Organizing Blog

Summer Mission: Garage Organization!


Summer Mission: Garage Organization!

Did you know that 25% of people with 2-car garages do not park any cars in them because there is no room? Only 32% of people can get one car in their 2-car garage! (U.S. Dept. of Energy) Wouldn’t it feel amazing to pull into your garage and love what you see?

To accomplish this goal we are going to take you through our step by step organizing process. First you need to assess your garage. Other than your vehicles what would you like to store in your space? Do you have gardening supplies, sporting equipment or tools that call your garage home? Once you decide what you want to place in your garage it is time to create zones. Organizers use zones to create flow in a space. Zoning is to separate an area with a particular function. (Encarta) For example, you may need to create a sporting zone, camping zone, and a home improvement zone. Keeping things separated by zone makes them easier to find when you need them!

After you establish what the purpose of your garage is you need a plan of attack! Here is how to get started:

  • Step 1: Sort. This means moving like with like. For example, put all athletic equipment together in a pile, all fishing items together, and all tools together. It helps to get the items off shelves/out of bins as you do the sorting! You need to see what items you have and how much of each category.
  • Step 2: Treasure. Once you have everything sorted, you can see where you have duplicates or an abundance of things you no longer use. Allow yourself to let go of unneeded items. Some of your items may no longer serve a purpose in your life; they are no longer treasures. There are many ways to let go. You can throw away, donate, sell, or even at times return items back to their owner!
  • Step 3: Zoning, or in other words, Establish Homes and Systems. You now know not only what you have, but how much. You can decide where to put your items. Assign a place for everything. Use the large “U” of the perimeter of your garage. Make sure to utilize your vertical space! Assign one area for gardening and yard tools, one area for household tools, one area for sports and outdoor fun, and so on. Fit your “U” to meet your family’s needs.
  • Step 4: Obtain functional containers for your garage. Your items do not need to live only on the ground or on shelves, and having a designated container/hook will help the rest of your family put things back where they go as well.
    • There are many tools to bring items up onto the walls of your garage. You can hang bikes, ladders, and many other large items. Use a utility rack to hold rakes, large brooms, or snow shovels.
    • Think outside the box. There are items such as canvas shoe hangers that can hold mittens, scarves, or even tools. Choose containers that fit the space and the items, even if they aren’t usually used in a garage.
    • There are many tips and things to keep in mind for your garage storage. One thing to remember when storing items is to make sure they are in containers that seal and that are water resistant. We recommend plastic bins instead of cardboard boxes, which also means your belongings are protected against bugs and rodents. If you are storing old clothing or any kind of keepsake item be sure to keep this in mind.
    • When using your wall space be sure to use shelving and hooks designed to hold the weight of the items you are storing. They will usually come with anchors to keep a sturdy hold.
    • Also, remember the extremes of heat/cold the garage will experience. Be sure you are not storing items in the garage that can be damaged by excessive heat (ie paint, photographs, etc).
    • Another fun idea is a loft. A loft can be built above your cars creating extra zoning space for storage. This is helpful for many people who own smaller homes or homes with little or no storage areas. Use the loft for items you only get to once a year (ie. holiday decor).
    • You may need to create a mudroom of sorts in your garage, a place to corral muddy boots on your way into the house. Check out Rack‘Em Racks for ways to speed the drying of boots or those gloves that got wet playing in the snow. They even have utility, or brush, racks to hold brooms/mops if those need a place in your garage.
  • Step 5: Maintain it! Your first defense is to simply stop bringing in new items. Assess your needs before you go shopping so that you do not come home with items that will again clutter your garage. Keep everything in its place, taking 2-5 minutes after activities to put items back where they belong. This is a team effort that all family members need to be aware of. If everyone is on board things will run much more smoothly. Labeling containers/shelves will help tremendously with this. Also, set up regular “tune-up” times to touch up the garage in small chunks of time instead of one big job when it gets too bad! Perhaps once per quarter.

Now you can rejoice in the ability to park in your garage! Allow yourself that luxury from this moment on. You will also find yourself less stressed when it comes time to do yard work or grab items for outdoor fun. And now that your garage is organized you can focus on family fun!