10 Quick & Simple Things You Can Do to Start Organizing & Cleaning Out Your Garage
by Cheryl Ford, Sr. Organizing Specialist and Designer
Our poor garages; they are overworked and underappreciated for all that they do and should do. Whether you choose to use your garage for parking cars or not, maybe it’s time to reclaim it without installing an expensive storage system or spending lots of precious time and energy building a DIY version. A series of small but simple steps spread over a few weekends, just might have the same result as having a two-day garage makeover marathon; and it will be much less stressful too. Here are some ideas worth trying.
1. Put It On the Calendar So It Happens
Schedule your available “garage time” on the calendar and honor the commitment you’ve made to yourself for this project. An early Saturday morning or late Sunday afternoon for three to four hours is a doable, but not an overwhelming slice of time to accomplish many steps.
Have some supplies on hand when you start; for example: garbage bags, sticky notes, markers, and boxes for sorting. By planning ahead there is no excuse to stop mid-session and make a run to the store, which wastes time and slows down progress.
3. Break Down Boxes
Collect and break down empty boxes and place them in a “recycle” area outside of the garage. Remember, boxes are free and you can always get more when needed. Keep only those for electronics until the warranty is set to expire; by placing a “destroy after date” on the box.
4. Paint Cleanup
Transfer partially filled paint cans into smaller quart containers. Label with the room name, manufacturer, color name, number and date purchased. Be careful not to combine cans of the same color as they can be from different original mixes.
Use paint hardener for cans you need to toss but do not have time to dry out. You can also mix kitty litter into the paint to harden it.
5. Make a Dump Run
Gather items destined for the dump, such as scraps of wood and tiles from past home improvement projects, non-repairable tools or furniture, cracked garden pots, cans of dried out paint and anything that won’t fit in your weekly garbage container.
6. Sell, Donate or Pass on to Others
Set aside items to be donated or passed on to family or friends and establish a deadline for pickup or delivery. Examples may be furniture that has been replaced by something newer, never used holiday décor, sports equipment and bicycles that the kids have out grown.
If you want to earn some cash and eliminate things at the same time, consider a garage sale. Fill boxes labeled as such. A garage sale can be a time-consuming project by itself, so check out our article “Garage Sales are Hard Work- Avoid Making These Top 5 Mistakes.”
Consider Accessibility and Frequency of Use……..
7. Place Items Strategically
Place the most frequently used items in the most accessible areas of the garage. Store shoes and boots near the door for quick access as you come and go. Place garden tools near a door and the lawn and garden areas.
In general keep the things that you access most, of any particular category, on the eye level shelves.
While you may know where everything is, you don’t want there to be excuses for family members not to return items to their proper homes or be able to find what they need. Label bins, shelves and cupboards, with label tape or stickers you can write on.
8. Make Things Movable and Stackable
Invest in rolling storage racks and adjustable shelving options. You never know when you‘ll need your garage space to be flexible or versatile. If you have a freezer or refrigerator in the garage, install heavy–duty rolling casters to the bottom so that they can easily be moved out of the way if necessary.
Before going bin crazy at the store, make an educated guess at what types and quantities of items you’d like to contain. Limit the sizes and styles of containers purchased and look for ones that will stack and nest easily. Square boxes of holiday ornaments do not fit neatly into containers with rounded corners.
9. Keep Things High and Dry
Suspend a hammock above head height and store off season items like patio chair cushions, sports balls, or duffle bags of ski clothes.
Turn those high garage walls into a gallery for your seldom used extra dining chairs. Hang them upside down “shaker style” to keep them out of the way and dust free.
Use specialty hooks (for brooms, basketballs or bicycles) to get things up and off the floor.
10. Look Up Not Out
Don’t forget about the hidden nooks and crannies. Save the cost, hassle, and limited accessibility of storing seldom-used things (holiday décor, summertime fans etc.) in an oh-so-tempting off-site rental storage unit. If you have little or no attic space, why not build the equivalent in the lofty areas of your garage? There are many DIY plans available involving a limited investment of time and money.
Simple steps might be all you need to create a more functional and organized garage for what works best for you. Whether it’s parking a car or card-table in the garage or having a space to let the kids’ burn off some energy; here are a few simple but poignant reminders to leave you with:
Neatly stored items take up less space
Time to store if it’s on the floor
When In doubt throw it out
~ Cheryl Ford
Organize Your Home - Clutter Cures for Every Room
We're excited to announce that Laura Leist was selected as one of the contributing Organizing Consltants for Better Homes & Garden's new book: Organize Your Home - Clutter Cures for Every Room.
The book is a beautiful compilation of photos and ideas for every room of your home.
