Organizing your garage

cluttered garage
Make a plan (image: Outside In Organizer)

Organizing your garage can be 1 of the most challenging organizing projects. There are several reasons why this may be true. First, it is generally a large space and sometimes large spaces attract more clutter. Second, it is sometimes a shared and multipurpose space. When a space is used by more than 1 person you need to take that person’s needs into consideration. You do not want to toss or donate someone else’s belongings without their input. When a space is used for more than 1 purpose such as storage, parking a vehicle(s) or a place for activities such as working out or woodworking, it needs to be organized for all of those purposes.

Organizing your garage requires planning and preparation including scheduling adequate time to get it done. These 3 steps will ensure your success as you go through the organizing process:

  • Declutter – purge (toss, donate, sell) items that are no longer used, needed, and are in disrepair and cannot be fixed.
  • Contain – assess your inventory and invest in containers, shelving and cabinetry that will be needed to store and access them for use. Clear containers are preferable so that you don’t have to label everything
  • Zones – create zones or areas for the items based upon what they are, whether they will be used in the garage, and how often you need to use them.
  • Live with it – organizing is a process that requires adjustments and maintenance. Live with your organized garage for at least a month before you make drastic changes. Make sure it works for you and those who live with you.
organized garage
Create zones

Organizing your garage is not a 1 size fits all template. Make a list of the types of items you want to store and use in the garage. Here are some examples of things I find on my clients’ lists:

  • Seasonal household items
  • Small infrequently used household appliances
  • Gift wrap supplies
  • Spare gifts
  • Canned, sealed bottles of foods
  • Recreational, sports equipment
  • Gardening, lawn supplies and equipment
  • Surplus household goods
  • Infant equipment, supplies
  • Office supplies, equipment
  • Luggage
  • Tools
  • Hobby, craft supplies
  • Folding chairs, tables
  • Outdoor furniture
  • Books, paperwork, photographs – it is not recommended that these items are stored long term in the garage
  • Donation bins – unless awaiting pick up, I recommend that you keep these in your vehicles
  • Reusable grocery bags – recommend that these are kept in your vehicle(s)

Organizing your garage may take more than a few hours. Make sure that your plan includes having supplies (bags, bins, permanent markers, labels, cleaning supplies, face mask and gloves if necessary) and help on hand. A Professional Organizer, family members and friends can help you meet your organizing goals more efficiently.

Here is a basic checklist that you might find helpful: Organizing your garage checklist from Real Simple


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