Your Garage or Dumping Ground?

June 23, 2011

by Ranka Burzan

Messy GarageThe garage is often the most disorganized space in the house. It’s where we dump everything we don’t want or need. We justify this by calling the garage our temporary storage and years later things we don’t use are still there. It doesn’t make much sense to park our expensive cars in the driveway, or on the street, exposed to all kinds of weather and vandalism, while we use our garages to store junk. It pays to organize your garage and increase the value of your home.

Steps to Organizing Your Garage

Set the Date
Prepare yourself for the big cleaning day. Write the date and the time on the calendar to reinforce your commitment. Ask your family to help you and delegate chores to each member. You could also hire a professional and learn the skills of organizing.

A Big Project

To avoid being overwhelmed with a big project, divide it into smaller projects.

  • Day one:          Organize your paint and accessories.
  • Day two:         Organize your holiday ornaments
  • Day three:       Organize your garden tools etc.

Have lots of big, sturdy garbage bags ready, boxes, containers and permanent markers. Buy hooks, pegboard, wire shelving. Use plastic milk crates to store your camping, biking, skiing or games. This makes it very easy to find things and put them away.

You may be tempted to move everything into a storage unit. But before you rent storage, ask yourself a couple important questions: Is it worth spending money to store the item(s)?  Would it be better to sell or donate?

Installing the System
After everything is spotless, start installing pegboard, hooks, and shelves to organize your things. Ask family and friends to donate their old kitchen cabinets or read the Buy and Sell; often people just give them away. Use a large bin to store very large kids’ toys. The small toys are better contained and put on shelves.

Take before and after pictures of areas as you organize, that will add to the feeling that this is an important event and will help bring you up when you feel sluggish.

Working Zones

Categorize and store your items into working zones. You could have as many as five zones in your garage. Paint zone, woodworking, gardening and car accessories zone. Think about what tools or materials belong in each of the zones you create. Example: the paint zone would have brushes, thinner, paint sheets, scrapers, wallpaper remover and sand paper.

A Home for Everything
organized garageIf items are scattered all over your garage and you have a hard time finding the things you need, find a permanent home for everything. When things are contained, they are easily found. If you have a long ladder that is taking up too much space, use big, metal hooks to hang it on the wall.

You must be diligent when it comes to maintaining your garage. Forget about saying “it will be temporary”, you either need it or you don’t.  Evaluate once a month to check if the system is working for you or needs a little adjustment.  Are things accessible when you need them?

Donate or Sell
The items left by your grown children are taking up your valuable space. Call them and give them one month to collect, or donate to charity. You could even sell your possessions and take a trip with your family. Everybody is going to remember the trip.

If you haven’t used items for years donate them or have a garage sale. If you get sentimental, fight the urge to keep the things you haven’t used or don’t need. “I might need this some day” doesn’t cut it anymore.  Realize that you will find what you need in life as you need it.

I wish you the best of luck keeping your garage organized and clean!

About the Author: Ranka Burzan is the owner of Solutions Organizing Simple, a professional organizing company and the author of Helpful Hints to Organize and Clean your Home, Your Junk or Your Life, Liberate Your Garage, Clear Your Home, Clear Your Mind and a recent published book S.O.S Guide to Organize and Clean Your Home.

Ranka & family have also created their own line of non-toxic, all natural cleaners safe for your family and pets.

For more information regarding Solutions Organizing Simple services, articles, newsletters and cleaning products visit her web site

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