You can’t truly know how organized a person is until you have seen their garage. Even the perfectionists among us sometimes treat their garage as a catch-all room for permanently paused projects. We’ve learned that where there’s room, there’s room for improvement. So keep reading to learn five steps that will have you de-cluttering your garage and keeping it organized for good.
Movin’ on out
The first step, as they say, is a doozy. You must empty your garage completely. It may be difficult, but it is necessary for a well-organized garage. Think of it like ripping off a bandage: it hurts for a minute, but it begins a healing process. Plus, looking at the empty walls of your garage may put you in a zen-like state of possibility.
Allow yourself enough time to complete the project from the moment you empty your garage. We suggest setting aside a whole weekend.
The key to organizing a big pile of stuff is categorization. Approach the scene like a scientist and separate everything in your garage by categories that will help you move along. Four categories that are particularly useful for organizing belongings are keep, donate, throw away, and store. Notice that three out of four of those categories will be instrumental in de-cluttering your garage. Within each broad category, sort objects by size and kind. Be ruthless. If you haven’t used it in the last year, it doesn’t belong in the “keep” category.
With an empty garage and four perfectly sorted piles of belongings, create a list of improvements your garage may need. With any room in your house, it is important to shape it up before you fill it up. So now is the time to re-fasten loose shelves, change burnt out lightbulbs, patch that hole in the wall, and perform any other maintenance chores you couldn’t reach when there was too much clutter in the way. The best part about this step is that all of your tools and cleaning supplies are already organized into neat piles.
Looking at an empty room always gives you inspiration, right? While you were sorting your things and fixing the shelves, you may have gotten some ideas for how and where to store the 25% of your belongings that are staying in the garage. At this step, a trip to the store for storage solutions may be in order. Wire shelving units, plastic containers, a new workbench…all of these things and more can reduce clutter and maximize space. Next, fill your shelves and containers with the sorted “keep” pile, and then deal with the other three piles appropriately by name.
The step that takes the least work may be the most difficult. Once your garage is clean, it must stay that way. Always put everything back where you found it, and teach children to do the same. Take photos of the finished garage and keep them for evidence. Every six months, perform a touch-up organization. It will take less time and ensure your garage is the envy of the block for years to come.
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