Updated: Apr 24, 2020
Being that we're home now more than ever, we find ourselves knocking out our honey-do lists and long awaited projects around the house.
Getting the garage in order is usually at the top of that list (or somewhere on it), but goes to the back burner. Guests don't typically ask to see your garage, and let's be honest - it's not usually a show piece of an area. Since we aren't having guests over however, it seems like the ideal time to knock it out now just for your own piece of mind.
We've compiled a few steps and products to help you master your own garage and breathe a little easier.
1. Pre-prep work. How can you pre-prep you ask? Make your life easier by patrolling with a trash bag JUST what you can see on the surface. Throw away any wrappers, papers, or anything immediately jumping out at you as trash. We'll get into the nitty-gritty later, but we're just going to do a quick clean-sweep. This helps you to a) get motivated and b) can clear a little bit more room for the sorting process.
2. Prep work! Create a few labels to help with sorting . We have free printables located here. The ideal ones to have are: trash, sort, keep, donate, and sell. Separate off areas, whether on the drive way or try to clear a space by pushing things off to the side. You'll need a few areas or bins with these labels so you know just what's going where.
3. Now we're in the thick of it. We've prepared for this. You're ready. Sort items by the above categories. It's as simple as that. The more stuff you have, the harder this is going to be. Emotional connections with physical things tend to run high. If you find yourself having a harder time than you thought, it may be time to call in an organizer, or even a friend who can act as a sounding board. If you do bring in someone that's not a professional, make sure they're prepared to ask you 'Do you realllly need to keep that?' Use this time to truly ask yourself if you'll use it, or if it could give someone else the opportunity to have it bring them joy.
4. Congratulations, you've created more space! Once everything is sorted and you know what you're keeping, you can then start to look for themes. As organizers, this is the part we love. Start to sort your keepers by the type of objects they are. Are you noticing a plethora of sporting equipment? Bikes? Workout equipment? Gardening tools? Try to now make piles of like materials, as this is how we'll start organizing and putting things back.
5. Now that you also know how much you're keeping, it's a great time to look at storage options. Investing in plastic bins like the ones below, will really up the ante on holding your things. These are also easy to label - and you don't need to spend a lot of money. A sticky note taped to the inside of the bin with the contents labeled on it, or even a piece of masking tape with some sharpie action on the front will get the job done.
Need shelves? We love options that are affordable, delivered to your home, and are sturdy AF to hold plastic bins like the ones below.
6. What you can bin should be put in a bin. The more we have in closed storage, the more space you'll inevitably create (and that is the goal, right?) The idea is to get more off of the ground. This means utilizing walls and shelves for all of their organizational glory. If the shelving units are taking up one wall of the garage, let's focus on the other. Can we mount hooks like the rack below?
Perfect for brooms or mops, shovels, rakes, or any other loose items that you'll use - but probably not on a daily basis. This is easy access and looks great. It gets things off the ground, which is not only aesthetically pleasing, but safer. No one wants a rake to the face on accident in a dark garage.
Have an abundance of folding chairs? Those things can take up an unbelievably large amount of space. Look for a mountable like this one. Easy to store and looks great.
With kids, usually comes an abundance of sporting equipment and bikes. We love to order our clients bike racks and sporting goods organizers to make parent's lives easier, and gives kids a one stop shop to find whatever it is they need (without bugging mom and dad).
7. Make sure you follow through on all unwanted items. Host a garage sale (obviously not when we're in quarantine), or post items on apps like Offer Up (we've personally had good luck with this app, just be safe whenever selling to people you don't know).
Actually donate what's in good shape. Is there a woman's shelter or homeless shelter that could use these things? Goodwill or the American Red Cross usually have drop boxes or stations set up for quick and easy drop offs. Do you have baby things that a newly expecting neighbor mom can use that would ease her financially? It will feel better than you think to give back to others, especially if those items served a purpose for you. Give it forward.
And finally - your trash items. This should go without saying, but immediately throw away that trash. Out of site, out of mind.
8. Give yourself some grace. We find the max out period for our clients tends to be around 4 hours a session. It's emotionally and physically exhausting, but exhilarating once you see progress and the final product. This project will most likely take more than 4 hours. Don't be afraid to break it up into 2 different days, but don't procrastinate after your first one - this leads to falling down the rabbit hole and it truly never getting done.
9. Know that it gets worse before it gets better. You have to make a mess to organize it. Things are hiding behind other things, and you'll never know what you have without taking it all apart. It will come together. Have faith in yourself, and in your plan. Just like a puzzle, it seems daunting in the beginning, but piece by piece you get to see see the final picture (and how thrilling is that feeling?!). Know that you will get there with some time.