Now that fall has arrived, let’s get out into that garage and whip it into shape before the holidays! Taking the time to tackle the garage now, will help you prepare for all the fun seasonal activities in the coming months. There’s a lot to consider when organizing a garage (and if you have a shed or workshop a lot of this can be applied there). Are you ready to take on the Great Garage Organizing Challenge?
If you don’t have a garage, maybe your challenge will be to organize the shed, the attic or another storage area. The important factors to take into consideration are; amount of time you to complete the project and type of installation, painting and maintenance/repairs involved and your budget. Will you paint the walls or floors or put down parking or modular mats, add lighting or other features? Do you want to install an elaborate custom designed system (call in an expert) or go with DIY options?
- Schedule a couple solid weekends of dedicated time for a 2 car garage or a large attic or 1 weekend and a few additional hours for a smaller area. Take family members schedules, temporary storage (things might need to be temporarily moved out of the garage so beware of HOA rules etc) and weather into account. If your space is jam packed to the ceiling you might need more time to purge and work a path through the spaces, but lets hope you’re not there!
- Do you have a green thumb and want a potting area for all your gardening supplies?Assess how you use the space or more accurately how you want to use the space. Of all the rooms in your home the garage may be the most mult- functional! Don’t forget the basics like trash/recycling, cleaning products and supply storage. How else do you use the space? List out categories and quickly sketch “Zones” based on the space layout, functionality (power access, mobility), lighting (windows, existing fixtures) and frequency of use for each category. This is the time that you should plan to make larger purchases such as shelving, lighting, pegboards or other necessary supplies. Take measurements and make sure you buy what will fit and only what you know you need. Try to keep systems modular if possible so they can be re-configured as needed.
Do you have a family with lots of sports enthusiasts and lots of gear? Or do you have a lot of tools for DIY projects?
Is your car currently parked in the garage and if not (it is your 2nd most expensive asset!) do you want it to be? Do you do laundry in your garage or need a “mud room” area? Make it easy for you and your family to juggle groceries and other items as you transition from your car to the house by using hooks, shelving and benches to place things by your home entrance.
- Gather your supplies; gloves, basic tools, bags and boxes (for giveaway and trash/recycling), post it notes, permanent markers, label maker/labels, a variety of storage bins, various hooks (command and lg ‘ladder’ hooks) and any shelves or other items you purchased to install. Start with what you have and make a list of smaller items you will need as you go.
- Sort; I suggest working clockwise from the entrance-either garage door or door to house. Work your way around the room one wall at a time around sorting items into keep, donate and toss. If you don’t have an immediate way to store/re-install an item make a note and set the item in the general zone where it needs to go and come back to it. Try to keep focused on one area at a time and not go back and forth between the room. If you are able to move everything out to a holding area then keep things grouped by zone in bins to be returned when ready.
- Clean as you go and make basic repairs/maintenance updates such as installing hooks, shelves etc. This can be done one wall or zone at a time or with the whole room if it’s been cleared.
- Return items to their new homes, this might require grouping and labeling items into bins, installing pegboards or slat walls with hooks, simple hooks or nails, shelving, bins/baskets etc.
Think vertical and don’t forget overhead storage space! Make sure these systems are well secured!! Give them a good tug to make sure things don’t come tumbling down when you or the kids go to grab something. Keep kids, heavy and more frequently used items lower to the ground (but make sure they are water proof if necessary) and lighter and less frequently used or more dangerous tools mounted up higher.
- Donate & dump…Don’t forget to get the stuff that you have purged out the door as quickly as possible! When stuff lingers it has tendency to find its way back in so don’t let that happen!
Hopefully this post has you thinking about when and what you can do to create a more organized family garage. Take a look this weekend and if it feels too daunting to tackle yourself, remember you can always hire a Professional Organizer to help!