Life and living: 6 tips to help you shed the garage chaos

We’ve focused on organizing the rooms inside your home in our last several issues, but now it’s time to step outside the house and into your garage or shed.

Some of us may look at our garage as an extension of our home, while others may look at it as a place to store everything but our cars. No matter how you see it—or how you’re currently utilizing this area—there are several ways to declutter this space to make it usable for any type of situation.

And whether you have a garage, a shed, both or neither, these tips can help you on your journey to home organization.

TIP #1: Set aside dedicated time

Tackling your garage or shed will take some time, so it’s best to schedule a full day or a couple of weekends to dedicate to the task. Enlist help if you can; sometimes, it takes a village.

TIP #2: Plan ahead

Create a floor plan of your garage and decide where best to store specific items such as gardening tools, bikes, seasonal décor or sports equipment. Having a general idea of where things should go will help when it comes time to start putting items in their new zones.

TIP #3: Prep storage containers

To keep things organized and visible, look into buying clear storage containers with lids and clear jars for storing hardware and smaller items, such as nails, screws or even pencils. Being able to see what you have at a quick glance will save you time in the future—and possibly several pennies down the road.

TIP #4: Make use of all open spaces

If your garage or shed lacks drywall, that means you’ve just gained extra space between studs for storing long and skinny objects, such as scrap wood, yard tools and fishing poles. Take advantage of every pocket of space—large or small. And don’t forget about overhead space for storing items that are seasonal or not often used.

TIP $5: Repurpose or resell unused items

If you come across old items that still have a little life left in them, but you no longer need them, consider repurposing, donating or reselling these items. Maybe that old lawnmower hasn’t worked in years, but there are still usable parts. Remember, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.

TIP #6: Label everything

As the old proverb says, “A place for everything and everything in its place.” To achieve this, everything should be labeled, so all family members know where to look for specific items and where to return them when they’re done. Not to mention, being able to identify things at a glance is a huge timesaver. Invest in a label maker or use masking tape and a marker to make sure everything is labeled.

Getting started

If possible, clear everything out of your garage so you can start with a fresh slate. Wipe down walls and surfaces, and sweep and hose down the floor. There’s no reason to organize a dirty garage!

As you start sorting through items, make sure you have a donation/resell pile and a trash pile. A good rule of thumb is to get rid of things that haven’t been used in a year or more. Donate or sell them, but don’t let them back into your garage!

Refer to your floor plan for where items should be stored—sporting equipment in the same section, yard and gardening tools hung on hooks on the wall, and holiday décor stored overhead. Whatever your plan, start putting items away in their respective locations.

Moving into maintenance mode

Make a plan to re-organize every few months, and do a deep clean at least once a year. As long as everything is labeled and you (and your family members) can clearly see all the items in the garage (or shed), you’re well on your way to keeping order in your garage and hopefully clearing enough space to park your car.

Happy organizing!

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