Check out a couple of Laura's featured projects on pages: 78-79, 228, 229 and 258.
Purchase your copy HERE!
Enter to Win! "Like Us" on our Facebook page and we will randomly select one lucky winner on August 31, 2013 to receive an autographed copy of this book from Laura.
Moving? Tune-In for a Stress-Free Move
Click here to listen to a lively conversation with Patricia and David Wangsness of Northwest Real Estate Connections interview me about how you can have a "stress-free" move or just get started on organizing your home if you aren't moving.
Do you know what "clutter-blinders are?" Listen as Laura explains this and so much more.
Moving soon? We can help, whether you are moving locally, across the country or internationally. We've project managed moves around the world.
Eliminate Chaos Moving and Relocation Services
Grab more information here about how we can help you with the following:
Mover Connections: Connecting you with one of our trusted movers or moving resources (this alone will save you hours and quite possibly a few headaches!)
Downsizing: Why pay to pack and move what you won't use in your new home?
Packing: We will pack your treasures in an organized fashion so they find their way to their specific room in your new home.
Move Management: We will project manage every last detail of your move so that you don't need to be home the day the moving truck is loaded or delivered.
Unpacking and Organization: Imagine moving into your new home that has been completely unpacked and organized the way you live in your home within a matter of days!
Closet Design and Installation: If you find that your closets simply don't measure up; we can design a solution for you with closet systems from The Container Store or Storables. If this is not the solution you need, we will refer you to one of our many custom closet vendors.
Space Planning and Furniture Placement: Unsure how to place furniture in your new home? Let us figure this out for you with a trained eye for how to make the best use of your space.
Vendor Connections: Handymen, Interior Designers, Closet Companies, Window Washers, House Cleaners and more! When you work with us; we will connect you with our trusted vendors so you don't have to use your time trying to find the best resource.
Our team of experienced Specialists know just the right formula needed to make you feel "at-home" in your new home; in no time. Give us a try and see why our clients tell us that the best money they paid for their move was for our services and that they would not do another move without us!
Contact Us at: 425.670.2551 | 509.392.7064 | 877.342.8592
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We are just getting started with Pintrest and have created several boards to feature a few of the projects we have completed. We'll also be sharing some of our favorite products and Organizing Ideas here.
We'd love to connect with you here and will be grateful for any ideas you'd like to repin!
Organizing with Laura Blog
Keep up with our blog on Real Estate.com.
Powering Through Power Tool Storage
Cycle Into Organization
Painting Prep and Organization
Moving: A Big Production
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Rollin’, Rollin’ Rollin’……
No place to store your bulk purchases? Is your laundry room already doing double duty, or is the garage floor paying the price of you saving a few dollars?
TP, paper towels, sodas, and giant bottles of laundry detergent need a home, but not in the middle of your kitchen pantry or stuffed under the sink in an already tiny bathroom.
Put your Costco “stuff” on a rack from Costco. This IP (industrial post) type of storage is extremely durable and the shelves are adjustable. If you buy the ones with casters, you can load them up and roll them out of the way whenever you need more room for a special project. How easy is that?
Need "More Time for LIfe?"
Perhaps you'd rather not spend your precious weekends this summer organizing your garage? We can quickly and painlessly organize your garage and help you dispose of items. If you are game so are we!
LIMITED TIME OFFER: If you live in the Greater Seattle area and want to get your garage organized before the rain returns, you won't want to pass up this offer.
Laura + Specialist: $1200 for a full day of garage organizing + a copy of Eliminate Chaos: The 10-Step Process to Organize Your Home & Life. (A $1740 value)
Remaining Availalble Day: August 19, 2013
Two Eliminate Chaos Specialists: $1000 for a full day of garage organizing + a copy of Eliminate Chaos: The 10-Step Process to Organize Your Home & Life. (A $1380 value)
Offer Ends: September 30, 2013 and dates are limited to current availability of Specialists.
Fine Print: A full day is 8 hours of hands-on organizing, dates are firm.
Give us a call at 425.670.2551, 509.392.7064 or 877.342.8592 to discuss your needs and see how we can put together a team to help.
Eliminate Chaos is Hiring
Eliminate Chaos is hiring Organizing Specialists. We are looking for Specialists in the Greater-Seattle area, as well as the Tri-Cities and Spokane, WA. If you are interested in applying, please click here for more information. No phone calls please.
Enjoy the Rest of Your Summer!
You may reprint this article in its entirety with the following credit: © 2012 Eliminate Chaos. Reprinted with permission from Laura Leist, CPO of Eliminate Chaos. To receive Eliminate Chaos eNewsletters, click here.