gear, decorations and so on. You can even get down to the itty bitty nails and screws…sort these out as well (this might be a good task for an older child to do for you). Sorting like items with like items may seem like a “no-brainer” but it is a key step in the organization process not only when you are sorting but when putting things back into their established zones.
4. Start Purging!
Be ruthless in this step. Try to commit to getting rid of 50% of the stuff in your space. Even if you don’t get rid of that much, making the effort will go a long way. To purge, start by making four piles: keep, donate, trash, recycle. As you purge, place each item into its respective category. Get rid of anything that is broken or things you haven’t used in over a year. Return items that don’t belong to you or belong somewhere else other than the garage. Get rid of duplicates. Remember…you’re trying to organize your garage…how many hammers, screws, brooms, basketballs, bats and rakes do you really need? If you’re having trouble getting rid of stuff remember to ask yourself these questions: Do I love it? Do I use it? Have I used it in the last year? Do I really need it? If not…put them in the donate, trash or recycle piles. Donating items is a wonderful thing because you’re giving someone else the chance to enjoy and appreciate your items.
5. Take Inventory of What You Have Then Map Out Your Space and Create Zones
Now that you’ve cut down all of your stuff, take inventory of what you have that way you’ll have a better of idea of what organizational items you can work with or what you’ll need to purchase. NEVER purchase organizational products before you’ve purged…it’ll save you time, money and frustration. Now, map out the space. Draw it out on paper or use masking tape to mark off outlines of the different spaces/work zones. You can mark off the spot reserved for your car, heavy duty shelving, paint and hazardous material cabinet, sports equipment, lawn care supplies, tools shed or workbench and bike/recreational equipment. Don’t forget to go vertical and overhead. Consider your walls to hang items or install shelving. And what about the ceiling? You may be able to put plywood boards along rafters to store seasonal or seldom used items. Also think about convenience and frequency of use. For example, you probably want a trashcan near the driver’s side door of your parked car so that you can easily throw away items. Or place your recycling bins next to the door leading into the house to make it easy to toss items into them. Or how about hanging /parking the bikes near the garage door so it’s easier for the kids to grab their bikes and go!